Recently, a Girl Scout asked me if I wanted to buy some cookies. I’m a sucker for Thin Mints, but I told the young fundraiser that I didn’t have any cash. No problem, she told me. She was accepting payments via a mobile app on her tablet.

The point here isn’t that I bought a box of cookies (OK, I bought two), but that even 10-year-olds are able to see the value mobility can bring to nonprofit organizations.

Virtually all of the nonprofits I work with use mobile devices and apps, but many organizations have incorporated mobility in a somewhat haphazard fashion, with employees bringing their own devices to the office and using them however they see fit. This can work, up to a point. But a more strategic approach to mobility can help nonprofits achieve benefits that simply aren’t possible in an unmanaged environment.

1. More Efficient Fundraising

If a Girl Scout can accept mobile payments, anyone can.

With standardized equipment and custom mobile apps, nonprofits can take their mobile fundraising efforts further — collecting instant donations at events (rather than having to follow up on pledges), and even gathering donor contact information such as email addresses and phone numbers at the same time.

2. Enhanced Efficiency and Collaboration

In nonprofits that lack a centralized mobility strategy, users have to create their own workflows to facilitate collaboration. They exchange email addresses with one another, chat on social media and share documents through tools such as Dropbox, Box and OneDrive. This can sow confusion, contribute to inefficiencies and even create security vulnerabilities.

By embracing business mobility, nonprofits can adopt the tools that best match their workflows and put employees in a position to succeed. Depending on the nature of an organization’s operations, these tools can include custom apps and functions such as mobile barcode scanning, to help keep track of donated materials and other supplies.

3. Support for Remote Workers and Field Operations

Just like any organization, nonprofits need to equip their users to work anywhere, at any time — and mobility is central to enabling telecommuting and other forms of remote work.

Additionally, many nonprofit organizations operate in far-flung locales, some of which lack the IT infrastructure to support anything but mobile connectivity. One organization I work with distributes mosquito nets in Africa to prevent the spread of malaria. This group relies on mobile devices to stay in touch with people in the communities where it works. Other nonprofits equip traveling nurses and caregivers with mobile devices to help them track their work with patients and clients.

A partner such as CDW can even work with organizations to stage devices so that they’re enrolled in management programs and preloaded with necessary apps when they’re delivered to employees.

4. Improved Security

Although charities typically don’t have to worry about safeguarding valuable intellectual property, a data breach that results in the leak of confidential information (such as Social Security numbers or health records) can be catastrophic for a nonprofit. No cybersecurity tool is foolproof, but an unmanaged mobile environment — where the organization lacks visibility into and control over how data is accessed, stored and shared — creates unnecessary vulnerabilities.

Through enterprise mobility management and other mobility solutions, nonprofits can better empower their workforce while also protecting sensitive data. It’s a win-win.

Learn more about how CDW solutions and services can help nonprofit organizations operate more efficiently and productively.

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