Does a giving channel shape the donor?

22 Oct

cc and phone

There is the adage which holds that “the suit makes the man.” Or the other one perhaps more well known – “You are what you eat.”

As we help the nonprofit community deal with the inevitability of going mobile and reaping the benefits therein I often wonder if the way a nonprofit accepts donations shapes the profile of their donor base.

The adage in this case could be “Your donor is how you take donations.”

If you follow my blog you will recall last week where hypothesized about Starbucks only taking pennies. If this were really the case for them (aside from the absurdity of ever doing this) one can easily see that YES, only taking pennies would have a large impact on who and how many customers Starbucks has.

So it follows that if this was the case for your nonprofit your donors would have to hoard pennies. Not many would do this and those that would do this are likely to be ardent supporters with a certain mentality about helping you.

More direct to the point, asking for mailed donations means you have to have a checking account. (I know that your form has the ability for donors to enter credit card information but in this day and age this is the last thing you should be asking donors for. The security concerns of my credit card info on your form in the hands of a stranger far outweigh this as a giving channel.) Those without checking accounts can’t give to you.

For online giving, the only giving channel that’s growing, it’s easy to see why this is so. In order to do anything online one usually uses a credit card and giving online via credit card is easier than mailing a check. It’s also cheaper and may result in credit card points for airline miles or some other perk.

Many nonprofits will say that “our donors don’t give that way” and now I know what they mean. It means the way they take donations has shaped their donor base. This can be good and this can be bad.

As the mobile phone takes over the world as the primary and, for some, only point of access to the internet, not offering a frictionless and secure way to give via a mobile phone means the donors you’ll have in the future are a direct result of how you accept donations.

With almost all of the 80 million millennials carrying a smartphone mobile giving allows them to join you. Mobile giving will then be at the heart of shaping your donor base.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

Does your nonprofit compete on donor experience?

15 Oct

great

If you look up the word “experiential” in the dictionary the definition centers on the experience you offer to the world.

It can apply internally and, perhaps most importantly, externally to your nonprofit.

Think of experiential as how anyone interacts with you. Is it easy? is it hard? Does it frustrate? Do you offer an experience in any facet of what your nonprofit does, including giving, that is something others will share on social media?

As you think about this you do have to ask yourself “Are we competing experientially?” “Do we get compared to other nonprofits and businesses based on the financial transaction experience?”

The fact of the matter is YES to a certain degree. And yet it cannot be denied that as you slide from OK to not-so-good as compared to both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds there are dollars attached to this slide. Experientially poor businesses and nonprofits will suffer in sales and donations.

This is why Amazon and iTunes were models for us when we built RAZ Mobile. Easy, secure and fast (15 seconds or less) giving for repeat donors. We offer the same or better experience as these e-commerce leaders.

Think of it this way. What if your local Starbucks took only one form of payment and it was pennies. Would you buy coffee there? Of course not. Pennies are money and yet no one wants to pay this way. It’s a bad experience all the way around. You’d be right to think Starbucks is crazy and you would likely wonder how long they will stay in business.

Moving away from this example to better experiences on the experiential scale, Starbucks has sought to lead with ever more ways to pay for coffee. This drives a positive first experience, better chances for repeat sales, increased volume and a faster path to money in their bank account.

The reality is that all experiences are judged on one scale and the act of giving to a nonprofit sits on the same scale along with buying coffee, a song or a book from Amazon.

Just how easy is it to give to your nonprofit?

The harder it is, especially on the device taking over online giving, the mobile phone, the less likely you are to get a gift, a repeat donor and a positive mention via word-of-mouth and social media.

So as the debate about nonprofits emulating for-profit businesses continues on, one area where your nonprofit is like a business is based on the experiences you offer and when money is on the line, emulating a business and offering the most frictionless way to a first gift and repeat gifts is the way to go.

Competing and excelling experientially can maximize your donation potential for your nonprofit in the same way it delivers results in  the for-profit world.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

Never make donors wait

8 Oct

line

Last night my family and I went to my daughter’s school to get tacos from a local restaurant that was set to give a portion of proceeds (buying tacos, etc.) to my daughters school. This form of giving is prevalent and popular.

“Buy <thing> and we will give a portion of your purchase to <cause name>. Simple and easy to understand. How much it really raises versus profits and benefits to the merchant is debatable and of little use really. It’s a great way to give on a daily basis if the opportunity presents itself.

Yet, I won’t buy things I don’t need just to give a gift and in some cases I’d like to give more when I know the cause like I do my daughter’s school obviously.

After we parked and walked towards the food truck – why the taco vendor chose a truck to handle the volume I’ll never know – several really agitated parents walked by complaining out loud and without provocation.

“Don’t bother going over there. We gave up after an hour and 15 minutes of waiting.”

I was pretty taken aback by the negative buzz around the parking lot and then I saw THE LINE.

THE LINE was long and it was getting dark. I looked at my wife and said we need to eat now so we can get back home and our daughter can do homework and so we don’t strand our dog without a bathroom break.

So we left. No share of proceeds from us. Opportunity missed.

My mind then drifted as we went to get pizza elsewhere about how nonprofits make donors wait in line and how they offer experiences that widen the distance between a donor’s impulse to give and them actually making a gift.

The longer the process the wider the gap. Making a donor wait to give is not advised and in every facet of accepting donations examples of waiting can be seen.

3 pages or more to make an online gift is too many.

Making donors find their checkbook and a stamp is time consuming. Just like standing in line for a taco.

At every touch point the ability for frictionless, easy and secure giving must be presented. No lines or lengthy forms or licking envelopes.

I know my sentiments are not held by all and that all forms of giving work, just like waiting in a line for an hour and 15 minutes would have worked last night but it didn’t.

The bottom line is giving is an impulse and with the donor’s phone in their hand pretty much 24 X 7 X 365 giving in 20 seconds is what you want and for the donor it means no line and instant gratification at having done a small (or large) part in making the world a better place for those in need.

3 questions about Apple Pay for nonprofits

1 Oct

pay

Predictably, Apple’s announcement of Apple Pay has kicked off a lot of speculation around its impact for nonprofits. With a reported 300 million credit cards on file globally, Apple Pay is seen to represent a treasure trove of ready to give donors. Or so it would seem. From my point-of-view there are three key questions that need to be addressed before the Apple Pay hype cycle gets too frothy.

1. Is your nonprofit ready to process donations via an Apple Pay terminal?

Apple Pay at its core is a near-field communication (NFC) product similar to Google Wallet. Inside an Apply Pay compatible phone is a NFC chip that must be passed over an Apple Pay terminal at point-of-sale to complete the sale using the purchasers stored iTunes credit card. In theory it should be simple, however, Google Wallet has hardly rocked the payment landscape.

So your nonprofit would have to have an Apple Pay terminal and a way to tell the terminal how much to process for a donation for it to be used to take donations. This means buying a terminal and an unknown device to tell the terminal how much to process for a donation dollar amount. Ostensibly a nonprofit will have to “plug into” Apple Pay via this terminal and as controlling as Apple is I am fairly certain there will be an application process to get an Apple Pay NFC terminal.

Get ready for Apple to pick winners and losers in who gets a terminal.

How do you use the terminal when your donors are not present to swipe their phone? The terminal could be at your event but if 50 people want to give they’ll have to line up in order to swipe their phone AND you will have to have connectivity at your event so the terminal can communicate with the iTunes ecosystem.

What do you tell folks carrying Android devices? What about all the donors that are not present to swipe their phone?

2. Will Apple even allow nonprofits to use Apple Pay given their stance on fundraising apps?

Referring back to the point above about the picking of winners and losers, Apple’s current stance on fundraising apps in the iTunes store is to not allow them in. This leads me to question whether or not they will allow nonprofits into Apple Pay at all or if they will, like Facebook has done with their donate capability, only allow a few big nonprofits to use the service.

Even if they let nonprofits in, which I doubt, Apple’s current slice of the transactions in the iTunes App store is 30%. That’s a HUGE slice of the donation to give up to make folks lineup and wait to give via their passing their phone over the terminal.

3. How will Apple Pay help with mobile giving via your existing web presence and your presence in other channels like email, social media and direct mail?

Bottom line is Apple Pay can’t help with Google SEO or mobile visitors to your primary domain URL wanting to make donations to you and yet you’re still relying on a PC giving experience for mobile visitors.

There can’t be a connection to Apple Pay in email, social media or direct mail, all channels you’ve invested in and now need to maximize by adding frictionless and optimized mobile giving options.

In this light Apple Pay has no positive impact and may amount to the same impact of accepting Bitcoin donations.

In summary, what I would like to investigate further is how Apple Pay can facilitate web-based donations but again, this is like question number two above. Apple has ways to facilitate in app purchases and they’re not open to fundraising apps so I seriously doubt they open web-based ways of giving using a donors stored iTunes credit card information.

Apple Pay is at the end of the day one of those things you slow down and look at but there’s not much to see so it’s best to just move along.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

Your nonprofit needs more than a mobile landing page. Here’s why.

24 Sep

page

Last week I was in northwest Arkansas with the Northwest Arkansas Association of Fundraising Professional members presenting to them. They are a great group and it was both an honor and a pleasure to be invited to speak. After the presentation and their fantastic Q&A, several members came up to me with their phones and showed me their current mobile sites.

I viewed them and they were more towards mobile-friendly rather than mobile-optimized, (read more here about mobile-friendly versus mobile-optimized) which we prefer and offer to our customers. I asked them to click on the links on their mobile home page and all seemed OK. The content was formatted to be legible on a phone with no pinching and swiping to view the page like you have to do with pages formatted for a PC.

But I was kind of holding back because I knew where the weak spot would be. What they were showing me was a mobile-friendly landing page with content “scraped” from their PC site and reformatted to fit a mobile phone screen. Content scraping has been around for a long time as a way to take existing content and repurpose it for another format. The problem with this approach is that content on a PC was designed and created to be long form content and on a mobile people prefer snack sized content.

Content scraping was not the weak spot however. It was their donation page.

In each example I saw from the NWA AFP members I spoke to the donation experience was still their PC donation experience.

This is not a best practice. Here’s why.

1) Google’s mobile bot that they use to judge your mobile experience will find this PC page and demote your search rank on this alone even though the rest of the content is formatted for a phone via the scraping process.

2) You still risk losing donations by relying on a PC form on a mobile phone. As I have remarked here in our blog before, third party research has reported that your lost donations by using a PC form on a mobile phone could be AS HIGH AS 50%!

Exacerbating this situation is the fact that most people go to your website to give versus “check you out” which means all that content scraped from your PC site is not likely of interest to the visitor to your website. So, they’re there to give and it’s a PC page where the first action is navigating instead of completing a mobile-optimized giving form.

Navigating a form is not making a gift to your nonprofit.

Mobile landing pages and content scraping are OK but that PC donation page (or YIKES-pages!) on a mobile phone for giving has to go ASAP. You’re missing donations and Google is still demoting your nonprofit’s search rank. Ouch on both fronts.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

Which to ask for? Permission or forgiveness?

18 Sep

dilbert

Just a brief one this week because the title pretty much says it all.

Is it better to ask for permission or to ask for forgiveness? I’ll share my answer in a moment.

This topic was given to me by a nonprofit director we are working with to use our platform. She actually said that she can’t share working with us because she had not received permission from the powers-that-be to move forward using our platform for mobile engagement and mobile fundraising. In talking to her it was easy to tell that she wants to move her nonprofit forward into the digital age. She sees what all of us see, or at least I hope by now that you see it-the mobile phone is taking over for the PC as THE internet device of choice.

And yet, I worry that this is the case for a lot of nonprofits and their decisions on what to do. I suspect this is at the heart of copying the same thing someone else does and expecting it to work for your nonprofit. Many are doing precisely this with the Ice Bucket Challenge.

And don’t get me wrong. I get it. It comes with the oversight and scrutiny that all nonprofits are subjected to. But as it pertains to products like ours with no contract and no set up fees there is little downside. Using this as a prism I suspect that many contracts that nonprofits could not escape is a factor in the drive to seek permission.

With the digital age upon us and the rapidity of change and advancement hastening asking for permission means decision cycles that are out-of-synch with the digital age.

Experimentation is the rule in the digital age.

So here’s my answer and my explanation.

Ask for forgiveness. Why? Precisely because of the need to experiment and see what works for your nonprofit. I know “experimentation” and “nonprofit” don’t always go hand-in-hand.

My argument wins on this single example. Do you think ALS knew going in that the Ice Bucket Challenge would be what it became? Of course not. They tried it. It worked. And whoever thought of it hopefully got the credit and never had to ask for forgiveness.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

Announcing the launch of #HelpKC10 – A program to help 10 KC nonprofits

16 Sep

kc10

We have exciting news to share with you about a new partnership program we have created with Jennings Social Media Marketing (JSMM). They are a Kansas City-based social media and marketing firm serving customers nationally in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Together with JSMM, we are offering to help 10 nonprofits free of charge with mobile fundraising and social media campaigns to help them get ready for #GivingTuesday and the upcoming holiday season.

The campaign is called #HelpKC10 and the hashtag will be used to share the campaign and to ask the public to nominate a nonprofit of their choice to be selected for the #HelpKC10 program.

The top 10 vote getters will be announced on October 1st. Then they will be assisted by RAZ Mobile in setting up their mobile fundraising campaign on the RAZ Mobile platform. Simultaneously, JSMM will provide 10 tweets and 2 Facebook postings for the #HelpKC10 nonprofits to include in their social media postings. The content will reflect their mission and their “voice” and will be created by the seasoned professionals at JSMM. JSMM will provide this content through the end of this year.

Valerie Jennings, CEO of JSMM, said, “It’s our way of remembering what the holiday season is really all about and we hope these 10 nonprofits are able to elevate their fundraising success with digital media.”

We are very excited about this partnership and it is our sincere hope that this helps the 10 chosen charities be successful in maximizing the potential of social media for fundraising.

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