3 reasons nonprofits needn’t worry about Bitcoin

17 Dec

bitcoin (1)

Last week a friend shared an email he received about a movie in production called theBITmovie. Here’s an excerpt of the email:

I’m with the documentary film, theBITmovie (in production), which is currently touring through every major U.S. and Canadian metro area exploring the philanthropic elements of social change and fundraising with Bitcoin.  Our producers, Scott Glass and Lee Poichuk, are making Bitcoin-funded donations to charities in the local areas they are visiting.

This sounds interesting at first glance but after a few minutes I asked myself “why does a “currency” like Bitcoin need a propaganda movie?

Don’t get me wrong-I know bitcoin is being used for transactions and yet I know of no one with a bitcoin and further into the email there is reference to someone having used bitcoin to buy $500 in CVS gift cards. Bitcoin sounds like cash, check or credit card right? It’s being used to buy cards to give to a nonprofit. The use of bitcoin here in this example isn’t anything to go to a movie to see.

You could say (and you’d be right) that I am not a proponent of bitcoin so when it’s being positioned via a movie as something nonprofits need to pay attention to allow me to offer your nonprofit three reasons why I think you needn’t worry about bitcoin.

REASON 1 – Bitcoin use pales in comparison to cash, check or credit card when it comes to giving to nonprofits

Bitcoin usage and ownership is paltry at best. Why adapt to something that almost no one uses? Perhaps that will change over time but as a currency, bitcoin is completely unproven versus cash, check or credit cards for giving.

I don’t see this changing in the foreseeable future at all.

REASON 2 – Bitcoin values fluctuate based on ??

I’ve followed the violent swings in bitcoin prices (here’s an opinion piece from Oct-2014 about why the drop in bitcoin values are supposedly a good thing?) and I have yet to figure out what drives the price other than pure speculation and seemingly unchecked intentional manipulation.

Sure, you may get a large donor giving you a stash of bitcoins but don’t hang on to them. They may be drastically less the day after you get them. Or they may be worth more. The point here is who knows what they’re worth from day-to-day or minute-to-minute. With this being the case, I suggest asking the donor to give you the US dollar equivalent of their bitcoins at the moment of their gift and then give the donor a big hug.

REASON 3 – Your nonprofit has bigger fish to fry

Someday, someday, bitcoin may be huge. I doubt it. Nonetheless, your nonprofit has much bigger fish to fry. The biggest of which is getting better at taking online gifts. Too many nonprofits are missing billions of dollars (according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy) by doing two things that can easily be corrected; 1) online giving has too many steps and too much friction. This hampers both the amount of the gift and the completion percentage of gifts started, and 2) far too many nonprofits use a PC giving experience for mobile online givers. This causes the same thing but likely at a higher rate than what happens in #1.

My advice is to follow what’s going on with bitcoin, ask bitcoin donors to convert them to cash and take the cash but above all, get a frictionless online giving experience for all 3 screens (like what we provide RAZ Mobile customers) TODAY.

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, negative QOS and a mnemonic device QR code alternative.

Google’s “mobile-friendly” tagging has arrived. What it means for nonpofits.

10 Dec

Last year, Google unveiled their mobile bot. What’s that you say? A new device to harvest data from your mobile phone? A new wearable device to make you use Google even more than you do today?

Nope. It’s their software program that crawls the web looking at the primary domains for all websites (think http://www.yournonprofitnamehere.com) and its purpose is to see what kind of experience you offer mobile visitors to your primary domain.

Here’s a screen grab off my iPhone showing our customer Ronald McDonald House of Kansas City as I searched for them. (RMHCKC redirects mobile visitors to their primary domain to their RAZ Mobile website. This is a best practice for many reasons, the Google mobile bot and gaining the “mobile-friendly” tag chief among them as well as giving in seconds on any screen.)

photo

See the mobile-friendly label? It appears in search results for all our customer sites since what offer satisfies the Google mobile bot’s parameters for what a good mobile experience is solely in the eyes of Google.

This shows that “mobile-friendly” tagging in Google search results has arrived. (Side note: I really don’t like the term “mobile-friendly” since I have see many implementations wherein my first action on the site I’m on is to start pinching and swiping to figure out what’s on the page. I strongly prefer “mobile-optimized”.) On it’s face it the term suggests a good mobile experience and not a PC experience that likely will frustrate the visitor perhaps to the point of not returning.

But what lies deeper and what lies ahead should concern all nonprofits.

What lies deeper than this label is how frictionless is your mobile giving experience? As Blackbaud reminds all nonprofits, visitors to your website go there to give more than to stay connected with your nonprofit by a 2 to 1 margin. If that’s the case then the “mobile-friendly” label is great but it gives no heads up to the donor about how easy you make giving.

For our customers frictionless giving is at the heart of what we deliver on all three screens. Giving in seconds is what we offer RAZ Mobile customers and their donors.

What lies ahead is what I fear almost more than a poor giving experience and that is never being seen in search results. Well, technically you will show up in the search results but where in the search results is the big question. Above the fold? On the second page?

You see there are many that expect Google to use the mobile bot to determine the “mobile-friendly” status of your primary domain and then begin demoting domains that are not mobile-friendly.

No one, no matter what you’re doing on the web, should risk search rank demotion. With 9 out of 10 mobile searches leading to action within an hour, being found above the fold and on the first page is always the goal in Google search results.

So the “mobile-friendly” tag is here and it’s here to stay. The ramifications for nonprofits could be very impactful. Get a great mobile website and frictionless giving today (it’s what we do!) and enjoy the benefits tomorrow and the next day and the next day and……

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, negative QOS and a mnemonic device QR code alternative.

Can they give online vs. will they give online-which wins at your nonprofit?

3 Dec

can

Much has been written here in our blog and elsewhere about this burning question.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has framed this same question obliquely in their recent posting about this matter. Here’s our blog from 2 weeks back with the data.

Yes, the online channel is the only one growing in the nonprofit world and yes, this means mostly via a PC…..for now. The questions posed here can both have a “YES” as answers but as the Chronicle points out, most nonprofits get a “YES” a donor “CAN” give but “NO” creeps in as the answer to “WILL” they give.

In other terms, yes people can donate online via your website using their PC but will they? Do you make it too hard to find out where the path to give begins and then are there too many pages and fields to complete? Most importantly, going back to our last blog, is there way too much friction in your online giving process.

When you look at your PC site on a mobile phone ask yourself “Would I do this? I know I can do this if I commit to it but do I really want to do this on my phone?” PC giving pages on mobile phones are slow to load, hard to navigate and there’s way to much pinching and swiping to figure out where to begin to give. Bottom line; this practice costs you donations.

This is where we come in. As I have always shared here in our blog, easy, secure and fast giving on any screen (mobile, tablet, PC) was the very first thing we went after and we did so precisely because our research showed that giving online has way too much friction in the process. And, the donor path varies so much.

On this last point I will go back to Amazon and point out that not only can you find pretty much anything you want but the purchase path is always the same. This encourages repeat purchases. How often do you think a donor asks themselves if they want to go through your online giving process again? Could this be part of what’s driving low repeat giving?

Donors would value the a known, and uniform way to give to any nonprofit instead of the path being pretty much unique to each nonprofit in the US. That’s hundreds of thousands of paths if not millions. Ugh.

Here’s the keys to getting to “they WILL donate to us online”:

-Don’t hide the “DONATE” button. Say this with me “Giving is not searching.”

-Remove all the friction from the giving process. Take out steps and needless fields.

-Add mobile-optimized giving for all your digital channels. Be real-they’re mobile channels anyways. Why use a PC experience on a mobile phone? Research suggests you’re losing donations. (Again, can is turned into won’t.)

-Make repeat giving as easy as buying a song online by letting donors save their info securely for repeat impulse gifts in seconds on any screen-tablet, PC or phone.

In summary, I must remind you that by a 2 to 1 margin people visit you online to give not to stay connected with you. With this being the case, you need a giving process for your donors that you can phrase as “THEY CAN, THEY WILL and thankfully THEY DO! give to us online on any screen!”

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, negative QOS and a mnemonic device QR code alternative.

A simple equation to always remember

19 Nov

friction1

Last week I attended a local seminar entitled “Growth Hacking”. It was all about how marketing is changing from one dominated by print and digital media to one that now includes the immediacy and share-ability of social media in an always-on world.

In the seminar a great deal of attention was paid to the funnel of getting people to use your product. The funnel here is the path from discovery to use. In the nonprofit world this path would be called the “donor journey”. (Although it’s called a journey there’s plenty of research from folks like Blackbaud that suggests the journey is more of a short walk than a journey since not much research goes into the donor’s gift-making process.)

Either way, in the online world buying and giving is an impulse for the majority of individual purchases and gifts.

So I was really struck when the presenter at the seminar showed the equation above.

Its companion in the for profit world it reads as:

friction2

This simple equation embodies everything facing a nonprofit when it comes to making themselves ready to take online gifts from any screen-phone, tablet and PC. Friction must be reduced to zero.

And yet, per this shocking and informative piece from Chronicle of Philanthropy in February of this year this equation is being ignored:

The groups take too long to ask for money, and they make it too hard to give online.

As a result, according to the researchers, those nonprofits may be missing out on billions of dollars in online gifts.

In addition, two powerful findings in the article are:

  • Sixty-five percent of their websites required visitors to click through three pages or more to give online
  • Eighty-four percent of nonprofits, including many of the nation’s largest charities, haven’t made their donation websites easy to read on mobile devices

This is way, way too much friction in the giving process. And both points above are costing you donations everyday. In fact high friction can terminate the impulse to give if it’s too much.

Every financial transaction benefits both parties when friction is removed. This is, in my opinion, one of the reasons that online giving is the only channel that’s growing in the nonprofit world; as poor as the online giving experience is reported to be by the article mentioned herein it is still preferred to the friction of responding with cash in-person or via a check by mail.

Another case-in-point: Amazon spends a great deal of time peeling milliseconds out of its shopping experience because they LIVE BY THE EQUATION! Frictionless shopping translates to money straight to their bottom line. The same obsession should apply to all nonprofits.

This is also why Amazon (and Apple for the same reason) let you store your credit card and shopping information securely for future frictionless purchases.

This is what inspired us to create giving to any cause on our platform in the most frictionless way we could develop. Donors can make repeat gifts on any internet screen (tablet, phone and PC) in 15 seconds or less. In reality, our nonprofit customers enjoy a giving experience is more defined by the donor’s internet connection strength and speed than it is the process itself. Our giving process is that frictionless.

Variations of this equation abounded in the growth hacking seminar. I realize the need nonprofits have to engage donors but even that practice benefits from absorbing the equation. Make the engagement frictionless and one they’ll want to share and talk about with family and friends.

So yes, engagement is important. But when it comes to giving, removing as much friction as possible, like we do for RAZ Mobile customers with the any screen, fast, secure and easy giving experiences like the ones their donors enjoy on our platform means tapping into the lost billions of dollars the Chronicle article cites.

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, negative QOS and a mnemonic device QR code alternative.

3 top tips for #GivingTuesday

12 Nov

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The buzz and hype for #GivingTuesday is in full swing as we head to the holiday season. It’s a great time for giving and, rightfully so, it’s also a very popular time for giving as we all think about those in our world who are in need. As I always say “Tragedy never takes a day off.”

Being mindful of this let’s set the stage for #GivingTuesday.

It is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The progression is Thanksgiving Day, then Black Friday, then Cyber Monday and then #GivingTuesday.

It is a growing global day of giving celebrated after we enjoy the bountiful harvest prepared by loved ones on Thanksgiving Day and two days of shopping (not me-I like to wait until the last minute).

You’ll note that in my mention of #GivingTuesday I include the (#) hashtag character. This is intentional and leads me to our first top tip for your nonprofit to benefit from #GivingTuesday.

TOP TIP NUMBER ONE – Mobile equals social and social equals mobile

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. are all mobile companies. Their platforms are designed to cater to the mobile consumer. And we should all know this in our hearts. As much as many in the older demographics who yearn for the typewriter and face-to-face conversations like to deny, mobile is the internet we always wanted and the one that’s already subsumed the PC.

So it is fitting that in all references to #GivingTuesday the hashtag is always there signifying that this is a day of giving centered on mobile phones and social media.

Yet, unfortunately, most nonprofits will be out there making #GivingTuesday appeals in social media and email with a giving experience designed for a PC. This is, as data tells us, a path to lost donations. Completing a giving form on a phone that has been designed for a PC could cost you upwards of 50% of donations.

So get a mobile-optimized giving form today. Our customers enjoy easy, secure, frictionless and fast mobile giving. Trust me-you need this today and forever more.

TOP TIP NUMBER TWO – Get others to share

It goes without saying that social media is sharing experience. Ideally, on #GivingTuesday you will be encouraging your supporters to share you with their social networks. This is the most basic step in your “get others to share us” playbook.

Where sharing really takes off is giving your donation page URL (again, it should be a mobile-optimized giving experience for the reasons herein) to businesses and organizations that care about your cause and that may have sponsored you for a gala or an event like a walkathon or marathon.

Why is this right to do? They want to participate in #GivingTuesday too. Their employees want to participate and it’s always good for a business brand to constantly be helping to make their community strong by caring for the needy whether it’s for humans or our furry friends.

Get a mobile-optimized donation page and share the URL with these businesses and organizations. Ask them to share on social media. They’ll thank you for the opportunity to participate in #GivingTuesday.

TOP TIP NUMBER THREE – Before, during and after

This tip may not be readily apparent since “technically” #GivingTuesday is supposed to be one day but here’s the deal: social media platforms are time relative meaning that your #GivingTuesday content may or may not get seen and shared depending on timing alone.

This is why, if I were running the content for #GivingTuesday I would be posting before, during and after #GivingTuesday. It costs nothing.

Before you could say “Beat the #GivingTuesday rush with a donation to us.”

During the day it’s easy-no need to tell you what to say.

After you could say “We had a great #GivingTuesday and in case you didn’t have a chance to participate you can now. Thanks!”

#GivingTuesday will be a blitz of content and messages. Don’t fall victim to the blur of content. Start early and stay late with your social postings.

I hope these three top tips help your nonprofit. By following them you will learn and refine your tactics for this year, next year and all the days in between!

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, negative QOS and a mnemonic device QR code alternative .

My 78 year old father in-law wants online giving

6 Nov

fly

For as long as I can recall in my time with RAZ Mobile, I have been told time and again that older donors don’t want to go online to give. Indeed, whenever I shared what we do at RAZ Mobile with my father in-law who is an older donor (primarily to his church) he said that he didn’t really see himself giving online.

The church that he gives to religiously does not offer online giving options. And, without naming the denomination, I don’t think they ever will.

The reality is that as this graphic from Dunham and Co. shows, the only group growing in their use of online giving is 60+ year olds. My father in-law is not alone.

dunham

But something changed him and it had nothing to do with him spending more of his life online as so many of us do today. It has to do with his grandkids.

You see, my father in-law now has a grandchild in collegiate Division 1 athletics and he couldn’t be prouder of that fact. My father in-law would like to travel to see her play and he figures that points on his credit card that earns him fly miles would be a good thing to do.

And he’s right.

He’s got time on his hands and wants to travel and see his grandkids at college and he’d like to take what he does already, give to his church, and have that drive benefit back to him in fly miles.

Everyone wins.

He’s not looking to (GASP!) write down his credit card info on a form and hand it to a stranger. He’s shopped online so online security concerns don’t cause him to refrain from using his credit card online. (Just watch your bill. It’s not hard to make sure you don’t get ripped off.)

He wants points from online giving and rightly so in our opinion.

So, encourage the older folks to give with credit cards that earn them points. Everyone wins.

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, negative QOS and a mnemonic device QR code alternative .

 

Turn your nonprofit business card into a fundraising machine

29 Oct

Every nonprofit staffer (and some volunteers) I’ve ever met has a business card. Inherently they meet many people day-to-day and the business card survives today as a way to share contact information. I do recall being able to bump phones to exchange contact information but as far as I can tell it’s not taken off. (A bit like Google Wallet and coupons by location-based services.)

So as a communication tool I think we can all agree then that the business card is pervasive in it’s use and is an effective way to connect to new people who may be supporters and/or donors.

And they’re cheap which is always a good thing. One could argue that they’re “free” since your nonprofit has to have them for the reasons mentioned above.

Let’s go with them being free then for this blogpost. With this free, pervasive and effective communication tool being used by your nonprofit how do you supercharge the business card and turn it into a fundraising machine?

UW card

The above shows how. The business card above was created specifically for an event but the mobile giving information on the left can be added to your staff’s business cards. Imagine your/their contact info on one side with three mobile giving options as shown on the card in the image on the left on the other side. The United Way of Greater Kansas City used this at their kickoff event last month (another GREAT use of a business card specific to the event) and it was very successful.

Supporters at the event had their phone, their credit card and the business card above with three mobile giving options. Easy and effective. Your nonprofit can do the same.

One important feature to note is that they smartly provided three total mobile giving options. This is smart to do since it lessens the reliance on one single method like the QR code and reduces the impediments to getting donations right then and there.

Even better is that you can encourage the donor to keep your card in their wallet or purse for that time in the future that they are thinking about your cause or that good day when the donor is just feeling generous.

Here’s yet another example of a simple bookmark handout from our customer at the Kemper Museum of Art. It has multiple ways to give printed on it.

kemper (1)

In summary, with mobile giving options supported by your nonprofit you can turn the simple business card that you already pass out today into a daily and event-based giving machine.

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.

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