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

gt

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.

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.

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