Another version of philanthropy disruption

1 Jul

hack

The past week has seen Sean Parker in the news talking about “hacking philanthropy”. If you don’t know Mr. Parker he founded Napster which tried to bend the rules around music copyright and he was also an early president at Facebook.

Here’s a clip from the movie “The Social Network” which chronicles the early days at Facebook. Justin Timberlake plays Sean Parker.

From what I have been able to glean from Mr. Parker’s thoughts on “hacking philanthropy” it is that there are Silicon Valley elites with millions if not billions sloshing around in their pockets and that they will set a new course for philanthropy as they rise to prominence. Ostensibly they will exert new influence on philanthropy and they call this a “hack”.

I could be a bit jaded but I found nothing new or noteworthy about Mr. Parker’s viewpoint. Included in the interviews with Mr. Parker was the announcement of the Parker Foundation. His foundation is funded to the tune of $600M and for this I salute Mr. Parker.

When asked about what the foundation will do it seems that life science and health are at the forefront of what interests Mr. Parker. Good.

I’m sure that the railroad and oil barons of the early 1900s aimed portions of their wealth at causes that were important to them. Given the health maladies of their time one could argue that Mr. Parker’s just doing the same thing – picking winners from the pool of philanthropic causes that excite them.

So how is this “hacking philanthropy”? To me it’s nothing new.

Here’s something new however, and this is how I would “hack philanthropy”.

1. Hasten the demise of direct mail

The United States Postal Service subsidies and the decades-long use of direct mail has, in my opinion, made nonprofits complacent in their use of technology.

Yes “it (direct mail) still works” but examine that statement. “Still”? The statement implies the coming demise and the 80,000,000 millennials coming of age as full-on givers means “still works” will morph into “what just happened?”.

Moral of this story – federal subsidies for the use of online fundraising tools.

Put technology on par with direct mail. Today.

2. Get the US wireless carriers together to pay for an open and free fundraising platform

The wireless carriers would howl at having to do this and yet their spectrum licenses are an excellent place to place a tax which would support the operation and ongoing development of the platform. When they purchase licenses have a set portion go towards a democratized online giving platform.

Instead, what we have from the carriers today is text-to-give. And, here again, only certain causes can afford or want to do text-to-give and millennials pretty much say “Meh” to text-to-give.

So why can’t the carriers rally behind an alternative? They could but they too are complacent.

I’ve said this to one carrier and their comment was lame and uninformed: “how do we know that this cause just isn’t Susie trying to buy a new house?”

There are bountiful ways to validate causes and do a much better job than what exists out there today in the way of crowdfunding campaigns that never deliver on their promises.

Moral of this story – The wireless carrier group called CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) could champion this effort in the name of democratized mobile fundraising for ALL CAUSES LARGE AND SMALL.

The carriers need to come together and do this. Today.

3. Everyone rally around uniform giving processes, security and ubiquity

Comscore reports that over 77% of the US population has a smartphone. Soon, this percentage will represent saturation-everyone will have one save for a few that really don’t want one for whatever reason.

So ubiquity awaits for frictionless, mobile-optimized giving through smartphones.

And yet, security is a concern as well as the myriad processes a donor must wade through on their “donor journey” as the nonprofit space calls it.

Here, the hack would be to follow the model set forth by the likes of Amazon and Apple – a simple, known, repeatable way to buy or in this case, give.

With Amazon it’s one click. With Apple it’s that they have my credit card on file. Both use a tokenized vault to store credit card information and tokenization (RAZ Mobile has it too) has been referred to as “hack-proof”.

The uniformity of the Amazon and Apple experience means you can buy most anything or any content easily, quickly and securely.

So again imagine a platform that admits any nonprofit and allows any donor to make a gift in seconds using the same giving process over and over again on any screen at any time with nothing to download and no passwords to remember.

Moral of this story – a common platform for all nonprofits with the same simple, fast and secure way to give is preferred to the myriad ways nonprofits receive gifts today

A common platform is true “hacking philanthropy” in my mind and it can be done. Today.

I applaud Mr. Parker for his efforts and his foundation could be home to such a platform as I described here. All of the barriers to doing this are hackable and were some of Mr. Parker’s friends in Silicon Valley ready to engage in this kind of hack it would result in the kind of positive disruptions that are being unleashed by Uber, AirBnB and many others. If by chance Mr. Parker reads this post I can be reached at dale@razmobile.com and we can get started. Today.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create a 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 with a minimum of friction. 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.

Summer’s here so it’s time to think about holiday giving?

24 Jun

santa

Once upon a time, I worked with a gal who was known for her Christmas in July parties. She was the kind of person that liked to celebrate. I think Christmas in July for her was partly celebration but also good measures of decorations around the house and the novelty of Christmas in July.

Hopefully your nonprofit is like this gal I once knew-you’re thinking about the crucial holiday giving season. Plans are being made now, hopefully, and I’m here today to suggest getting serious about adding frictionless mobile giving to your nonprofit’s options for giving this holiday season.

Here’s 3 reasons why.

#1 – There’s the eventuality of mobile

In the car, on the street, in meetings, in theaters…….mobile is everywhere and not going to go away or become any less of a lifestyle and giving game-changer.

At some point, and why not now for this holiday season, your nonprofit will have to embrace easy ways to take large donations on mobile phones.

I know what you’re thinking. Online giving is still small, direct mail still works, so why would I look at spending time and energy on mobile? Well, it’s like the Bible verse that reminds us that we know neither the day nor the hour.

In this same vein, not to burst your bubble, but your nonprofit will not know the precise moment when mobile will matter (TODAY!) but rest assured that day is coming and much sooner than you think.

#2 – The holidays are the “giving season” and mobile giving can help you tap the impulse to give

Everyone knows the holiday season is about giving to those you love and those you care about. It’s about last-minute tax deductions too. The media, the mail, social media and on and on are full of the giving spirit.

When the spirit touches a donor, what’s at arms length in that very moment?

Their phone.

Not their checkbook. Not their laptop. Their phone is right there. Let them give in that moment easily and without friction via their phone. You will likely be surprised by the results.

#3 – It’s a great addition to your direct mail

This one overlaps a bit with #2 but it really has more to do with putting as many giving options in your direct mail as possible in order to gain a donation.

With additional options in your direct mail your nonprofit can, over time, see which options your supporters respond to. And here again, you might be surprised to see supporters who you thought were too old to use their phone to give start making gifts to you via their phone.

As we enjoy the summer I encourage all nonprofits to give our platform a try. We don’t have a contract and it’s super easy to get started. We see large gifts to our customers on a regular basis. For the reasons above and many more not listed, give your own nonprofit the gift of frictionless mobile fundraising this holiday season.

Don’t make us tell Santa that you won’t.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful 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 with a minimum of friction. 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.

Don’t “Bart Simpson” your donors

10 Jun

This is the 100th RAZ Mobile blog.

bart

We recently had a customer let us know that they had deployed their brand new, responsive design mobile site and that they would no longer like to use their RAZ Mobile site for engagement, fundraising and all the other cool things we offer nonprofits like unlimited text messaging and crowd-funding.

When this happens I must admit that I immediately go to the site of the nonprofit to see what they have done.

I look to see if the site is just a landing page with links to PC content in it. This is not a best practice.

I look to see how much content is on the site and how it is arranged. In this case the nonprofit in question is leveraging their PC site for content so there was too much content and too many drop downs to navigate.

As we have always written here, mobile visitors to your site, responsive or not, will give you about a minute to get to the point. Too much content and too many drop downs may be fine for PC visitors but it’s too much navigation for mobiles. “Less is more” should be your mobile content mantra.

Then I got to the clincher-what’s the donation experience like? I’d like to share their mobile donation “journey” with you.

To set the stage, I searched for this nonprofit (in this case a museum) and when I found them I tapped on their primary domain URL.

Their landing page loaded and then……

  • I had to tap on “Menu” in order to expose more of the site. My first scroll found no mention of how to donate on the landing page.
  • However, “Menu” did open up a “Support” drop down which was below the fold (below the bottom of the screen)
  • I tapped on “Support” to open it up and that opened another menu
  • Donate did not appear on this page so I scrolled down
  • Scrolling down showed “Donate Now” which I tapped on
  • I scrolled down some more and also saw that the page overlapped to the right. So the page went up/down and left/right. This is not a best practice either.
  • I was able to see preset donation amounts and the ability to “Donate with Card” which I tapped on. There was no listing of cards accepted. (This is important since I use my Amex for points and many nonprofits don’t take Amex because of the fees.)
  • I did not want to make a donation using the preset amounts (they were too high) so I tapped on “Donate Custom Amount”
  • When I did this the custom amount field was pre-populated with $50.00 which, in order for me to enter an amount, I had to delete the $50.00
  • As I am deleting the $50.00 entry so I can enter $20.00 the numpad has not been brought up which means I have to open it. (PLEASE-if a text entry field is all numerics open the numpad for the visitor-it removes friction!)
  • I entered $20.00 and tapped on the “Continue” field which re-directed me to Stripe (a popular credit card processor) and then Stripe tells me that there was a problem loading the page and that I should try again later.

I don’t think so.

As I am going through the above process, I hear Bart Simpson in my head saying, characteristically, “ARE WE THERE YET!”

The stark reality for this museum is that I would have been done with my donation had they used RAZ Mobile for their donation process.

The donation journey shared above was/is fraught with friction and ended in total failure. It cost the museum $20.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful 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 with a minimum of friction. 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.

 

Email opens up but actions down? Let me explain.

3 Jun

email

The good folks over at M+R have released their 2015 Benchmarks Study (get it here-I recommend it) and in it they report this:

MR

Email opens are up and yet actions taken are down. Why is this so?

In a follow up email from M+R they offered 3 theories and their first one is the right one.

More and more emails are being opened first on a mobile device.

What’s driving this? The immediacy and the impulsivity of mobile.

91% of the time we have our phone at arms-length. It follows then that we can all pretty much open email anytime and anywhere (whether we like it or not!).

Also driving the open rates, M+R suggests that the email copywriters are getting better at catchy subject lines and that very well may be the case. Lord knows in our world of short messages with bad grammar and spelling to match we could use some great copywriters.

So, I think we’d all agree that the increased email open rates are a mobile-driven thing and that’s not going to reverse course. Ever. Mobile email is here to stay and mobile open rates will only get closer to 100% as time goes by.

But what about the low action-taken figures? Before I share my explanation I want to explain what an action is by explaining what it is not. I differ with the folks at M+R in this regard.

It’s not clicking on a link in your email. That’s an intention in my book. It’s as if the viewer is saying to you “I intend to learn more about something in your email that piqued my interest.”

An action is doing something like donating or volunteering or registering for an event or any of the plethora of things nonprofits engage in as they pursue their mission.

I’ll get to the point-actions are down because your action has to be fulfilled on the email viewer’s phone via a web page meant for a PC.

Try it yourself with any PC page on your phone. Navigation is a pain to say the least and PC pages take WAY MORE time to load than mobile-optimized pages. Simply put-folks give up on PC pages on their phone.

Even more to the point is that your PC donation page on a phone is a lost donation. So much has been written about this in places like the Chronicle of Philanthropy and here in our blog where we cite 3rd party data about this very thing.

Still further-why is your “Donate” text the same size as your “Unsubscribe” text in your emails?

The M+R folks have pointed to the future-email is a great channel for nonprofits. All they need to do now is maximize this trend with a great mobile/responsive experience (donating and engagement) and enjoy the benefits of matching the supporter experience to the device in their hand-all the time.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful 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 with a minimum of friction. 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 biggest mobile giving pet peeve

20 May

time

My last blog implored nonprofits to move away from requiring me to use a password to create a giving account and to make repeat gifts. It wasn’t even close to being a rant. It was more of me pleading with the nonprofit space to become more advanced in their use of technology like our tokenization/PIN capability for secure and easy repeat donations on any screen in seconds AND NO PASSWORDS!

This post, as the title suggests is a full-on rant. I’ll be brief but let me get this out of my system.

You see, my biggest pet peeve in the mobile giving space is making me open my numeric keypad on my phone for a number only data field. In fact this pet peeve of mine extends into the for-profit world.

Conversely, our customers and their donors enjoy an experience on their phone which opens the numpad for numeric-only donation form fields.

I know you think this is a small thing but on a mobile phone it’s not. As the image above suggests it is lost time for the donor.

If your nonprofit has a mobile-optimized experience, that’s great. Optimization includes opening the numpad on my phone for numeric-only fields like my zip code or my credit card number.

Pet peeves are a personal thing (some would say personal problem-HA!) and yet every step you make a donor go through, including making them open their number keypad on their phone, lengthens their journey to donation completion (which is a bad experience) and it makes them think twice about repeat gifts (which is also bad).

Take this simple test-go to our home page on your PC and select a cause to make a gift to under “See who’s using RAZ Mobile” and text it to your phone. Make a small (or large-Yeah!!) donation. Then make a donation using your phone and your nonprofit’s current online donation experience.

See the difference?

Maybe my pet peeve can help you improve your donors’ giving experience for the better.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful 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 with a minimum of friction. 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.

Please, not another password

6 May

friction2

Yesterday I learned that we were not selected by a potential customer to help them with their mobile engagement and fundraising. Competition is good for nonprofits and I humbly realize that we can’t win everyone’s business.

Still, we have customers see overall giving go up dramatically on our platform and I can’t help myself in wanting to help all nonprofits raise their giving by 30% or more.

Having not been selected I sometimes make a small donation to the cause that didn’t select us just to see what the competition’s experience is like.

Does the money I gave go to the platform first and the cause down the road, some time later?

Is the giving experience polished with little friction like ours?

Are number fields optimized to show the numpad on my phone or do they just use the old QWERTY keyboard on my phone?

It’s stuff like this that I look at because little details like this can mean the difference between getting a donation or not and it also impacts the size of the gift.

So, like I said, I made a small gift and BAM! there it was.

“Claim your account”. Claim it to do what?

“Create your password”. ARRGHHHH!!!!! Not another UserID and password that I have to remember. Please, no more passwords to remember when I’m feeling generous, in the moment and ready to give.

Why do I feel this way about passwords for nonprofit giving? Because I forget passwords all the time and I don’t have time to go through the “Forgot my password” journey on my phone. I tried to make a gift and now I’ve forgotten my password and I’ve changed my mind. Passwords in the giving process are friction and as the equation above points out friction costs money.

When we created RAZ Mobile I explicitly told our developers “NO PASSWORDS!!!”.

That’s why, at the end of the donation process for first-time givers on RAZ Mobile we ask them if they would like to create a 4-digit PIN to securely “tokenize” (here’s some background on tokenization-it’s the way to avoid getting hacked. Hopefully the platform you select deploys this state-of-the-art technology like we do) their information for easy, FAST and secure repeat gifts to any cause on our platform. Creating a PIN is an option and we don’t make you “Claim your account” or “Create a password” that you’ll forget.

We chose a 4-digit PIN for repeat gift versus the UserID+Password combo since this is the same way I use my ATM card and I know my PIN by heart since I use my ATM card all the time.

It’s WAY EASIER for me to recall my PIN when I am “in the moment” and wanting to make a gift.

When you’re looking for a powerful online platform to help your nonprofit go mobile please follow my advice here-Please, not another password.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful 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 with a minimum of friction. 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.

“Love this service!”

22 Apr

photo

As the headline suggests we have our admirers in the philanthropic donor world. We are ever grateful for feedback and admirers because at the heart of what we want to do is make it very, very easy for donors to give online via any screen.

Yes, we do take a mobile-first approach and we think rightfully so since the PC is headed down (and some say out) while the mobile phone is taking over.

This particular customer the donor gave to above could be any nonprofit out there still kicking the tires on mobile giving. Now that Google penalizes your domain if it doesn’t meet their mobile-friendly algorithm guidelines mobile isn’t a “thing” any more. It’s a full-blown fundraising channel.

As a matter of fact we had a customer do over $8000 in one night last week. How did they do this? Our service combined with just asking people to give. Turns out the Millennial Impact reports are right. The biggest reason donors haven’t given to your nonprofit via their phone is they haven’t been asked.

An “ask” combined with a service your donors will love is the future. Get a risk-free RAZ Mobile account today and start WOW-ing your donors.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful 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 with a minimum of friction. 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.

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