“Love this service!”

22 Apr

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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.

Why do some experts keep giving bad advice?

15 Apr

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Don’t get me wrong-not all nonprofit experts offer bad advice. The headline does say “some” experts. But at a time when the topic of mobile giving is largely unknown to most in the nonprofit space, the number of experts touting their own personal use of their phone and social media as “knowledge” is troublesome and highly problematic for me.

Let me put this more plainly. Because you have a mobile phone and use social media does not make you an expert in either realm.

And yet one such expert continues to offer up questionable advice and last week this “expert” did not disappoint when they listed “9 Fundraising tools to watch in 2015″.

I won’t name the expert in question and I won’t point to the tools by name because at the end of the day this person’s name doesn’t matter and the tools are just tools for fundraising. They didn’t name themselves as ones to watch although the publicity is good for them.

When I got the experts email listing the tools to watch in 2015 I immediately looked at them with a colleague and looked at two key criteria:

1. Do they help nonprofits with the Google mobile search SEO challenge which all nonprofits are facing in less than a week, and

2. Where does the donated money go? For each tool to watch the money goes first to the tool and then to the cause.

I see both the above issues as very large, very pervasive and potentially very negative for all nonprofits.

None of the tools to watch in 2015 solve the first challenge which begs search rank demotion by Google if left unaddressed and all of the tools take the money from the donor and then give it to the cause at some later point in time. How much later is unknown. The practice of taking donations and then giving them to the cause later is one that really needs to not be standard practice and it’s one that we don’t do and have never endorsed. The folks I know at the Red Cross have said that this kind of giving is frowned on due to the lack of transparency and the wide range of timeframes that are used to get the donated funds to their final destination. Some mobile apps have the temerity to take a donation and then ask the donor to make the intro to the cause they gave to so the app can give them the donated money. Talk about lame.

For a nonprofit expert to recommend tools to watch that don’t solve these immediate challenges is not really expert advice in my opinion.

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.

3 simple reasons behind Google’s new mobile search ranking

8 Apr

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When I have spoken about this topic with nonprofits it seems to get their attention more than other topics like lost donations from using a PC form for a mobile donor. The topic of which I speak is one I’ve blogged about here and it’s the Google search rank change that goes into effect on April 21 2015. As a refresher, if your primary web domain does not have a “mobile-friendly” version per Google’s mobile search bot software program your domain will get DEMOTED in search rank.

As a Google employee remarked at a nonprofit event I attended about 3 weeks ago put it “If you’re not on the first page of search results on a mobile phone, you don’t exist.”

Perhaps a bit harsh but the point remains-never risk your nonprofit not being found.

So why’s Google doing this? Here’s 3 simple reasons.

Reason 1 – Google’s business requires it

Google competes just like everyone. If search via Google on a mobile phone consistently yielded PC sites Google search would be pretty much useless. Who likes navigating PC sites on their mobile phone and for nonprofits, most importantly, who likes making gifts on their phone via a donation page meant for a PC?

Reason 2 – Google is trying to spur a response to a trend

Calling the shift from the PC to the mobile for primary internet access a trend is an understatement. Face it-the mobile phone is taking over for the PC as the primary internet device globally. Period. Google is trying to get everyone to see this and they’re trying to elicit a response. All nonprofits (and for profits) need a great mobile experience TODAY! Google’s simply saying the time is now.

Reason 3 – Seconds on mobile make all the difference

No one likes waiting. I am especially prone to short amounts of patience and when you add in the fact that mobile phones share the airwaves with other phones, waiting for web sites to load is partly about the site and partly about wireless coverage. Google looks at this and says “I can serve more people if I can get them what they want in seconds.” It’s Google’s way of trying to free up airwaves in seconds not minutes.

As your nonprofit absorbs this new Google search situation starting on April 21 I hope that mobile jumps up in priority. As we see an average gift of close to $130 and increased giving by 30% for some of our customers, Google should be thanked for ushering in the importance of being mobile-optimized.

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.

IBM finds app security lacking (and we do too)

25 Mar

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At the outset of creating RAZ Mobile we were asked by our developers if we wanted to use the browser for our customer mobile sites or if we wanted to create apps. We chose to use the browser because every phone has one and mobile websites can look very much like apps if the optimization is done well (which we do).

But primary among the myriad reasons for choosing to use the browser was and is donor security. Donations are financial transactions after all and we live in an age of security breaches being far too common place. Donor information security is paramount to earning the trust of the donor and nonprofit alike.

In a recent report, IBM found app security to be lacking in most apps they checked. Dating apps had open holes that could hijack the mic on the phone for example. IBM estimates that over 11 million phones are infected with nefarious code at any given time. Yikes.

Hijacking an app seems to be fairly easy to do given the IBM findings and the survey IBM conducted suggests that many developers are simply in a hurry to get their app done and they cut corners and one corner that gets cut is security. This is really sad.

The path we chose of using the browser means no donor data is retained on the phone and there’s no app on the phone for a hacker to take over. In fact, our donation forms are literally connected to the server that does the processing of donations made to our customers. A direct connection in this manner is ideal and we offer this high level of security to all our customers.

When it comes to going mobile at your nonprofit, don’t get on the app hamster wheel. Security is important and platforms like ours can help take security worries for you and your donors away.

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.

Mobile giving is great for events but that’s just scratching the surface

18 Mar

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Oftentimes we are approached by nonprofits and causes with the question of using our platform for an event that’s coming up as a way to fundraise at that event. It’s a great idea and we’ve seen it raise thousand of dollars on our platform in less than an hour. But there’s so much more that mobile phones represent in terms of fundraising that just looking at mobiles as your event tool means your nonprofit is just scratching the surface of the potential and the power of mobile phones for engagement and fundraising.

What do I mean? For one, mobile phones are at arms length of your existing supporters and new supporters virtually ALL THE TIME. The reason is we use our phones ALL THE TIME and we want their physical and virtual connection power ALL THE TIME.

So it follows that your nonprofit needs to think of how you are engaging and fundraising via mobile phones ALL THE TIME.

Of course I don’t mean that fundraising via mobiles is all you should think about. In fact what I’m going to share is quite the opposite. It’s kind of “set it and forget it” basic tactics.

Before I get to those, I do need to mention that fundraising via mobiles at your event needs to take into consideration the wireless coverage at your event. I’ve been to many events and the coverage can be spotty based on the carrier, the building and the number of people in a small space.

Connectivity becomes less of a concern each day but still-check your event venue out for coverage.

Now-on to the tactics I mentioned above.

Email – Most of your email to supporters is opened first on a mobile phone. Does it have a DONATE link or button in it? If so, is that experience ready to be seen on a mobile phone or are you still using a PC form? We solved this with responsive design forms that look great on any screen and that take the friction out of giving. Bottom line – your nonprofit needs mobile options for giving and engagement in your email ALL THE TIME and forever going forward.

Social – Same thing here for social media as it is for email. The vast majority of social media is opened and consumed on a mobile phone. At the risk of being a broken record your nonprofit needs a frictionless giving form that looks great on a mobile phone. Had the good folks at ALS not had a mobile-friendly giving form I think their fundraising total would not have been so high for the IceBucketChallenge. And here again….people are in social media ALL THE TIME and it’s all ages not just millennials.

Search – Let’s face it- search on a phone means how your nonprofit ranks in Google’s eyes. On April 21 2015 they will start demoting your domain if you do not have a mobile-friendly (we offer mobile-optimized which is better…..email me at dale@razmobile.com and I’ll tell you why it’s better) version of your domain you will get demoted in search and most importantly MISS A POTENTIAL GIFT and this will happen ALL THE TIME until you fix the situation. The fix is easy and we have helped customers take this off their to-do list.

I hope that you get a small sense of the mighty impact of mobile phones beyond just an event fundraising tool. Entering in personal gift information on a piece of paper should be replaced by mobile-optimized forms like ours. That’s a good thing. Leaving mobile to just be an event tool misses the tactics above ALL THE TIME and that’s a bad thing for all nonprofits.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a poweful 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.

New RAZ Mobile feature coming! The gift cart!

11 Mar

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Over the past couple years of RAZ Mobile’s young life we’ve not talked much about new features. Since we’re browser-based and not a downloaded app (here are some reasons why this is the case for us) we’ve never had to highlight what’s new although we should do a better job of it. We’ve rolled out a lot of new features since our launch and everyone gets all of them right away since we’re cloud-based with nothing to download and update constantly.

But as the title to this week’s blog says, we’ve got a new feature coming out and it’s definitely worth a few words here to share more about it.

The request for a gift cart came from where so many of our new features come from – our customers. Many of them requested the ability to load up several gifts by type and campaign and we enthusiastically said “Yes! Let’s build a gift cart!”

And we didn’t enter the design phase of the gift cart hastily. We know that donation processing is where we excel versus our competitors and we also are keenly aware that donation processing is the lifeblood for our customers. That’s why our average donation amount per unique donor is over $120. We’re good at what we do for our customers.

The gift cart design had to take into account the ability to accept the sale of items in addition to the acceptance of multiple gifts while still allowing the use of our donors’ PINs. In many ways our cart is more like the for-profit world of Amazon than it is one that resembles the nonprofit world’s version of a cart.

We think modeling our gift cart and our giving experience after the best in the for-profit world is a good thing since cart experience is a competitive landscape in the for-profit world. We want our customers and their donors to enjoy a very frictionless giving and gift cart experience.

So our customers can count on the ability for supporters to add gifts easily and items for sale and check out fast and securely with the money flowing immediately to the cause’s merchant account or PayPal account. No sitting on funds for days/weeks like our competitors.

Our cart will be rolling into our test environment the week of March 23rd and we’re anxious to get it tested thoroughly and to get it launched for all our customers.

If you have questions about our cart and the features it will offer please email me at dale@razmobile.com

Dale Knoop leads 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 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.

Mobile-friendly tagging now impacts your nonprofit’s search rank

3 Mar

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Last year Google unveiled their mobile bot, the software that they use to crawl over web domains to see what experience mobile visitors to your domain will see on their phone.

If, in their view, you have a mobile-friendly site Google adds a “Mobile-friendly” tag to your listing in search results. Here’s our blog about this topic from last December. (The screen grab above shows the tag in place for our customer Ronald McDonald House Kansas City.)

Now comes what many thought was inevitable-Google will reduce your search rank if you don’t have a mobile-friendly version of your primary website domain URL Here’s an article on this topic from TechCrunch.

What this means is that your nonprofit may not show on the first page of search results. In fact there’s really no way to tell where your website will end up in terms of which page you’ll appear on if you don’t meet Google’s mobile-friendly criteria. Given that mobile searchers aren’t likely to review page after page of search results in the limited time that they devote to search and that mobile search leads to action within an hour, there’s a lot at stake for nonprofits.

Namely, lost donations and missed engagements will likely rise with no mobile-friendly tag.

So, the day has arrived that having a great mobile experience is no longer an option for nonprofits.

As we have blogged about here, most visitors to your domain visit in order to make a gift. Moving down the search results due to the lack of a mobile-friendly experience can have a direct negative impact on fundraising.

As the days, weeks and months go by this situation will only grow as a result of the PC fading from view as the primary access point to the internet for all Americans, no matter their age or demographic profile.

How much does a mobile-friendly (we prefer to think of what our customers have on our platform as “mobile-optimized” – email me at dale@razmobile.com and I’ll tell you the difference) site have to cost? How about less than $1/day?

The reality is that with cloud computing firmly in place there’s really no reason to “own” your website anymore by having a developer create it from scratch. There are plenty of platforms out there like ours to look at and in our case we offer powerful, secure and frictionless giving process for any screen.

Going mobile is easy and now Google has pretty much laid out what they see as a very mobile-dominated future. All nonprofits need to take note and not risk lost donations and reduced supporter engagement.

Dale Knoop leads 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 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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