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.

Donor information security in the days of breaches everywhere

25 Feb

thief

I think we’ve grown a bit de-sensitized to the ongoing reporting of data breaches at many firms like Home Depot, Target, etc. The security of credit card processing these days ranges from the non-existent (paper forms with personal information being passed around and then shredded-hopefully) to the state-of-the-art (tokenized donor information).

This week I want to delve into this topic, credit card security, with a few words on best practices. Donors are, after all, very concerned about how nonprofits handle their personal financial information and the last thing a nonprofit wants to be known for is a data breach that exposes the credit card information of its donors.

The first best practice I recommend for data security concerns a current bad practice and it’s one that I personally would like to see go the way of the buggy whip and that’s writing my credit card info on a paper form. No matter how this gets handled my info is on a paper form and I have to trust the nonprofit to dispose of my info properly. I have no idea how many hands my info goes through and frankly I don’t want to know. Paper forms for nonprofit credit card donations simply need to go away.

A frictionless, secure web form is where I want to enter my info (preferably on my phone) and I kind of recoil from nonprofits that send me paper credit card forms to fill out. 75% of Americans have smartphones. Let them give via a mobile-optimized form instantly and easily with the highest level of security out there. This is at the heart of RAZ Mobile’s frictionless giving experience.

Another best practice I recommend is don’t store your donor credit card info anywhere but a “tokenized” vault (more on this below). We trust this highly important service to an expert and in our case it’s Braintree Payment Solutions in Chicago. Sadly, there are some fundraising platform providers that are storing your donor data themselves with who knows what level of security (with or YIKES! without permission of the donor) and your security is only as good as theirs.

Had Target, Home Depot and others outsourced their credit card storage to a third party like we do with Braintree I dare say they would not have had their breaches. Now I know that their breaches were at the credit card reader level but again the point is still clear-how old is their tech inside the reader?

The way to go these days for credit card data security is “tokenization.” Here’s the Wikipedia entry on this topic.

Tokenization is what we offer nonprofits and donors alike at RAZ Mobile and it solves virtually all the online PCI issues nonprofits face today. It’s why many of our customers use RAZ Mobile for all their online donation processing. However, tokenization can’t help a paper form. That goose is already on the loose.

Here’s a quick overview of what tokenization means on our platform. A donor is presented a secure responsive design web form protected by a secure connection to the Braintree processing server. Donor data is entered into the form by the donor and as soon as their information clears the server, 100% of the donation is with the RAZ Mobile nonprofit customer immediately. Then, at the donors option, the donor can store their information as a token at Braintree as a way to expedite future donations which can then be completed in 15 seconds or less on any screen.

For donors that store their information via a token, the donor creates a 4 digit PIN, just like an ATM, to use their stored information for repeat donations which are completed without filling out the form again-their tokenized information is used instead. Tokens created by our donors are virtually meaningless to hackers and are meant to only be used for donations on our platform.

In fact, unlike the paper forms, the only human that sees the donor information is the donor. If they create a 4 digit PIN for easy and secure repeat donations, all we store is a token that has no meaning to anyone other than the Braintree server and the token cannot be used to extract donor data. Instead it’s used to tell Braintree what credit card to use for a repeat donor.

Credit card security technology is an area that we take very seriously. We are as serious in this regard as online heavyweights like Apple and Amazon. A concern that all nonprofits should take off their plate is credit card regulation compliance and donor credit card data security. Instead, use a platform like ours for the best security tools out there and the added benefit of fast and secure repeat gifts in seconds on any screen.

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.

50-59 year olds are early tech adopters too?

18 Feb

grandma

I have been in mobile telecom and mobile data services for almost two decades so when someone says to me that older Americans don’t use their smartphone to go to the internet (or, more closely to what we help them do at RAZ Mobile, give to nonprofits they support) I laugh. Sometimes out loud and sometimes not. It’s funny to me that some feel there is a line drawn between demographic groups.

It makes me want to ask “Well, if older folks don’t use the internet then where are all the typewriters?”

I observe older Americans (I guess the correct term would be “Boomers”) head down, finger extended, tapping and sliding around on their smartphones just as much as I see Gen X, Y or Z so the notion that Boomers somehow lag is a faulty notion to me.

When data that supports this crosses my laptop I can’t help but share it and sort of parade it around because it signals the ongoing and pervasive shift away from the PC to the mobile phone. It’s yet again an indicator to nonprofits that their paramount concern should be the immediate implementation of frictionless mobile-optimized giving options FOR ALL AGES.

Below is a snipet from the blog post by Jason Cohen on Big Music Data:

old

As you can see Boomers are early tech adopters right alongside younger generations.

Why is is this so? It’s because everyone of all ages loves easy, convenient and compulsive access to data and communications. What of those with flip phones? At some point their wireless service provider will tell them that they can’t have that phone on their network. Why would their wireless service provider do this? For one, the wireless service provider will not have anyone that can diagnose problems on flip phones-they’re too old. Secondly, the carrier is not making any money from the flip phone person so they’d be happy to see them churn. And finally, when your flip phone dies (and it will someday) you may not be able to avoid having to buy a smartphone.

Need more convincing? This piece from 2014 lists 55 year olds and older as the group with the fastest rate of adoption of smartphones.

Right now, we’re witnessing the rise of the mobile computing era and its impact is only making itself known across for-profit and nonprofit enterprises. The magnitude of the impact will be large and pervasive and when it comes to nonprofit engagement and fundraising, all nonprofits need to forget the non-existent demographic lines they think they see and start TODAY asking donors of all ages to give easily, securely and quickly on their smartphones.

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.

There’s 3 BIG reasons we’re not a fundraising intermediary

11 Feb

It has been a general rule of thumb here at the RAZ Mobile blog to not really talk a lot about all the (amazing!) things we do with our platform. On occasion we do highlight certain features and benefits of our platform and we do ask nonprofits interested in talking more about the space and our approach to it to contact us. We look at it as common practice and one that’s based on a spirit of helpfulness and service to our customers. We don’t really deploy a used-car, high pressure sales approach. Our customers are reaping manifold benefits and we’re thrilled to serve them.

But this week, I must shine a bright light on one MAJOR difference between what we do and seemingly every other software-as-a-service (SaaS) fundraising platform.

And that difference is: We’re not an intermediary fundraising platform. 

Here’s the 3 big reasons why.

1. Donors want to know their donation is going straight to the cause

Donations made through an intermediary fundraising platform are held by the intermediary for a period of time and forwarded to the cause at a later date. I think if you asked anyone who gives to those in need they would say 100 times out of 100 times that they want their money to go directly to those in need and having it held for any period of time isn’t what they want.

There are two extremes of intermediaries and some fill a great role like introducing small causes to large corporations. This to me is OK but not great.

On the far extreme are bizarre intermediary platforms that take donations to causes they don’t have a relationship with and then they promise to use “commercially reasonable efforts” to get the donation to the cause. If they can’t (keep in mind, the donation made is still sitting in THEIR bank account and not the cause’s) they take a slice of the donation and refund the balance of the donation to the donor!!

I fail to see how this model has those in need at the core of their mission. Representing the presence of a relationship with a cause when there is none and deploying a highly legalistic promise about what will be done to get the donation to the cause is beyond the pale in my opinion.

Were we one of their kind, an intermediary fundraising platform, we would be seen as a peer of this bizarre platform. Not happening.

2. Our role is making giving frictionless on any phone, tablet or PC

By definition, an intermediary adds friction. They’re in the middle and I would say in the way between a donor and the person in need that the cause serves.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has stated numerous times that there’s billions of dollars in lost donations caused by too much friction in in the online giving process. This is caused by 1) too many pages to complete each time a donation is made and 2) using a PC experience for a giving experience for the rapidly growing number of donors wanting to make a gift via the phone in their hand when the impulse to give hits them.

Compared to an intermediary fundraising platform, our platform is like comparing walking to a Ferrari. Sure, both can get you there but the Ferrari is much faster! (And more fun I would say!)

Not only is fast a word to use about our giving process but words like DIRECT and SECURE and FRICTIONLESS apply to what we do for our customers. We don’t touch donations, we don’t hold donations and we don’t see the donors credit card info. Moreover, we allow anyone to make repeat donations in seconds on any phone, tablet or PC with no app to download and no login and password to remember.

3. Direct connections are the promise and potential of the internet

One of the hallmarks of the internet is to connect anyone, anywhere, anytime to what they are looking for, wishing to buy or wanting to talk to. It follows then that there should be a direct connection between donor and cause online and yet the intermediary invites donations to be made under the auspices of getting it to the cause after they’ve held the money for awhile.

Again, when we built RAZ Mobile’s awesome donation processing features this promise of the internet was in our minds and it’s a promise we deliver on with the ability to give in seconds DIRECTLY TO THE CAUSE on any phone, tablet or PC.

In summary, there are good intermediaries that do things well and have value. Then there are the ones like I’ve described herein that take money for causes that they have no relationship whatsoever.

We’re not like them and never will be an intermediary. Donated money deserves to be where it’s needed as fast as possible and with as little friction as possible.

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.

2015: The mobile tipping point is here – 3 impacts for your nonprofit

4 Feb

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Last week the wonderful folks at Mediapost published an article which cited a study conducted by iProspect, part of Dentsu Aegis Network. 

In it was the statement below about where the mobile phone stands in its growing and accelerating momentum of being the preferred (or only) internet search tool.

“….in 2015, search as a whole will cross the “mobile tipping point” with the number of mobile queries exceeding those made via desktops or tablets….”

Not a day goes by anymore without data like the above almost shouting “Hey world, your PC site isn’t going to cut it anymore!”

The debate about mobile and the PC has pretty much morphed from “will the phone overtake the PC as the preferred internet device?” (emphatic answer- Yes!) into “just how big will the mobile internet become?” (emphatic answer – Bigger than you can imagine).

So it is in this light-we are in the year of the mobile search tipping point-that we examine what this means for nonprofits

We see three basic, yet crucially important and immediate impacts.

IMPACT ONE – What does your PC site look like on a phone?

With mobile now more popular for search there’s no debate on how important that first experience for a mobile searcher is. Google will crawl your domain looking to see if they can add the “Mobile-friendly” tag to your search result and if that tag’s not there will searchers choose you?

Moreover, look at your site on your phone and ask yourself “How much time do I want to spend here navigating to find what I’m looking for? Chances are, per Blackbaud, online visitors are  searching for your Donate button. Blackbaud found that more folks go to nonprofit websites to give than to “stay connected” by a 2-to-1 margin.

This leads nicely into the second impact.

IMPACT TWO – What does donation processing look like on a phone?

It has been reported here and I have presented this datapoint before:

Mobile search leads to action in an hour. The PC takes a month to lead to action.

Mobile means immediate. The PC? Not-so-much.

With this being the case and with mobile search moving past PC search, your nonprofit simply can’t afford to lose more donations because your donation page looks like this on a phone. (Even blown up on a PC it’s an eye chart!)

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IMPACT THREE – How frictionless is your giving process?

The last impact is, in my opinion, the most important one. I know from my time as the TV guy at Sprint that folks will give you about a minute to accomplish what they want via their phone. If you believe Impact Two and Blackbaud’s findings then giving has to be possible in the shortest amount of time possible. A giving process that requires the form to be filled out every single time for repeat gifts has to be removed and replaced with secure repeat giving in seconds on any screen (like what we offer at RAZ Mobile).

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that mobile phones are transforming pretty much every sector of human life. Hopefully these impacts are ones your nonprofit sees as items that need to be addressed ASAP. Perhaps we can help you?

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.

 

Experimentation is not a four-letter word

28 Jan

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Back in the early 2000s I was the TV guy at Sprint.

If you recall, the early 2000s there was no Facebook, no smartphones and really not much of a mobile internet. Data speeds were woeful at 144kbps.

But there I was working (with skeptics all around me) on getting mobile phones to play video and live TV. Experimentation was required. No one had really any idea how the wireless networks would behave, how consumers would use TV and video on their phones or if anyone even wanted video on their phone. We had to, and did, try everything and watched what happened.

We had 4 TV products in market and were trying all kinds of content to see what resonated with our customers. On a daily basis, I analyzed the market and refined the business of TV on phones. In 2005 I was rewarded for my experimentation with an Emmy Award in engineering for putting live TV on phones.

Fast forward to the current day and TV and video on phones is so, well, early 2000s.

The point that I am making is that the mobile internet has figuratively turned the world upside down and many smart people and large brands are having trouble adjusting. To survive and thrive the unfolding mobile computing wave, experimentation must be embraced.

I know this is hard for the nonprofit space to embrace. Failure can lead to ridicule and mis-spent funds. Donors, supporters and staff alike may revolt. And yet experimentation must be embraced.

Think of it in terms of what’s ahead. The phone is replacing the PC as the primary internet access device. This trend will not end. Older donors (aka Boomers) are soon to be replaced by the largest cohort of younger donors (aka 80 million Millennials). But the fact remains-all generations love easy, frictionless giving.

So before it really matters now is the time to experiment and learn. Don’t say “our donors are older and won’t give on their phones”. That dear reader is a total cop-out. If the Chronicle of Philanthropy says that BILLIONS OF DOLLARS are being left untapped without mobile giving options TODAY, one cannot say that it’s the donors age causing it.

Moreover, the biggest reason people haven’t given via their phone is THEY HAVEN”T BEEN ASKED!

All nonprofits need to start asking so that they can learn what works.

And they need to start asking themselves these kinds of questions:

  • What’s the best way to enable mobile giving at an event?
  • How many people give on their phone after reading our appeal email?
  • What mobile giving options can we add to our direct mail?
  • Can our board benefit from having a link to share with prospective givers via their phone?
  • Are there businesses and organizations that we can empower to make the ask on our behalf via social media?

There are dozens more questions in addition to the few above that need to be answered at all nonprofits and just as it was when I launched TV at Sprint-the only way to get answers is to experiment.

Failing is not failure if in the process you learn something new. Mobile is new and taking the place of the PC. Mastering what works could make a world of difference to your nonprofit sooner than you think.

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.

Report: Mobile Traffic Has Increased 112% in the Past Year as Desktop Continues to Decline

21 Jan

skava

The great folks over at Skava reported in the fourth quarter via their blog something that we’ve blogged about here and it’s a finding that should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to internet trends: the internet is fast becoming a mobile landscape.

Here’s a great quote from their report:

Mobile web accounts for 85% of total traffic for retailers, dominating mobile apps’ 15% share. Revenue numbers reflected this pattern, with 90% generated from online purchases made via mobile web and 10% made through apps.

This is not the first time anyone has reported on this topic-the mobile web taking over the PC as the main traffic driver on the internet. And yet in the for-profit world and especially the nonprofit world, even if a course to mobile has been charted, the engines are set to “Dawdle” speed.

Why is this? Confusion in the market place? Sure. There will be always be confusion in the early stages of a market shift and there is a lack of knowledge available without an expert’s price tag required to get the knowledge. (Here at RAZ Mobile, we dispense mobile internet knowledge for free on a daily basis. Give us a call or send us an email.)

But even with the confusion in the marketplace, there is a BIG incentive to change your pace from “Dawdle” to something more accelerated. How about accelerating to “Brisk”?

The singular reason I see for moving faster with your nonprofit’s mobile plan is what we are seeing firsthand at RAZ Mobile.

Things like:

  • $100 average donation per donor
  • 1 in 4 donors storing their credit card info for repeat gifts in seconds
  • Easy and effective event giving

With data like this from Skava an argument can be easily made to say that while consumers are racing to move their internet lives to their phone and away from the PC, the same pace is not present in the nonprofit world or in reality even the for-profit world. Both are unfortunately Dawdling in embracing great, optimized mobile experiences. The effects are measured in negative financial outcomes.

The reality is that “Dawdle” is costing you donations for each and every day you go without a frictionless giving experience on any screen. Accelerating your mobile plan to “Brisk” means stopping the losses and embracing what Skava reported above. The mobile phone is taking over the internet.

The mobile phone, each day, week, month, grows in its trend of replacing the PC. Just as direct mail is melting away, so will the PC as the primary online giving channel.

The good news is everyone’s got a phone and the giving results we’re seeing for our customers means accelerating your efforts to brisk and delivering a frictionless giving experience on an phone, tablet or PC will pay off big time.

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.

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