Archive | December, 2013

Saying goodbye to 2013

18 Dec


As I look back at 2013 it’s been a great year.

There’s been a tremendous response to RAZ Mobile from our nonprofit customers. Money was and is being raised, mobile experiences were improved tremendously and best of all, eyes were opened as to the notion that mobile fundraising is way more than just text-to-give, which faded in relevancy big time in 2013. There’s so much more promise in what we do here with the RAZ Mobile platform compared to the less effective and more costly alternatives out there.

Our best day in 2013 was the ArtsKC campaign that raised over $15,000 in one day with more than 70% going through their RAZ Mobile campaign page. The campaign took only 3 weeks to plan and was shared via social media and email. Talk about a glimpse of what the future holds!!

As I have written here about my frustration with the “experts”, my worst day was in an online webinar being hosted by a large media outlet known for their work in helping nonprofits. On the call the expert said text-to-give was the way to go and her guest expert said no one wants to fill out a credit card form on their phone. I lost it. I wrote the editor of the publication and chastised her and the experts for not even knowing current research like the excellent data that flows from Millennial Impact Reports. Their ignorance was inexcusable in my eyes. The data is there-look at it! It points to the exact opposite of what two experts were telling the audience.

Anyone that feels that completing a credit card on a phone is not going to happen needs to take a peek at the for-profit world and see what’s going on there.

In 2013, mobile commerce was a frequent phrase seen in the media and it was often accompanied by words like “booming” and “soaring” and “growth for the future”.

There’s no denying that 2013 was, from my point-of-view, the beginning of what will be a very good 2014 for RAZ Mobile and our customers.

And so, in what will be the last blog of 2013, we say goodbye to what was a great year and we say THANK YOU!!! to our amazing customers.

For those of you beginning to look at mobile solutions, give us a call in the new year, get an online demo of our platform, read my blog and go mobile.

In 2014 there will be 365 chances to have your mobile day one happen and we welcome you and 2014 with a smile and a dedication to serving you all as valued RAZ Mobile customers.

Happy Holidays!!!

What’s the real cost of building an app for your nonprofit?

11 Dec


Once again the self-proclaimed nonprofit “experts” have struck. My, my how they love to talk, talk, talk.

And unfortunately, there are too many “experts” that no next to nothing about technology but they will continue to talk as if they do. Please get second opinions!

This time the topic was the cost to build an app and it was shared in an online call I listened in on with an expert talking about mobile fundraising.

First, the expert said there’s text-to-give or building an app. That’s it from his point-of-view. He completely missed the 3rd option (one that RAZ Mobile favors) and that is having a mobile-optimized website alongside your PC website. I won’t go into the reasons we chose this path when we created RAZ Mobile-many are here in our blog.

Instead, I want to focus on what he said it would cost to build an app. His figure: $30,000.

I am here to tell you today that an app for $30,000 will be the following:

1. Feature poor.

2. Unable to let you update and freshen content.

3. The least amount you will spend on your app.

4. A potential train wreck for your brand.

Much like any web project, great features come at a price. What are those features? A great giving experience not based on a shopping cart. Recurring giving is another one you’ll want and won’t be covered in the price. PCI-compliant donor credential storage is another. Real-time reporting, back-end CRM integration and crowd-funding are others you’ll want but this price from the expert won’t even come close to covering these features. At RAZ Mobile we consider these features, which we offer, to be table stakes in having a great mobile experience for supporters and donors.

The more likely cost is closer to $100,000 and this is just what you’ll pay the developer for Rev 1. Add to this cost the time of your team and the cost climbs.

What makes the cost climb even higher from there? Two words: OS upgrades.

Google and Apple upgrade their operating systems (OS) all the time. When I was the GM of Sprint TV back in the early 2000s MobiTV was one of our partners and they spent massively on engineers and development not of new products but on upgrades.

Upgrades are where the developers really make their money. So, I can see why the expert fell for the “app for $30,000” ploy. The developer is counting on making a truckload more in upgrades.

You’ll want the ability to post fresh content to your app which requires a content management system or CMS. CMSs can be fancy or cheap. For your $30,000 app, you’ll get cheap if you get one at all.

Un-fresh content is a turn-off to supporters so an app with stale or no content at all is sort of, well, useless.

How could an app be a train wreck for your brand? Again two words: app reviews.

I have seen apps get absolutely torched in the marketplaces where they are offered for not working or for offering a bad experience. Along with bad reviews goes your brand. Yikes. People these days feel compelled to out-do each other when the pig-pile begins so I would never advocate this approach unless you are ready to watch your reviews 24X7X365.

Now look, an app may be for you. You may have the budget for the ongoing, never-going-to-stop upgrades and changes you will have to make-count on them happening.

But if I were in your shoes I would go with the mobile-optimized website. You can direct mobile visitors to your PC site to your mobile-optimized website instead of your PC site like the big boys do. Why do this? Improved Google search rank and you’ll want to make sure you please and engage with your mobile visitors.

With the mobile-optimized choice it is easy to have an ROI today that’s over 1000% on a regular basis. (We have customers see this level all the time.) You may never see a positive ROI spending on an app.

Leave the upgrades, best practices, development of new features, etc. to a platform (like ours) so you can stay focused on your mission. This is the promise of today’s technology and not some off-the-cuff remark from an “expert”.


Great RAZ Mobile success story infographic

5 Dec

Great RAZ Mobile success story infographic

This is just one example of RAZ Mobile customers finding great success in mobile fundraising and engagement.

3 BOLD Predictions for nonprofits in 2014

4 Dec


I can’t resist. I have to make some predictions for nonprofits in 2014.

Now, they may seem bold but to me they’re not really that bold. And frankly, they’re already in process of coming true so I could be accused of re-stating the obvious but what the heck-here they are.


Self-proclaimed nonprofit experts will grab a clue and stop talking about text-to-give as “mobile fundraising”.

In 2013 I participated in one too many discussions with nonprofit experts who basically said text-to-give rocks, it’s the bomb, it’s better than free beer, blah, blah, blah. Then, in the same conversation a nonprofit speaks up and says we just quit using text-to-give.

I always wonder what the process is to become an nonprofit expert. They certainly don’t attain this status from reading readily available research. If they had read about text-to-give’s place in the world they would have discovered that donors themselves have said they’ve given that way but would prefer to give via mobile-optimized websites instead. They would have read Blackbaud’s 2013 Next Gen Giving Report wherein their research from talking to causes and donors led them to say that text-to-give is basically deceased.

On this one the experts look like the guy who said no one would want to own their own computer.


Mobile traffic to your website will increase rapidly and reach a tipping point.

It’s not like this one just happened-it’s been happening alongside the rise in mobile connections, mobile traffic, mobile commerce and any other word you can put mobile in front of. Fully 25% of Americans with phones are mobile-only in their use of the internet. Let that one sink in for a minute. Now guess when it will hit 1 in 3, or (GASP!) 1 in 2.

Google (they’re pretty smart) will tell you that when your traffic to your PC site is 10% mobiles, you need to have a mobile-optimized destination. I talked to a nonprofit who did not have a mobile-optimized version of their website and was told that a staggering 37% of their traffic was mobiles!

Compounding the tipping point pressure is Google now takes into account what your mobile experience is. They look for a mobile-optimized experience for mobile visitors to your primary domain/URL and if you don’t follow their best practices in this regard they have said your search rank will suffer. If any one can make your search rank suffer it’s Google.

With 9 out of 10 mobile searches leading to action within one hour of the search you need to accept that the tipping point is here today, right now. There is no way to ignore that your mobile day one has arrived and the sooner you present mobile visitors with a mobile-optimized experience the rosier your future will be.


Your next nonprofit role may hinge on your knowledge of mobile best practices.

I always wondered when I would meet a nonprofit executive who would tell me that knowing mobile best practices helped them land a job and that happened last week. If there’s one area that you could shine in it’s the knowledge of mobile best practices. And don’t, please don’t just regurgitate expert speak because as you read in BOLD PREDICTION NUMBER ONE, many “experts” are full of beans.

My advice-keep reading my blog. (You had to know I would say that.) Also, evaluate mobile platforms and solutions. Follow the for-profit world’s use of mobile and learn from them. Many who made their mobile day one happen long ago are now reaping the bountiful rewards of having done so. You can learn plenty from them.

Learn about mobile……now. You will stand out like the bright sunshine in a cloudy sky. (Small RAZ Mobile logo reference. ­čÖé )