Archive | April, 2014

3 things you’re missing if you just check the “We’re mobile box”

30 Apr

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Earlier this year a report from industry titan Blackbaud reported two not-really-that-surprising facts about nonprofits, millennials and mobile phones.

1 – A whopping 84% of nonprofit donation landing pages are not optimized for mobile phones. This means lost donations because donors give up.

2 – 62% of millennials would give via their phones and we’re not talking text-to-give which they have stated repeatedly they do not prefer versus giving via a mobile-optimized site. 

Aggravating this situation is that almost half of millennials don’t give via their phone because they’ve never been asked to!

Rightly so, across the nonprofit sector, more attention is being paid to what a mobile supporter sees and experiences when they visit your primary domain (your home page URL). I spoke with a nonprofit yesterday that told me 70% of their home page traffic is from mobile phones and yet they rely on a site designed for a PC.

When your nonprofit is looking to go mobile there’s more than meets the eye than just checking the “we’re mobile” box and calling it completed.

In fact this approach will result in you missing three very key and vital needs for what your mobile implementation should offer.

Number One – Google SEO

Many mobile solutions I’ve run into lately are just a “mobile-ready” (there’s that phrase that means absolutely nothing again) landing pages. Beneath the landing page all the other pages are still pages from your PC site.

I know why this happens – your nonprofit is under pressure externally and internally to go mobile and some service provider says this is the way to go. Don’t buy it.

Google’s mobilebot (yes, there is such a thing) will crawl over your mobile landing page and then explore the pages beneath the landing page where it will discover content and an experience meant for a PC.

This will get your primary domain demoted. Your mobile landing page has done nothing to improve your Google search rank.

Number Two – Donation processing

In the scenario above your donation pages are still your PC pages and as the agency Open Fundraising stated last year, you are likely losing 50% or more of your donations since giving via a PC page on a mobile phone takes to long, has too many pages and is therefore hard to complete.

Were I at a nonprofit this single fact would compel me to immediately seek the very best mobile donation experience I could find. Then I would deploy this everywhere-my primary website, all my social content, in email….everywhere digital.

There’s no way I could stand the thought of losing donations and yet by taking the “we checked the mobile box” approach you’re putting your nonprofit in this avoidable situation.

Number Three – Too much content

This one may seem odd but think of your own use of mobile. Have you ever spent 30 minutes on anything on your phone except a game or social media? For your nonprofit, Blackbaud research shows that by nearly a 2:1 margin people go to your website to give, not to check you out.

So as you go mobile think about the content you offer as snacks not meals (multiple pages) like direct mail. Using content from your PC site where there is paragraph after paragraph after paragraph is again, not the way to go. Some call this practice “scraping” – that is to say taking content from your PC site and using it on a mobile phone.

Going mobile today is no longer something to be taken lightly at all. Your nonprofit will soon rely heavily on mobile as the amount of mobile traffic skyrockets and the number of mobile-only internet users climbs.

If the only channel that’s growing for donations is the online channel and the online channel is heading at being mobile-only at Mach 5 then just checking the mobile box will result in wasted time and money and the need to do the work all over again the right way.

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.

5 reasons you might be missing repeat donors

22 Apr


Earlier this month npENGAGE reported that 3 out of four first-time donors to nonprofits never make a second gift. The article suggests that the reason for this is that these first-time donors are treated as spectators and not as investors. The report also tells us that first-time donors also “low-ball” their donations.

I imagine that there’s no secret, single reason for this low rate of repeat gifts but from my point-of-view I see 5 reasons for why this may be happening. Again, just my point-of-view on this issue of low repeat donations.

Reason 1) their second donation is no easier than the first

What’s this mean? How much would you shop at Amazon or iTunes or other places online where you have to enter all your information over and over and over again? Answer: not much and you would likely value an easy shopping experience elsewhere. In the for-profit world businesses compete on the shopping experience as much as they compete on selection and price.

In the nonprofit world all nonprofits need to seek online solutions that offer the ability for safe and secure PCI compliant storage of donor information so the donors’ repeat gifts take less time than their first donation. Let them store their info securely at their option to make their second, third, etc gifts easier than the first.

2) you try to convert them from digital to direct mail

Perhaps one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard came from a nonprofit expert last year who said, and I kid you not, “mobile donors are fickle-you need to convert them to direct mail”.

Uh, right. Perhaps they made a mobile gift because they don’t have a checkbook or that they don’t like the idea of handing their credit card info to a stranger on a form they filled out. They may have in fact chosen to give via mobile precisely because they want to send you a message-enough with the mail!

Right now I know where my phone is and I can use it to give. I have no clue where my checkbook is nor do I know if I have any stamps.

3) you don’t let their second gift come from someone else’s ask

There’s a great deal of chatter in the nonprofit industry about the growing importance of crowd-funding. Now there are many flavors of crowd-funding and the one we like here at RAZ Mobile is the one where you empower a supporter with the ability to ask their friends, family, co-workers and social followers for a donation to your cause.

Why do this? Many good reasons. 1) research suggests that your supporters ask is much more powerful than your own, 2) 70% of millennials will ask for help on your behalf and, 3) if the ask always comes from you there’s a chance that you’ll just keep asking the same people over and over versus the new supporters and donors you can meet via empowering others to ask on your behalf.

4) you compete with other causes at the end of the year

Nonprofits tend to focus on the “year-end appeal” and this means an inbox and mailbox full of choices for donors at year’s end. My advice is to work to avoid competition with other nonprofits and focus on making your donations more distributed throughout the year. One of the best places to do this is via social media and the vast majority of social media content is consumed on mobile phones. This also means not selling address lists to other nonprofits to make an extra buck. I can’t tell you the number of times I have wondered how I end up getting mail from causes I’ve never heard of.

5) you don’t ask them to join the conversation in social media

As odd as it sounds there are still nonprofits on the fence about using social media. My sense is that the board doesn’t use social media and therefore does not see value in it. And yet, text-messaging, email and the phone itself are social mediums so their disdain for Twitter, Facebook, et al is misguided.

Your nonprofit needs to be on social media for 3 reasons. 1) billions of people are on social media, 2) increasingly supporters go to social media to learn about you there and not your PC site and, 3) social media content is snack-sized which is one of the reasons it’s popular in our multi-channel, information overloaded world.

A growing list of donors that have made more than one gift is like nonprofit Nirvana. It is my hope that these reasons, while not comprehensive nor intended to be comprehensive, help spur some thought about new tactics to be deployed and old behaviors that can be abandoned.

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.


3 reasons you do have the funds to go mobile now

16 Apr


Just the other day I reached out to a local nonprofit like I always do-to tell them about what we do at RAZ Mobile. Call me crazy but all nonprofits would benefit from what we do and that is to help you increase supporter engagement and fundraising with a focus on mobile phones. Since there are more phones in the US than people and since 1 in 4 are mobile only on the internet and since 66% of phones in the US are smartphones we thought this would be a valuable service.

For those customers already on our platform, many are seeing eye-opening success. Many find our platform to be a great complement to their social media and email channels.

But on the day I reached out I was told something that I’ve never heard before.

“We just don’t have the funds to try something like what you have.”

I was really floored by that statement since the cost of every dollar raised costs 20 cents. No fundraising activity is free and yet there it was before my eyes-“we don’t have the funds”.

If you’re thinking the same thing as the person I reached out to, I want to do for you the same thing that spurred me to found RAZ Mobile and that is help you and all nonprofits deal with mobile.

So in an effort to help you, here are my 3 reasons you do have the funds to go mobile now. (Please don’t tell me your donors are too old for mobile.If this is the case are you worried about adding new donors?)

Reason #1 It won’t be like getting your PC site launched

Stop me if you’ve heard any of these before: “Joe used to work here and he’s the one that got our website built and we’re not sure why he did what he did” or “we’re trying to get ahold of our developer to change our logo/website but he/she doesn’t respond” or “our website is really old and we need to change it but it costs too much”.

With today’s technologies anyone that can click or type or upload content can manage a website that’s got responsive design which means it looks great on any screen-mobile, tablet or PC-and all you have to do to change content is use the platform’s content management system (called a “CMS”). Basically, if you have staff that can run a Facebook page you can use any of the current state-of-the-art platforms that are on the market.

One added benefit: since your developer-wherever he/she may be today-likely used PayPal to set you up for donation processing, the platforms I’m talking about let you move away from their relatively high donation processing rate to one lower from a merchant account provider you negotiate with. PayPal was easy to use since your developer back then knew PayPal and put all their customers needing to process transactions on it.

Reason #2 Mobile can help you get donations from social media and email

Most social media and email are consumed primarily on mobile phones so if you think that they don’t produce donations you have to ask yourself-if the inspiration to give came from social media or an email what do my donation pages look like on a mobile phone? Chances are you are like the 84% of nonprofits that use their PC pages to be their donation experience on a mobile phone. Last year the agency, Open Fundraising said that nonprofits are likely losing up to 50% of their donations since they make giving via a mobile phone too hard.

So there it is. Today, right now, there is a strong chance you are losing donations and donors and some of them may be brand new donors.

Juxtapose this against the “we don’t have the funds” sentiment and one must ask: how much are lost donations and donors worth? We see average donations around $60 which is 2 months worth of access on our platform and that’s just one donation. We’ve seen donations over $1000 to say nothing of missing a recurring gift donor.

Reason #3 The ROI can be pretty big

How much mail do you have to send to see an ROI (return-on-investment) of 1000%? Let’s say you spend $5000 on a direct mail campaign. You would need to raise $50,000 from that campaign. Assuming $50 per gift that’s 1000 gifts. If each direct mail piece cost you 50 cents each (postage, paper, ink, etc.) you sent 10,000 pieces and achieved a 10% response rate.

I don’t know anyone that can see this rate with their direct mail. The direct mail channel is shrinking since many are making their direct mail donation online not via direct mail. Maybe they don’t like giving personal info to a stranger.

The last big campaign on our platform raised over $14,000 in 10 days and had an ROI of….over 2,400%!!!!

So these are my 3 reasons you can afford to go mobile TODAY. It is my hope to help you do this and show you that in reality, your nonprofit can’t afford to not go mobile TODAY.

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.

3 tips to make workplace giving a year-round opportunity for nonprofits

9 Apr


In a 2012 Time magazine article they shared a report from the brand consultant, Landor Associates who found  77% of consumers say it is important for companies to be socially responsible. In addition, the same article states 70% of Millennials, those ages 18 to 34, say a company’s commitment to the community has an influence on their decision to work there. These findings point to a natural and mutually beneficial relationship with large and small businesses that all nonprofits of all sizes should be working to their advantage all year long, year after year.

Here are my 3 tips to help your nonprofit make corporate social responsibility and workplace giving a year-round benefit.

Tip 1 – Build a year-long, repeatable calendar of businesses you engage in workplace giving with

This one is pretty easy to understand and one that all nonprofits should engage in by starting with your board members. Ask them for help and permission to provide them with materials that they can take to their customers, vendors, employees and social networks. If you end up with gaps in your calendar approach the businesses you shop at and patronize. Take them to lunch and say that you are not asking them for money per se, that you just want to provide them with the digital and print materials to help you raise awareness and funds for what you do.

Don’t stop at one business per month or time period. Get as many as you can. With their ask being 90% more effective than your own there’s 2 benefits to have as many businesses as you can working with you; 1) they know way more people than you and 2) you lessen your risk of burning out your donors because you have expanded the sources of your ask via the businesses.

Even better than the above is that you will get new donors that you can cultivate into high lifetime value donors.

Tip 2 – Ask the business to be a sponsor

You can have sponsors year-round, not just for an event. The sponsor could be engaged in workplace giving with you or they could just choose to be your sponsor. On our platform you can list as many sponsors as you want on your RAZ Mobile site. For those businesses or individuals or organizations that are your sponsor(s) ask them to help cover the cost of your use of our platform or the cost of your PC site. In other words have them help cover some of your costs of publicly facing digital assets like your mobile site on our platform or your PC site or both.

This can be a tax-deductible gift to your nonprofit and a great way for the business/individual/organization to be seen as great stewards of social responsibility in their community.

Tip 3 – Leverage every physical asset the sponsor has

If your sponsor has a store, ask them to pass out materials for you. If they have a warehouse ask if you can hold meetings there and let them address your audience and staff. They can share stories about why they support you. If they have their own packaging or shopping bags ask to be a part of their packaging with a mobile call-to-action.

Never hesitate to leverage what your sponsor has to offer in this way. When you walk in you’re already at “No” with them. Everything from there is all benefit to you when they say yes. If they say “No” you had that when you walked in and you’ve lost nothing.

Working with businesses and sponsors and letting them ask on your behalf all year-round, year-after-year only makes sense. Consumers want businesses to be be “good” and your nonprofit is in the “doing good” business. When you add mobile engagement and fundraising to this mutually beneficial scenario you’ve added instant gratification for a consumer/donor to do some good as well.

Dale Knoop is CEO at RAZ Mobile and leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful and cost-effective 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.

The size of mobile donations

2 Apr


As the above graphic from NPEngage shows, online donations have hovered in the $60 range for the last 3 years. They’ve also grown in size as the economy has rebounded from the 2008 recession. Online giving is also the only giving channel that grew in 2013-by over 13% in 2013 according to Blackbaud.

As online giving grows, the ways to give online are also expanding to include mobile giving. One sentiment that we have heard from some nonprofits we’ve talked to is they believe that mobile gifts will be small with some even going so far as to seemingly not want $5-$10 donations.

I’m not sure if this sentiment among nonprofits is due to the situation with text-to-give being almost synonymous with mobile giving and text-to-give donations being limited to $10 per donation. It may be that many nonprofits have had few mobile donations, if any, since 84% of nonprofits do not have mobile-optimized donation pages. Sadly, many rely on their PC pages to be their mobile experience. I also expect that the nonprofit gurus and experts have tied mobile giving to the millennial generation and they think  millennials are cash-strapped and that their donations will therefore be small.

What’s funny to me is that the growth in mobile internet traffic, mobile commerce and all other things mobile isn’t able to grow at the rates they grow at just being limited to millennials.

I never thought when we created RAZ Mobile that the gifts would be small. If anything, I thought they would be about the same size and that a service like ours that makes it super easy to give in the moment via the device that’s always with you would increase the frequency of giving.

And, with our two biggest success stories we have seen some great data regarding mobile giving. Chief among the data points we have seen is that mobile gifts are averaging around $60-basically the same as online PC donations. We regularly see donations of $1000 or higher.

It’s too early to tell if frequency of giving has gone up and frequency is also dependent on outbound communication frequency.

There will still be the naysayers who will say that mobile donations are just PC donations made on a phone so it’s just the same gift made on a phone instead of a PC. True. But a gift is a gift no matter where it comes from. In today’s multi-channel world it’s always important to be there when a donor feels like giving and again, their mobile phone is at arms length 91% of the time.