Archive | May, 2014

3 ways to raise more money from your next team event

28 May

golf

For nonprofits, the team event fundraiser is a great way to have some fun with your staff and your supporters and raise needed funds. Many of us have been to golf tournaments, walk-a-thons, marathons and other team oriented events. Typically the funds raised come from two sources-the fees to be in the event (and get the giveaway merchandise like t-shirts, golf balls, etc.) and donations from sponsors who view the team event as a way to get their brand highlighted as good community stewards.

Leaving just these two donation streams to carry the load misses other opportunities for fundraising and engagement though, and raising additional donations can help increase the ROI of your event (which is typically low) while increasing your pool of supporters and donors.

Here’s my 3 ways to raise more money from your nonprofit’s next team event.

Number one – Workplace giving with sponsors

I’ve can’t remember being at a fundraising event and seeing no sponsors for the event. Done right, the sponsor’s  brand is everywhere and rightly so. They’ve made a donation to the nonprofit and deserve recognition for their good deeds. But their involvement in your event could be enhanced greatly prior to, and at the event, with one simple thing: create an online campaign page for each sponsor to share with their employees, customers, vendors and social followers during the lead-up to the event. If you have many sponsors, they could compete to see who raised the most amount of money for you much like a corporate challenge. Each year you could give the winner a banner or a trophy or an logo-ed image for their website declaring them the winner of the event’s corporate fundraising challenge. You’ll need an online platform (I suggest RAZ Mobile) to create the campaigns on and see the results in real-time and our platform makes all of this easy.

Number two – Crowd-funding with individuals and teams

Much like empowering the sponsors above you can empower individuals and teams whether they attend your event or not. Prior to the upcoming event, you will be emailing your supporters inviting them to participate in the event. At the outset of this communication sequence you can alert them to the chance to form a team or work as an individual crowd-funder for the event in addition to seeking their registration. Again, like the prize or accolades in number one, the same idea applies here. The bottom-line is some your supporters will take you up on this and they will raise money and many of the donors they bring in will be brand new donors.

Number three – Fundraise for “left over” merchandise after the event

Many times at events there are auction items given by businesses to the nonprofit as a way to increase the donation results of the event. The key to this tactic is to work with your sponsors and local business supporters to get services and merchandise that you can give to the winners in number two above but to also offer up after the event as prizes for gifts made after the event. Leave some auction items in reserve and go back to all your audience, tell them what a great event it was, give thanks to the attendees and sponsors, and mention that you have some leftover merchandise to award to lucky donors for donations after the event. This keeps the buzz going after the event and gives your nonprofit the ability to extend the attention span of your supporters to post-event not just pre-event.

To deploy these tactics to raise more money from your team events, your nonprofit simply needs to do what you do to plan and execute the event. Make a list of things to be done, when they should be done and execute. Other than creating the campaigns or letting crowd-funders work for you with their own campaign, nothing here really diverges from what you’re already doing for your events today. Best thing to do is try and see what happens. You may be surprised or learn something amazing that helps your mission well into the future.

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 things that $20 smartphones will mean to nonprofits

21 May

arm

Earlier this month the chip maker ARM declared that the $20 smartphone will be here in a few months. This shouldn’t surprise anyone and it certainly spells trouble for high-end phone manufacturers like Apple. One only needs to look at where the PC started and where it is today to see that the smartphone is following the same path and it doesn’t stop with price points.

$20 smartphones will continue to fuel change, adaptation and for some, demise in both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

Leaders at nonprofit organizations in the US and globally especially need to pay attention to this development closely because it has deep meaning for them and their future.

Here are my three top things that $20 smartphones will mean for nonprofits.

Number one – Ubiquitous access to anyone at anytime

With smartphone penetration in the US at close to 70% even cheaper phones will drive the holdouts still carrying flip phones to want a $20 phone/computer in their hand. Many of these holdouts may also be driven by their carrier to upgrade for support and network reasons (think Sprint forcing Nextel phones off their network) and giving away a $20 smartphone is a no-brainer for the carriers.

As a nonprofit don’t you want access to anyone at anytime? Your mission is centered on sharing, involving and fundraising and being able to do all three at anytime sounds like a good plan right?

Number two – The cloud will win out over apps

The processors in $20 phones will likely be small meaning that running apps, while keeping the data connection open and all the other things phones do in the background, could make the app run slow just as large applications on a PC slow down PCs with small processors.

This situation is one that has driven the rise of the browser and the cloud. $20 smartphones are the equivalent of Google’s Chromebook; a heavy reliance on doing processing in the cloud via the browser in order to reduce storage and hardware costs of the device.

All this means one more big reason your nonprofit really should NOT build an app. The browser is the future-PC history repeats itself in the smartphone.

Number three – The need to go mobile has (already) arrived

If you follow my blog then you know I had to say this. The need to go mobile arrived way before the talk of a $20 phone. It arrived when Google started demoting your search rank because you rely on a PC site to be your mobile experience.

It arrived when your nonprofit asked me to fill out a form with personal information on it so that I would hand it to a total stranger when I put my smartphone down. Let me give easily and securely through my phone anytime, anywhere!

The day arrived when a stat like this became the reality: a whopping 84% of nonprofits do not have a mobile-optimized (forget “mobile-friendly) donation page for those wanting to give to you via their phone.

All in all the $20 smartphone is the internet and computing’s future. It’s also the future for your nonprofit and I hope these points I’ve shared motivate your nonprofit to take mobile much more seriously than you do 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 ways to improve your nonprofit’s email performance

14 May

email

In October 2013, Litmus.com reported that 48% of email is first opened on a mobile device.

Then, in January of this year, VentureBeat reported that 65% of email is first opened on a mobile device.

Sure, there are likely differences in the methodology of the two reports but the trend cannot be denied. Mobile email open rates will continue to climb and there are major impacts of this trend to your nonprofit.

Here are 3 things this trend will drive your nonprofit to address should you want to continue to use email to engage and fundraise.

Number 1 – Responsively formatted emails

When you get an email from a source that has not taken the time to make sure the email is formatted properly for a phone screen and which causes you to pinch and swipe to try to read the email you likely get frustrated. Inversely, as your frustration rises with trying to read something not formatted for your phone, your interest in engaging further drops. This is how relationships suffer and end.

Make sure that the email system your nonprofit is using recognizes the device opening the email and presents an optimized view. Same thing applies to your primary domain but that’s another conversation.

Number 2 – Calls-to-action

Let’s say that your email renders well and is easy to navigate on a mobile phone. You’ve covered number one above. But now you have a link in your email to a call-to-action to check out some content on your PC website.

Assuming you are like the majority of nonprofits and you do not have a mobile-optimized version of your primary domain like Google STRONGLY suggests to protect your search rank, the experience of waiting, pinching and swiping illustrated in number 1 above is repeated. There is a wealth of research available that suggests people will wait in line for a burger longer than they will for your PC site to load on their phone.

Your call-to-action in this situation is very likely going to go unseen. The solution is a mobile-optimized version of your PC domain. With this you can solve the Google SEO issue and properly engage the population that opens your email on their phone first.

Number 3 – Donation processing

We have many customers now who place a “Donate on your mobile phone here” link or button and a “Donate on your PC here” link or button in all their emails. If they do this in an email like that suggested in Number 1 above, the email will be quick to load and easy to navigate and the donate button intended for mobile email viewing supporters will be easy to see.

Many times giving is an impulse and nonprofits need to make it very, very easy to fulfill that impulse via the device that’s with your supporter at arms length 91% of the time-their mobile phone.

Recognizing two paths to make a donation, PC or mobile phone, increases your nonprofit’s chances for a gift and maybe a new donor.

And again, the donation form has to render quickly and be easy to complete. Even better, like our customers enjoy, donors can save their information securely which makes repeat gifts spurred by your email ask happen in as little as 20 seconds.

Email, like direct mail, isn’t going away for nonprofits any time soon. However, all nonprofits need to recognize that supporters and donors are now ONE with their mobile phone and your calls-to-action and donation requests will be seen first most of the time on a mobile phone.

Just as it is in real life, how you treat donors that open your email on their phone is like making a first impression. A good one bodes well for the future and the future will be all about how you treat your supporters with the experiences you offer them via their mobile phone.

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.

How one of our customers saved $6000 in one day

7 May

big

The story I am about to share is true and it could happen to any nonprofit, large or small. It doesn’t necessarily pertain to the use of our platform although our platform certainly would increase the savings and the ROI of any nonprofit on our platform.

Last week one of our customers got a new merchant account that would work with our platform (most merchant accounts do work with our platform-very few won’t) and you guessed it-they were overpaying big time for merchant services. With the new merchant account that we suggested, this RAZ Mobile customer was told by their new merchant account provider that their FIRST YEAR savings would be about $6000!!

Well, there’s 3 reasons for these BIG SAVINGS!

Reason 1 – They switched merchant accounts

Of course this is a big reason but when was the last time your nonprofit asked your bank if the rate you are paying for credit card processing is the lowest they can offer. I ran into a different customer the other day that did not know that the Visa rate dropped last year to 1.35% for nonprofits. When I informed this customer of that they remarked that they wanted to call their bank right away. You can imagine how that call went. As much as your bank says they will serve you, they are one industry that you have to watch closely.

I always advise that nonprofits at least once a year look at their merchant rates with their bank and do 10 minutes of research on the internet about current trends in merchant processing fees for nonprofits.

Reason 2 – There is more competition for your credit card processing business

It seems every week there is a new service provider launching that makes it easier and easier to save money with your merchant card rates. Most of these new service providers will work 10 times harder than your bank and some even offer large credits for getting started with them. Like I mentioned in reason 1-it pays to shop around.

Reason 3 – The online channel is the only one growing (and it’s headed to mobile at a high rate of speed) 

The combination of growing online credit card processing for online donations/transactions means that the savings is bound to grow for all nonprofits. With this being the case, all nonprofits need to consider their merchant processing a place where savings now, and into the future, can be driven.

We were thrilled that the customer in this story was able to make the change to a more cost-effective merchant account. That we drove the change makes us even happier.

As your nonprofit thinks about mobile (what’s there to think about?-you know mobile is something you need to address TODAY!) we hope that we’re on your to-do list along with a call to your banker and some of the new merchant processors out there. Who knows-your savings could be even higher!

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.