Archive | March, 2015

IBM finds app security lacking (and we do too)

25 Mar

thief

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

palm

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

cart

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

photo

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.