Why do some experts keep giving bad advice?

15 Apr


Don’t get me wrong-not all nonprofit experts offer bad advice. The headline does say “some” experts. But at a time when the topic of mobile giving is largely unknown to most in the nonprofit space, the number of experts touting their own personal use of their phone and social media as “knowledge” is troublesome and highly problematic for me.

Let me put this more plainly. Because you have a mobile phone and use social media does not make you an expert in either realm.

And yet one such expert continues to offer up questionable advice and last week this “expert” did not disappoint when they listed “9 Fundraising tools to watch in 2015”.

I won’t name the expert in question and I won’t point to the tools by name because at the end of the day this person’s name doesn’t matter and the tools are just tools for fundraising. They didn’t name themselves as ones to watch although the publicity is good for them.

When I got the experts email listing the tools to watch in 2015 I immediately looked at them with a colleague and looked at two key criteria:

1. Do they help nonprofits with the Google mobile search SEO challenge which all nonprofits are facing in less than a week, and

2. Where does the donated money go? For each tool to watch the money goes first to the tool and then to the cause.

I see both the above issues as very large, very pervasive and potentially very negative for all nonprofits.

None of the tools to watch in 2015 solve the first challenge which begs search rank demotion by Google if left unaddressed and all of the tools take the money from the donor and then give it to the cause at some later point in time. How much later is unknown. The practice of taking donations and then giving them to the cause later is one that really needs to not be standard practice and it’s one that we don’t do and have never endorsed. The folks I know at the Red Cross have said that this kind of giving is frowned on due to the lack of transparency and the wide range of timeframes that are used to get the donated funds to their final destination. Some mobile apps have the temerity to take a donation and then ask the donor to make the intro to the cause they gave to so the app can give them the donated money. Talk about lame.

For a nonprofit expert to recommend tools to watch that don’t solve these immediate challenges is not really expert advice in my opinion.

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.

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