Archive | July, 2015

No more carrier based nonprofit fundraising solutions, please.

22 Jul

innovate

I love true innovation and disruption.

Some things are billed as new and innovative (and really aren’t) and somethings truly are innovative. The “sharing economy” or as some politicians have awkwardly (they don’t know anything do they?) called the “gig economy” have spawned true innovations.

As it pertains to nonprofit fundraising I am always on the lookout for true innovation.

Last week I saw an announcement of a new fundraising platform so in the spirit of looking for innovation in this space I checked it out.

The platform is called “TPO” for “The People’s Operator,” and it’s a mobile phone service that allows customers to donate part of their phone bill to their favorite non-profit.

TPO’s rate plans start at $32 per month and they say they will give 10% of a phone bill to the subscriber’s favorite nonprofit. In essence TPO becomes your wireless provider on some one else’s network.

Philanthropy by individuals is a passion here at RAZ Mobile for sure, so on one hand I salute TPO but on the other hand this isn’t an innovation nor do I consider this to be a “cool” service.

In fact, I think it’s kind of lame.

Let me explain.

Donors want to give straight to the cause of their choice and increasingly this means online and mobile with 100% going to the cause immediately.

Having my donation go through a carrier is not a direct donation. Nor does this sound like a service that will provide donor info to the cause since carriers in the US aren’t supposed to be sharing my info with anyone but authorities in response to subpoenas.

So how does this help a nonprofit? Yes, the money will get to them eventually but do I really want my donation sitting at the carrier for a few weeks? Nope.

Do I want my donation limited to $3 per month? Nope. If I’m having a good day and I’m in the moment so-to-speak what do I do if I want to give $100? Can’t happen with TPO.

I’d have to search for the cause on my phone and then, as way too many profits do today, I’d have to try to complete my donation via their PC giving page on my phone.

Can we all agree that giving money to a platform first and then letting them hold it and forward it on to the cause later just needs to go the way of the typewriter?

Just as people needing a ride summon cars with Uber, just as they create their own radio stations with Spotify, just as they rent rooms from the owners of the room with AirBNB, the notion of how to give is changing and the 80 million millennials want to give DIRECTLY to nonprofits they believe in. I think Boomers feel the same way.

TPO would benefit from adding unlimited frictionless mobile giving to their philanthropy efforts. And I just happen to know who they can talk to. Me.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Today, all causes need a content-rich mobile presence that can be shared through text messages, social media, email and more and best of all-quickly and securely process 100% of donations from motivated supporters with a minimum of friction in seconds with no passwords. If your nonprofit needs custom development of a mobile solution to fit your mission please click here. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space.

 

3 reasons to rely on post cards for nonprofit direct mail

15 Jul

Last week I got an email from the good folks at Eleventy Marketing Group and in it was an article titled, 6 Significant Statistics From The DMA On The Current State Of Direct Mail.

The article lists the stats as mentioned and among them the most interesting potential impact to nonprofits using direct mail was this one:

postcard

 

So, all ages would prefer postcards from nonprofits. In an age where direct mail is shrinking but not going away anytime soon here’s 3 reasons why your nonprofit should take this report finding to heart.

Number 1 – It’s what’s preferred

I know this is kind of a “DUH!” reason but it goes a bit deeper. I believe the reason that postcards are preferred to, say, a 4 page appeal letter is that the content is bite-sized just like social media.

The trend to small content is driven by info-overload for sure but it’s also driven by where our eyeballs are focused throughout the day-our phones. Although people may spend an hour on Facebook they’re looking at small bites of content.

Small content in the digital and social worlds is driving interest in postcards from nonprofits versus longer more “engaging” direct mail content.

Number 2 – It’s cheaper

Even an alien landing on Earth would quickly learn that the United States Postal Service is in trouble financially. Rates will always go up just as the limits on the weight of the mail drop.

A postcard is about as simple, lightweight and cost-effective as can be.

Number 3 – It could be super effective

I know what your nonprofit is thinking-“how do I get a donation without a form and a return envelope? How do I tell the story of our mission on a postcard?”

Here’s how.

When the postcard recipient sees your postcard should have these elements on it to take a gift in that very moment the recipient looks at your postcard:

  • A shortened URL for entry into the recipients phone that leads to a mobile-optimized giving page
  • A QR code for the same URL as above
  • A text message call-to-action that will deliver the URL above

And also add in:

  • All of your social links
  • An email address of who to contact about large gifts

Yes, the postcard should have graphics and copy which talk about your mission/successes/challenges but in the moment that they feel compelled to give I can almost guarantee you 100% of the time the postcard recipient’s phone is at arm’s length.

Not their checkbook and not their PC. Their phone. Take advantage of this with secure and frictionless giving via smartphones.

We’ve seen these 3 ways to give work very well for the United Way. Increasingly your social media content is where supporters, new and existing, go to get your content. Drive folks there.

The weight of an envelope full of paper can feel daunting and too engaging for a supporter when they get their mail. A postcard is the right size as Eleventy points out and with secure, frictionless mobile giving just a few seconds away, postcards are the way to effectively ride direct mail into the sunset for your nonprofit.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Today, all causes need a content-rich mobile presence that can be shared through text messages, social media, email and more and best of all-quickly and securely process 100% of donations from motivated supporters with a minimum of friction in seconds with no passwords. If your nonprofit needs custom development of a mobile solution to fit your mission please click here. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space.

Another version of philanthropy disruption

1 Jul

hack

The past week has seen Sean Parker in the news talking about “hacking philanthropy”. If you don’t know Mr. Parker he founded Napster which tried to bend the rules around music copyright and he was also an early president at Facebook.

Here’s a clip from the movie “The Social Network” which chronicles the early days at Facebook. Justin Timberlake plays Sean Parker.

From what I have been able to glean from Mr. Parker’s thoughts on “hacking philanthropy” it is that there are Silicon Valley elites with millions if not billions sloshing around in their pockets and that they will set a new course for philanthropy as they rise to prominence. Ostensibly they will exert new influence on philanthropy and they call this a “hack”.

I could be a bit jaded but I found nothing new or noteworthy about Mr. Parker’s viewpoint. Included in the interviews with Mr. Parker was the announcement of the Parker Foundation. His foundation is funded to the tune of $600M and for this I salute Mr. Parker.

When asked about what the foundation will do it seems that life science and health are at the forefront of what interests Mr. Parker. Good.

I’m sure that the railroad and oil barons of the early 1900s aimed portions of their wealth at causes that were important to them. Given the health maladies of their time one could argue that Mr. Parker’s just doing the same thing – picking winners from the pool of philanthropic causes that excite them.

So how is this “hacking philanthropy”? To me it’s nothing new.

Here’s something new however, and this is how I would “hack philanthropy”.

1. Hasten the demise of direct mail

The United States Postal Service subsidies and the decades-long use of direct mail has, in my opinion, made nonprofits complacent in their use of technology.

Yes “it (direct mail) still works” but examine that statement. “Still”? The statement implies the coming demise and the 80,000,000 millennials coming of age as full-on givers means “still works” will morph into “what just happened?”.

Moral of this story – federal subsidies for the use of online fundraising tools.

Put technology on par with direct mail. Today.

2. Get the US wireless carriers together to pay for an open and free fundraising platform

The wireless carriers would howl at having to do this and yet their spectrum licenses are an excellent place to place a tax which would support the operation and ongoing development of the platform. When they purchase licenses have a set portion go towards a democratized online giving platform.

Instead, what we have from the carriers today is text-to-give. And, here again, only certain causes can afford or want to do text-to-give and millennials pretty much say “Meh” to text-to-give.

So why can’t the carriers rally behind an alternative? They could but they too are complacent.

I’ve said this to one carrier and their comment was lame and uninformed: “how do we know that this cause just isn’t Susie trying to buy a new house?”

There are bountiful ways to validate causes and do a much better job than what exists out there today in the way of crowdfunding campaigns that never deliver on their promises.

Moral of this story – The wireless carrier group called CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) could champion this effort in the name of democratized mobile fundraising for ALL CAUSES LARGE AND SMALL.

The carriers need to come together and do this. Today.

3. Everyone rally around uniform giving processes, security and ubiquity

Comscore reports that over 77% of the US population has a smartphone. Soon, this percentage will represent saturation-everyone will have one save for a few that really don’t want one for whatever reason.

So ubiquity awaits for frictionless, mobile-optimized giving through smartphones.

And yet, security is a concern as well as the myriad processes a donor must wade through on their “donor journey” as the nonprofit space calls it.

Here, the hack would be to follow the model set forth by the likes of Amazon and Apple – a simple, known, repeatable way to buy or in this case, give.

With Amazon it’s one click. With Apple it’s that they have my credit card on file. Both use a tokenized vault to store credit card information and tokenization (RAZ Mobile has it too) has been referred to as “hack-proof”.

The uniformity of the Amazon and Apple experience means you can buy most anything or any content easily, quickly and securely.

So again imagine a platform that admits any nonprofit and allows any donor to make a gift in seconds using the same giving process over and over again on any screen at any time with nothing to download and no passwords to remember.

Moral of this story – a common platform for all nonprofits with the same simple, fast and secure way to give is preferred to the myriad ways nonprofits receive gifts today

A common platform is true “hacking philanthropy” in my mind and it can be done. Today.

I applaud Mr. Parker for his efforts and his foundation could be home to such a platform as I described here. All of the barriers to doing this are hackable and were some of Mr. Parker’s friends in Silicon Valley ready to engage in this kind of hack it would result in the kind of positive disruptions that are being unleashed by Uber, AirBnB and many others. If by chance Mr. Parker reads this post I can be reached at dale@razmobile.com and we can get started. Today.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create a 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.