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7 (not cool) things you need to know about Facebook’s Donate Now

26 Aug

UPDATE: September 17, 2015

Today it was pointed out that the post below pertains to the “old” Facebook Donate Now button and not their “new” one.

For our error we are very sorry to have looked at old info on Facebook’s site about ways to add Donation button(s) to a nonprofit’s Facebook page.

So, unless you’re using the “old” button and not the “new” button you can ignore our post below.

Again, we’re sorry.

However, never to leave you, dear reader, wondering what we think of the new button we’d say this: it’s not cool either and for 2 big reasons.

1. The new button adds another click

The last thing a nonprofit’s giving experience needs is another step and as pointed out in the Techcrunch article states in the original story listed below, this added step kind of berates the person clicking the Donate Now button. Ouch.

2. A redirect from Facebook to the nonprofit’s PC giving pages likely still means a PC experience on a mobile phone.

Ask anyone about how much Facebook is viewed and interacted with on a mobile phone and in one word they will say “most”. Most of Facebook content is viewed and create with mobile phones. So a Donate Now button will, for the vast majority of nonprofits deliver the would-be donor to a PC page on their phone.

If you’ve read our blogs about this there is a wealth of data that says giving via a phone through an experience meant for a PC is likely a lost donation due to slow load times, too many pages, too small of type, too much friction, having to create a userid+password, etc.

So we’re sorry Facebook for talking about your “old” button below.

The new one though still registers on our “not cool” meter.


bad fb

This week the personal information collection and storage platform known as Facebook rolled out their “Donate Now” button for nonprofits. They tested this service with a few select nonprofits earlier and I have to guess that they like the results. Here’s a piece from from the folks at Techcrunch about the roll out.

While seemingly this bodes well for nonprofits, I can’t help but think this is more about Facebook’s selfish big picture aims than it is about truly helping nonprofits and those they serve who are in need.

I’ll explain what’s driving my thinking by sharing with you my 7 (not cool) things you need to know about Facebook’s Donate Now.

NUMBER 1-The money goes to Facebook

And then the cause gets it later. Frankly, don’t we have enough software platforms living off the nonprofit float? The promise of fundraising innovation is to cut out the middle man and make the process of giving to those in need happen faster and with the least amount of friction as possible. Donate Now solves none of this that I can see.

NUMBER 2-They automatically store the donor’s credit card info

To me this is the real Facebook gambit. They will do just about anything to get their users’ credit card info anyway they can for future commerce. Even more not cool is that they collect this information and store it AUTOMATICALLY. Ask for permission? Don’t be silly. We’re talking Facebook here.

Oh joy! The chance to be forced into sharing more with an online service without being asked is just what I’ve been waiting for! How about you?

NUMBER 3-No donor data to the cause

Inexplicably Facebook will know more about your donors than you will. Ever.

This affords the nonprofit no chance to create a loyal supporter and a high-lifetime-value donor.

And this leads to….

NUMBER 4-Donors will get approached by other causes

It’s just the way FB operates. Here’s a refresher on this point.

Facebook will know that donor X made a donation to an arts-focused nonprofit. Guess what? They’ll show ads for other arts-focused nonprofits to the donor.

Say goodbye to loyalty. I guess Facebook really wants you to compete with other nonprofits….and pay them for the chance.

NUMBER 5-Still hard to turn Facebook Likes into $$

Does anyone remember Facebook’s Stores offering? Don’t worry if you don’t because it kind of flopped.

Why? Many in the know opined that it was because Facebook is more about “liking” than real commerce. If that’s the case here for Donate Now it can hardly be considered a cash cow waiting to happen (if at all) for nonprofits.

NUMBER 6-No CRM integration because there’s no donor data

Not much to say here-kind of speaks for itself. I guess getting used to the name “Anonymous” in your donor CRM is in order.

NUMBER 7-There may be pushback because folks are already leery of what FB knows about them

This is where I’m at personally. I have a Facebook page personally and haven’t been there in years because it’s boring, contrived and creepy. I know that Facebook intentionally compiles massive amounts of data about people for their profit, not in the name of connecting people but in selling ads.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a capitalist with a heart. And yet the less they know about me the better.

I may be wrong about all of the above. Or I may be right.

I look at it this way. If I told you Facebook will do just about anything to have your credit card information on file would/could you believe it?

I thought so.

Dale Knoop leads a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a powerful, international platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Today, all causes globally 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 things to do if your nonprofit is new to social media

23 Jul

The best campaign results we have seen with our customers has been driven through and via social media. The sharing and trending we have seen for social media-centric fundraising campaigns is eye-opening and yet somewhat to be expected since sharing and following are easy to do via the device at arms length 91% of the time-a mobile phone.

All social media is now (and always has been) mobile-centric and becoming increasingly so with each passing day. Email is the same with almost 70% of email being opened first on a mobile phone. This is indicative of the mobile phone supplanting the PC as the primary (or exclusive) internet access device.

And yet, as powerful as social media is, some nonprofits are on the fence or just getting started and are working to build their audience up to UNICEF-like size (almost 3M followers on Twitter). How did they get this big and can your nonprofit do the same thing?

Building your social following starts with one person, just like every great journey starts with one step. So let’s just say that your nonprofit has cleared all the internal hurdles needed to use social media-what now?

Here’s the 3 things I would suggest if your nonprofit is new to or just getting started in social media.

Work with others that have larger followings

Your nonprofit likely knows and hopefully works with local businesses and organizations who may have much larger social followings than yours. Work with them on what messages and frequency they would be willing to let you place in front of their audience. The beauty of this is that both parties win. The business is seen as a good community citizen and they will introduce you to people that you likely would never meet on your own. A yearlong calendar of this would do wonders to help you build your audience. And as we’ve seen, this has also proven to be a WINNER when it comes time to raising money.

So all you have to say to them is “Hey, we are trying to build our audience and would you be OK with tweeting to your followers about what we do?” I don’t know of many, if any, that would say no.

Don’t give up

This one really applies to all of us using social media and that is be there at all times and don’t stop delivering your message. It may seem that it’s not going well but one mustn’t take a short term view on social media. Th goal is to build an audience and that means always saying something whenever you can. Planning social media posts can be fun for staff to create if you let it be that way. And the reward can be like we saw last Christmas-one of our customers received $2000 from a single tweet. This customer is a one man nonprofit and with a tweet he was there when the donor felt the impulse to give. Very powerful indeed.

Make sure conversation extenders are mobile-optimized

Focus on this point for a moment. Social media = mobile.


This is one that is perhaps the most cumbersome for nonprofits to address. Much of their social content points to links where the content is not optimized to be seen on a mobile phone. Besides presenting a broken link, nothing ends the conversation faster than making someone pinch, swipe and wait for the PC experience you want to share with them slowly renders on their phone. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With platforms like ours the conversation can be extended easily to your fully optimized, stocked-with-content RAZ Mobile site.

The same applies even more with asking for donations in social media. The mobile donation experience must be easy to complete in the moment. Relying on a PC experience for mobile giving is a path to lost donations (and frustration at an impulse denied).

Social media, no matter how your board feels about it, is powerful and here to stay. Get started today or if you’re having trouble getting into a groove, hopefully these tips help.

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.


QR Codes can help you see what communications drive donations

31 Jul

qr code

Yesterday I was in Lawrence, KS at a SocialIRL event and I was asked, as I am many times, about QR codes as a means to let donors give. The questions are usually something like “does anyone do that?” and “why should we add them to our communications?”.

To the former I say “YES!” and to the latter I say “It’s just the price of ink to give donors this option and see how they respond.”

Our customers are getting mobile donations from QR code scans and it’s not only millennials that are doing it. We’ve seen folks over 40 do this.

As far as using them in print material like direct mail, business cards, posters and the like, the example above is a great way to add copy to a QR code to let donors know they’re going to your mobile site. You can add the QR code and copy to your direct mail or as a picture on Facebook, Pintrest, Instagram or any where you can share images with your supporters.

Even better is that on our platform you have the ability with our QwikRAZ feature to create a unique QR code for each of your communication channels. You could have one for direct mail, Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest, Instagram just to name the most popular channels in use today by nonprofits.

By doing this you have the ability to track in real-time how each channel is performing as a donation-generating channel. We would always advise our customers to do something like this to experiment with what channels their supporters respond to when they make their donations.

In the fast food business the use of QR codes for this same purpose of seeing what communication their customers respond to is growing. Here’s a link to a great article about that.

I used to be a QR code pessimist but having seen their creative use in the for-profit world and their positive reception by some donors that scan them to make mobile donations, I am very much pro QR code.

The added benefit of using them to see how your channels are performing makes them very valuable too.

Going mobile opens new tactics to engage supporters and fundraise

27 Mar

There’s a buzz beginning to build about mobile fundraising. There’s talk about apps, mostly from board members that hear the app hype and don’t think about the massive cost and challenge apps present. Then there’s my personal favorite tactic, text-to-give. This expensive and poorly regarded solution is not mobile fundraising. Donors don’t like it, it can take 6 months in some cases to get your money and it’s very expensive whether it works for your cause or not.

True mobile fundraising, what donors have said they are looking for in mobile fundraising in reports like the MCON 2012 report in Millennial Giving, is giving through a fully-optimized mobile website.

So if you’ve made the decision to move forward with a mobile website your next logical thought would drift to, “so I’ve got this nice mobile website that’s fast to load and easy to navigate, now what?”

The next logical step is to get the word out and there are many tactics that mobile opens up that should help you achieve an ROI your supporters (and your board) will be thrilled to see.

Try this tactic: Get local businesses in your area to compete in fundraising for you.

This tactic is perfect for raising money for educational causes like a high school or university. Let’s say, for example, that the girl’s tennis team at some NCAA school is looking for funds to help the team travel to a meet and the athletic department says it will likely not be able to attend due to a lack of funds.  Like many schools, if you’re not football or basketball funds can be hard to come by within the athletic department.

Old school fundraising for any business that wants to help the girl’s tennis team was putting a clear plastic box on the business’s counter or holding a car wash for the girl’s tennis team in their parking lot. Or perhaps the business owner just wrote them a big check and called it a day.

Mobile can reimagine this scenario easily and effectively. Let’s start with the tennis team. What if they could get 5-10 businesses signed up to compete to see who raises the most amount of money for the girl’s tennis team? Each business could have their own QR code assigned to them and then the business can ask their customers to help them win the fundraising challenge for the school’s girl’s tennis team. Donations made can be processed directly and immediately into the appropriate account at the school by scanning the QR code and making a credit card or PayPal donation. This will only take about a minute.

The benefit of winning the contest to the business can be established by the school depending on what in-kind value benefit they could offer the winning business. This may not be needed by the business at all since they may just want to help. The business also benefits by not having employees handle cash or having cash in plastic boxes that can be stolen or never attended to when they are stuffed full.

I have spoken to business owners that have had plastic boxes on their counters for causes and many times they become a source for employee bad behavior. Mobile can take the business out of the money handling process and put them in position to leverage their customer outreach channels with the QR code and corresponding URL. The QR code can be placed on all printed materials and the corresponding URL can serve as a hyperlink in an email to the merchant’s base of email addresses on file.

In this scenario, each business can be asking customers to support the girl’s tennis team and anyone that wants to donate can do so immediately through their mobile phone versus having to wait until they get home.

Over the timeframe of the competition, the results can be shared with the participating businesses and they can choose to rev up their own tactics in an effort to win the competition.

Once the competition is over, the winner can be announced and they can receive their “prize” from the school and best of all, the girl’s tennis team will likely meet or exceed their fundraising goal. What an easy way to do a great thing-keep deserving athletes competing and representing their schools.

If any of you would like to try this tactic please let me know at