The Latest Fundly Product Enhancements

12 Apr

Hello everyone!   I’m excited to update you all on some of the recent Product updates we have made to the Fundly platform.  We’ve been busy (as usual) and pushed out yet another round of engagement enhancements that will lead our users to successful fundraising!

Supporter and Donor Commenting!
Have you ever wanted to leave a message for your friend after you have donated or supported them?  Now you can!  Any donor or new supporter is prompted to add a comment that will show up in the Pulse or be sent as a private email to the page owner.  Since we launched this feature we’ve seen an overwhelming number of people write messages to their friends and fundraisers (over 60%!).  Looks like everyone was just waiting for us to launch this!
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New Dashboard Welcome Screen! Charts Charts Charts!
We’ve begun a major transformation on the welcome page of our dashboard!  Yes, we finally have charts!  Now every fundraiser can see a visual representation of how their campaign is doing.  There are 3 tabs to the chart:
  • $ Raised ,
  • Supporters, and
  • Pageviews!

Each chart is interactive allowing you to see when you sent an email, or posted to Facebook and how many new supporters and donors you got as a result!  Happy Analyzing!

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Supporters Tab
We’ve got a new tab for fundraisers to help them track their overall progress. It includes the ability to view Supporters, Fundraisers and Team that have joined your cause!  Each tab will show overall fundraising amounts per team or fundraiser, so you can instantly see who  your top fundraisers are and which fundraisers have a ton of potential, but just need a little encouragement!
Supporter, Fundraiser and Team data is available for download with certain pricing plans.
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Events!  
We’re officially entering the events space and we’re gearing up to release a bunch of event specific features!  Take a look below for another sneak peek of an upcoming event page!
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What Do Disneyland and Crowdfunding Have in Common?

2 Apr

Every year, millions of families flow through Disneyland’s amusement parks, gorging themselves on overpriced fast food and thrilling at themed rides.  Why do all of these people spend exorbitant amounts of money on just a few days here?  One reason: Disneyland has invested an extraordinary amount of energy, thought, and money into creating an experience for its patrons, to create what it calls “The Happiest Place on Earth”.  People aren’t there for the rides or the cotton candy, they are purchasing the chance to transport themselves (or their children) to a land of princesses, Indiana Jones, and chipmunks.

What many fundraisers don’t realize is that their donors aren’t making a simple financial transaction when they donate—they are purchasing an experience.  The experience of giving back, of contributing to a cause larger than themselves, or simply supporting a loved one.  The experience that each donor is expecting or hoping for when he or she gives may vary by campaign, but if you use the tools embedded in the Fundly platform such as video, images, customized email templates, and automated thank-you notes, to name just a few you can significantly improve the overall experience for your average donor.  And I promise you, when you deliver an incredible giving experience you will win ardent supporters, who will pass the word on to other potential advocates and donors.

As you work to build a captivating experience for your donors consider the following ideas:

  • Nothing Beats Visual: If it were possible, you would want every potential donor or supporter to experience your cause and solution in-person.  The emotion that an in-person experience evokes can never be fully replicated by any other medium.  But the next best way to tell your story is through visual media. Make a video of yourself explaining why your cause is so important to you. Post pictures of your solution in action.  Give the donor the feeling that she is right there, experiencing the pain, joy, and intensity that you are in that moment.
  • Reduce Frustration: In addition to evoking emotion through powerful storytelling, another key component of the experience is making the process of listening, empathizing, and giving as seamless as possible. Spend a moment thinking about this, from first contact to actual donation what does your donor experience? Does your flow make sense? What can you do to make it even more effortless to contribute to your cause?
  • Long-term engagement: Lastly, perhaps the most powerful experience you can provide someone with is the sense that they are needed.  That they are an integral part of your organization’s long-term success.   Explain to your donors that you are in this for the long-haul, and that you want them to feel the same way.   And treat them that way.  Don’t just hit them up when you need cash.  Tell them about your challenges and triumphs. Keep them informed of your progress, and share your goals and visions for the future.

If you engage your social network thinking of a donation as just a financial transaction you should expect a cold, impersonal response fitting of that approach.  On the other hand, you can give them an experience they won’t forget, and you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by willing supporters and fellow change makers.

Give it a try, and let us know how it goes at curtis@fundly.com.

Can a personal story from a volunteer fundraiser be the path to new donor acquisition?

1 Apr

Absolutely and here’s why! Volunteer fundraisers have a personal story to tell about your cause since it usually explains the reason(s) why they support your cause at all. That personal story is hugely valuable since a volunteer fundraiser’s mom is far more likely to throughly read and understand their son’s story than anything your cause could ever put in front of her. The same can be said for any of your volunteer fundraisers’ other personal relationships.

The stories that are shared will reach a universe of people you may have never known existed, which will help your organization fill the top of your cause’s new donor acquisition funnel. We’ll be writing more about the ‘new donor acquisition funnel’ soon, but to give you a quick understanding it moves people from just barely becoming knowledgable about your cause to understanding why supporting your cause makes a positive impact in the world and eventually it converts them into donors.

Start the process of tapping into your volunteer fundraisers’ social networks by sharing personal stories.

The most important personal story is yours, so tell YOUR personal story first. Leading by example is important and works well when asking others to do something they may not be comfortable with. Many aren’t as comfortable writing or expressing their passion, especially knowing that their words could make it into the worldwide web. As the champion of your cause, you shouldn’t hesitate to share your personal story with the world, so share it loud and proud!

Once you’ve shared your personal story with your networks, ask your volunteer fundraisers to write about how your cause impacts their lives.

To many people, asking them to write about how your cause has positively impacted their lives is like giving them a way to say ‘thank you’ to your cause. That can make writing a personal story an easy task since there’s no risk in saying ‘thank you’ nor will it be viewed as self-promotion, which are two of the most common fears when it comes to sharing a personal story.

As part of asking your volunteer fundraisers to write their personal story, you’ll want to instruct them to include a paragraph asking every other recipient to share their personal story. At the very least, your volunteer fundraisers will find that their friends and family will pass their story along. In some cases, you’ll even get some of your volunteer fundraisers’ friends and family sharing their own personal stories about your cause with their networks! To make your life a bit easier, here’s an example of a paragraph I’ve used to ask people to pass my personal story along:

“As you can tell, I’m passionate about CAMP and hopefully that’s rubbing off on you a bit right now. 🙂 If it is, please share my story with everyone you know or share your own story!”

When asking your volunteer fundraisers to share their personal story, don’t forget to use your own personal story as an example of what you’re asking them to do. That might just end up being the reason why they feel comfortable promoting your cause with their personal story.

All that’s left for your volunteer fundraisers to do after their personal stories are written is to:

  • paste their personal story onto their volunteer fundraising page
  • ensure that their volunteer fundraising page is connected to their social media networks
  • use Fundly’s sharing tools to email, post their personal story to Facebook and Tweet with the click of a button
  • include a link to their personal fundraising page in their story

Give that a shot and let me know how it goes. We’re always interested in hearing from you!

You may reach me anytime with your thoughts, comments, or questions at hana@fundly.com.

Could something like HRC’s red and pink equal sign work for you?

29 Mar

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve seen the red and pink equal sign splashed all over Facebook these past few days. You may also know that the Human Rights Campaign started this trend by changing their traditionally blue and yellow logo to red and pink, then encouraging their supporter base to follow suit by using their newly colored logo as a profile picture.

That is Genius for a few reasons:

  1. It’s super easy for anyone to change their profile picture,
  2. The sheer act of changing your profile picture is one of the most recognizable actions in everyone’s Facebook news feed,
  3. It costs nothing to change a profile pic and, most importantly,
  4. It is HIGHLY VISIBLE!

If you’re reading this and thinking, “hey, maybe that will work for my cause” then you’re wasting your time reading this post. GO FOR IT! Gaining visibility will drive traffic to your fundraising pages and traffic on your fundraising pages means you will see more donations.

Don’t hesitate by thinking you have to use a logo that is well understood and meaningful, either. Use a flat color and let everyone know that it represents your cause (when people don’t know what it means, it’ll draw interest)… Use an image of a person who has been positively impacted by your cause… Use any image that you don’t hate and go with it…

Your friends, family, colleagues and supporters wouldn’t mind simply changing their profile picture to something meaningful to your cause if it will make a difference. Try it out and let me know how it goes by emailing me at mike@fundly.com.

Why fundraising and Fundly became an important part of my life

26 Mar

About a year ago a crippling disease took away my sons ability to live a normal life.  He is a 3 year-old boy who will never know what it’s like to walk or even breathe without assistance.  Getting this news was heartbreaking, it was life changing and it was eye opening. I was now made brutally aware of how unsafe the world is and how much need for awareness and funds there is in the world.

I saw the many, many disparate causes in the world that didn’t fall under a big enough umbrella to receive enough attention, support or funds. I felt helpless to help any of them, helpless to help my son.  I was powerless to fund research or afford the medical equipment he needed.

I looked and looked and wondered where individual fundraisers, the under $20 million organizations, the communities, the nonprofits that didn’t have deals with major retailers or dozens of staff members could make a difference in this world.

Where was the place for a father trying to raise funds to afford medical equipment for his son?

I’d like to say I found Fundly, but that was my friend.  He set up a campaign and sent it to me.  We thought it was the best option, so we made some edits and activated the campaign, which sent it through our social networks.  Within 24 hours we had $5,000, almost 70% of our goal.  My jaw, along with some tears, dropped.

I discovered that I had a whole community of people, people who cared; people who wanted to help but didn’t know how; people who weren’t aware or just needed to be asked.  Fundly gave me that way to ask and I hadn’t even realized it.  We raised $19,500.

19 people clicked on the “Become a Personal Fundraiser” button on our Fundly page, raising between $100 and $2,500 each.  I never asked a single one of them to do it, nor explain to them how to do it.

Working for Fundly I’ve since learned how we make it easy for people to rally behind a cause in a way that is difficult and cumbersome otherwise.

But before I knew about open graph integration with Facebook. Before I knew that Habitat for Humanity has found huge success with Fundly.  Before I knew all the technical innovations that make Fundly work, I knew that through Fundly I could now afford a wheelchair for my son.

And that is why I believe in Fundly.

How to Be an Agent for Change

25 Mar

This weekend I spoke about “leading change” as a panelist at the Silicon Valley Education Conference (www.siliconvalleyeducationconference.org) in Mountain View, California.  The conversation was so refreshingly honest and insightful, I thought I would share with you my takeaways.

If you want to be an agent for change–a leader of change–there are three things you can do:

  1. Lose yourself.  Make a commitment to yourself that you are not interested in what you deserve or what you are entitled to.  90% of the important advances in the world are accomplished by tired people.  Focusing on yourself–trying to be less tired, trying to have more time for yourself, trying to protect your own interests–will only make you unhappy in the end.  Forget yourself and decide that you will focus externally, knowing that in the end, working on “greater good” is what has the power to make people (including you) happy.
  2. Decide who you are.  There are three types of change agents:
    • Visionary:  Someone who can see with true clarity of vision what others cannot see, and who can motivate and inspire others to get there.  Nothing happens without this person.
    • Organizer:  Someone who may not have seen it on their own, but recognizes it when he/she sees it, and can bring extraordinary organizational skills to bear to make sure the vision becomes a reality.  Nothing happens without this person.
    • Doer:  Someone who rolls up their sleeves and dives in with unparalleled craftsmanship and pride.  Whatever their unique skillset, they apply it within the organizational framework to advance the mission with efficiency and excellence.  Nothing happens without this person.
    • None of these roles is more important than the other two.  They are all equally necessary to effect change.  The most important thing is to recognize which of these describes who you are and then commit to play that role the very best you can.  Don’t get caught up in titles–figure out which of the three roles you were made to play, and then evaluate opportunities to play that role.
  3. Choose your cause.  You must actively look for your cause–it will not come looking for you.  Don’t wait for someone to give you “permission” to create change.  By its very definition, opportunity to effect change will not emerge out of the status quo, and you will not find it in your current job description.  Being a change agent doesn’t require a title or a certain job anyway.  You can make positive change where and when you decide to.  Look for the cause you care about, identify the role that you can do well, make sure the people filling the other roles are as passionate and capable as you , and then JUST DO IT!

Of course, whenever you are involved in change, the highs are high and the lows are low.  When you are at your lowest, remember point #1 above.  It is not about you.  You are working toward a higher good.  If this venture doesn’t work out, the next one will.  The less you can focus on yourself and the more you can focus on the change you are making for good, the easier it will be to get through the low times.  When you are able to stay focused and determined despite the odds, you will be surprised how often things break your way.  Things that seemed impossible suddenly become possible, and pieces that didn’t fit before suddenly find a solution.  This does not happen when you give up or get discouraged or distracted, but it happens a surprising percentage of the time when you stay focused.

I really enjoyed my co-panelists, Josh Edwards (Amazon) and Jessica Johnson (RBL Group) and the moderator, Maggie Goloboy (McKinsey).  Thank you!

-db

Is Fundly the fundraising world’s Easy button? Kind of, but not really…

22 Mar

From time to time an interesting question comes up in our initial conversations with customers as they ask  “How exactly does Fundly help me raise donations?  Do you provide me with donors? Access to new potential supporters? If I connect my campaign to Facebook, won’t people come in droves to donate like I’ve seen on so many of your successful case studies?”

At first glance, it may certainly seem as though Fundly is the secret sauce driving outsized donations for organizations that use our platform.   However, Fundly is just one piece of the puzzle in successful crowdfunding.  Organizations must have an existing base of supporters that they can tap into in order to effectively crowdfund.  Once that is in place, Fundly’s platform is able to kick-in and turbo charge the fundraising process in two ways:

Fundly Simplifies the Ask:

Ask any volunteer what the biggest barrier to fundraising is for them and the response is almost always related to the “ask”. The fear of imposing on someone on behalf of something you care about can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and let’s be honest it can be a drag to get out there and pound the pavement. I know, I’ve sold countless Makahiki tickets as a Cub Scout in Hawaii.

This is where Fundly starts to shine! Countless design and development hours have gone into a ridiculously simple and easy product that allows anyone to create and promote a cause in just minutes.  Seriously, check out this page created by an 8 year-old! From there Fundly automatically begins updating each volunteer’s Facebook Wall and other social networks with posts about their fundraising activities. That means little to no effort is required of volunteers to “ask” their friends and family members to support their cause.

Fundly Enables You to Tell Your Story:

You have a unique and powerful story to tell.  There’s a reason that you and your colleagues invest countless hours and a great deal of energy promoting your cause.  Your ability to harness this story and tell it will directly influence your fundraising results. Fundly helps you and your volunteers to tell your story in three ways:

  1.  Parent/Child Campaign Relationship: Fundly campaigns are built in hierarchical layers, with child campaigns pulling content from their parent campaign. In other words, if you invest the time upfront to develop a compelling story for your campaign, as volunteer fundraisers sign up to fundraise for your campaign their pages will seamlessly pull your original content onto their volunteer pages as well!
  2. Visual Media: A picture is worth a thousand words and meaningful videos can be incredible catalysts for creating positive emotional connections and driving donations.  Fundly’s current site and upcoming design enhancements feature visual media front-and-center, meaning you can showcase your cause with a variety of assets and medium.
  3. Templates Galore!: As a part of our effort to make social fundraising as simple and pain-free as possible we’ve developed all sorts of compelling templates geared for different audiences including volunteer fundraisers, donors, and casual supporters. These templates allow you to quickly spread an effective message that directs people back to your campaign page so you can reach as many people as possible.

Fundly isn’t a silver bullet for your fundraising needs…  But it can be a powerful enabler that allows you to more simply and fully access, expand, and strengthen your existing community of supporters.

Give a Fundly campaign a spin if you haven’t already, and we’re always interested in hearing your thoughts, comments, or questions!  You can reach me anytime at curtis@fundly.com.