Important Keys to Building a Great Platform

Published July 23, 2012 by goodify

A few weeks ago, Olivia and I had a great conversation with Chris Jarvis from Realized Worth who has great expertise in non-profit organizations and CSR.  He shared with us issues that exist in managing volunteering and donation programs at companies.  Here are several important points that Chris provided us that will assist us greatly in building a great platform.

  • Even with all the tools, the biggest problem is getting the most up-to-date nonprofit data online.  One organization says they have about 85,000 nonprofits and close to 600,000’s of opportunities, but most are not up-to-date.  Some non-profits don’t even exist anymore.  We can go through 100 opportunities before we find a legitimate one.  One nonprofit put the same listing in 540 times.  Chris gave us a great analogy: For the past five years, people put up posters for bake sales, garage sales and any kind of opportunities on every part of the walls, but they just never come down.
  • Design does really matter, which is why people hate one particular organization’s tool because their design is awful.   They have dozens of developers.  “I don’t know who they hire them, but they cannot fix it.  It’s a mess.  I can tell you that every company that comes to us, tell us that they hate [it].  We’re trying to get rid of it,” said Chris.  However, companies remain with this particular organization because the organization agrees to assume legal liabilities and vet nonprofit organizations to ensure they are meeting companies’ legal requirements to receive money.
  • While management tools are about getting people to sign on and volunteer, but at the end of the day, companies are collecting data and sales.  Data is more important than technology.
  • One company is giving away a free volunteer management software, but is not offering support.  Support is important.
  • We can be huge for small and medium markets.  They need a major increase in quality of program and so it’s a big move for them.  They don’t want to be spending money on themselves when they want to give money away to charities.  Many of them don’t have the budget for community involvement programs.  Many don’t have a CSR manager full-time.  They don’t have a strategy to implement.  But if we offer them something that is affordable, easy to use and wouldn’t require a full-time person to use, it would be good.  The real problem is distributing money, vetting, time consummation.
  • Chris believes in game dynamics.  Some management tools offer recognition options, and they work well.
  • Social media can work, but it depends on the company if they want to use it. There should be a dashboard where we can see our progress with goals. Goals cannot be just money and hours.  The goal needs to be translated into an impact.  Chris gave an example: “I give 200 dollars to volunteer 14 hours to a company to match and 16 girls in Haiti get to go to school and it’s terribly motivating.  If I don’t give money or hours, then these girls just don’t go to school. That’s what the tools need – to get people want to log in the hours and participate.”

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