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Posts Tagged ‘NPO’

PayPal MySpace Fundraising Widgets

October 27th, 2007 No comments

PayPal partners with MySpace to deliver fundraising widgets for a handful of charities, non-profits and political candidates. The fundraising widget is pretty typical for what it is. There is an interesting drag and zoom interface for viewing supporters. However, once there is a more than a few supporters it’s no longer all that useful. We would have liked to see a more functional way to browse the list even if it’s not as cool. The partnership with MySpace comes along with unrestricted access from Flash. With allowscriptaccess and allownetworking, the PayPal widget has external links enabled from the widget.

While it’s not advertised, you can take the embed code provided and paste it anywhere. Once the widget is outside MySpace, it is actually aware of that and changes from “Add this to your Profile” to “Add this to your Page.” This allows PayPal and MySpace to customize the way users interact with the widget and copy the widget. The flow presented to users viewing the widget on myspace.com is different than that of users viewing the same widget embeded on another site.

PayPal gains users of their service as contributions and funds are provided via their service. The is definitely a smart play for PayPal and gives them access and exposure to MySpace users. They also benefit from the power of social recommendation and the good will of charitable giving. Let’s not forget that they left the back door open for the widget to go viral outside of MySpace.

As social networks continue to open up their platform and allow access to their social graph, it will be interesting to see how companies take advantage of this. Due to possible security concerns and other policies, it will mostly only be large legitimate companies who will gain the trust of the social networks and be allowed unrestricted Flash embeds. Imagine a widget that goes beyond the one we just described, a widget that is aware of its embed location, interacts and presents different features to users with specific information from the available social graph.

We will continue to see widgets evolve to be intelligent full featured applications.

Categories: Widgets Tags: , , ,

Changing the World One Widget(Badge) at a Time

February 13th, 2007 2 comments

CareBadges

Hooman over at Widgify specifically named us in a post, so we obliged and took a look at CareBadges. CareBadges provides widgets for enabling a grassroots movement in fundraising. While it is not unique nor the first of it’s kind, it is still a great idea. None of the previous widgets or sites have been able to achieve critical mass to really make an impact(on non-profits) for a variety of reasons. Let’s hope this new venture is up to the challenge. If they are successful, everyone benefits especially the non-profit organizations.

First things first, we would love to give a glowing review. However, we must remain unbiased and provide legitimate feedback in order for this to really work. Feedback has already been provided directly to CareBadges and we have received a positive response from them. We encourage you to give CareBadges a try and let them know what you think.

At its core, CareBadges is a service that facilitates and attempts to simplify the donation process. Users can make a donation in one of two ways. You can go to their site and browse a number of causes. When you find one you like, click on it and begin the donation process. The alternate method is to stumble across a badge in the wild and clicking on the badge for more information. Both methods will take you to the preview page where you are presented with information on the cause and given choices in donation amount and badge customizations.

The donations are handled through PayPal. CareBadges will consolidate donations into larger pools before forwarding the amount on to its final destination. Unfortunately, CareBadges has not achieved 501(c)(3) status and as such, the donations are currently not tax deductible. They are in the process of obtaining that status and when approved, the tax deduction eligibility should be retroactive (only our understanding). Please consult your own tax adviser for specific details.

Causes are created by users who want to promote a cause. It is a relatively straight forward 3 step process to add a cause; 1) enter some basic information for the cause, 2) customize the colors, text, and banner and add Flash animations or include a RockYou slide show and 3) enter a detailed description for the cause to be displayed on the preview page.

Once the cause is added, you or anyone else can grab the badge for use. The default badge is the one configured when the cause was added. Users can grab a free badge simply by selecting the free version and providing an email address. If a user makes a donation to the cause, they will have the ability to make some basic color changes.

So far so good and overall, the concept is great. There are some minor design, flow and graphical issues, but those can be fixed and CareBadges is still in its initial phases. While these are minor, first impressions are important and ease of use and clean design will have an impact on users following through the entire process, sticking around and actually donating.

We also like how they are positioning themselves as a non-profit and focusing on good causes. However, this is still an open system and they must still fund the venture somehow. There are already some “personal” causes in the system. We hope that this does not end up like other services which are being dominated by for-profit or individual causes.

Some more transparency and information would help with gaining support and legitimacy as a non-profit. Details as how much of the donations actually make it to the intended causes or any fees attached (percentages is good enough). Achieving 501(c)(3) status would also go a long ways to convince users to use CareBadges.

CareBadges definitely has an uphill climb ahead of them. It’s a great idea and concept but that will only take you so far. If their goal really is to help, then they will have much more success in operating as much like a non-profit as possible and minimizing the for-profit or individual causes.

As it stands, there are few reasons for people to get a badge or to donate through CareBadges, over going directly to the non-profit organizations (at least for the larger organizations). We understand that part of the audience is also non-profits themselves. CareBadges makes it easy for an organization to add their cause and begin fundraising. This will be beneficial to smaller non-profits without the time and resources manage their own donation infrastructure. However, larger organizations are much better served having a more prominent web presence with their own site and donation mechanism.

Viral marketing for causes is difficult at best. People tend to take specific interest in organizations and causes for a reason. Because of this, we believe these badges would tend to be more of a reminder to people than to serve as a real mechanism for donations. However, smaller non-profits could quickly and easily setup fundraising campaigns through CareBadges and if they are able to leverage individual activism in recruiting members and obtaining donations, there is potential here for CareBadges to succeed and we wish them the best of luck. As long as they do not deviate too far from their initial “dreams of saving the world,” they may have a fighting chance. Getting people to support and donate to a cause is not an easy task.

Don’t forget to check out the sidebar for our cause, Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Categories: Widgets Tags: ,

Break’s Over…

July 9th, 2006 1 comment

Ok, we took a few days off from coding so no updates to report. But, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been working hard. It just means that we have been catching up on the latest technologies and doing some research.

On a side note, a friend is participating in this year’s Blogathon. The Blogathon is a 24 hour event where bloggers around the world stay up and post on their blogs every 30 mins in order to raise money for charity. Each blogger selects their own charity for which they would like to support. Art has chosen to support First Book, a NPO which gives children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new book. Feel free to sponsor Art or choose from the list of other bloggers to sponsor if their charity is more to your liking. Or, you can participate yourself…

We will not be participating. However, we are sponsoring Art.

Categories: Misc Tags:

Mid-Week Status

June 21st, 2006 No comments

Not much has been changed or updated to the existing widgets or services since Sunday. This week, so far, has been spent digesting information and new technologies. As we continue to explore Second Life, we have discovered that NPOs are using Second Life in interesting ways. This has spawned some ideas and as a result, we have also been spending time over at TechSoup.org. TechSoup is an organization that provides free technology resources, information and support for nonprofit organizations. Not only can you visit their web site, but they also have a virtual office in Second Life. From their virtual office, they conduct meetings and programs to expand their reach into SL, bridging the gap between real world and virtual world.

We here at StickiWidgets are supporters of NPOs and contribute what we can in our spare time. We encourage you to stop by TechSoup or your favorite nonprofit and do your part.

For those of you waiting on or wanting updates on a specific widget or service, please feel free to contact us and let us know. We tend to have a lot on our plate and sometime our priorities are not the same as yours. Comments, suggestions and requests are always welcomed.

Categories: Misc Tags: , ,