Funraise’s Chief Product Officer, Tony Sasso, shares a look into the fundraising features we’re currently building and why.
I’m Tony, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer here at Funraise. Before we get too far into 2022, I hope to provide a preview of what our team is working on as well as some of our internal thinking behind our WHY. My goal is to engage you in this process. If your brain begins to wander with new ideas, excellent—please share them with us!
As we are well into the year, our short-term product roadmap is coming into sharper focus and one thing is clear: this is going to be a BIG year for fundraising potential with Funraise. Every product decision we make and every area our product team explores is heavily weighted by conversations with you—we are incredibly thankful for the ideas and feedback shared by our customers. The features and improvements in development today are an example of our desire to balance innovating brand new products with enhancing the core existing features you rely on daily.
As always, it’s worth noting that this preview is not a guarantee of timelines or specific functionality. These are projects that Funraise is actively building and are on our short-term roadmap. Without further ado, here are the projects we’re working on today.
Funraise's 2022 Product Preview
Enhancing the Donation Experience
After analyzing millions of donations and donor behaviors on Funraise’s donation forms, we’ve identified patterns and enhancements that can decrease time-to-donation and increase donation conversion rates. Our goal with this project is to continue pushing forward the potential of online donations with modern, efficient interfaces and innovative experiences that increase donation revenue.
Changes to the form under development now include the visible user interface, with a focus on mobile donations, as well as under-the-hood updates that improve upon Funraise’s already stellar online donation stability and security. These enhancements have been paired with human design updates that will make the donation experience more friendly and enjoyable.
This update will likely be one of the most impactful changes we’ve ever made to Funraise’s platform—it gives our team the ability to accomplish more than ever as we grow. One of the goals of this project is improving our team’s ability to iterate and test new donation innovations by improving our underlying framework. Some of these ideas include:
Sometimes a slight nudge or suggestion is all that’s needed to move a one-time donor to a recurring donor, and the best time to make this suggestion is when the donor is already in the process of making a donation. The most successful organizations on Funraise have a healthy recurring program, so we’re exploring ways to increase recurring donations for all our customers. One of these options is to simply suggest a one-click recurring donation upsell to one-time donors.
Abandoned donations popups
Sometimes a donor abandons a donation because they get distracted by something on your own website or from an endless stream of notifications. Our goal is to serve these distracted donors with simple popups on your website that will encourage donors to complete their donations. We think distracted donors are a revenue leaky bucket, and solving for this segment of potential donors could have a significant impact.
Recent donation popups
Social proof converts website visitors to donors. We’re exploring how we can add a small alert on your website when donations occur. The goal of these alerts is to make the energy and momentum of your movement visible to your website visitors and increase your website donation conversion rate.
After making a donation, one of the most impactful actions a donor can take is to share about their donation and ask friends and family to donate. The biggest reason that someone donates is that they were asked. We’re looking to make it easier for donors to spread your mission and bring in more donors with clear share actions following a donation.
Donation conversion backed by machine learning
Nonprofit online donations are an exciting frontier for the potential of machine learning. Here at Funraise, our goal is simple—to increase our customer’s donations. Machine learning technology provides a new tool for increasing online donation revenue.
So what does this feature mean for you? Put simply, a smarter donation form. The internet is a powerful, immersive space. Donation forms shouldn't be static, one-size-fits-all chunks of code.
The easiest way to understand how machine learning technologies benefit us is by thinking about your last Netflix, Shopify, or Amazon experience. Your suggested episodes, products, or songs were chosen by an algorithm that was designed to ensure you find what you need and want quickly. This saves us time and increases the chance we get exactly what we were (or weren't!) looking for.
For Funraise’s customers, machine learning can enable your donation form to predict a potential donor's behavior based on attributes about a visit to your website, like the amount of time a potential donor spent on your site or the type of device they're using. Attributes like these enable us to predict future behavior, and because Funraise is looking at millions of donor experiences and finding patterns, we can design interventions to change the outcome of undesirable predictions—like an abandoned donation.
We’re currently developing a machine learning tool to do just that. Our first model, which has already been developed and is being validated today, predicts donor behavior in the context of their donation amount. Our goal is to introduce interventions that will increase the chance a donor completes a donation on your website.
Machine learning projects are inherently iterative, so we’re excited to see where our machine learning team and the data lead us. As we continue to grow the volume of donations through Funraise, machine learning will play an important role in maintaining exceptional donor experiences and increasing conversion rates.
Register to Fundraise (Event Fundraising)
Today, Funraise has robust and friendly tools for events and P2P fundraising. While these features are often used together, they aren't integrated in a way that enables seamless event-based fundraising campaigns that are often employed for endurance fundraising strategies like runs, races, and walks.
We’re working to unite these features and provide a world-class fundraising experience for fundraising campaigns that require ticketed registration. We’ve conducted research and interviews with leading organizations, like the American Heart Association, that employ event-based fundraising strategies.
We’re focusing on three key areas for this project:
Easy campaign creation
Registration-based fundraising events have many moving parts. A priority for this project is to make the creation of large, multi-faceted campaigns as simple as possible for your team with a walk-through campaign start wizard.
Enabling fundraisers to purchase tickets and create their fundraising page in a single seamless flow is another priority for the user experience we’re building. This new sign up flow is poised to be very powerful, as it allows fundraisers to do more than just create their page; they can also purchase tickets, answer custom questions, complete fundraising commitments, and more.
Finally, a major focus of this development will be to improve in-platform reporting capabilities for event-based fundraising campaigns. This includes increasing the data provided with event registrations as well as connecting data about activity on fundraising pages with registrations.
Text-to-Give & two-way text messaging
Today, Funraise provides one-way text engagement, and we’re currently developing and exploring a few exciting enhancements to this feature. Online donations are increasingly made on the go through mobile-optimized experiences. Improvements to our text engagement tools will enable you to increase donation revenue by reaching donors on their mobile devices with Funraise’s mobile-optimized donation experiences.
The two improvements to our text engagement feature we’re working on include:
Text-to-Give is a dinosaur. Traditionally, a text-to-give technology involved the network carrier, the donation would appear on a phone bill, and the fees were silly. Today, donations online are fast and efficient—mobile donors just need a link to a responsive donation form.
We’re developing a tool that powers an automated reply when a custom code is sent to your organization’s SMS number, like GIVE10. The reply would include a custom link to a page that contains your donation form with the donation amount on the form defaulted based on the number after your custom code.
This feature opens an entirely new donation channel for our customers as well as some very interesting future opportunities for donor engagement.
Two-way text messaging
Currently, our customers can send personalized text messages to a list of donors, fundraisers, or event registrants. We’re working on adding an enhancement that will enable you to view responses to your SMS number from your donors.
We’re thinking this could also include an email notification for new text responses so your team can reply to donors quickly. To be clear, we don’t plan to build chat features that you’ve come to expect on your phone. This is just the beginning of two-way messaging—an enhancement that brings another layer to Funraise’s donor engagement and lays the groundwork to solve future needs in this area.
Native Raiser’s Edge integration
Raiser’s Edge is a leading donor CRM provided by Blackbaud. Enterprise organizations with large successful online fundraising strategies are most commonly either using Raiser’s Edge or Salesforce. Funraise’s Salesforce integration is exceptional but our Raiser’s Edge integration has room to improve.
Today, Funraise’s integration with Raiser’s Edge is powered through a partnership with Importacular. The process is sufficient, but clunky, and requires manual action for each import. We’re developing a native Raiser’s Edge integration that will improve the experience and efficiency of connecting Funraise data with Raiser’s Edge. This improvement will save thousands of hours of ongoing, repetitive work as well as enable more organizations to take advantage of the best of both Funraise and Raiser’s Edge.
Alright, thanks for reading! I hope this preview was helpful and sparked some ideas or strategies for your own fundraising roadmap. Our team is motivated by your mission and the work you do everyday. We believe that online fundraising innovations will lead to more organizations achieving their mission—that's why we build. We’re all in this together.