There was lots of great information at the Technology and Communications Conference on April 10. One particularly important announcement came from Dana Nelson of GiveMN. Dana told the crowd that GiveMN will be moving to a new technology partner; Kimbia. Few (if any) were surprised to learn GiveMN had sought alternatives to using Razoo.com, as the 2013 Give to the Max Day suffered severe technical problems. The move does raise some current questions for social fundraisers in Minnesota, and good lessons for all regardless of location.
GiveMN hosted a web discussion to help nonprofits understand more about the transition to Kimbia. The new GiveMN will be coming this summer, giving organizations time to adapt their planning and be sure their new GiveMN donor pages are ready before the November 13, 2014 Give to the Max Day. A few important things to keep in mind between here and the summer transition:
- Razoo.com will continue to function for donations as it has before. Charities seeking to do online donor drives soon can continue with their current GiveMN structures. Once GiveMN has transitioned to Kimbia, Razoo will continue and charities will still be able to use it’s donation system, so it will remain an option in the future. The current links to donation pages may even continue to work, though more info on that will be available in the coming months.
- Kimbia works differently from Razoo in that it creates independent partner websites that use it’s technology but aren’t part of a larger Kimbia brand on the web. If you use GiveMN today, you end up at GiveMN.razoo.com for donations. In the future, that will be just GiveMN.org and not GiveMN.Kimbia.com. This is going to be important for a number of reasons to GiveMN partners and to Give to the Max Day donors in the future.
- Nonprofits wishing to jump the line and start using Kimbia (rather than continuing to use Razoo) are going to have to wait. There is no option as of yet to create, modify or use an individual charity page with Kimbia. That will come later this summer at GiveMN.org. Larger nonprofits could consider an individual partnership for branded sites with Kimbia (or others) but most will want to wait for the full details on what GiveMN will offer before making any changes.
It’s equally as important to note the lessons for social fundraising outside this announcement. Change, especially on the internet, is inevitable. Charities need to be ready to adapt, and to keep in mind some critical questions in any of their partnerships:
- Who owns your data, and what does it take to get it set up elsewhere? Hosting your email with Google is a great idea – until Google changes the terms of service. Can you get all your data out easily? Can you import it to the new thing easily? Charities can get basic donor information back out of Razoo, which is good news for all.
- What’s your back-up plan? When technologies change or fail, it’s a good idea to know all the choices and what to do in case one isn’t available. Even very small nonprofits can have a plan ready; redundancy isn’t just for the big dogs.
- When is it time to build your own, versus use an outside source? This isn’t just about online giving. Remember when organizations used to host their own web sites? Pretty much no one does that anymore because it’s cheaper and more reliable to rent it. This isn’t the case with every technology.