June 10, 2012

I wish there were a simple site for tracking charity event pledges.

I’ve been doing this thing we call blogathon since 2006, so that makes this year my sixth year. Blogathon is an event in which I, (or we, if there are others participating with me,) stay up 24 hours to blog every half hour for a charity of our choice. Up until 2010, there was an official event at: http://blogathon.org(that link doesn’t work.) All of a sudden, just before they were supposed to allow signups for that year, they canceled it and haven’t done one since then, (I have no idea why, but it’s quite ridiculous if you ask me!) Fast forward to 2012, and having done the blogathon on my own the past couple years now, my plans were to blog for a small local charity this year. Naturally I thought I’d be able to use FirstGiving, which I used, (and which worked well last year. What I didn’t realize until last month, is that FirstGiving is $500 for charities! I knew that wouldn’t work for the local charity I was planning to blog for, so I started to investigate the alternatives. What I found were either really complex sites like Crowdrise, sites that wanted to wait until a certain time to pass the donations to the charity, (Razoo, and sites that want you to use your own PayPal account and send a check to the charity, (GoFundMe, Chipin,) or sites that want you to use Facebook exclusively, (Fundrazr.) OK, here’s the problem, I don’t want to use Facebook for this, and I could list a hundred reasons why, but Facebook and I just do not get along! The other thing is, I definitely don’t want, (and would never ask anyone donating to trust me to,) send a check to the charity after the event is over. So, here’s what I think we need and why. A site like FirstGiving, but for pledges only that is, a pledge now, donate after the event is over system that we used to use, and that for the most part worked fairly well. What FirstGiving allows you to do is set up fundraising pages for events, but the charity must be listed with them. What FirstGiving doesn’t allow you to do very easily is search to see if a charity is listed with them, their search doesn’t handle exact words and phrases, so it’s pretty much an epic failure! What this site should have is the ability to set up pages, like FirstGiving, but again for pledges only. So if I were doing an event, I’d have my own page that looks something like a FirstGiving page, (here’s mine from last year,) but instead of donate” it would say something like click to pledge.” The person pledging would then be walked through the process, (with absolutely no sign up necessary, just a name, email address, and pledge amount,) and then the person doing the event gets notified, and the page gets updated with the amount pledged. Now, here’s the best part of this, the charity wouldn’t have to be listed with any sort of database if you’re going to use this kind of system! What you do is supply a link to the charity, and the exact link to the donation form, and then anywhere from a couple days to a week after your event is over, (that’s completely up to you,) you’d use the service to send out emails to give out that link to everyone who pledged, (this could probably be set up to do automatically.) You might send one more email a month later to remind them, (because there are some people that don’t remember,) but then you’re done… that’s it! I actually have several other ideas about how this could work, although explaining them would just make this post longer, but I wanted this site yesterday, and I’ve needed it since 2010!

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