Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: open(/home/content/30/7423630/tmp/sess_69ntcgjtdlajss3b5l3ekh0t54, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in /home/content/30/7423630/html/wp-content/plugins/simple-twitter-connect/stc.php on line 33

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/30/7423630/html/wp-content/plugins/simple-twitter-connect/stc.php:33) in /home/content/30/7423630/html/wp-content/plugins/simple-twitter-connect/stc.php on line 33

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/content/30/7423630/html/wp-content/plugins/simple-twitter-connect/stc.php:33) in /home/content/30/7423630/html/wp-content/plugins/simple-twitter-connect/stc.php on line 33
Guest Posts Archive - TransSwipe - Merchant Services and Credit Card Processing

TransSwipe - Merchant Services and Credit Card Processing

Archive for the ‘Guest Posts’ Category

5 Tips For Protecting Customers (And Yourself) From Identity Theft

This is a guest post from Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of the personal finance website WalletHub, which offers free credit scores, full credit reports, 24/7 credit monitoring and customized money-saving advice.

Identity theft and the various forms of fraud that come with it pose a lurking problem for both merchants and consumers in our increasingly digitized economy. And while no one is completely safe in this “brave new retail world”, there are some simple steps that you can take to not only protect yourself, but also to do right by your customers.

We’ll highlight a handful of options below. The overarching theme, as you’ll see, is that strategic outsourcing to specialists can save you significant amounts of time, money and market share in the long run.

  • Find a Payments-as-a-Service (PaaS) Solution: Sometimes the smartest strategy is to stick to what you know best, which probably isn’t the inner workings of the payments infrastructure . So why not pay someone (like Dwolla) to help you handle all the red tape of payments APIs , so you can focus on the product?

    Assuming the price is right, this is an investment that could pay huge dividends in terms of your own personal peace of mind and, perhaps most importantly, customer satisfaction. After all, customers aren’t always familiar with how your site is being protected. What matters most to them is the safety of their personal information.
  • Outsource Email Management: Email might seem like a trivial task to pay someone else to do, but that can actually save you and your customers in the long run. After all, one of the most common forms of fraud is phishing.. Roughly 10% of email phishing leads to a data breach, and CEO email phishing in particular has cost businesses more than $2 billion since 2013, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

    A well-implemented email management system can reduce the  likelihood of someone falling victim, while ineffective email practices have the potential to destroy both your deliverability and reputation.
  • Invest In Server Security: Little is more important to an online business’s success than security.f. “If experience in other countries is a predictor of the effects in the U.S., merchants should anticipate an increase in online fraud,” according to the Norton Rose Fulbright Data Protection Report. And to think you are prepared to face this expected onslaught alone would be the height of hubris.

    So, to continue the theme of this advice, find a reputable security service that can handle your web-server protection. Countless companies, from boutiques to conglomerates, operate in this space, so you should be able to find something that meets your exact needs and price point. For example, I would recommend checking out CloudFlare, which has a solid reputation and a variety of inexpensive service options.  
  • Formalize Employee Policies & Contingency Plans: Teamwork and clear communication are essential to identity-theft avoidance, so make sure to establish and share will all employees any company policies and expectations that you foresee being necessary. This should include policies regarding the use and upkeep of electronic devices (e.g., antivirus software, password conventions, the acceptability of external drives, etc.); as well as the company’s data retention, storage and disposal procedures; and rules regarding customer confidentiality.Furthermore, you should have a clear plan for what each member of the team will do if one of your customers’ identities is stolen, including how to handle the respective individual and patch up any related vulnerabilities. Should the unfortunate happen, you’ll be glad to have a simple checklist to fall back on.
  • Get Stress-Tested By a Third Party: Once every year or so, it would be wise to have an independent security consultant “come in” to review all of your company policies and practices – everything from the manner in which employees share information to the external security settings of your marketplace. You have a plethora of qualified consultants to choose from, many of which can do their work remotely, so if you can afford it, there’s little reason not to engage in this sort of preventative care.

At the end of the day, it’s worth noting that strong security features and a blemish-free reputation are strong signals of quality for consumers. So emphasize your data protection policies and other security practices on your website, including any related certifications you may have received. Even something as simple as an “https” address or a “captcha” on payment pages can help you win the perception game.

Shift Payments: Now there’s a Visa Debit Card for Dwolla

This is a guest blog post written by one of our partners, Andrew Nossiter, Head of Operations at Shift Payments.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 12.12.04 PM

Traditional banking is at risk of losing out to faster, more efficient online alternatives that are a better fit for the 21st century, and Dwolla is at the forefront of this change.  Making people’s financial lives easier is something that we’re working towards at Shift Payments too, so we’ve partnered with Dwolla to offer a Visa debit card that lets you spend your money the moment it’s in your Dwolla account.  

The Shift Card attaches to all of your Dwolla balances, and let’s you spend your Dwolla balances everywhere that Visa is accepted both online and in-store.  Need to take an Uber to go pick up some Chipotle?  Now you can use your Dwolla funds to pay for that burrito, and the ride you take to get there.    

Shift leverages Dwolla’s powerful API platform to offer you the fastest way to spend your Dwolla funds, and with the Shift Card you no longer have to wait for money to transfer to your traditional checking account from your Dwolla balance.  We’ve built the Shift mobile app to interface with the Shift Card to make sure that you always know exactly where your money is.  We’ll also send you a push notification the moment you make a purchase, and offer the same card protections that you’ve come to expect from a name like Visa.

Just like Dwolla, our aim is to make sure that banking gets done on your terms.  We’re trying to simplify payments and make sure that you can access and spend all of your Dwolla funds the way you want.

Learn more about Shift Payments

Two Potential Mistakes in Web Design and How to Learn from Them

Webdesign

Mistakes are a part of life—both in web design and in many other moments of our daily routine. The important thing is having the insight to learn from those mistakes. This post, unlike the many out there that focus on tips for success, is about learning from those mistakes found in web design.

Proficient web designers have shared two of the most common goofs they’ve made and the valuable lessons they’ve learned in that process.

Mistake No. 1: Don’t elevate process over people and projects

As you grow in web design or web development, you come to develop a process for your work. You need to carefully ensure that this process doesn’t become more important than the project or people who are working on it.

If a project fails to go according to plan make sure you have a good understanding of why. Sometimes the reason is unexpected. For example, a strained relationship between a designer and the project manager can set things off.

Consider Jim and Sue. From the beginning, there was palpable tension between the two—Jim thought Sue was too headstrong with misguided notions, while Sue thought Jim to be combative and unhelpful.

In mounting frustration, Jim used the company’s established process as a means to improve the structure of the relationship and set boundaries with Sue. Each time Sue made a request that was outside of normal process, Jim declined, explaining that to do so would interfere with the time and budget allocated to the project.

Matters worsened and Jim became even more reliant on the process. Eventually the client, now exasperated, blew up at Jim, telling him that he attached more importance to their ‘process’ than the project he was hired to do in the first place. Jim’s plan to stick with the process didn’t bring success—all he was doing was avoiding confrontation and skirting the real issues.

The lesson: It’s important to have a process, but it doesn’t make sense to have one if you’re going to throw it out every time there is resistance. Every process must show a good degree of flexibility and rigidity while also providing for the differences between projects and clients.

A process is something to ease the flow of a project, rather than a shield to hide behind. At the end of the day, the people are more important than the project which is, in turn, more important than the process.

Read More: Get Started with the Dwolla API

Mistake No. 2:  Show, Don’t tell

Client meetings are an important part of any web designer’s job—here you understand the problems, issues, goals etc. and you explain your abilities to be of service. Right from the start though, you should show exactly how you can help, rather than just telling.

This show vs. tell mentality could be the difference between getting a project and losing it to the competition.

Wouldn’t you kick yourself if you lost a job just because you didn’t outline or demo your solutions visually? A client will likely go for the solution that they see as workable over the one they are told is workable. Always put yourself in the best position to win and don’t let you competitor be the one to make the visual sell—do it yourself.

The Lesson: no matter how elaborate and well crafted, talk is cheap. Whether or not the client requests for it, including a demonstration with a proposal can provide credibility, and get the response that you hope for. It might just tip the scale in your favor.

The value of mistakes

As a wise person once said, the real tragedy in making a mistake is when you fail to learn from it.

If you’ve made a mistake that’s strained your relationship with a client or gotten a project off track, it’s common to want a do-over when you realize what you’ve done.

There’s no time-machine for that unfortunately, but you might get a chance for a more positive experience in using the lesson from a past fail for your dealings in the future. If you end up making better decisions as a result of goofs from the past, then you’ve carried something valuable from what would have been a complete disaster.

That, my friend, is sometimes better than winning on the first try.

 

Author Bio

Jack (1)Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.

 

 

Plasma, Drones, and Nerf Guns, Dwolla @ HackIllinois 2015

Hackillinois
Last Friday, several Dwollans traveled to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for HackIllinois 2015. Nearly one thousand students from across the country gathered for a 36 hour hackathon, building incredible projects with either software, hardware, or both to see who could blow minds with their technological finesse.

The competition kicked off at 10:00 PM Friday with high spirits and high energy—partially fueled by Red Bull—and ended at 10:00 AM Sunday morning. Hacking paused briefly only for sleep, tech talks, and epic Nerf battles hosted by the organizers.

 

Teams varied in their approach to the competition. Some dove into unexplored territory, trying out hardware provided by sponsors, such as the Oculus Rift, Pebble, or Myo, a gesture control armband.

Others were primed and ready to start a project that had been at the back of their mind for months. A few teams still hadn’t settled on a hack, but like any successful startup, ideas were born from brainstorming, creativity, and collaboration.

Oculus Rift at Hackillinois

Mentors from companies like Dwolla, GoDaddy, and Factual not only provided the technologies used by the students, but also stood nearby eager and ready to lend advice.

Hackillinois

In addition to competing for overall top ten, we sponsored a prize for the best Dwolla integration, and posed a hashing challenge where students were asked to produce the lowest sha-512 hash.

Screenshot 2015-03-05 15.33.10

The submissions were amazing. For the hackers at HackIllinois, dreaming laid the blueprints to build amazing products.

Our absolute favorite hack used a Myo armband to send money via Dwolla by doing the “make it rain” gesture. Rad!

Here are some of our favorites:

Check out all the submissions at http://hackillinois2015s.challengepost.com/submissions

 


 

4 Legal Considerations For Your Freelance Work

The legal information* comes from guest author Vincent DiForte. Vincent is a Legal Fellow at Priori Legal, where he works to transform how small businesses find a lawyer and afford high-quality legal services in New York, California, and more. Vincent graduated with honors from Brooklyn Law School where he served as an Executive Editor of Brooklyn Law Review.

4 legal considerations

According to a Freelancer’s Union survey, “there are 53 million Americans—34 percent of the U.S. workforce—working as freelancers.” These self-starters fall into two categories: millennial or Gen X professionals going down the road of self-employment or retired baby boomers looking for more flexibility later in their careers.

If you are working as a freelancer or considering it, knowing about these four legal areas will help protect you, your work, and your income.

1.  Contracts

Using a lawyer to draft a contract for your freelance business is critical to ensure you get paid and prosper. A contract not only sets clear expectations for you and your client, but also creates the framework for how courts will interpret the agreement if a dispute arises.

It’s intuitive that a contract needs to state the parties bound to it, the scope of the work and the payment terms. There are, however, a number of other clauses that every freelancer should consult a lawyer about including in their contracts.  For example, a lawyer may recognize that your contract is missing a method of delivery and acceptance clause, an intellectual property rights clause, or a termination/dispute clause. For a contract to properly protect your freelance business, it must be tailored to your industry and specific circumstances.

If you are looking to keep costs down and make legal a one-time expenditure, talk to your lawyer about the concerns your clients typically have so they can draft boilerplate “fallback provisions.” Or, if you already use a contract, ask a lawyer whether it would be more cost-effective to revise it to meet your specific needs, instead of drafting one from scratch.

For an in-depth discussion of the legal do’s and don’ts of freelance contracts watch this Skillcrush webinar with Basha Rubin, CEO and Founder of Priori Legal.

2. Taxes

Along with the independence of freelance work comes the added responsibility of making sure you comply with tax law. Like an employee of a business, freelancers must pay income tax. Unlike employees who receive a W-2, taxes are not withheld from freelancers’ paychecks to cover the employee’s half of income tax, Social Security, and Medicare. In addition to making sure they pay appropriate taxes that were not withheld, freelancers must also pay the employer’s half in the form of self-employment taxes on Form SE.

Moreover, freelancers cannot wait until April 15 to pay all their taxes from the previous year.  Rather, they must pay estimated taxes quarterly.  This means that freelancers must pay taxes four times a year for the money they earned during that particular period. Paying estimated taxes does not constitute filing your tax form, but the estimated taxes will be filed as taxes paid on your tax form for the current year.

Although taxes may seem to cause freelancers many sleepless nights, the easiest way to ensure compliance is to diligently keep track of all your income and expenses. Business expenses for freelancers get deducted from their income on the Form 1040, Schedule C.  For example, if you are working from a home office, this may mean that part of your rent or mortgage payment qualifies as a business expense and deduction from your income.

3.  Intellectual Property

For most freelancers, protecting or preserving intellectual property rights is the lifeblood of their business. Ensuring that you do not transfer ownership rights in the work you create can have a dramatic impact on your career and earning capacity.

As a freelancer, you must take the necessary steps to ensure you retain intellectual property rights. Disputes frequently arise over ownership of the intellectual property (websites, logos, designs, articles and other creations etc.) when ownership rights are not clearly outlined in a contract or agreement. If a client hires you to create something for them, you may transfer all intellectual property rights in that creation upon payment. You can consult a lawyer about the various options you can take to protect yourself from relinquishing these rights. This may include contractual language that states you retain all intellectual property rights or that you grant the client a license to use your intellectual property for the agreed payment.

If a client, or someone else, violates your intellectual property agreement or fails to pay for use, you should consult a lawyer to determine your best recourse.

4. Business Entity

You may want to consider forming a legal business entity.  By forming a business entity you can protect your personal assets from any liability your freelance business incurs. In addition, choosing the right business entity may also add tax benefits and a level of professionalism to your freelance business. You should consult a lawyer about whether forming a single member LLC, sole proprietorship, or S corp is right for you.

No matter how big or small your freelance business, there are always legal regulations and liability to consider. Taking a few precautionary steps can make all the difference in protecting your freelance business, mitigating possible financial and legal problems and avoiding future stress.

*This blog post is legal information, not legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, consult a licensed lawyer.

Dwolla’s Fall Favorites

Fall is a magical time of year—it’s the perfect transition from summer’s searing temperatures to winter’s frigid chill, and in my opinion, it doesn’t last long enough.

The true signs of fall for me are spending Saturdays watching college football games, sipping warm pumpkin concoctions, and updating my wardrobe in preparation for the cooling climate.

With that, I’ve put together a guide to some of my best Fall finds, all straight from our Dwolla Storefront. Be sure to check for Dwolla discounts!

For the tailgate: Tender Belly Pork

Tender Belly

If you’re a borderline professional tailgater (like myself), you know that no tailgate setup is complete without the perfect cut of smoked meat, but finding your cut and procuring the flavor is no easy feat.

Tender Belly will take the hassle out of the process and send a juicy rack of baby back ribs straight to your doorstep. You can even order an entire pig if you’re up for it! Bonus: These guys are Midwest natives, which we kind of have a soft spot for.

For the chilly days: Direct Trade Coffee Club

Direct Trade Coffee Club

For the days when the temperature dips just low enough and all you want to do is cozy up with a good book and a warm drink, check out Direct Trade Coffee Club. If you can’t decide which flavor to try, go for the sample pack. Your coffee craving is cured, and you don’t even have to step outside; head to dtcoffeeclub.com and get your coffee sent straight to your doorstep!

For the home: Wood and Penny

Wood and Penny

To bring the feel of fall inside, pick up a Cedarwood Vanilla candle from Wood and Penny. It’s sure to warm you up and give your home that fresh fall scent it’s been waiting all year for. On top of that, the kind people at Wood and Penny donate 10% of every candle sold to charity.

For the student: Pijon Box

Pijon Box

Although my college glory days are long gone, I remember fall semester bringing midterms and long nights of studying. Send your favorite co-ed a care package with Pijon Box. First, pick a plan, then choose the contents of the box, and just like that, you’ve brightened your student’s day and appreciated their hard work. They even have a “Subscribe Yourself” button to get a monthly package for yourself—don’t mind if I do!

Use these recommendations to make fall even better for you and those around you, and don’t forget to check the Dwolla Storefront for discounts on the merchants listed above.

 

This is a guest post written by Dwolla fraud analyst, Lacey Powers. Lacey is based out of Des Moines, where she spends her free time learning how to play the guitar and practicing yoga. Reach out to her at @LaceyPowers on Twitter.

Why Do You Need a Great SEO Strategy?

This is a guest post by Joe Palko, CMO of 3dcart. Prior to joining 3dcart in 2011, Joe was a true internet pioneer co-founding his first e-commerce website in 1994 which later sold to America’s largest mail order pet supply retailer in 2007. Joe also co-founded Solid Cactus in 2001, which was later sold to the Web.com Group in 2009.

seo

Some start-up businesses online tend to skip planning a great SEO strategy. They have no strategy whatsoever for trying to increase their search engine ranking. Now this is definitely the best shortcut to failure. Your products will go to waste if you can’t get it out there under the noses of your target consumers. Your store will get eaten up and buried alive!

Do you really want this to happen? Of course not. It’s the ultimate nightmare for online merchants.

You need a sound SEO strategy for the following reasons:

1. Direction

It would be a good goal to try and get your website link on top of the first page of Google search results based on search phrases relevant to your business. This will help provide a direction for your online marketing efforts.

2. Guidance

With the right SEO strategy, you’ll be guided accordingly as to which platforms and methods to utilize that would bring about the best results for your business and not go to waste.

3. Proper Use of Resources

You don’t want to spend a lot of time marketing on Facebook when your target audience is hanging out elsewhere. You don’t want to launch a PPC or paid ads campaign just for the sake of it, not backed by the proper research. If you plunge into Internet marketing without an SEO strategy, you’ll end up wasting money, time, and effort.

4. Stronger Branding

In building and following a good SEO strategy, you’ll be able to strengthen your branding. You’ll gain greater exposure and thus make your brand known across the web.

5. Higher Traffic

At the same time, you can expect to increase your website traffic. Remember that 75% of searchers only check out the links that appear on the first page of results. Hence, you have to strive to be there, preferably on top.

6. Better Profits

Indeed traffic may not be enough to boost your profits. Nonetheless, it’s a good beginning. When you’ve nailed SEO, more people will be flocking to your site. Then you can put your excellent landing page and other conversion strategies to use. SEO plays an enormous part in leading you to close more sales and gain better profits.

Without an SEO strategy, your business might be doomed. Your ecommerce site will get left behind, perhaps stuck on the 5th page or so of search results. Your circle of consumers and overall reach may not expand.

Therefore, include your SEO strategy into the planning stage of your business even before you’ve officially begun operations.  It is important to be patient, because good SEO takes time, and always use your free time to learn as much as you can.

Joe Palko is the CMO of 3dcart. Prior to joining 3dcart in 2011, Joe was a true internet pioneer co-founding his first e-commerce website in 1994 which later sold to America’s largest mail order pet supply retailer in 2007. Joe also co-founded Solid Cactus in 2001, which was later sold to the Web.com Group in 2009.

5 Money Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make in Their First Year

empty wallet

Entrepreneurship can be one of the most rewarding risks a person can take. Starting your own business and making it grow is exhilarating and presents the opportunity to reap fortunes and see your ideas come to life. In reality, however, it’s an uphill battle that many have failed to win. Take a lesson from them and be sure to avoid the following five mistakes entrepreneurs tend to make in their first year.

  1. Mixing personal funds with business funds. For organizational reasons and tax purposes, you should separate your money from your business’ money. Even if you have to use money to get your business started, document it as an investment that you’re making, as in it’s no longer your personal money but has now become something you’ve given to your business. Set up a separate checking account, get a business credit card (compare options here), and keep your household and business expenses far from each other. You’ll thank yourself come tax and planning time, and along the way you’ll have a better handle on how much capital you truly have.
  2. Investing in too many ideas at a time. If you’re gutsy enough to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, then chances are you have several ideas. One thing you don’t want to do, however, is spread yourself too thin. Spend money on one or two ideas at a time – those things that can start to bring in revenue that can then be reinvested in the business for future concepts.
  3. Not spending money on market research. Your idea will always sound unique and innovative until you conduct market research (see inexpensive ideas here). Take the time to learn what you may not want to know. Check out all your competitors, and make sure there’s actually a demand for your goods or service. And assuming it is still a go, figure out how you will differentiate yourself. Spend some time and money now and you’ll be saving yourself a lot more later. You don’t want to put time and money into an idea that has little chance of flourishing.
  4. Forgetting to make a business plan. As awesome as your idea may be, you will very likely lose money if you don’t have a concrete business plan to back it. Whether or not you have to present your plan to anyone, it’s great to have it as a reference for your own goals and strategies. Lean on mentors or trusted advisers for input as you put together your marketing plan, operations plan, and financial projections. You want a reality check as you put it together and then as you get the business underway.
  5. Spending initial profits on frivolous things. The thrill of entrepreneurship takes on a new life when you finally make a profit after all your hard work, but don’t waste money as soon as you start making it. This isn’t the time to needlessly stock up on inventory because you are overconfident about your product or to reward employees with a lavish sushi and champagne dinner. For now, put that money back into your business, and keep it moving.

Make wise choices now that your idea has taken off. As any smart business owner who has weathered these mistakes will tell you, this is just the beginning.

***

Daniela Baker is a small business blogger at CreditDonkey, where she helps entrepreneurs compare business credit card deals.  Visit their blog and drop them a line.

Nonprofits Improve Fundraising With A Technological Makeover

Conceptual profitPassion alone won’t raise money to support the philanthropy that’s so close to your heart. Meeting the needs and preferences of donors, as well as providing transparency, improves fundraising returns, according to the report “Donor Perspectives: An investigation into what drives your donors to give.”

Organizations can improve fundraising by providing the resources for donors to learn about their cause, updating donors on their impact and providing easy methods for donation, says Dennis McCarthy, author of the report. Meet the needs of your donors through social, financial management and mobile technologies.

Social Online Communities

Social networking sites are game-changing technology. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Vine are digital social spaces where you can engage with your community. Market a fundraising campaign, raise awareness for a cause and target potential donors by posting a variety of content. You’re creating outreach and sharing knowledge and resources with others who also believe in your cause. If a charity event was a success or your organization reached its goal, share your philanthropic achievements on your Facebook page or upload photos to Instagram. Whether you’re raising money for a local youth program or African wildlife conversation, social media is where you can create and promote content to support communal or global issues.

Flawless Financial Management

Nonprofit organizations share the same needs as a business, which is to market a cause (like a product or service) and solicit donations (like a transaction with a consumer). Donors may question the authenticity of your organization’s efforts and where their money goes. Financial transparency, including excellent financial records and management, creates a trusting relationship between you and your donors. The following can improve your finances:

  • Nonprofit Accounting Software: QuickBooks software organizes your accounting activity. Record and track donations in a central location and easily access reports. QuickBooks invoicing software along with QuickBooks online can streamline your invoicing, basic bookkeeping and billing. QuickBooks Premier Nonprofit offers specific features, such as tracking pledges and grants and distributing donations to programs.
  • Mint.com: Mint securely collects all your financial information in one place. Matt Boggie, tech adviser for ProjectExplorer, relies on Mint for managing expenses. Mint automatically imports transactions and organizes expenses into categories and tags. Get instant visibility on where donors’ money is spent and how far you are from achieving goals.
  • Dwolla: Dwolla allows you to accept donations online or in-person, via their web and mobile app. No matter where your fundraising event is taking place, you can get donations, and funds will be directly forwarded to your account. Nearly 80 percent of respondents make one-off donations to a charity, according to the Donor Perspectives report. Equipped with Dwolla, you can accept donations in the most unexpected or inopportune moments, and not have to worry about paying the large transaction fees associated with credit card donations (Dwolla’s only fee is $0.25 per transaction over $10, while $10 and under is free.)

Mobile Fundraising

Mobile fundraising eliminates the need for a checkbook and takes your fundraising efforts everywhere. Equip your smartphone or tablet with a fundraising app to make it convenient for you to take donations. Church organizations, for example, can track donations and easily make automatic transaction using Easy Tithe. Other noteworthy apps to help you stay organized, increase awareness and accept donations include the following:

  • Cozi: Stay organized using the calendar feature, creating to-do lists and setting up text or email reminders.
  • PayAnywhere: Accept credit card payments, view real-time reports and track fundraising goals.
  • Donor Perfect: Maintain donor information using your donor database.
  • giveonthemobile: Share news, collect donations and encourage donors to get involved independently in support of your fundraiser.
  • ThankYouPro: Send customized thank you cards that are printed and delivered via U.S. Mail.

***

This is a guest post by Walter Robinson. Walt’s favorite past time is participating in charity runs. Whether he is volunteering to help out or in the race himself, he loves running for a cause.

How To Use Social Media To Generate Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales

black friday dealsIn an age where social media represents one of the easiest and cheapest platforms to market products, a company hoping to generate strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales cannot afford to let their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest platforms go silent. Pew Internet reports that a full 72% of adults use social media on a daily basis, with little statistical difference between demographics or income levels. When you want this Black Friday to break all your records, how should you incorporate social media into your plans?

Make Mobile Platforms

The question of whether or not mobiles act as an engine for shopping has an answer: undoubtedly, unreservedly, yes. eMarketer reports that the majority of smart phone users, some 66%, utilize their phones to either purchase an item online or do more research about the deals they intend to take advantage of. Make sure your social network sites have mobile compatibility so that visitors can comment or click on links from the phones, tablets, and e-readers. Better yet, create an app that allows customers to make their purchases without ever needing to log onto a computer on Cyber Monday.

Use Cross-Platform Communication

All social media networks compete for your attention, but many have realized that they can cooperate and share users rather than compete against one another. By using cross-platform updates, such as posting the stills from a YouTube video onto Pinterest, you can double or even triple the number of views of a single update. For instance, customers find out more about Black Friday deals from Macy’s posts because the company uses the dual-network technique for updates. By incorporating the Facebook hashtag platform, this retail giant can dual-post on Twitter and Facebook simultaneously, effectively killing two social media birds with one stone.

Offer Check-In Deals

Knowing where your customers will go and what they think about an experience can provide just as much helpful information as knowing what they want to buy. Companies have taken advantage of FourSquare’s newfound popularity to market Black Friday deals to users who “check in” on the social network. In fact, FourSquare released a graphic showing that their highest peak usage occurs during Black Friday, when customers want to connect and find reviews, while businesses want to know where the flow of traffic heads. Give your customers reason to check in on FourSquare by giving away coupons or promotions to all who sign up, check in, and give ratings.

Respond — And Respond Quickly

Social networks have the moniker “social” for a reason. People don’t like to think that on the other side of a Tweet lies an empty screen. Whenever your social platforms get comments — and they will — respond diligently and comprehensively. Social content marketers Convince and Convert report that over 40% of social media consumers expect a response in no less than sixty minutes to a query. The takeaway speaks for itself: whenever a follower, friend, or network connection reaches out to your social media crew, take the time to give them exactly what they need.

 ***

This is a guest post by Suzanne Burns.

Suzanne is a shopping expert and loves to write about where to find the best deals.


Warning: Unknown: open(/home/content/30/7423630/tmp/sess_69ntcgjtdlajss3b5l3ekh0t54, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in Unknown on line 0

Warning: Unknown: Failed to write session data (files). Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct () in Unknown on line 0