Nonprofit Partner Blog

My top 3 ways to disrupt the philanthropy space

Change - Speedometer Races to Revolution

Great leaders like Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and John Kennedy have urged all humans to seek to serve others and to not be served ourselves. Were I to dream that these three ways to disrupt philanthropy become reality, all I see is a dramatic improvement in our service to those less fortunate than you or me.

Were I to be invited to speak about the ways I would disrupt the philanthropy space, I would welcome the chance and offer these three to disrupt a space in need of a disruption. I share them here with you in writing:


Subsidies for online giving tools


Allow nonprofits to get governmental subsidies for online giving costs as they do for mail. How long are we going to subsidize mail for nonprofit use? Do you know how much is returned because of a bad address let alone the amount that hits the landfill?


I’m not against direct mail in any way. Don’t stop using direct mail, just create incentives  for nonprofits to emphasize other channels like online. Direct mail will still be used by many and, by some, to great effect. But if direct mail is driving donors online to make gifts as found by Dunham and Company in 2013 (44% of direct mail recipients prefer giving online to 41% preferring to give via direct mail) it makes sense to encourage the preferred way to give.


The other major benefit is, and I hope you’re with me on this: not subsidizing the filling of our nation’s landfills with direct mail sent to the wrong address. Yes, you can add the direct mail pieces that no one wants to answer to that pile headed to the landfill. However, I’ve been blown away by nonprofits telling me that HALF their direct mail never gets delivered!


Bring the carriers together to offer solutions beyond text-to-give


As the carriers come together to offer text-to-give, so should our government get them together to offer a solution for which the majority of nonprofits can qualify.


If your nonprofit has to have $500K in revenue to qualify for text-to-give more than half don’t qualify. There are over 800,000 nonprofits making $100,000 or less. What do they do for mobile? 1 in 4 are mobile-only today. How do we help them when this becomes 1 in 3? 1 in 2?


Yes, the carriers are a competitive bunch and getting them together on anything may be a bridge too far. But they’ve come together on text-to-give. They’ve come together on Amber Alerts. Why not this endeavor?


You see, I feel that we’re teaching young donors to only give to a nonprofit if they see them on TV and only if there’s an epic amount of destruction and death. Come on carriers! Put yourself in the position, if you can, of the teen being cyber-bullied, or the person with AIDS, or the one with cancer, or the one living in your area that hasn’t eaten in days.

Is it that you can’t? Hogwash. It’s that you won’t and that’s a big time shame on you.


Deliver the iTunes model for nonprofits


You know what I like about this model? Easy discovery, easy buying, easy sharing.


Imagine an open, online platform where any nonprofit can hang their shingle so-to-speak, and drive supporters to their presence in this platform and also inject this presence into their communication channels like social media. In this model, donors can store their giving information (like name, address, credit card info just as they do with iTunes today) and donors can apply the same stored credit card information to a gift of any size to any nonprofit in this platform. I envision one common platform built with the stated intent that the ones who are in need are the most important persons NOT AT THE TABLE and the ones we should all focus on.


A man on the moon once made a giant leap for all mankind. I believe that our leap for mankind is right here in these words.


Dale Knoop, CEO RAZ Mobile

About the Author: Dale Knoop is an industry-recognized pioneer in the mobile data services industry. In 2003, Dale launched MobiTV and in less than one year built it into the 10th largest cable operator in the US. In 2005 Dale won an Emmy for his work as General Manager for Sprint TV, the first carrier-branded mobile live TV service. Dale holds several patents involving mobile data services. RAZ Mobile was conceived as an area of opportunity during his time leading a mobile-centric start-up Dale exited in 2009. Dale holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Kansas. He can be reached at [email protected] or 913.226.1144