Monday, March 27, 2006

What a week

More than a month overdue, we announced our newest feature, Personal Fundraising Pages. These pages are for anyone who is involved in any kind of event to raise money for a specific charity. Walking? Running? Dancing? Singing? A young woman approached me recently after I gave a talk at a school and said she was organizing a "silent-a-thon" amongst all the most chatty young women in her class.

They were going to their friends, family and classmates and getting them to donate for the girls to keep quiet! So, there are all kinds of events people are participating in to raise money for charity.

GiveMeaning isn't the first organization to offer hosted pages to participants but we do offer some distinct advantages, number one being that we're the only organization offering this totally free. But beyond cost, I think our pages are going to do a better job of connecting the fundraiser to their community of supporters leading-up to and most important after the event.

So we launched the pages late Wednesday night and Saturday afternoon, our first official page was created by a guy in Virginia. There is almost no feeling better than launching a new aspect of the site and seeing the first person use it. Seeing Andrew's Page brought me back to the first purchase of GiveMeaning card's that came through the first GiveMeaning site back in December 2004. That first $50 trumped all other financial transactions in my life! And seeing Andrew's page brought back the same sense of pride and excitement.

Already, we have signed-up our first event where all of their participants will be encouraged to create fundraising pages at GiveMeaning and several national fundraising events have approached us for more information, all in the first few days of us announcing our pages.

Today, we've surpassed a new non-holiday web traffic metric, and our development team is working hard to release our new design to the site. We've been working on a major redesign based on user feedback that - once integrated - will remove a lot of the frustrations some people experience with the current site. We'll be rolling this out in stages over the coming weeks and months.

Finally, on a personal note, I feel compelled to say how happy GiveMeaning makes me feel. Every donation, every new GivingGroup or fundraising page created, every email from a satisfied donor, it gives me so much joy.

"I believe strongly in what you are doing and thank you so much for the creativity and effort that went into building this foundation."

and another:

"Good luck with all your projects and it feels great to help children in Cambodia from my computer in Barrie, Ontario." I cherish these comments.

Lastly, I gotta say: I'm on the front-lines. I read every customer support email that comes through the site. To many people. customer support might seem like a such dull, thankless job. Not here. It's the most exciting part of my job. I love our team. I love working on new functionality and new ideas but the joy I get out of interacting with charities and donors and knowing that we're helping make a difference for the things that are important to them: Absolutely priceless.

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