Believe.in is a true product of the modern digital age.
Heavily influenced by social media, the site is like a trimmed down Facebook. Each user has their own profile to share their latest philanthropic exploits, charities have their own pages accessed via fellow believers news feeds or by search and instead of liking a charity you now believe in it.
The site also integrates with social media so when you donate, believe or fundraise; your followers, friends and connections can see what you have been up to. Never before has social media played such a huge part in a charity giving website.
Currently the profile pages and charity pages only occupy the left margin but I expect the aim of these pages is to have the charities they represent managing them and providing content such as fundraising opportunities, projects, and success stories.
I would also expect the profile pages to expand to the centre of the screen to show a timeline of charitable activity, preparations for events such as photos of a marathon, mountain climb, bake sale etc. The aim must be to mimic Facebook and Twitter in their applications and user experience.
Take a guy training for the London Marathon for example. He runs 3 times a week and records his route and time on his iPhone and then posts the completed distance and time on Facebook. This is prime opportunity for Believe.in to hijack these status updates and have them feed directly into the Believe.in profile page instead of Facebook. This type of update would of course be synced with the fundraiser’s Facebook and Twitter to maximise his exposure and that of the Believe.in platform.
JustGiving is the market leader in the digital charity sector by a country mile. Believe.in’s biggest challenge is to try and challenge JustGiving’s dominance. This has to be done in two ways. Firstly, Believe.in proudly proclaims that 100% of donations made go to charity whereas only 94% of a donation makes it to the charity via JustGiving. Impressive stuff.
Secondly, the major feather in the cap is Believe.in’s accessibility. Social media is at the heart of this platform as is ease-of-use. Although JustGiving isn’t exactly a minefield to navigate, it pales in comparison to Believe.in.
For Believe.in to succeed it firstly needs buy-in from charities both large and small. At the bottom of most charity pages is a question asking you if you work for the charity and want to manage the page. We come back again to the hurdle of JustGiving and whether charities will see it as too much hassle to abandon JustGiving and their 6% cut of donations or relocate to Believe.in, revisit all their marketing materials and sacrifice their visibility to their donors for a while.
The second hurdle is to build its members. As with any start-up, members will be slow but Believe.in needs the floodgates to open to draw the attention of charities away from JustGiving. Catch 22 seems an applicable phrase to use. Charities won’t set-up shop until the users are there and the users won’t be there until the charities stop using JustGiving. Tricky one.
In the meantime, I expect the user experience to continue to evolve along the same lines as Facebook and Twitter to hopefully sit alongside them as the social media charity platform.