A blog by the Brick Factory The Brick Factory

Five Inspirational Digital Campaigns

I’m happy to say we’ve been pretty slammed here at the Brick Factory, so there hasn’t been much time for blogging lately.  But I did want to quickly share some cool digital campaigns I’ve come across the last few weeks that inspired me (or more accurately, that I want to rip off in some way).  Here goes.

(1) 2015 Quilt > live project


Developed by One.org, 2015 Quilt let’s visitors add a panel to a virtual quilt as a way of support ending AIDs by 2015.  Executed in a way that really encourages exploration.


Five Common Web Development Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

As a firm that builds things online, we often talk to potential clients that are unhappy with their current development partner.  Usually the break ups are amicable and there is a logical explanation for the change.  Fresh ideas are needed.  Requirements have evolved.  Personalities just don’t fit.  But sometimes the client is angry and feels let down.  Timelines weren’t met.  Budgets skyrocketed without explanation.  The work product was buggy.

Having worked in digital for 10+ years now, I’ve been on both sides of the situation.  I’ve been the guy poaching the work and I’ve been the guy that let the client down.

The truth is building things is hard and it is inexact.  No matter how talented or hard working or well intentioned you are, you are going to screw up sometimes and piss off a client.  It will happen.  To shed some light on the client-consultant dynamic and how things can go wrong, following is a list of the five most common complaints I hear people make about their web development partners and the steps we are taking at the Brick Factory to avoid having these complaints made about us.

(1) Lack of responsiveness

I can’t tell you how often people come to me complaining that their client representatives simply don’t return their calls or emails in a timely manner.  This just baffles me.

Consultants are in the customer service business.  When a customer calls or emails you, you need to get back to them as quickly as you can.  If a request is simple, just do it right away and be done with it.  If it will take time, acknowledge the request and let the client know you’ll get back to them.  People want to be acknowledged.  Silence is often interpreted as apathy, or even an act of aggression.  Being responsive will preempt a lot of problems.  It is amazing how many firms/people don’t get this. (more…)

Five Fundraising Tips from the charity:water September Campaign

From a fundraising perspective, one of the great successes of the last few years has been charity: water.  In five years the organization has evolved from a lean startup charity into a fundraising juggernaut that has raised millions online and provided potable water to an estimated two million people. 

The organization just rolled out its annual September campaign, which is their big fundraising push each year.  While charity: water clearly has more resources at its disposal than the average non-profit at this point, the fundamental set up of the campaign is something that any organization should be able to replicate. 

(1) Set a goal and a timeline.

The goal of this year’s September campaign is to raise $1,200,000 by the end of September.  On their site they include a real-time counter showing their progress in the campaign.


Setting clear goals like this and showing progress helps to make donors feel invested in the campaign and creates a sense of community.


Using the geo.position meta tag

When we recently released an updated version of our SEO Basics white paper, we added information about the geo.position meta tag.  Using this tag allows webmasters to let the search engines know where the organization is physically located by providing longitude and latitude data. 

This is a useful tool for location sensitive organizations, but it is not as helpful to all organizations.


Announcing Giving eCards

An increasing part of our work at The Bivings Group revolves around helping non-profits and political organizations fine tune their fundraising strategies.  This work has taught us that raising money is tough.  The down economy has created fierce competition for donor dollars, so organizations have to get creative in order for their solicitations to have an impact. 

Into this environment we’re pleased to launch Givings eCards, a new product that provides organizations with a creative and cost-effective way to raise money online.

An eCard is a personalized image and message that an organization’s supporters can send to their friends and family. Giving eCards allows your supporters to not only send a custom eCard through the site, but make a donation to your organization in someone’s name.

Here is how it works from an organizational perspective:

  1. Organizations sign up for a free account on www.givingecards.com.  When signing up, the organization reserves a custom URL for their Giving eCards page (www.givingecards.com/page_name).
  2. Once the account is created, organizations upload their custom designed eCards to their account. eCards can be categorized dynamically, allowing for sets of cards to be created for common occasions such as birthdays,the 4th of July, graduation, etc.
  3. Once the eCards are uploaded, the organization promotes their eCard page to their supporter base via email, social media, website links, etc.
  4. As supporters donate and send cards on behalf of friends and family, the money is automatically deposited into the Paypal account of the organization.  Giving eCards takes 5% of the amount raised on top of Paypal’s fees.
  5. Organizations can access and export all donor information from their Giving eCards control panel at any time.

We’re planning to launch the product in closed beta next week with a more complete roll out in July.  If you are interested in giving the product a whirl, please visit www.givingecards.com and sign up to request access to the beta.

Stay tuned….

eCards Organization Page


eCard Purchase Page