Fundraising in the 21st century


When Elmet Lions Club decided to resurrect the Great Selby Bike Ride after Selby Lions Club closed down we decided to bring it into the 21st century in terms of its organisation and set about doing so in the following manner:-

We set up a Paypal business account and applied for charity status with Paypal to reduce the fees charged for transactions.

The website dedicated to the event included an e-commerce plugin from Woocommerce so that we could sell entries online, using Paypal to handle the payments and Mailchimp to handle correspondence with entrants.

We also needed to recruit marshalls to manage cyclists en route. This was mainly done via our Facebook pages, where we now have approaching 1,000 followers. Communication with marshalls was then managed via Gmail using Sheets and an extension called Yet Another Mail Merge.

The two routes were written up as Google Docs downloads from the Bike Ride website and also mapped with the phone app Bikemap so that they could be downloaded to cyclists’ own devices.

The club registered with HMRC for a GiftAid number. We then signed up to Justgiving and created a discrete fundraising website that riders could sign up to. This simplifies fundraising as all donations are automatically sent to the club and Justgiving claims GiftAid on our behalf in return for a 5% fee.

GiftAid is worth a net 20% extra to the club.

Historically (the event is more than 30 years old) many cyclists enter on the day and 2022 was no different. More than a 100 riders entered on the Sunday. Handling the amount of cash that this involved made the club members a bit nervous and would have added to the insurance cost of the event too.

The previous two years of Covid restrictions had seen a quantum leap in the use of contactless payments so the club invested in card readers to be used in conjunction with a mobile app.

This wasn’t without problems though. We initially purchased a number of Square card readers and found that multiple readers would not work in close proximity to each other. We then approached Zettle who assured us that their readers would be able to function at a number of pay stations near to each other, which they did.

We were able to take more than £1,000 in entries during the hour before the event started.

Mobile phones provided direct communication between riders, marshalls, the club’s HQ, mobile first aid, and the lost child managers.

If you are a charity and have any queries about this article, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Steve Cooper, Elmet Lions Club CIO trustee

Online sales and e-commerce

Three recent news reports provide insights into what’s happening to businesses during lockdown.

First, #Asda have announced major changes to their supermarket operation indicating an even greater shift towards online sales. They announced that they hadn’t expected to reach their present level of online sales for another nine, yes nine years.

Then chocolate maker #Thorntons announced they would be closing all their retails shops and shifting to online sales with some sales via supermarkets.

Finally an industry review of what will happen to online sales after the boost they have seen as a consequence of the pandemic lockdowns suggest that they may drop as people return to shops when they re-open but they will then continue to rise again.

So if you haven’t started selling online yet and think you won’t bother now that lockdown will be eased, think again. First there is no guarantee that lockdown will be eased if a new wave of Covid spreads and online sales are going to continue to grow anyway.

Making that transition is not as difficult as you might think. With a combination of #WordPress and #Woocommerce I can offer you a seamless switch to e-commerce and set up a payment gateway with the likes of Paypal.

Get in touch and I can answer any questions or deal with any doubts you may have.

Shock, horror – international corporation warns your website viewers that you are untrustworthy even if you have a WordPress site

Yes, Google are at it again. They have offered the carrot but are now threatening you with the stick.

One of a number of Internet related companies, Google is part of the consortium offering free website encryption via `Let’s encrypt’. Encryption of your website means that you have obtained an SSL certificate from a recognised authority and have converted your website from http to https. This means that all data between your website and a viewer browsing your site is encrypted instead of being transmitted as [vulnerable] plain text under the http protocol. It means that a padlock icon will appear in your browser denoting that it is secure and that you can safely enter email addresses, passwords and make online payments on your website.

That`s the carrot.

The stick is that, with the issue of the latest version of their Chrome browser, Google now identify that your site is not secure with the little i icon at the beginning of the url field if your site only uses the http protocol.

Future plans are that the security status of your website will affect your ranking in Google`s SERPs, while they have written that they may explicitly comment on the security of your site in their search engine results – a bit of stick and a bit of carrot

WordPress websites will always be reviewed critically because you have to log into your website to manage it.

So, get in touch with your designer, your hosting provider or your ISP and arrange for your website to be upgraded from http to https, whether it is a WordPress site or not.

An occasional rant

I generally select software for a particular purpose and am satisfied if it serves that purpose satisfactorily. Unfortunately I recently purchased an update of software which has always done what it said on the tin. It’s called Winzip and it zips and compresses files so that they take up less space. This means that you can store them, email them and uncompress them again reliably time after time. Indeed WordPress plugins and themes can be uploaded as zip files and WordPress will uncompress them and install them reliably.

The suppliers of Winzip seem to be suffering some kind of crisis of confidence. Compressing and uncompressing files is suddenly not enough. Every so often (too often!) a message pops up telling how many megabytes of files are located in the Trash or Temp folder or how many megabytes of files haven’t been touched in a while and offering to delete them.

Wizip! Stop it! Just stick to compressing and uncompressing stuff. Leave the rest of running my computer to me. I don’t need a file nanny.

End of rant