First thoughts on launching the UK’s newest fundraising app
One month down … but definitely app
Johnny Pitt, founder of Thinking of You, shares his thoughts on what he’s learnt launching the world’s most thoughtful fundraising and mobile donation app.
Thinking of You recently celebrated its first month. We unwrapped our special (and aptly abbreviated) ToY at the end of 2018, but so fast does the mobile app world move, that I wanted to capture a few, early reflections on its first month in play. So, here in ten, the things that have struck me most;
Team with fundraising vision
I’ve launched two businesses before, but I’ve been sincerely struck by ‘The ToY Team’. Firstly, there’s been a collective can-do on absolutely everything, despite some healthy challenges. A real positivity, belief and collective cheer, that I think stems from partly me enjoying it more 3rd time round (if I’m honest!), but also the fact ToY is just so entrepreneurial in subject matter and nature. Secondly, within The ToY Team, we do truly believe we can change and improve donating and fundraising in the UK – and beyond. That core belief and clear vision is so important in driving a business, along with team spirit. I know we’ve got a powerful combination.
People know that I’m something of a perfectionist, and I never apologise for that. You have to be if you want to create sustainable business. But, with apps, it’s different. You can’t have it perfect from day one. It’s impossible, due to the nature of apps, mobile tech, bugs, Apple (!), updates, early day budgets etc. What you have to be able to do however is see the runway, see how it will play out and see the long game. Then you can visualise perfection, without having it immediately. Visualising success and the end product in stages (V1, V2, V3 etc), whilst recognising there will be bumps along the tarmac, is what sustains and nourishes momentum.
Thinking of You deals with peoples’ emotions, personal lives, money, data and the whole gammit of births, deaths, marriage, success, failures etc. So, how we manage the whole operation, needs to be very mindful and sensitive of that. We need to be emotionally thoughtful at every turn, in every response, whether proactive or reactive. And we need to represent the brand well. It’s an emotional business, quite literally.
Lots of people say, ‘yeah, we’ll help’. But you need people who really WILL. I’ve been very touched by the number of people who’ve offered their time (for free), or others who’ve made early day connections that have greatly helped, or investors who’ve really got stuck in (with early day feedback!) We’re working with lots of charity partners too, and I’m proud of every single partnership, as it’s also validation. We’re also partnered with CAF, the Charities Aid Foundation, which I’ve valued very much. Partnership matters to us – and will do, going forward.
Every tiny matters
It’s ALL in the detail. I’ve advised ‘000 of clients over the years, on ‘000’s of projects, but this is my first ‘personal and living’ consumable product to mass market. So, every angle is viewed, every lid lifted, every nook and cranny exposed. The smallest detail matters. I obsess about it naturally, but even my powers of copy reading and proofing have been tested! A missing full stop or typo can damage your product in an instant.
Listen and capture
‘All feedback is welcome’ has become something of a cliché these days. But … any and all feedback IS so welcome! I am crushed if someone says the app crashed on them – or a screen froze. Which has happened. But all feedback is essential in building what we have now, and what we will have in the future. And we need to be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day etc.
Whilst we may be small, we’ve already had nearly 200 charities wanting to sign with us in the opening month, so whilst we’re only a small team, we need to be geared like a much bigger operation, so we can absorb and take in all we need to smoothly.
If it was easy
Has it been harder than I imagined? Well, even my powers of attention to detail have been tested! But you have to constantly remind yourself WHY you did it (in this case, driven from personal experience, a desire to change giving, fundraising and donating in the UK) and WHAT you are looking to achieve (initially, the UK’s leading mobile donation app.) Never lose sight of the WHY and the WHAT. Simon Sinek has done a great TED Talk on it, that you’ll probably have seen.
Charities and customers moving in perfect harmony. Spin the wheel smoothly. Learning new things in business is a joy at every turn!
A smile never fails to calm, reassure, please and motivate. Me included.
I wonder what our ToY will look like at the end of this year!