BEEx is a Free/Libre/Open (FLO) project of The Sarapis Foundation that helps people raise the resources they need to do what they want. BEEx.org is a deployment of the BEEx code provided by our foundation. Donations through BEEx.org go directly into registered organizations' Paypal accounts and we take no transaction fees.
- 1 BEEx for Organizations
- 2 BEEx for Fundraisers
- 3 Participate
- 4 Guide
- 5 Promotion
- 6 What is a Cluster
- 7 General Configurations
- 8 Facebook
- 9 YouTube
- 10 Twitter
- 11 BEEx 2.0
BEEx for Organizations
BEEx is an easy to use constituent empowerment fundraising tools that helps folks raise money and awareness for your organization by saying what action they'll perform if a certain amount of money is raised for your organization. To get started, simply register your organization on BEEx.org and your staff and supporters will be able to start their own personal fundraisers, create their own multi-participant fundraising activities and create create project-based fundraising pages.
The money raised for your organization through BEEx goes directly into your organization Paypal account. We never touch it, we take no transaction fees, and registration is free.
BEEx for Fundraisers
BEEx allows you to raise money for your favorite organizations by performing individual and group challenges. Our tools are easy to use and absolutely free. To start, simply declare what action you’ll perform if a certain amount of money raised for the organization of your choice. Once you’ve answered a few short questions, you’ll have your very own challenge page, complete with a donation button, fundraising meter and access to blog and social media promotion tools. You can also create group fundraisers (clusters) which work great for events like charity walks.
The best way to create a good product is to use it yourself, so we're asking developers to use BEEx to build BEEx. Simply join the BEEx cluster and explain what action you'll perform if a certain amount of money is raised for the Sarapis Foundation. If we like what you're doing, we'll contact you, help raise funds and then pay you to fulfill your challenge. If you have any questions/comments/concerns, please don't hesitate to contact the folks at sarapis foundation dot org.
- See the changes we'd like to make, check out our Development Roadmap.
- Add bugs to our bug tracker.
- Donate to the BEEx project through our Cluster on BEEx.org.
- Start hacking the code on Github.
- Add/organize BEEx Project Resources
Help write this page... please.
Types of Challenges
Challenges come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few popular varieties.
1) Activity Participation: Raise money to participate in an event or activity with others.
Ex. I will run in the NY marathon...
2) Self-Improvement: Do something your friends and family want you to do.
Ex. I will quit smoking...
3) Multiplier: Get people to give to charity in support of your doing something for that organization.
Ex. I will volunteer 10 hours a month for a year...
4) Self-Deprecation: Do something embarrassing or unexpected to show people you don’t take yourself too seriously.
Ex. I will wear a chicken suit to work everyday for a week...
5) Stunt: Perform an action that is simply outrageous.
Ex. I will read quotes from the Tao to 30 random people on the NY subway...
6) Compensated Volunteering: Fund your project for an organization by raising money for them.
Ex. I will build a new website for <the organization>...
7) Other The possibilities are virtually endless.
Ex. I will not solicit you for money...
Every BEEx challenge begins with a declaration - also called the will statement - where an individual or partnership declares what they will do if a certain amount of money is raised for the organization of their choice. This type of challenge-based fundraising has been used successfully by charity walks and runs for decades, but we think it's got serious potential for all types of activities. The power of the challenge-based fundraiser is that it's not an outright solicitation - it's an offer of exchange: you give money, I give energy. The declaration explains this exchange. The most successful ones are clear, dramatic and maybe even a little transformational. They’ve got to suck people into your challenge's unique story.
One of the trickier fields to fill out is the fundraising goal. Set the bar too low and you’ll waste some of your potential. Set the bar too high and you might not hit your goal. To determine your fundraising goal, first consider your donor base. How many people will you directly reach out to?
The following are some averages that you might find helpful: (1) About 25% of people who've received a personalized solicitation donate. (2) The average donation on BEEx is around $30. (3) Young people donate less than old people. (4) Girls donate more than boys. (5) The most successful challengers get their friends to solicit on their behalf. (6) Aunts and uncles donate lots of money.
Think hard about how many people you're personally soliciting and whether or not this group will give more or less than the $30 average. Don't worry too much about this step - you can always change your fundraising goal after you've created your challenge.
Make sure you've sufficiently explained the 'what' but focus this space on the why. For advice on a great description, check out our how-to wiki post "Writing a great description."
The Journey is your challenge's blog. It becomes active once you've posted your challenge. You can set it to automatically send updates to your Facebook, (coming soon) Twitter accounts and your donor's email addresses. It's a simple tool that can be very powerful when used to weave a compelling narrative. Some journeys become online destinations that attract people from all over the internet. Others simply keep their communities informed about the challenges progress and indirectly remind people who have yet to donate that you're still out there raising money.
If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, did it really fall? If a challenge is never promoted, did it ever really exist?
Telling your story is just the beginning, the next step is getting people to see it! It's not hard to get your friends and family to see your challenge, but it does require a little effort. If you want to go viral, it might require a whole lot more.
Know Your Donors
All donors are not created equal (and I'm not talking about money). Everyone you reach out to will need to be treated in their own unique way. Some will care more about the charity while others couldn't care less. Some will want to donate first while others will want to donate last. Some want to know about the organization you're raising money for, others want to know how your summer vacation was. You get the picture...
Anticipate what each person, or group of people, want to hear and tell it to them. Don't be afraid to talk to each potential donor individually. People truly respect the personal touch.
Few people donate the first time you ask them. Often, it's not because they don't want to donate, but because they're procrastinating. Other people want to be the last donor... or the one who puts your fundraising goal over the top... the one who gives more than your their friends...
It's up to you to remind everyone that your challenge is about you achieving an important goal and that you need their help to do it; and the quicker you get it the better. Start with a solicitation or two, and then send out email updates about your progress. These updated should be engaging - you want people to want to read them. More updates of higher quality prove to people that you're committed to your challenge, which will make them want to give. At the end of these updates you should include a small solicitation for funds AND awareness. If you can get your community to send your challenge out to their communities, you vastly increase your capacity to raise a lot of money.
Your Biggest Fans
There are people in this world that will be especially supportive of you. Figure out who they are and then put them to work! By inspiring your "yeasayers" to promote your challenge, you multiple your fundraising capacity. Ask these people to spread the word with you. You should help them by creating messages you'd like them to forward to their friends. Remember: no one can explain your challenge better than you can, but no one can spread your challenge better than your friends and family!
Set a Precedent
Most people don't know the appropriate amount to give so they take their cues from your challenge's previous donations. With that in mind, it's a good idea to 'seed' your first donations by asking a close friend or two to donate larger amounts in the beginning. These larger donations set a precedent that will most likely increase the size of your average donation. Remember, the average donation on BEEx tends to float around $30.
Using Social Networks
Online social networks are extremely useful for getting the word out about your challenge. However, so much data flows through network like Facebook and Twitter that it's hard to get seen and stand out from the crowd. Regular 'news style' updates with exciting photo and video content as well as links to your challenge are a good idea. Spamming your network with solicitations isn't. Remember, the more you give your network, the more your network will give you.
Email is still, by far, the most significant social networking tool. Personal, individualized, well written emails are the BEST way to inspire people to donate. It may seem like a lot of work to send everyone their own message, but it's extremely effective. If you want to save time, consider creating a few blocks of content to copy and paste into emails going to different groups of contact. Make sure you still write original emails to the big donors and social networking all starts with whom your challenge's success relies. Keep the rich and popular people happy and your success is basically assured.
Facebook is the most popular social network around and it's got some very useful tools to promote your challenge.
Status - updating your status is the easiest way to remind your network about your challenge but might not be the best way to introduce your challenge to your network. (We suggest personal emails for that.) A good status update is unique and enticing. It's more effective to offer people an experience than nag them to act. For example, "Watch me shave my head for charity" is better status update than "Donate to my head shaving challenge." Make sure to include a link to your challenge in every status update. The best times to change your status are when the most people are online. Check your Facebook chat list to see who's online.
Events - Facebook events are good compliments to your challenge page because they act as a central location embedded within a popular social network where you can promote your efforts. Event pages are designed to go viral within adjacent networks, so it's a good way to get the word out.
Message - Facebook messages are very similar to emails but slightly more limited. We suggest using email as much as possible but if you've developed a relationship over Facebook it's best to keep communicating through it.
Wall Posts - A more aggressive trick on Facebook is posting your challenge on your friend's walls. It's very effective can also be obnoxious so try and do it with humor.
Twitter is an amazing promotional tool that we've only just begun to understand. If you're not currently using Twitter, then you might want to stick with email and Facebook. Challenges spread through Twitter quickest when they're inserted into conversations, have funny descriptions people want to retweet, or are related to a 'trending topic.' It's also useful to recruit popular tweeters to your cause through direct message outreach. There's little harm in asking people to tweet about your challenge. Make sure to retweet their endorsement and thank them for their support. These types of actions should be a promotional win-win.
Videos have the most potential for reach and impact. There are two types of videos - personal and viral. Personal videos are a great way to encourage your networks to donate and are generally well worth the effort. Viral videos are a whole other ball game. If you can produce one of these, your fundraising potential is limitless. Millions of words have been written exploring what makes a video go viral - we won't repeat it their words here. What's important to remember is that lighting and cinematography aren't as important as a good title and blurb. Think about what popular searches might lead people to your video. Check out Google Trends for some help. An intriguing video thumbnail is also incredibly important. Choose a thumbnail within your video that will grab someone's attention. Concerning the actual video: it should be short and the first 10 seconds should be captivating. Then you need to share, share, share! The more aggressively you post, tweet, blog and email the video, the more likely you'll go viral. The best thing you could do is get a few friends from different areas of your social life to commit to helping you promote the video to their friends.
What is a Cluster
Our cluster tool is an extremely easy way to create and power multi-participant fundraising initiatives like charity walks and runs. To create a cluster, a user (1.) fills out information about their cluster, (2.) fills out the guidelines all challenges within the cluster must meet and (3.) invite people join the cluster.
When someone clicks join, they're asked to register for BEEx and receive a challenge page within the cluster that has the guidelines already filled out. The more fields an admin leaves blank, the more customized each participant can make their challenge.
One of the most popular uses of the BEEx Cluster Tool is walks and runs. Here's how it works.
1. An administrator creates a cluster page describing their walk and selecting an organization to for which to raise money.
2. The admin creates a template for the challenges within their cluster. All fields that admin fill out are automatically filled out for every challenge within the cluster. So, if you want each challenge to have the same date, time, location and fundraising goal, you should fill these fields out in the challenge template area. Every field you leave blank can be filled out by the individual challenger.
3. When people 'join' your cluster, they're given a challenge page from your cluster's template. They can customize all the fields you haven't fill out.
4. All challengers are encouraged to upload proof (pics, video, text) that they completed their declared action.
5. The challenges can be accessed via your cluster page, the challenge's URL and on the cluster widget that can be placed on your organizations website.
Additional Useful Functionality
Cluster admins can write notes that are automatically sent to all their challengers.
Cluster admins can restrict who joins their cluster by creating an invitation code and giving it to specific people.
Cluster admins can edit and deactivate specific challenges within their cluster.
Two people can join a challenge within a cluster.
Cluster HTML widgets are available that display the cluster's name and all the challenges within it.
1. Event: An event that asks each participant to raise a specific amount of money. Ex. Walks, runs, etc.
2. Action: Many people agree to individually do something interesting to raise money and awareness for an organization. Ex. Mustache growing, video making, mass improv.
3. Date: Fundraising drive that end at a specified date. Ex. Seasonal fundraising drive.
Introducing BEEx to Members and Supporters
Organize Use Cases BEEx is most easily explained via example so consider speaking with a few people who think might be most willing to do a challenge or cluster directly and asking them to be the model use case.
Publicize at an Event Once you've got a challenge or two, promote them on your organization's email blasts and event invitations. At events, ask your organizations challengers to say a few words about what they're doing to support your organization.
BEEx widgets are HTML codes that can inserted directly into most websites without any issues. If you want to insert the code into a Wordpress page, make sure to place the code into the HTML friendly tab of your text editor and do not click on the visual tab before saving. Clicking on the visual tab will automatically change the HTML code and the widget will not appear on your page.
Widget #1: Searchable Cluster Widget
This widget displays all the challenges within a cluster and provides a search field so you can easily find specific challenges by their title or the challenger's name.
The cluster administrator can access this widget by editing their cluster and going to the widgets section on the left side of the page.
Widget #2: What Will You Do?
This widget has a blank "I will ________" statement. When a user fills it out, it brings them to a challenge page with the 'I will' and benefiting organization already filled out.
The organization administrator can access this widget by clicking 'create widget' on the top of their organization's profile page.
Widget #3: How People are Supporting Us
This widget displays all the challenges and clusters benefiting a specific organization in a scollable box.
The organization administrator can access this widget by clicking 'create widget' on the top of their organization's profile page.
Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.
The activity feed displays the most recent and interesting activity from a person's Facebook network. It is segmented into Top News and Most Recent Whenever someone posts something on Facebook (links, pictures, videos, challenges etc...) it goes directly into the Most Recent feed. The Top News feed displays the most popular items and is seen by more people. The more people interact with an update (by liking it or commenting on it) the more likely it is to appear in the News Feed.
With Facebook Events, you can organize gatherings and parties with your friends, as well as let people in your community know about upcoming events .
A Facebook Page is a public profile that enables you to share your business and products with Facebook users. When your fans interact with your Facebook Page, stories linking to your Page can go to their friends via News Feed. As these friends interact with your Page, News Feed keeps driving word-of-mouth to a wider circle of friends . To see a good example of a company that built its following through its Facebook page check out Time Peace/
With Facebook Groups, you can join and create up to 200 groups. Groups can be based around shared interests, activities, or anything you like. The Groups application page displays your recently updated groups as well as groups your friends have joined recently .
Twitter is a real-time information network powered by people all around the world that lets you share and discover what’s happening now. A post on twitter is limited to 140 characters but within that confined space there is a lot of room for creativity. Twitter is also an open company that allows third party developers to create products that work with and improve the service.
Twitter is a great way to spread links but URLS tend be very long and take up all of the allotted 140 characters. You can get around this by using a url shortening site. These sites will take your long URL and shrink it to around 30-40 characters so it can fit in your tweet. Some common URL shortening sites are bit.ly and TinyURL
Direct tweets allow you to message someone directly. I've tried directing tweeting Shaq a lot and it hasn't worked all that well
What is BEEx?
BEEx is a social fundraising platform that empowers people to raise money and awareness for the organizations of their choice.
How much does BEEx cost?
BEEx is a free service. There are no registration or transaction fees.
How do organization's receive the money raised for them through BEEx?
When someone gives to an organization through BEEx, their money goes directly to that organization's Paypal account. Donations never pass through our hands.
Does BEEx find donors for me or my organization?
It's your responsibility to find donors for the challenges you create on BEEx. However, we do feature and promote our favorite challenges through our social media outlets. We're constantly monitoring the activity on our site and might give you a shout out if we like what you're doing.
Challenge pages are designed to be easily shared around the social web (especially the highly tweetable 'I will' statements.) Your best bet for attracting donors you don't solicit directly is get your friends, family and the organization you're benefiting to promote your challenge to their social networks. Facebook, Twitter and Gmail status are great ways to do that. We've been surprised by how excited organizations are to promote challenges that benefit them, and how often their followers will give to challenges created by people they do not know.
What is your refund policy?
Since donation go directly into the benefitting organization's Paypal account, BEEx is in no position to offer donors refunds. In other words: there are no refunds.
Are my donations tax-deductible?
We allow all type of organization to use BEEx but we indicate which organizations have told us they're tax-exempt 501.c.3s. It's best to independently confirm an organization's 501.c.3 status and consult with a tax professional. The money you give through BEEx goes directly to the organization without passing through any middlemen's hands so giving through BEEx is just like giving through an organization's own website.
What are your transaction costs?
BEEx doesn't take a transaction fee but Paypal takes a fee of between 2% and 4%, which is comparable to normal credit card fees.
Can I give through BEEx with a credit card?
Yes. Paypal processes credit cards just like any transaction processor.
Is BEEx a nonprofit?
BEEx.org and the BEEx software are both projects of the Sarapis Foundation.
What is a challenge?
A challenge is a personal declaration a 'challenger' undertakes in which they agree to perform a certain action if a certain amount of money is raised for the organization of their choice. All challenges begin with an 'I will' statement, but the similarities end there. People perform all types of challenges, from participating in charity walks to volunteering their services to the benefiting organization. The variety of challenges you could perform is only limited by your imagination… and the law, of course.
What happens if a challenge doesn't meet it's fundraising goal?
All donations to organizations are immediately processed and deposited into the organization's registered Paypal account whether or not the challenge meets it's fundraising goal.
What happens if a challenger meets the fundraising goal but doesn't perform and/or prove his/her challenge?
We ask every challenger to post some soft of media (text, pictures, videos) that prove they they've completed their challenge. The challenger is responsible for following through on that commitment and, since we don't have a police force (yet) there's nothing we can do if people flake out (except allow you to give them a bad rating - which is a feature coming very soon.)
We suggest you only give to challenges if you're confident that the people who started it is serious about complete his/her challenge.
What is proof?
When a challenge's fundraising end date has elapsed, the challenger is prompted to upload media (text, pictures, videos) that proves they completed their challenge. A good example is a picture of a challenger crossing a finish line if their challenge was to run a marathon. When proof is uploaded, it will appear on the proof tab on the challenge page and a link to that proof page will be automatically emailed to all the donors.
What if more people are participating in my challenge?
There are two ways to make a 'group' challenge: add a partner or create a cluster. A partner is someone who is performing the challenge with you (ex. a dance partner.) You can add a partner on your challenge page. This will automatically turn your 'I will' statement into a 'We will' statement. A cluster enables two people to perform the same or similar challenges. You can create a cluster or join an existing cluster, which will enable you to create a challenge within that cluster. The cluster feature is often used for multi-participant fundraising events like a charity walk or dance marathon. In the example of a dance marathon, each pair of dancers (partners) might have a challenge page within a dance marathon cluster.
Can challenges be canceled or deleted?
A challenge can only be deleted before it receives a donation. Once it receives a donation, it can't be deleted and will be forever attached to the user who created it.
I registered my organization up for BEEx. Why isn't it appearing on the site?
Before we allow organizations to raise money on the site we must verify that all the information entered in the registration for is accurate. This process generally takes 1-3 business days, but if you're eager to get started right away, email [email protected] and we'll see what we can do.
Who is allowed to raise money for our organization?
Anyone can raise money money for any organization on BEEx by starting a challenge or cluster.
Can BEEx be used alongside another system we're already using?
Absolutely. We encourage organizations to do a 'Pepsi Challenge' type comparison by asking some of your supporters using another system to try BEEx and see if they enjoy the experience more and raise more money and awareness for your organization.
Can you help us create a strategy that effectively integrates BEEx into our current fundraising efforts?
We try to publish as many of our insights through our blog at blog.beex.org and our fundraising guide at wiki.beex.org. We're also currently scaling out a colunteer program to provide all organizations with one-on-one support. Until then, we're helping a limited group of organizations develop and deploy social media and resource raising strategies. Learn more about the one-on-one work we do here.
Do you provide customer support to our supporters?
We know from experience that your supporters will turn to your organization's staff first with questions about using BEEx so we're currently focusing our limited resources on providing organization's staff with one-on-one support. We also know that experience is the best form of instruction so we urge you and others within your organization to use BEEx yourself so you're equipped to handle your supporter's questions. In the future we plan to provide support to everyone.
What if the organization I want to raise money for isn't registered on BEEx.org?
Contact the organization you want to support and ask them to register on BEEx because you want to raise money for them. If that doesn't work, send an email to folks[at]beex.org and we'll give them our best pitch ASAP.
BEEx 2.0 has been developed by a single coder. Version 2.01 is currently underway and should be completed before March. If you'd like to participate, please contact devin at beex dot org.
Reverse the order of 'activity' and 'supporter' feeds on organization profiles so that the newest items appear first.
Allow organizations to 'retire' old challenges and clusters - meaning they disappear from the organizations profile but not our database and can be brought back.
- Combine Challenge and Cluster buttons into an 'Activity' button.
- Change 'Learn' to 'About'.
- Place 'Search' bar into the same vertical as other buttons.
- Enlarge and redesign register/login/my profile area.
Home - no change
Activity - p.2
- Place existing Cluster and Challenge pages on top of each other and combine into a single page.
Organization Profile - p.3
- Organization name above logo.
- Classification under logo
- Physical Address
- Three Social Media Stubs
- All possible user actions
- Edit button for admins
- Organization About Info on top unless it's empty in which case it shouldn't appear.
- Condense activity area to fit into new layout
- Add Raised/goal/ends info and join/give buttons to the right on challenges and cluster
- Make clustered challenges expandable
- left: pic
- top: name
- middle: # challenges organized and amount raised
- bottom: explanation of why
- left: pic
- top: name
- middle: # challenges and amount raised
- bottom: explanation of why
- top: name
- subscriber level and months subscribed
- bottom: explanation of why
People Profile - p.4
Proposed Features for 2.1
RSS feeds for challenges and clusters
Organizations can create project pages with the following information:
- Project Description
- Metrics (Optional)
- News Feeds
Different types of clusters
- Challenges are clusters where people say they'll do x if $y is raised. X can include participating in a task, throwing an event or creating their own cluster.
- Events are templates for creating an event page, selecting ticket prices, (optional) selecting a benefiting project and promoting the event through widgets and a lightweight (500 invites at a time?) email marketing solution.
- Tasks are created by individual organization admins and can be 'picked up' by cluster participants. The admin must certify the challenge was met for the task transaction to take place.
Proposed Features for the Future
When a user subscribes to an organization, they earn credits that they can allocate to that organization's projects or spend them on challenges and events benefiting the organization.