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Adapt, React, Readapt, Apt

At GiveGab, we try to maintain an open line of communication with our customers– it’s one of our most valuable resources. We encourage users to ask questions, and we frequently field feature requests.  Folks even sometimes submit words of encouragement, which always gives us the warm-fuzzies! And believe it or not, we’re especially grateful when someone reports a bug. 

We’re successful when you’re successful– it’s our job to provide the tools to get you there. To do this most effectively, we adhere (unofficially) to M. G. Scott’s second rule of business: “Adapt. React. Readapt. Apt.”

Ok, you got me. That’s definitely a quote from “The Office.” I may have just recently finished binge-watching it on Netflix. Again.

But even if that line is a little silly, it relates pretty well to how we develop here at Givegab, and how we respond internally to feedback from our customers. If you have a few minutes, let me show you what I mean.


If you signed on to GiveGab in the last couple weeks, you may have heard about how easy it was for GiveGab’s nonprofits to take part in #GivingTuesday, the 24-hour Day of Giving created by 92Y. Well, building our Days of Giving (DoG) framework involved a lot of developer adaptation! For starters, we wrote most of it in a programming language that, until then, I personally had avoided as if it were rude to me once at a party. And on a grander scale, the code base needed to be customizable, and easily cloned to facilitate the delivery of litter after litter of new DoG apps. This was new ground for us. But we adapted!

We’re not afraid to roll-out early versions of new functionality. It’s actually an important part of our process: we get a big idea, implement a simple version, and grow that idea over a number of iterative improvements. This puts us in a great position to adapt to customer feedback. Since we’re usually slating time to solder some bells and whistles onto a new feature anyway, it’s not much of a hassle to trade those whistles for kazoos. Especially if numerous nonprofits express how beneficial a kazoo might be to their cause. 

Your success is our success. So we adapt!

Once we started spinning up multiple DoG apps, the adaptation continued. Customers requested kazoos of all kinds: organization spotlights, custom leaderboards, alternate algorithms for suggesting nonprofits on donation pages. And while most of these changes remain isolated within their custom app, we have integrated a few of them into the main source code.

Suppose someone wants a didgeridoo instead of a whistle or kazoo, though– something big and undoubtedly cool, but overwhelming. In that case, it’s not so much a question of whether we can adapt, but of whether we have time to do it right. Sometimes we don’t. But if we’re lucky, we manage to adapt that idea into a smaller, more manageable version of the request.

Like a vuvuzela! Those are basically baby didgeridoos.


Not too long ago, we introduced a feature onto GiveGab that nonprofits had been requesting for a while: automatically recurring donations. Donors could opt into this service on the last page of the donation flow. But once we began receiving requests to move the recurring ask to a more visible location in the donation flow, we realized we needed to react. Now that little checkbox lives on the first page of the donation process. And it works way better there!

We’re proud to work with nonprofit administrators who care enough to ask questions and make practical suggestions. You help make GiveGab better everyday. Thank you for pushing us to be our best. Thank you for showing us a better place to put that ask. And thanks for pushing the site to its limits!

And speaking of pushing the site to its limits! In October, we had the opportunity to react to a few bitter-sweet issues brought to light by one of our most successful campaigns. This fundraising campaign proved so successful– it garnered so many donations and event registrants– that some of our administrative reporting exports began timing out. First went the event registration csv export, and then the donations csv export. Yikes. Definitely not a great experience for the nonprofit admin.

In an ideal world, no cyber creepy crawly would ever impede a nonprofit administrator’s mission. But these things happen. So, we reacted by updating those features to send an email with a csv attachment instead of downloading the file in the browser; it works pretty well for now. But who knows what our next “most successful customer so far” will break?

We’ve made some educated guesses– our recent endeavors to improve site performance and reduce page-load times come to mind, but boy howdy is that a story for another day. Like any other online software provider, we do our best to stay ahead of the game. Supposing something slips through the cracks though, rest assured: we’ll be ready and raring to react.


After that second export buckled, we improved csv export functionality in a few other places around the site, too.  We’ve also added page-selection functionality to many volunteer, donor, and campaign listings lest they timeout– not to mention the number of times we’ve rewritten database queries to sum rising donation totals. But I’m not complaining! Please, keep acquiring more volunteers and donations. You guys are forcing us to readapt to your success, to think differently. And we love it!

I mentioned before how our developers adapted while building the DoG framework. Through a wider lense, these apps represent a company-wide readaptation: we’re becoming even more laser-focused on helping nonprofits achieve their fundraising goals. That’s exciting!

For example, the DoG sites feature an even sleeker donation flow than the one on it’s two pages instead of three. I know, pretty slick. We thought so! That is, until we encountered a customer — maybe many customers, I personally don’t know for sure — who said: “You know what would be even slicker? Let me donate to multiple nonprofits at once. Let me just chuck 50 organizations into a shopping cart so I only have to use that already super slick process once. That’d be slick.”

Holy trumpeting didgeridoo batman. As a programmer, that idea was exciting and intimidating; building a donor shopping cart would be challenging for a number of geeky reasons, but very time consuming. Too time consuming. And yet, the allure to deliver something remained. A faster donation process would mean happier donors, and happier donors mean more donations and more nonprofits reaching their fundraising goals. Wins all around.

And so, we readapted to this new expectation by offering up a vuvuzela. Users in our Day of Giving apps now have the option to reuse their credit card information between donations, making the process almost dangerously speedy. I mean, not to toot our own kazoo or anything, but you might want to wear a seatbelt.

A second donation made on one of our DoG apps requires only one text field (the amount) and two button clicks– all thanks to constructive customer feedback. Varoom!


All this adapting, reacting, and readapting to customer feedback works out well for everyone involved. But it takes just a little more to become an apt contender in the nonprofit giving space. We need to prove ourselves pertinent as a platform and fitting for fundraisers.

Fortunately, the team here at GiveGab has a lot more to give:

– We’re inclined, disposed, and prone to accepting constructive criticism.

– Our rockin’ customer success team remains ready and willing to help users get the most out of their time on GiveGab.

– We learn quickly, and you might even go so far as to say that many members of our team seem unusually intelligent (but don’t tell them I said that).

Now, those last few points might sound like I looked up the definition of “apt” and listed examples of how we fit the bill. But that’s only because I totally did that. Googling is just one of my many skills as a programmer.

In all seriousness though, we do our best to ensure that you get the best out of our product. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, a lot more to learn, and countless challenges to overcome. But we know you’ll help us through it all.

If there is anything we’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that our customers are apt counselors, consultants, and cheerleaders.

Life moves a little faster here on the internet…

And that’s the way we like it. As our customers and product grow, we’re always adapting, reacting, and readapting to new requirements. That’s what keeps a website alive! And customer feedback facilitates this “reactdaptation” in a lovely way. Without feedback we would stagnate, kazooless, and eventually become irrelevant. Your comments put us back on track when we stray, help to inspire sweet new features, and improve old ones in meaningful ways. Now that’s pretty slick!