As any hospitality professional can attest: restaurants don't just sell food. They sell service. They sell an experience...and creating an enjoyable one requires a service mindset and culture where every guest feels welcomed and appreciated. Restaurants accomplish this in two ways. First, by understanding the fact that customers are not an interruption of their work, but are the purpose of it. And second, by thoughtfully preparing for every dish in the back and every step of service in the front so that every guest can seamlessly savor every moment.
Like restaurants, charity is a service industry that relies as heavily (if not more) on culture and have plenty more in common than might meet the eye. Both strive to make every touchpoint as personal as possible. Both aim to connect their customers/supporters with what it is they're purchasing. Both must know the names and preferences of their most loyal supporters. Both rely on the tireless efforts of emotionally co-dependent people who acknowledge the presence of their most loyal sponsors and say "Thank You" as warmly, as frequently and as creatively as possible. And last but not least, both recognize the fact that there is no such thing as a small transaction.
Those who do this (and do this well) often form a strong bond between their organizations and the people who support them. They create something no dish, no fundraiser nor any gala can provide: a fan who identifies themselves as part of the organization. That's the effect of a hospitality based culture...of basing operational processes on guest centered service - treating every customer, guest and visitor with the utmost respect and thoughtfully providing for their needs.
[In India hospitality is based on Atithi Devo Bhava, a principle meaning "the guest is God". This principle is referenced in many stories where a guest is revealed to be a god who rewards the provider of hospitality. From this stems the Indian practice of graciousness towards any guest whether at home or in any social situation.
Judaism praises hospitality to strangers and guests due largely to the examples of Abrahamand Lot provided in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 18:1–8 and 19:1–8). In Hebrew, the practice is called hachnasat orchim, or "welcoming guests". In addition to to the practice of providing protection / refuge to strangers, hosts there are expected to provide nourishment, comfort, and entertainment to their guests as well and then escort their guests out of their home, wishing them a safe journey upon the conclusion of their stay.
One of the main principles of Eastern Iranian culture (including Afghanistan and Pakistan) is Melmastia. This is a lifestyle based on an unwritten law or moral code of eleven ethical principles not the least of which is hospitality. Pashtunwali people go to great lengths to show profound respect to others regardless of: race, religion, national affiliation or economic status and without any hope of reciprocation or payment.
Celtic societies also valued the concept of hospitality, especially in terms of protection. A host who granted a person's request for refuge was expected not only to provide food and shelter to his/her guest, but to make sure they did not come to harm while under their care.} Wikipedia
There's a big difference between hospitality based concepts that rely on culture to drive the bottom line and retail based concepts that rely on maximizing profits to build the bottom line.
The impetus to building Hawser was in realizing that more non-profit organizations seemed to employ retail-based strategies as opposed to hospitality-based ones which are much better suited for their similar service-minded pursuits.
Just as we wouldn't want to interrupt a restaurant customer's meal by asking them to participate in the process, we similarly don’t want to interrupt donors’ lives and require them to go out of their way in order to support a cause that's meaningful to them. We’re all already too busy to do some of the things we want to do for ourselves…let alone have the time to do as much as we feel we should or could do for others.
In fact, most of us are so busy and strapped (for time and money); that we don’t even treat ourselves to vacations... or honeymoons.
Hawser doesn’t want to inconvenience anyone or ask like-minded individuals to increase their consumption in order to benefit others by amassing points, discounts or rewards that can pile up from retailers or creditors who will then support the causes that are important to them. We don't want to place contingencies on giving or minimums on gifts. We just want to make it easier to give and say "Thank You" to those that do.
Hawser's mission is to weave social good into the daily lives of our users. Charitable giving, volunteering and conversations about charitable organizations don't have to be something separate from our daily routines. We're bringing the collection basket to the donors so that charities don't have to bring donors to the collection basket. Now, that collection basket can be found: on a couch, in a theatre seat or stadium seat, on one's bedside table or in the bathroom because it's on your phone.
Like restaurants, a charity's special events are great money makers but the restaurant business has taught me the benefits of being more accessible / open for multiple day-parts.
At Hawser, our philosophy is: "Full Hands In. Full Hands Out.". It's a service-oriented mantra reminding us that, by adopting a greater level of awareness, even the smallest efforts can make service a lot smoother for everyone.
It's with this mindset that Nathan, Bruce and I hope to leave the world a little bit better than how we found it. And it's with this mindset that we realized piggy-backing social responsibly onto the core structure of media and messaging might be a great way to get two things done at the same time...kinda the whole idea behind "Full Hands In. Full Hands Out.". Its about efficiency and responsibility.
So when we created our personal media platform for nonprofits, friends, bands, brands, restaurants and other small businesses; we decided to place every user (including non-profit organizations) on equal footing...regardless of whether or not they had a lot more "friends", "Likes" or deeper pockets to sponsor posts or promote their page.
The opportunity to integrate hospitality in the non-profit sector is evident in the tendency for many organizations to re-direct donors to multiple on-line pages or to suggest a minimum amount for a gift that a willing supporter may conveniently give...as is often the case with most text-to-give style donations. Being transferred to a third-party website is inconvenient. And being subjected to a "prix-fixe" contribution is like saying "No" to any gift above or below that "recommended" amount*. The Golden Rule in hospitality is “NEVER say No"...which makes a lot of sense if you recognize every guest (or donor) is a boss who is paying you.
Putting a minimum (whether mandatory or recommended) on a gift seems counter-productive in the non-profit space and for me, produces a cognitive dissonance when giving a "gift".
You wouldn't include those sort of "gift options" with an invitation to your birthday party so why would you do it for a charitable organization? Hawser's focus is on increasing the overall number of small donations for certified nonprofits rather than on increasing the size of fewer ones.
After all...a lot of small payments quickly add up to make a huge difference. Not just for restaurants but for nonprofits as well. It’s a numbers game. That's why most restaurants aren't prix fixe and that's why we don't set minimums on our giving platform.
*A 25 cent donation, at the highest average non-negotiated transaction rate by a credit card processors today, would generate a donation of a little more than 3 cents. And, if the number of people who participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (15 million+ people) gave that much...just twenty five (25) cents, it would have added up to more than $450,000.00. Not too shabby for a 3 cent donation.
If that same number of people were to have given from a debit card or some other transaction fee free method, it would have added up to over $3.75 Million.
This is a game of pennies and every one adds up fast when you employ the power of social influence. If 3cents out of 25cents could add up that quickly... Imagine what a dollar means to someone who needs it a lot more than you.
New technologies and payment systems are now making it not only possible...but more and more beneficial for nonprofits to accept micro donations that previously had been too costly to process.
Secure virtual terminals are now being offered by more and more payment processors as well...like Square, PayPal, Chase Paymentech and First Data Merchant Services. The lessening of transaction costs and creative technologies like these combined with the increasing accessibility of simpler integrated solutions synergistically work with Hawser’s mission.
Simply stated: Doing the right thing isn't that expensive for the donor or the person collecting and transferring the donation anymore. That's why we can offer our service for free and in-turn hopefully interest more people to use it.
At Hawser, we're not trying to stage a media revolution, replace social media or convince nonprofits to abandon their text-to-give programs, postcard mailers or annual galas... in fact, we love social media! We're just offering the perfect free supplement to it.
Organizations that add Hawser Inboxes to their media tool kit are going to see the difference that direct connections and guaranteed delivery makes.
Native iOS and Android apps will be launching Fall 2016.
Interested in adding Hawser Inboxes to your media toolbox? Visit our informational page now.