General Questions about Silicon Planet
What does Silicon Planet offer?
Easy-to-maintain interactive Web sites no HTML skills necessary
Tools to incerease and facilitate communication with key constituents
Solutions to incorporate into existing information systems
A one-stop shop for full interactive Web sites and database management
How is the Silicon Planet service different from Charitableway.com or helping.org?
The Silicon Planet service is built on the fundamental premise that that fundraisers should build online communities around their donors, rather than sending those donors to a third party. Whether by shopping, donating, or learning more about the organization, donors visit Silicon Planet-powered Web sites to learn more about the causes they support.
CharitableWay is a valuable service that helps fundraisers find new donors donors that arent part of a fundraisers existing base or community. By contrast, the Silicon Planet service helps fundraisers build a presence on the Web by incorporating shopping and donation pages, and by creating targeted donor correspondence systems through direct mail and email communications. Together, these features build in a systematic online approach for identifying and targeting individual donors based on individuals past donations, participation in particular fundraising events, and/or interest in particular program areas.
Why is Silicon Planet a for-profit company? Why not a nonprofit?
Building advanced technology solutions and making them accessible to the nonprofit sector requires an investment of several million dollars. In the initial development of Silicon Planet, this financial requirement exceeded the amount of money that could be realistically expected from foundation support alone.
In addition, for-profit business models are well-suited for the technology needs of any operating company, nonprofit organization or foundation. Technology is a professional tool necessary for information and financial management. As such, organizations would realistically pay for the services of a technology provider much as they would pay for the services of public relations firms, accounting firms, or organizational consultants.
In a model parallel to these other professional services, clients can cancel Silicon Planet service at any time, and clients should demand a high return on their investment in order to continue. Silicon Planet focuses on delivering affordable tools to the nonprofit sector that will keep organizations coming back year after year.
How does Silicon Planet make money?
The Silicon Planet Web-based solutions are available on a fee-based structure. The company model does not adhere to the notion that transaction pricing taking a cut of donations above true costs is in the interest of fundraisers, nor is it line with the Code of Ethics of the NSFRE to which Silicon Planet proudly adheres. Instead, through this model, each clients patronage is dependent on a strong return on investment.
Does Silicon Planet turn down any organizations?
Silicon Planet does not turn down any organizations based on mission or cause, but the company requires that all nonprofit organizations be legally and currently registered under chapter 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. Proof of registration will be required within 7 days of starting Silicon Planet service, and for acceptance of donations online.
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What types of nonprofit organizations benefit from the Silicon Planet solutions?
The Silicon Planet solutions and news are designed with all fundraisers and nonprofit organizations in mind, and customized products are available to meet organizations unique needs. Schools, hospitals, political and advocacy organizations, religious institutions and social service agencies, are ideal candidates for the Silicon Planet service.
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How will donors privacy be protected?
When donors visit an organizations Web site, they will provide implicit and explicit information. Implicit information is collected based on what an organizations visitors do online.
However, because of the extreme sensitivity of Internet privacy, Silicon Planets Web tools are set up to ensure that only basic information is collected which pages visitors read and which links they click, but nothing about individual visitors names, addresses, phone numbers, or demographics. In other words, a Web activity report would only provide an organization with information about which news, program area, or event page experienced the most Web traffic and public interest.
In terms of explicit information names, addresses, phone numbers, zip codes and email addresses individual donors have the ability to register and provide this information to the organization with full knowledge of this information transaction. Donor information would not be sold under any circumstances.
Both implicit and explicit information is stored in a secure, encrypted database. The sophisticated Silicon Planet database pools implicit information behavior and clicking patterns across the aggregate range of clients to help build strong statistical analysis about what works and what doesnt, and what content on Web sites works best.
Explicit information about donors or other visitors is never shared with anyone other clients, third parties, or other donors. Silicon Planet uses the latest technology in security tools to ensure the security of all donor information.
When donors donate online, is it safe?
Silicon Planet uses secure socket layer (SSL) tools to make sure that donations are safely routed to each organizations account. Online donations are routed into each nonprofits merchant account. Silicon Planet does not have access to donations at any time.
Will donors start to receive solicitations from other causes or organizations?
Donors will never receive solicitations from other organizations.
This is a critical advantage of the Silicon Planet business model. Unlike CharitableWay, the Silicon Planet services are priced as an infrastructure service. The company rents solutions to fundraisers, but it does not charge on a transactional basis. The fundamental incentive is to keep donor information secure. CharitableWay earns a commission on each donation their incentive is to send an individual to as many charities as possible in order to maximize the number of donations made.
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Service & Costs
How much funding could an organization reasonably expect to raise through Silicon Planet tools?
Results will vary based on the number of current and potential donors who visit an organizations Web site. Since the efficiency of Silicon Planet solutions help organizations manage information and communication with donors they already have, donations can increase both through recruiting new donors, as well as corresponding regularly with current donors.
In addition, through sophisticated database technology, organizations are able to make systematic, accurate predictions about which donors will respond best to mailings, phone calls, and personal appeals.
How does an organization sign up for Silicon Planet service?
Organizations can sign up for our services via our Web site or the phone.
For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will an organization be charged?
Monthly service fees will vary depending on the types of services chosen.
Please email us for additional information on pricing at email@example.com.
Does an organization have to sign a contract?
Yes, but this contract is used to ensure proper use of the Silicon Planet service, rather than locking in clients. Clients will be required to sign a usage contract, by which clients pledge not to post illegal material on their sites or send unsolicited emails.
Could an organization opt to use just part of the service? Then add on later?
Any organization can start with a basic set of solutions, just a few solutions, or an entire Web site chosen from one of the three template options. Based on actual donor response or positive feedback on new electronic means of communication with donors, organizations may choose to add new applications at any time.
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