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In an interview with the editorial team of CIO Applications, Patti Rogers, Founder, and CEO of Rallyhood, discusses at length how her company organizes and engages purpose-driven communities.
Tell us a little bit about how Rallyhood came to be?
The precursor to Rallyhood actually started in the mid-90s when I co-founded a marketing agency in my early career. My partners and I took a lot of pride in establishing internal processes that standardized collaboration and centralized information, making the work we did easier to execute. We eventually sold the business in 2002. After which, I had the opportunity to spend many years helping nonprofit boards, committees and stepping in to volunteer where I could. That was a special stage of my life, as I learned about the significant value of volunteer leadership and how this kind of collaboration influences the communities where we live, in big and small ways. I noticed, however, that these groups didn’t have an easy time getting things done. There was a stark contrast between how things were managed in a more professional setting and the absence of solutions for these work-outside-of-work™ use-cases.
I was especially inspired by this when I went through a two-year journey of breast cancer. The support I received from my family and friends undoubtedly made a significant impact on my health and recovery. But it was also a difficult effort to organize because of the mix-mash of fragmented tools that were hard to use. The ‘aha’ genesis behind Rallyhood was to solve this problem—to make it easier for a group of people to come together, stay connected, and be organized in one place, no matter their size or mission. We took the approach of blending the best of social and productivity tools to build an elegant easy-to-use platform to help these groups achieve more, do more, enjoy more, and therefore become a platform for positive change.
Together, we can do great things, but we need a place to get it done!
Rallyhood platform is infinitely scalable, which is a game-changer for our customers who manage and host 100s and often 1000s of groups into what we call rally-sites within their Rallyhood ecosystem.
When we come together around a project, or a common cause, we need tools to stay connected, organized, and engaged online. The fact is, the distracting noise of most social media platforms, like Facebook, coupled with the inefficiency of reply-all email, and the variety of siloed apps scattered across the internet don’t add up to be an efficient, or enjoyable approach to getting things done. We call it digital disorder™ and the messiness can make it difficult to sustain a genuine engagement or connection to a cause.
Rallyhood has evolved immensely over the years in its innovations, functionality, and its vision for organizational impact. In the early days, we were great at helping one group at a time. But today, we have an infinitely scalable solution to empower the needs of varying organizations that are made of many sub-groups, sometimes in the thousands. We have become a more robust All-In-One solution giving groups even more tools to interact, collaborate, share calendars and RSVPs, coordinate tasks, gather feedback and vote, share and archive resource (files, photos, videos, links), manage and organize events, process payments, raise funds, and more.
Our aim is to make enterprise-quality collaboration and community tools more accessible to all, so the efficiencies that advance for-profit organizations can bring optimal results for groups who are focused on social good.
What are some of the major challenges your clients face?
For any enterprise, retention is imperative. So, there is a critical need to keep customers engaged, happy and to create a positive experience. Nonprofits and member organizations specifically have to compete with the other activities that take up time in their member’s lives. We are all very busy these days. So part of ensuring engagement and retention means that the experience has to be easy, organized, personally relevant and that the individual feels a sense of belonging.
Another prevalent challenge is streamlining communication to meet the needs and preferences of their members. For member organizations this means building efficient, relevant, streamlined communication strategies that don’t bombard the members but instead, empower and engage them. Historically, these organizations have used outdated one-directional communication tools, like newsletters, that can often feel impersonal to the recipient.
We also have recognized our clients face the challenges of standardizing collaboration to build efficiency and save time. Members and volunteers, who are critical to the mission, have in the past been forced to cobble together solutions to self organize and often have to use 12 different tools, all outside of the domain of the organization. There are a lot of issues with this approach: information is not centralized or archived; the lack of standardization means there is a plethora of inconsistencies; transferring knowledge from outgoing leaders to incoming is next to impossible; and therefore redundancy, frustration and disengagement prevails.
Finally, there is the challenge of breaking down silos to build a more connected community. In the age of the post-pandemic’s new normal, organizations have to embrace strategies that build a sense of community online and in real life. They need a single platform, “a place” to empower, connect and engage their membership in a real-time fashion, now more than ever.
What differentiates Rallyhood from the competition and how does that help clients overcome their challenges and pain points?
There are many reasons why Rallyhood stands apart from the competition. One, is the holistic suite of easy-to-use collaboration and user-generated content tools coupled with front end customization capabilities. None of which require any IT or Dev resources. Typical websites are difficult to keep updated and don’t offer a real-time communication solution. This means there are many missed opportunities to share information. Members need to interact daily and be able to find information whenever they need it no matter where they are, and Rallyhood answers that call.
Another key differentiator is that the Rallyhood platform is infinitely scalable, which is a game-changer for our customers who manage and host 100s and often 1000s of groups into what we call rally-sites within their Rallyhood ecosystem. Unlike top-down or one-directional communication systems, we provide a multidirectional, real-time sharing solution. What’s so nice about this is it breaks down geographic and department silos, creating a more cohesive member-network that becomes a catalyst to advancing the mission.
We always say to our partners “your success is our success” and we mean that. Our goal is to provide end-to-end solutions for our customers so they can provide end-to-end solutions for their members.
What does the future look like for Rallyhood?
We are more excited than ever about what’s on the horizon, including enriching our marketplace for events to enhance discoverability and accessibility and adding API integrations that provide incremental functionality that gives our clients the ability to reduce fragmentation and increase happiness and engagement across their respective member networks. This creates an exciting new way for communities to come together in a manner that is more personal, relevant and productive, and helps everyone stay even more connected to the mission long term.