JellyChip is an insanely long journey, and sometimes difficult choices have to be made. We've pivoted several times around ideas that have been crucial to our success and sometimes survival - and we've barely launched our app over the last six months. And we're optimising now! But we're determined to make this the best charity network in the world.
Things like Chat, then Snaps, then Lifeline, then dropping our website and pursuing our app with all the resources we've had. Pivoting from users buying gifts themselves to crowdsourcing gifts for free - this was a huge move last year. And I think now we're at the point where it's time to make another pivot, and hopefully it's one of our last.
So guys, just wanted to give you a heads up on a few changes we’re going to make to the app. Our charities generally “suck”, as in, they are not very helpful to us at all. You see, JellyChip needs real evidence, proof and feedback on the donations we make to them through the hard work of our users. Our app requires obvious proof that we're making a difference and changing lives, since our gifts are icons, points are a free currency and gifts are being "purchased" in the app.
I want to show people that they can buy a gift for free on JellyChip, we pay for it and the charities make real impact based off that gift we purchase with real money for them. A history lesson - our app launched in September 2016, our website launched in September 2014 - and we have never received proper proof of the change we are making, despite our best efforts to request this proof.
Obviously gift receipts which we post on our website have been beneficial to providing the proof that we give our charity partners money. But now I believe it’s time to get the charities to properly provide evidence of the impact they are making with our small donations. And this is the purpose of our "final pivot." In this way, they have to believe that we are destined for big things this year. Our donations right now are small ($10-50 per month each per charity), and their reasoning behind not being able to provide resources to help us is because these donations are too small for their effort and time.
But time and time again we've sat in the office, looking at each other incredulous - we know any charity that truly saw potential in JC would help provide that proof - this is part of the bargain of helping us help them. Once we grow bigger we’re going to be providing them tremendous donations - and that’s going to rock their world. And this could very well take place this year.
So I had a great call with Lasallian this week and they’re completely on board with this. They apologised for not being involved enough and will start to provide us stories, pictures and feedback on our donations. They’re a great charity and they have 24 gifts on JC which is our biggest amount for a single organisation. And they’ve been with us since the very beginning as a signed partnership (us and UNICEF).
Plus we’ll be starting physically marketing in South East Asia soon and will be bringing SEA charities on board that can provide direct feedback on the change we’re making.
Unfortunately the other charities have not been so helpful - either they’re too busy for us (nearly all of them not replying to emails or taking my calls), refuse to take donations outside the US (some of our US charities - so we find a way but it’s not ideal) or are hitting us with huge transaction fees that are almost the size of our donations (UNICEF).
So basically, what I’m considering we do is implementing an application process on charities that want to be on JellyChip. Charities will have to submit an application to us, complete a series of tests that prove their capability, and sign a partnership that formalises the relationship. We’ll need some rules that charities have to adhere to and pass these tests to ensure they can be part of JC.
We also need real feedback with a small amount of gifts than no feedback with a huge amount of gifts - where we can prove that what JellyChip does is real. The negative is that I think users will be upset to see gift disappear (we’re building an “Archived Gift” section in the Profile now where all your past achievements will exist for eternity).
The positive is that we can start with Lasallian again - and start to prove our giving. Something we should seriously do. We can then expand out to other bigger charities when we ourselves are bigger - and they’ll be begging us to join the party. Like the App Store or Google Play, apps have to go through a very big submission process with a lot of different checks/balances. I think we do the same here since we are essentially creating a virtual charity store.
I believe in a world where JellyChip can save dogs, plant trees and provide vaccines - but I think we start small and for once consolidate our efforts. We can be the heroes of the world but let's take it step by step, until we're capable of truly managing hundreds of charities and determining their impact. Let's prove the model of JellyChip and go from there. Hopefully we’ll see all these gifts again but let’s get our foundation in place for our 1M users this year.