When I first heard that CMDI’s Erik Nilsson was taking to C&E to launch a broadside against Rally.org and was lumping us in with one of the biggest brands in the world (PayPal), I smiled. Then I read his piece, and found myself perplexed and exasperated.
Erik’s piece was so full of inaccuracies and misleading half-truths, Factcheck.org would have a field day. I’m surprised that someone from a company that we’ve worked with so well with in the past would be attacking us. I’m not going to respond to every charge leveled in Erik’s piece, but I do want to debunk a few of the biggest distortions.
First and foremost, here’s what you should know about Rally.org: We were the largest online fundraising platform for political campaigns and advocacy organizations in the last election cycle. We serve candidates throughout the country, at every level, on both sides of the aisle. From the presidential race to school board contest, candidates and advocacy organizations are raising millions of dollars using Rally’s social fundraising tools.
And while the company's roots are in politics, Rally powers fundraising for all types of causes aiming to amplify their purpose. For example, Rally is currently being used to raise money for a foundation for families of fallen soldiers. We're also helping a child with an inoperable brain tumor and a family that has lost everything in a fire. We focus on empowering campaigns, causes and individuals to share their stories with tools they've never had before. We want to help our users change their world.
Now a few facts in response to some of the points Erik raised.
Charge: The donations are not really your funds.
Fact: The funds that pass through our settlement process are not ours. In fact, this would be illegal.
The intended recipients of funds are the Rally.org account owners. Our company has worked closely with money-transmission law experts and is in full compliance with regulations determined by various banking commissions to act as an agent to help our users collect and process funds.
Charge: You don’t receive your donations when the donor’s card is processed.
Fact: When a campaign raises funds, they get their earnings as fast as the banking network allows. Our users are not waiting for weeks or months on end to get their cash.
Furthermore, Erik implies that any organization can simply “walk up” to a payment gateway and get their hands on a merchant account. This is inaccurate. In fact, it’s one of the biggest reasons we’re in business today – the process is far more complicated than he attempts to make it sound.
By acting as a master merchant, we take headaches off our customer’s plate, such as the complexity of holding reserves, interchange rates, and other stringent requirements that would make an MBA from Stanford cry.