[revised on Oct 10 2012]
Piktochart used to give non-for-profits an account on Piktochart for free. That came with some (but not many) criticism from various parties which said that some non-for-profits average a marketing budget of about $500,000 per country and therefore could really afford their own software/app!
That is not something we disagree on and it is indeed difficult for us to ascertain which non-for-profits would be “eligible” and which ones would be ineligible, when there really is no quick and fast way for us to cross-check the backgrounds of these organizations and how lean they keep their organizations and so far, it’s been a little bit of manual work. But as we grew, it became a big time manual work!
Making the application process PAINLESS
Organizations who would like to contact us for ONE YEAR of PRO Upgrade would have to fill up a very short form on www.piktochart.com/charity and then our team will take a look at these applications manually and upgrade the account instantly if we have no question or check back with them with a couple of questions.
We would send a manual Paypal invoice, and upon payment, locate their sign up account and then upgrade the account for them, and send them an email to say “Voila, log on to your account now and be sure to keep in touch!”
Could we continue giving the app out for free?
No, the volume of applications that came in to process and go through the verification process was simply too much for us to handle. So we thought, if the charitable organizations could pay for ONE month of Piktochart, they would get ONE Year of access. Sounds like a fair deal, doesn’t it?
Why go through so much to give discounted pricing to charities?
You see, I have once been a volunteer too. I know it is very tough for non-for-profits to raise funding to keep up with the good work that they are doing. In fact, one of my first startup ideas was some sort of “donating tangible products to non-for-profits” but we did not manage to kick that off after some time.
Just to illustrate my example, I was once involved in AIESEC back in the university days. We are the largest student organization in the world and one that has generated the most culturally-diverse and multinational population of employees. As an AIESEC-er, we were encouraged to raise our own funding to sustain our operations of sending students across the borders for a work exchange experience. As non-life-changing as that may sound, we actually find that cross-border experiences benefit an individual and the employers’ organization tremendously.
On top of training/preparing students for their first exchange experience and holding multiple events in the university, we also had to hold fundraising events. We sometimes hired external designers and planners (if we had a big budget) in order to get the promotional materials going. But sometimes and most of the time, it was DIY work. If only I had more friends in design back then.
500 accounts x $150 (Annual account) = $75,000 in 8 months since we announced the launch of discounted pricing for charitable organizations!
The amount of publicity that we got in return and the testimonials/feedback that we have been getting however is simply satisfying. I also found a great post by Peldi from Balsamiq here about why donating your app/software is a lot of win.
Do you have any thoughts? Write to us at love [at] piktochart.com
Ching (Co-founder of Piktochart)