Success Story: Americans Against Language Barriers uses Givebutter Collect to fuel its mission
In this video, I’m joined by Kevin from Americans Against Language Barriers—a recently launched nonprofit based in Chicago. This organization is on a mission to eliminate linguistic barriers to healthcare access, ensuring all patients with limited English proficiency have access to the language services they need. From connecting volunteer interpreters to volunteer-run free clinics, to meeting with legislators to advocate for those with limited English proficiency, Americans Against Language Barriers is working to improve the quality of life of those who may not be able to speak for themselves. And thanks to Givebutter, collecting fees for their services has never been easier! Follow along as Kevin explains:
- How they made Givebutter’s Collect form work for them
- How to create an intuitive and user-friendly payment processing experience with Givebutter
- Tips, tricks, and lessons learned for making the most Givebutter’s features
“When we embedded the Givebutter forms, we suddenly noticed that way more students were signing up and all these technical issues went away. I think it embeds quite seamlessly, and you can change the color to match your website. It's quite intuitive to use for people who are signing up. I believe that it really did help us raise further revenue, just the platform itself and the software itself when we embedded it into our website… Givebutter enables you to do what it is that you do best.”
They’re taking Collect forms above and beyond—keep reading to see how!
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Full video script
Rachel: Hey everybody! Rachel here with Givebutter again. Thanks for joining for another Success Story from the Givebutter community. Today, we're highlighting Americans Against Language Barriers. Recently, this new organization has been using Givebutter Collect forms to gather fees for service. So far, they've trained and qualified about 150 medical interpreters since they launched last May and are projected to train at least 450 in the next 12 months if everything goes according to plan. I have Kevin here with me to share how they've made these forms so successfully integrated, as well as—you know them, you love them—tips, tricks, and lessons learned along the way. Kevin, thanks so much for joining us and sharing your success with us.
Kevin: Thanks for having me.
Rachel: To start, why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself and a little bit more about what your organization does.
Kevin: Sure! My name is Kevin. I’m one of the Directors and Co-founders of Americans Against Language Barriers. We're a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Chicago. Really what we do is we try to improve the quality of care for people with language barriers, limited English proficiency, and deafness or hard of hearing. The way we do that right now is we train people to become medical interpreters. We're going to expand beyond that, of course, but this is really how we bring in revenue to our nonprofit, so it can be sustainable. When we train people to be medical interpreters, this is a profession. Once they finish our training, they’re able to work as spoken language medical interpreters in all languages. We train students in all languages and the training is entirely online. We use Givebutter in order to get students—we usually recruit through advertisement to sign up from our website. We embed the Givebutter form onto our website. Once they pay an application fee, then we use Givebutter further to have them sign up for a payment plan or sign up for a language proficiency test if they need them—anything like that.
Rachel: That's amazing. That's an incredible mission, and all the more kudos to you for launching that in the middle of the pandemic! That’s amazing. So you mentioned previous to this call that you were viewing it as bringing Givebutter in where PayPal was—using it really truly to collect the fee for service. Which, for those of you are watching, if you're a more traditional nonprofit that's what we call earned revenue. You can also collect donations, but for you, you're really operating more from an earned revenue perspective. The simple Collect forms have been straightforward for the people and students that you're working with. Tell us a little more. Did you start with PayPal and then make that switch? How did you find Givebutter and navigate beginning to use Givebutter’s product?
Kevin: Well, we started with PayPal. It was often very glitchy. We would get emails from students just saying, “Hey, I've been trying to make a payment. I thought I did, but it didn't go through.” We would have issues with seats that they thought were reserved and they never paid, so we had to find a different payment platform. We wanted to somehow integrate PayPal into it, like Givebutter does. Givebutter really was the perfect one because students use PayPal, they can put their debit card in, and they can use Venmo. When we embedded the Givebutter forms, we suddenly noticed that way more students were signing up and all these technical issues went away. I think it embeds quite seamlessly, and you can change the color to match your website. It's quite intuitive to use for people who are signing up. I believe that it really did help us raise further revenue, just the platform itself and the software itself when we embedded it into our website.
Rachel: That's amazing! Just was a lot more user friendly for you once you set that in. Like you said, we partner with PayPal and integrate with them. I'm going to go ahead and share my screen because I'm sure people who are falling along are wondering what exactly does that look like? How did you do that? Right now, we're looking at your website and there are really two different fees you're mainly using it for, correct? We have the application fee and training fee. One of them, if you keep scrolling, you'll see it’s embedded right here in the format of ticketing. Can you tell everybody a little bit more about that? I know this is a recent change that you've tried to make and are testing out right now.
Kevin: Right. This used to be a Collect form. In the Collect form, we would have a custom option for the student to have a drop down menu and select their date. But we believed that it might be beneficial for the student to select their date in the beginning and raise the conversion rate from people who are viewing the landing page to signing up to be students. We're trying to test this right now to see if it works. Basically, the idea is that the student selects which date they want, and then they go on to further add information. The way it was before was that the student would just select how much money they wanted to pay—which was $25—and then they would add their day later on. We believed that it might not make a big difference, but it does seem to be a little bit more convenient for the students. It puts that idea in their head that they're buying a ticket to an event that they have to go to. We noticed some students didn't quite understand that we were expecting them to come live. Maybe they didn't read through the website entirely. Telling them that, “Hey, you have a ticket to show up from June 7th to July 28th from 6:00 to 9:00 pm,” makes them feel like they have to go to something. They really have to attend all the classes if they expect to become a medical interpreter.
Rachel: Smart. Then I know you have a couple more pages that you've created: a “Select a Payment Plan,” as well.
Rachel: Tell us more about it.
Kevin: So this one, we really just want to give extended payment plans to our students because the training takes place over time. Students often asked for instead of a one-time payment, they obviously wanted it spread out. A way we found to do that was to use a recurring payment and then cancel it once it reaches a certain time. I know Givebutter is working on creating automated, month-by-month payment plans, but for now, we found that this works pretty well. We just say that you'll have three recurring payments—if they sign up for the three month payment plan—and then we make sure it's cancelled before the fourth one is charged.
Rachel: I see! That’s smart. So you made that more of a manual process, and then you make sure that they're aware of how that all works. Very clean and simple. And then, again, I thought this was really unique and smart. I haven't seen this on a lot of platforms. Just kind of again: “Can we have your consent?” “Do you understand what you're agreeing to?” “Yes, I understand.” I thought that was really smart that you added that. Was there a reason why?
Kevin: Yes, because students didn't understand. They thought it was more like a deposit, almost. But no, when they sign up, we really expect them to finish the entire thing because they're taking the seat of another student because we have a limit on the number of students per session. We have an entire policy form that we email for them to sign as well. It's kind of just their first time seeing it, but they're going to see it another time in a long form where it goes into way more detail about what exactly they're signing up for.
Rachel: Exactly. Then you have one more page that's kind of more drawn out, explaining the application fee and they can register here as well. How did you think through setting up this page? How have you made it work for you or be successful?
Kevin: Well, the reason we set this one up was because we thought that it might be beneficial for some students who are wanting to know if other people have signed up for the course to see that there had been quite a few people that have been signing up and wanting to become medical interpreters. We noticed Facebook ads are successful for that reason because they had 100 other students in the comments saying, “Yeah, I took this course. It was great! I’m a medical interpreter now and getting paid X money.” We thought that it would just add this social reassurance that “Hey, this is a real thing that you'll actually become a medical interpreter. Learn more about it and talk to other people who are possibly taking it.” Some people really need that before they want to sign up. I think that adds that element to our signup form.
Rachel: Gotcha! Yeah, it sounds like you just really tried to use all of Givebutter’s features to make it as easy as possible for different types of students. For some students, social proof might be really important. This type of page really matters because they can see, like you said, other people have signed up, have a little FOMO. Maybe they should sign up and join them and get on there. They can just simply click “Register.” Again, you'll see that same form that was embedded into your website. What would you say has been the secret to your success with trying some of these different features of Givebutter to sell your services? Any tips, tricks, or lessons learned?
Kevin: Well, I think Givebutter enables you to do what it is that you do best. Therefore, if you're a nonprofit that's trying to raise revenue, people should want your services. You should be the expert at something. Your employees or independent contractors should be experts at what they teach or whatever service they’re providing. Givebutter will enable people to sign up. It's a very intuitive platform and basically enables you to allow yourself to have all these various people who would benefit from your services to come to you. That's really what it is at the end of the day. The ability to have that is good, but the nonprofit still has to have a way of wanting people to come. You should have a way to distinguish yourself. For our training, we try to have our trainers as a way to distinguish ourselves. Our trainers are really some of the pioneers in the interpreting field. That's an old picture; we have a lot more trainers now. We have to update that picture. It’s our website, the new one. But a number of the trainers are very well known in their field. People see them and they want to sign up. I think that if you have that correct mission, then Givebutter will enable you to further it. But you have to make sure the strategic plan is there, is what I'm trying to say.
Rachel: You can't just embed these Collect forms into nowhere, you need to have a plan to market. Definitely. I’m wondering—you're a year in, basically, to this journey—what's next? What's the future for using collection for a fee for service or possibly donations? What do you think is next for your organization?
Kevin: Well, we haven't actually even tried to explore donations too much. We haven’t really been asking for them, so that’s in the future. We're going to be focusing on that soon. We don't really have that much since we're a new nonprofit. We haven't really expanded our wings yet, I should say, into all these various things. Right now, we've been really focusing on the fee for service and just providing services and charging for them. Once we focus on donations, we’ll be using Givebutter for that, of course. We're really excited to try their fundraising feature. We haven't touched that yet. We've only been using Collect and Tickets, so we know there's a lot of potential there. There's a shortage of medical interpreters in every language, so we're going to be training a lot more than what we're doing now and hopefully continue to expand because there's really the need for it. Especially in rare languages, but even common languages in which there's a huge need. Even in Spanish, for example. We don't expect there to be a shortage of students anytime soon. We’re going to hopefully expand and Givebutter will be there in the process of that.
Rachel: Well, thank you so much for the incredibly important work that you're doing and for using Givebutter as you get ready to spread your wings and explore and expand and try new things this year. It is incredible to see what you've started with just with Collect! We often tell people at Givebutter to start with Collect if you're new and build to Fundraise—like you said—and then Events. You're definitely following that pattern and pathway to success. If you're watching right now and you're thinking, “I don't even know where to start; I don't know where to begin.” Maybe try what Kevin did. Start with Collect and then build from there and see how it goes, right? Thanks for being such an inspiration to all of us today and for sharing your story with us Kevin.
Kevin: Yep, it's fun! Anytime you want me back, I will give you an update in the long future on how things went.
Rachel: Yes, we would love that! Please come back. Thank you everyone else for following along and joining us for another Success Story from the Givebutter community. We will see you again next week! To make sure that you don't miss another one, please be sure to like, share, and subscribe to Givebutter’s YouTube channel. Until then, happy fundraising! Bye everybody.
View campaigns: Americans Against Language Barriers