Getting good causes ready for PSD2/SCA.

There are some upcoming changes to the regulations that keep consumers safe when they’re spending money online. We’re making some changes to make sure that we’re compliant and ready to keep supporters safe online.

You might notice from September 14th, 2019 that when you go to pay for things online, you may be asked for some additional information when you confirm your payment details. It may happen to you occasionally now, for example with the ‘Verified by Visa’ system, but this will become a more common experience. This is due to the introduction of the new Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) regulations that are part of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

Each bank will be implementing an SCA method. They may send you a code via SMS which you’ll need to enter, send a notification to an app you need to acknowledge or another method of their choosing.

Each merchant that takes card payments online, including Echoleft where you can donate to good causes and take part in events & campaigns, needs to be able to handle any SCA method the banks choose.

Due to the UK banks not quite being ready in time for the September 14th deadline, the Financial Conduct Authority has agreed plans for a ‘phased implementation’ of SCA. This means banks won’t be in trouble if they’re not ready with their new security measures by the September deadline, however those banks that are ready will be rolling them out.

We have been working for the last few weeks to make sure that we’re ready on September 14th to support all new security measures and fully compliant the new regulations. We’ll be automatically applying for all available SCA exemptions on behalf of our donors and good causes at the point of purchase to try and make paying as low-friction as possible.

If you’re interested in ready more about PSD2 & SCA, we recommend starting with the Stripe write-up. Stripe are the payment processor we use here at Echoleft and they have a good (if a bit technical) description of how they’re helping us handle the regulatory changes.

If you have any questions about the upcoming changes, please reach out to support@echoleft.com and we’ll be happy to help.

Showing how we build Echoleft 🎬🍿

We think it’s great when teams building software show a little bit more about the technical behind-the-scenes of how things work. In order to do that, we’ve started a new YouTube channel, “Building Echoleft” where we’ll be live-streaming work on new features.

These streams are perfect for people interested in the highly technical side of how we run develop for an events, fundraising and campaigns platform.

There’s no fixed schedule for streams and no specific plans for how long they’ll continue, we’re just finding it a lot of fun and are keen to share what we work on.

Helping event organisers make more from sponsors.

Event organisers tell us they value tools that help them make the most of the support they receive from sponsors. Today, we’ve rolled out the ability to add individual sponsors to your events in Echoleft.

Sponsors will show up automatically on event pages, meaning event organisers don’t have to spend ages working out how to work sponsor’s logo into the branding they’re using for the event 😆. Organisers can provide an optional link, logo and a small description for each sponsor.

We’re going to be adding the ability to use the sponsor information in a variety of places automatically (emails, fundraising pages etc) – we’ll let you know as soon as that’s available and we’d love to hear more about what event organisers need in the meantime.

If you want a closer look, you can see Max and Hettie taking a look at this new feature before it was rolled out in this behind-the-scenes video.

New charts for Dashboard in Control Panel 📈

We’ve added two new charts to the main dashboard for all organisations using Echoleft to power their events, fundraising and campaigns.

The new charts show total revenue per day for all donations and across all events. In this initial roll-out, we’re displaying the last 4 weeks of data, but we will be rolling out the ability for you to choose different date ranges.

This is part of a range of work to improve visualising and reporting, as well as providing insights and clear actions for your team to improve their events, fundraising and campaigns.

As part of this release, we’ve temporarily removed the ‘Recent Donations’ section from the dashboard. That data will be returning soon, along with an improved format and layout.

We’ve updated Echoleft ‘profile’ pages for organisations 🎉

Every organisation using Echoleft to power their events, fundraising or campaigns gets a profile page (sometimes people call it their Echoleft Home page). Until now, that page had limited editing for the branding and content, these updates give organisations more flexibility.

These are the first in a series of changes allowing Echoleft to provide organisations a ‘full site’ experience for their supporters:

  • We’ve updated the “profile” area in Control Panel to provide more tools to edit profile pages. We’ll be adding more tools here over time.
  • Organisations can now choose a cover photo. This image dominates the page and can help keep branding consistent, especially across multiple websites.
  • The main heading, sub-heading and ‘welcome’ message on the page are now editable.
  • Events, campaigns and in-memory giving content will appear on the profile page automatically. Images, descriptions and branding will be pulled through automatically.
  • “Donate” and “Fundraise For Us” call-to-actions are added automatically for organisations that have these features enabled.

We’d love to hear from you how we can make these pages even more powerful, let us know at support@echoleft.com.

Introducing Campaigns to Echoleft 🎉

A powerful way for good causes to get their audience involved.

Echoleft is already a powerful tool for good causes, powering event registration & ticketing, online fundraising pages and in-memory giving. That means we get to have lots of conversations with great fundraisers, hearing about what they need to make the most of the web for fundraising.

Those conversations led directly to us launching a new way for good causes to use Echoleft to raise money: Campaigns.

Fundraisers told us they wanted a way to engage supporters online and make it easy for them to share on social media. We heard that any donor engagement tool needed to look great, handle donations, be easy to set up and flexible enough to handle lots of different types of campaigns. We heard you: Echoleft campaigns do all those things!

We could spend ages tell you about how great campaigns are, but we’d rather show you! Right now, head over to Light Up A Life 2018 where those taking part can light a candle for a loved one. Everyone taking part is able to leave a message, a photo and can leave an optional donation. At the end of each contribution they see a beautiful candle being lit, a moment to stop and reflect.

It’s fitting that our first campaign is focussed on in-memory giving as that’s a big part of what we do, but we’ve got some incredible, fun, vibrant campaigns planned. We can’t wait for you to see them.

If you’re involved with a good cause and you’re planning your upcoming campaigns, we’d love to show you the experiences you can make possible for your supporters.

Mission: Improbable 2018

We love a challenge. We also love helping charities put on amazing fundraising events, so we were doubly excited when St Nicholas Hospice Care came to us with “Mission: Improbable 2018” and asked how Echoleft could help them run the first-ever Mission: Improbable, a charity scavenger hunt . Here’s the pitch: Armed with only a mobile phone, eleven teams made up of local businesses, battle it out to complete bespoke missions and undertake a series of challenges.

We knew the “Updates” feature on Echoleft fundraising pages would be perfect for this. Updates allow fundraisers to add text, photos and videos to their fundraising pages really easily. Each Mission: Improbable team had their own fundraising page and were able to add an update every time they completed a challenge.

With 11 teams and 21 challenges, that’s at least 231 things for the St Nicholas staff to keep track of. Luckily, our “Team Fundraising” features were able to help. They could see all the updates, from all the teams, in one place in real-time.

We were lucky enough to sit back at HQ with George, Abby and Emma from St Nicholas Hospice Care and watch the action unfold, Max even went live on Facebook to show everyone how it was getting on🕵️‍♀️

We posted on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day to give everyone the chance to see how all the teams were doing, along with all the hilarious and heartwarming photos being shared.

Every single team did amazingly well and everyone gave 100% but sadly they can’t all win, so it’s a huge well done to the winning team, Lark Technology! 🥇🏆

The St Nicholas Hospice Care fundraisers did such a great job to make Mission: Improbable truly unique and were a pleasure to work with. We hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did.

Be sure to check out the photos that we posted on Facebook of all the terrific teams!

If you work for, or with, a charity looking to run an event like this don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ve launched some amazing new features that will take your event to the next level, including fundraising updates, which gives your supporters the opportunity to share their fundraising journey and giving you more assets to help promote your event.

🖥️ https://www.facebook.com/echoleft/
☎️ 01473 631344
📧 hello@echoleft.com

You, your data and Echoleft.

It’s likely that you’ve received a lot of emails and notifications recently about various companies changing their terms and conditions and privacy policies. That’s because on May 25th, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect.

We’ve value privacy very highly at Echoleft. Our memorials can be completely private, donations can be made anonymously and we only store the data that we need. GDPR provides us a structure to formalise that commitment to privacy, so here are the initial steps we’re taking to make sure that we’re compliant with GDPR along with some of the goals that we’re putting in place to go even further.

We’ve updated our privacy policy to make it even clearer what data we hold, what we use it for and how we protect it. GDPR asks us to make it clear on what basis we hold the data, how long we hold it for and what’s our basis for holding it, so we’ve added all those details too.

If you ever have any questions about how the data we store, how we use it or how we protect it, please contact support@echoleft.com.

The updates we’ve made around GDPR are only part of our ongoing commitment to put you in control of your personal data. We’re working closely with charities and organisations to provide them with a set of Echoleft features that allow them to offer you more opportunities to build long-term relationships with great causes, in a way that makes it clear how your data is being used. We’ll have more details on those in the coming weeks and months.

If you work with a charity or good cause that is interested in running events or fundraising campaigns with these types of data tools built-in, we’d love to talk.

“I’m A CEO… Get Me Out Of Here”

Right now, in offices across the region there are 14 very nervous CEO’s. They’ve agreed to take part in St Nicholas Hospice Care’s “I’m A CEO… Get Me Out Of Here” and on October 27th they’ll be “stepping out of the boardroom and into a world of creepy crawlies, stomach churning snacks and top-secret trials, to help raise funds for the Hospice.”


Visit their Echoleft fundraising team page to find links to each of their individual fundraising pages. Here’s just a glimpse of what’s coming, with Laraine Moody looking thrilled to meet a snake:

Here’s Clare Friel getting a sense of what to expect on the day by meeting a cheerful looking lizard:

https://twitter.com/RandDCons/status/912998498500583424

We can’t wait to see what the hospice team have cooked up for them on the day!

Using Apple’s Pages for collaborative design and layout.

We’re in the process of producing a new brochure for Echoleft to highlight our event registration and ticketing features.

Designing printed materials for us had previously started with a pencil-and-paper sketch layout and, perhaps, a Google Doc for the written content. We would then jumped almost immediately into Photoshop or InDesign to get the layout and text working together. This step, however, means that everyone other than the designer is unable to see how changes to the wording affect the layout and vice-versa. It also creates a multi-step process for edits: suggest the new content in the Google Doc, wait for the designer to implement it, review the changes, repeat.

We have tried using Google Docs (including Drawings) for the layout in the past, but the tools just aren’t good enough yet.

I’ve always liked the layout tools in Apple’s Pages app, it’s always been a solid desktop-publishing app for those that aren’t professional designers but need to produce documents that look good. I see people using Microsoft Word for this, but if you’ve ever had to edit or manipulate images in Word and inevitably wanted to throw your computer out the window, you’ll know why I prefer Pages even with its imperfections.

With the announcement in 2016 that Apple’s iWork apps (Pages, Keynote and Numbers) would support real-time collaboration, it made sense to give it a try for designing the layout of our new brochure. It will end up in professional design software eventually, but I wanted to produce a draft that would give us a ‘close enough’ version that we could work on together.

Here are a few observations from the process:

  • Apple’s collaboration for Pages is still not finished. It’s not bad per se, it’s just not finished. Here’s the list of features that currently aren’t supported when you make a document collaborative.


  • That list is optimistic. There are other thing that don’t work, I found several issues that were resolved by switching collaboration off, for example at one point I lost the ability to delete a page.
  • If you’re using custom fonts, you need them to be installed on all devices. Google Docs works around this by providing access to a range of ‘good enough for most cases and in some cases excellent’ fonts across all devices. Apple’s default list is much shorter. I did learn, however, that you can install custom fonts on an iOS device. I used the AnyFont app and it worked really well. I had to restart Pages for it to recognise the new fonts and once I’d done that everything looked just right.
  • If you’re willing to spend a little time getting to know it’s features, Pages is an incredibly powerful layout tool. I found learning as much as I could about everything in the ‘format’ bar really useful. I think the lack of linked text boxes in the last few versions has constrained Pages as a desktop publishing tool, but now they’re back and they worked well for me.
  • When you’re offline, you can’t work on a collaborative document in Pages at all. Google Docs makes this features available via a Chrome Extension although my mileage has varied dramatically with it over the years. There’s something ‘unnatural’ about being told by an Apple-made native macOS application that you can’t use it offline. I think this is the first time I’ve ever experienced that and it’s not handled particularly sensitively in the UI.

If I was working on content alone and didn’t need the layout features, I’d choose Google Docs every time. Powerful privacy features, the fact that it’s cross-platform and third-party integrations are just some of the reasons we use it every day. However for working on a more complex layout, I wouldn’t hesitate to use Pages ‘collaboration’ feature.

I don’t think Apple isn’t competing on the same playing field and for small groups at work, families and friends working on documents together I think Apple are making real progress on a useful feature that’s worth your consideration if you need it in the future.