I promised a few people that I’d summarize my experience with DropCash, and after the (astoundingly short) 13-hour duration of my campaign, I’ve grabbed the information from PayPal and done a few calculations. Here’s my rundown.

First, DropCash was totally simple to use, asking me for a title for my campaign, a summary of what I was aiming to do, my goal donation amount, and my PayPal account email address. After submitting it, I had to verify that everything was as I wanted it to be, and then the campaign was live. I’ve already told Andre that I’d love the ability to edit the information after it’s submitted, but that being said, there should also be precautions and whatnot built in to dissuade people from changing things in a dishonest way (e.g., silently upping the donation goal halfway through a campaign). Other than that, DropCash was completely hands-off.

It’s hard to comment on whether or not the community aspect of DropCash was useful or meaningful with my campaign, mostly because I chose to raise the money to get a piece of networking equipment that will (in part) help a large, already-present online community, MetaFilter. About an hour after I posted the note about the campaign, Scott threw a post onto MetaTalk, and that thread became the home for most related comments.

There ended up being $456 in total donations — one donation was done via eCheck, and apparently eCheck payments take four to five days to clear. I’m assuming that the PayPal API doesn’t add those kinds of donations into the total until the bank clearance is complete, because that donation never got tallied into the total on the DropCash page, only on the summary page of my PayPal account. That means that the $450 total is the cleared total, and that in another four days, $6 more is going to trickle into the account.

The donations broke down into $351 (77%) coming from U.S. donors, and $105 (23%) coming from international donors. The donations ranged from Andre’s initial $1 to another person’s generous $26 to close the campaign; there were a total of 39 donors, which means that the average donation came out to $11.69. PayPal doesn’t report back whether donations are made with cash (from a linked bank account) or credit cards, but I know that there were at least a few credit card donations, for reasons I’ll go into below.

The donation process started at 9:00 PM Eastern time on 8/18/2004, and ended at 10:08 AM Eastern time on 8/19/2004 (today), for a grand total of 788 minutes. That calculates out into a donation rate of just under $0.58 a minute, or $34.72 an hour.

After PayPal took its cut, the campaign was left with $431.64, or 94.7% of the total. $21 of the donated money didn’t get hit with fees; that $21 was donated before the first credit card donation was attempted, and that’s when I learned that I’d have to update my PayPal account to a Premier or Business account in order to accept the donation. Unfortunately, whereas Personal accounts have no fees on accepted payments, Premier and Business accounts charge a fee, and that fee is on all payments, not just on credit card ones. Thus, the remaining $435 worth of donations had fees taken out of it no matter what the payment source was, and those fees ranged from 2.9% to 3.9% plus an additional $0.30 transaction fee per donation.

And that leads to my last observation, another DropCash suggestion that I’ve already lobbed in Andre’s general direction. People should be able to create a campaign with two PayPal accounts, one Personal and one Premier or Business, and then the campaign should encourage credit card donations through the appropriate account. That way, fees get taken only from donations that require them to be (e.g., credit card donations), and the rest make their way to the recipient free of fees.

All in all, what a great experience! I ordered the new toy today, and the only thing that’s upsetting to me is that I’m on call this weekend, meaning I can’t start playing with it until next week.



• Pinged by anil dash's daily links on Aug 19, 2004, 7:07 PM