An All-In-One Platform For Groups, Causes, & Member Organizations: Rallyhood

Patti Rogers, CEO of Rallyhood, is a 30-year marketing entrepreneur. She founded Rallyhood, a social-productivity platform for groups, after she experienced the power of community in action during her personal battle with breast cancer. While the assistance from her friends and family was critical to her health and recovery, it was also a very difficult thing to organize because the tools were fragmented and hard to use. Recognizing that most purpose-driven groups suffered similar pain points, she was inspired to build a platform that makes group-organization seamless so people have an easier way to stay active and engaged, no matter what the cause.

In Conversation with Patti Rogers, CEO of Rallyhood

When was Rallyhood, Inc started? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?

Rallyhood Inc was started in 2011 with the conception to create a platform for purpose-driven communities. When we come together with a common cause or intention, we need effective and adequate tools to stay connected, organized, and engaged online. The fact is, the distracting noise of most social media platforms, like Facebook, coupled with the inefficiency of reply-all email, and the mix-mash of siloed apps scattered across the internet don’t add up to be an efficient, or enjoyable approach to getting things done. We call it “digital disorder”(™)  and the messiness can make it difficult to sustain a genuine engagement or connection to a cause. And you might say “Aren’t there lots of collaboration tools for business?” While that may be true, these tools address the needs of co-workers at work, they do not bridge internal members like staff and external members like volunteers, partners and alumni. Hence, the idea of Rallyhood was to develop a ad-free platform that combines the best of social tools with the best of collaboration tools to address the needs of work-outside-of-work (™), to create a simpler way for everyone (volunteers, partners, staff, supporters) to come together around the causes, people, and organizations they care about in their everyday lives.

Rallyhood has evolved immensely over the years in its innovations, functionality, and its vision for organizational impact. In the early days, we were great at helping one group at a time. But today, we have an infinitely scalable solution to empower the needs of varying organizations that are made of many sub-groups, sometimes in the thousands. We have become a more robust All-In-One solution giving groups even more tools to interact, collaborate, share resources, manage and organize events, process payments, raise funds and more. In parallel, we have also built tools that give these organizations the ability to own and customize their member-network in a way that maps to their organizational structure as well as the exciting ability to garner actionable insights from an aggregated view of engagement analytics. Our partners can create, customize and manage an ecosystem of digital spaces we call rally-sites, without needing any development or IT resources.

What factors influenced or motivated you to start this venture?

I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, which had a huge impact on my professional life. I co-founded a marketing agency in my early career, which we sold in 2002. After I moved on to my next chapter, I had the opportunity to spend many years helping nonprofit boards, committees and stepping in to volunteer where I could. That was a special stage of my life, as I learned about the significant value of volunteer leadership and how this kind of collaboration influences the communities where we live, in big and small ways. I noticed however, that these groups didn’t have an easy time getting things done. There was a stark contrast from how things were project managed in a more professional setting and the absence of solutions for these work-outside-of-work (™) use-cases.

I was especially inspired by this when I went through a two-year journey of breast cancer. As I mentioned earlier, the support I received from my family and friends was undoubtedly the game changer in my health and recovery. But it was also a difficult effort to organize because of the mix-mash of fragmented tools that were hard to use. The ‘aha’ genesis behind Rallyhood was to solve this problem—to make it easier for a group of people to come together, stay connected and organized in one place, no matter their size or mission. The vision from day one was to build an elegant easy-to-use platform to help these groups achieve more, do more, enjoy more and therefore become a platform for positive change. Together, we can do great things… but we need a place to get it done!

What is the most important key to your success? Share the experience.

The truth is, the startup journey is tough. The ups and downs can be both exhilarating and exhausting. I don’t know if there is one secret ingredient of anyone’s success. But I do believe that it comes down to hard work, tenacity, grit, and teamwork. The saying “Hard work pays off” is absolutely true. There is no substitute for it. There is no hack for it. You have to put in the hours. Period. And tomorrow, you need to do it again. Period. And you need to have team members next to you who are willing to embrace the same principles. I believe our “Do Good Today” mission has always kept our team motivated and inspired to do what it takes to build a scalable platform to help amplify the “good” these purpose-driven groups do in their communities every single day.

With a huge client base, what has been your experience serving groups like Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Member Organizations, Nonprofits and Causes, Schools?

We have learned so much working side by side with these amazing organizations who exist to better the lives in their community. One of the biggest takeaways is that these mission-driven organizations rely on their volunteers to deliver programs and services that serve the greater good. But historically, one-directional communication tools, like newsletters, do absolutely nothing to empower day-to-day collaboration. They also don’t solve the need to build a connected community. Members and volunteers are critical to the mission, and yet in the past they have had to use 12 different tools to effectively self-organize all outside of the domain of the organization. Obviously, this weakens the experience and drives disengagement. As we have worked with our client-partners to implement Rallyhood into their communication, collaboration and engagement strategy, it’s been thrilling to witness the transformational shift. By empowering members with a solution that helps them be more productive and simplifies their lives means everyone wins—the organization, the volunteer, the mission, the community. That’s exciting! And that’s what gets us jumping out of bed everyday to be a force amplifier for these causes.

What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s reputation?

We love what we do. We care about our customers and their mission to serve their communities and create positive change. We feel a genuine alignment with them and therefore develop genuine relationships. We lean in as partners not vendors and I think that makes all the difference when it comes to implementing a new system into an organization.

We are not like other SaaS companies who are out the door once the contract is signed. We spend the time listening and learning about their strategic initiatives and help them map out the structure of their ideal ecosystem. We have a methodical approach to onboarding and training that gives our customers comfort and a sense of excitement for building a more connected and organized community, online and in real life.

We have been told over and over again by our customers that they have never had an onboarding experience as thorough and turnkey as ours. That’s the kind of customer delight we are striving for every day.

What’s so different about Rallyhood and why a member organization should opt for it?

Well, there are many things that make Rallyhood a critical part of an organization’s digital communication strategy.

For one, we have a deep understanding of the unique complexities of member organizations who rely on volunteers and alumni. We speak the same language. Which also means we have built a full suite of tools and functionality by listening to the needs of both the organization and the members. Delivering value for everyone, so everyone wins.

Second, we have a flexible platform that can scale to meet the strategic needs of our customers. So no matter how an organization is structured, what it’s hierarchy is, or how many groups and subgroups they need to empower, the Rallyhood ecosystem can be easily configured to support it.  This is a huge point of difference for our platform.

Third, we have both a technology and a client services team that together saves our partners time, not only for their staff but also for the volunteers. We offer hands-on training and turnkey support materials that helps eliminate a lot of the work customers are used to having to do themselves when building internal adoption for a new platform. By having their day-to-day collaboration all in one place, we streamline and simplify the work for everyone. Together this  creates a positive member experience that drives satisfaction, member engagement and retention.

Fourth, we provide a private, digital space, with all the tools necessary for members to stay organized and connected, without noisey ads and user’s data is never sold, which is distinctly different from many social platforms.

And because all the groups are in one place with members having a white-space to be able to organize and engage, they are able to build a more connected community, something that is so important, now more than ever.

What are some of the latest solutions offered by Rallyhood, and what’s on the horizon?

The Rallyhood team is continuously enhancing our product roadmap to assist communities in staying connected, productive and engaged. In addition to recently adding event management and the ability to collect payments for dues, we also integrated with Zoom and YouTube to simplify online meetings and streaming events.  We also introduced some amazing new front-end editing capabilities to advance the power of customization into the hands of our users – with absolutely no dev or IT resources required. And soon, we will be launching an updated mobile app that will optimize the user experience helping everyone stay even more connected and productive on the go. We are also working closely with our partners to prioritize functionality that will continue to add value and utility for the member base, always keeping ROI for the mission front and center.

How is Rallyhood helping users by providing an end-to-end service.

From the moment we engage with our customers, we are full steam ahead in ideating on all of the possible use-cases that can help empower and engage their member network. Our robust implementation process ensures every level of the organization is properly trained and getting the maximum value from all of the tools on the platform.

We are not a launch-and-leave kind of vendor that onboards a new customer and then disappears. Rather, we are a vested partner that onboards, trains, nurtures and grows with our customers. Something we always say to our partners is that “their success is our success” and we mean that. We want our partners across all levels of their organization, whether that be leadership, management or volunteers, to collectively benefit from having their own private, digital collaboratory (™) workspace where they can come together to grow their member network and advance their mission for maximum impact. Our goal is to provide end to end solutions for our customers so they can provide end to end solutions for their members.

How do you bridge the gap between what your clients already know and what’s next?

We spend a lot of time listening and learning about our clients’ needs. At the core, we are a customer-first company that takes great pride in our partnerships no matter the size of the organization.

What are your messages for budding entrepreneurs/young generation?

Aside from needing to educate yourself on the elements of strategic planning, defining a market, validating a customer and being willing to fail on your thesis. I guess a few of my more inspiring takeaways I can share are these three things:

  • Know your “why”

It’s powerful to be able to describe why you do the work you do and why you think it matters. What’s the purpose of the company at the core. It can be a really powerful part of your internal and external brand values to be able to articulate this. And it can be a north star that helps you to recruit your team and keep them aligned about the mission long term. Honestly, it is important for you.

  • Never give up. (Even when it’s hard. Because it always gets hard.)

Be clear about the fact that this entrepreneurial journey requires hard work. Late hours. Frustrations. Disappointments. Failure. And re-do’s. Lots of them. We can’t just wish for it, we have to work for it. If you have the stomach for that and a partner in life who is willing to support you for a rollercoaster of a ride, then lean into it and face your day with an appetite for solving problems.

  • Think, speak and act intentionally. 

Your words and actions are a critical part of leadership. I believe our attitude and self-talk are also a critical part of sustaining the challenges of being an entrepreneur. You have to be disciplined about what you think about, and what you talk about, because they both affect how you act, and influence the people you attract in your life and into the company. You have to intentionally curate your thoughts, your words, your actions.