Donating Your Software: A Whole Lot of WIN!

Background

I was shown the value of volunteering from my friend and former boss Robert Tatsumi back at Macromedia: he and his wife Sharon often organized volunteering outings: sorting items at the San Francisco food bank, packing sandwiches for the homeless at the Glide Memorial Church, etc.

I had never done anything like that before, and I remember being amazed at how much a group of motivated people could achieve in just a few hours, and how easy it was to make a difference in someone else's life.

I decided then that volunteering and donating were going to be part of my life going forward and that I wanted to make it part of my nascent family's values and traditions.

In preparation for staring Balsamiq, I read Guy Kawasaki's The Art of the Start (required reading for any tech startup), which he starts off with the "Make Meaning" chapter. Here's a short video in which he talks about it:

This really resonated with me. Problem was: how much meaning was Mockups going to make? Was "write software to help rid the World of bad software" a powerful enough goal? Could it really make a tangible difference? I wasn't entirely sold. I felt the need to do more.

I remember asking one of my advisers about what else I could do: should I pick a charity to donate a percentage of profits to? Should I make one-time donations to a different charity every quarter? And if so, which? His answer was "worry about getting any revenue first, you'll figure out how to give back as you go along". He was right, it didn't take long...

When working on the Mockups for Confluence pricing, I had copied and pasted Atlassian's pricing page for Confluence and used it as a starting point for my own. At the end of it was a section about Community Licenses.

confcommunity

I remember reading it thinking: that's a very nice way to do it and I'll certainly match their policy, but is this it? Who will want my software? :)

The answer came to me a few days later, in the form of an email:

Hey,

Just found your software.

My wife and her friend have started a small nonprofit to alert local groups about climate change impact.

I'm a software person but do Java server software, not UI. As any nonprofit, they're starting on the cheap. My wife put that site together using Google Sites.

They want to get a friend to do a 'real' site for them and are having trouble deciding on a design.

I've tried to give them help but they're visual, I'm verbal and I can't draw.

[...]

I remember thinking: whoa, interesting! Here's someone who's clearly doing some good for the World, and all I have to do to help them is generate a license key - a 45-seconds operation: copy+switch+paste+click+switch+paste+send.

Something that took me less than a minute to do could have a material impact on someone's efforts in helping others and making the World a better place. The reward/effort ratio was extremely high.

I liked that feeling, a lot.

That's when I decided to institute our do-gooder policy for the Desktop version as well:

If you are a do-gooder of any sort (non-profit, charity, open-source contributor, you get the idea), email us with a short blurb and we'll send you a license, FREE of charge.

That was 14 months ago.

Ramping Up

As Mockups gained popularity, the number of do-gooder requests I received each day rose proportionally. After about five months it got to a point where I couldn't keep up with it by myself, so I asked my wife Mariah to help me with it.

She did a wonderful job for a few months, but it become too much for her to do with a little help from me as well. That was one of the reasons we decided to hire Valerie, and she's been doing a wonderful job at it since.

Right now I'd say we dedicate about 20-man-hour a week to sending licenses. I estimate it's about 15% of our collective working time. Given that salaries are by far our biggest cost, this is not a small investment.

Current Stats

In preparation for this post I ran some GMail queries to calculate how much we've donated so far. Here's what I found out:

Product # of keys donated Equivalent Unit Price Total Value
Mockups for Confluence 97 $4,000 $388,000
Mockups for Desktop (site-wide) 152 $709* $107,768
Mockups for Desktop (single license) 1,561 $79 $123,319
Mockups for JIRA 53 $799 $42,347
Mockups for XWiki 3 $6,000 $18,000
Total 2,366 $679,434

*A site-wide license of Mockups for Desktop would cost a lot more than $709 (in fact, we don't even sell those), but I calculated that the average non-profit in the US has 10 employees (12.5 million US non-profit workers in roughly 1.2 million organizations - it's 2001 data but it's the best I could find, LMK if you have better info), so I used the same price of our 10-User pack.

I admit I was really surprised at the number: $680K is a lot of licenses! :)

I love it, I'm very proud of us right now.

Too Much? I disagree

If you think we're donating too much, I'd like to try to convince you of the opposite. In fact, if you're a software business owner, I'd like to persuade you to do more than what you're currently doing.

Here's the way I see it.

It's a moral duty

The fact of the matter is that we (people in tech, knowledge workers) live extremely privileged lives. Just think about how much time you've spent on Twitter or Facebook lately, and compare it to how much time you spent worrying about providing for your family.

As software entrepreneurs, we enjoy insanely high profit margins (ours are in the 80% range for instance). In my view, that's so high it's kind-of unfair, and there's definitely enough to share for a better cause.

Most of all, I believe non-profits should spend their limited money on doing good, not on software needed to help them achieve their goals.

It's extremely rewarding

Because of our do-gooder program, we get THE BEST emails!

Each of them reminds us every day that humans are generally good, generous people.

The wide breath of causes we hear about is inspiring. It really spans the gamut, from large groups like Amnesty International to a single guy working on a new website for an orphanage in Honduras. From tech-y organizations like Mozilla.org to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, we hear from literally hundreds of people every week (here's a very partial list).

Here's a sample story from a do-gooder license recipient:

[...] thanks to your fast response, I was able to use Balsamiq mockups 8 minutes later, in a 3pm UI meeting yesterday with our donor database software vendor. We jumped into using the tool "cold", using it full-force in the meeting.

Using the tool really helped keep folks focused and on-task, identifying additional requirements and solving detailed UI design issues right then and there. Everyone was very very impressed with power and ease of use. My coworker and I continued tweaking the mockups on the train ride home, and sent PNG copies back to the developer. Now he is off and running with these!

Bottom line, it went extremely well, and your tool was critical in that success. What a huge improvement over whiteboarding and/or paper mockups (especially since I have awful handwriting). Thanks again!

Shawn Cox, ACLU

here's another:

One of the most difficult parts for any project is the startup phase. Bridging the gap beween what is envisaged and what is in the mind of IT professionals is a big initial step. The use of Balsamiq Mockups drastically shortens this step and makes working on the project fun from the very start. Clients and IT professionals can use the intuitive interface of Balsamiq Mockups to shape their ideas and quickly reach an agreement on how things should look and what the basic functionality should be. Apart from being a good way to start collaboration within the project, it simply saves a lot of time lateron in the project by being clear on what needs to be done from the word go.

Ed Vanvelzen, Amnesty International Netherland

here's another:

I have used Balsamiq Mockups occasionally after installation. Mockups has provided efficient collaboration with the church's administration. I change the Home page of our website every liturgical season or for a major holy day, and the turnaround time sometimes is very fast. Mockups helped me communicate page layouts to decision makers very easily.

Thanks again for a great product and your generosity,
Best regards, Rene R.

and here's one more:

My name is Fitzgerald Steele, I've recently joined ACT, Inc as a User Experience Designer. ACT is a not-for-profit US corporation. Our mission is "helping people achieve education and workplace success."

Mockups has been an invaluable tool for our UX team. We use it to visualize and communicate design options to stakeholders. We use Mockups to rapidly prototype application information architecture and perform quick UX evaluations. For me, Mockups is great because it allows us to quickly build visual, interactive prototypes, put them in front of project stakeholders and users, and generate conversation and consesus about project features and priorities. Since we've started using it, others within our organization have asked about it and have started using it as well.

Thanks for a great product!

There are lots and lots more - we'd love it if you shared your own story in the comments! :)

It's really heart warming. Who wouldn't want to receive emails like these every day?

It's good for business

Like Tim O'Reilly, I'm a strong believer in the social value of business done right. It's all about "creating more value than you capture".

In other words, this is really a case of the more you give, the more you get.

I am going to try and put it in terms that even Scrooge would appreciate, so apologies if the bullets below sound cynical.

By donating your software:

  • you get FREE testing and feedback: license recipients find bugs for you, give you great ideas on how to improve the software and do it in the nicest of ways, both because they're usually nice people and because "they owe you a favor".
  • you get the best kind of word-of-mouth publicity. Non-profits regularely meet with corporations and other people who won't qualify for a free license. If your software is good, they'll likely recommend it to them.
  • you improve the Triple-Bottom-Line: I heard this term for the first time in this Startup Success podcast episode. Basically as products and services become commoditized, customers start caring more about how what they buy impacts the World, both from an environmental and social aspect. Showing your commitment to making the World a better place sets your company apart from your competitors who are just in it for the money.
  • you get great street cred with the open-source community: if I wasn't trying to make a living as a software vendor, I'd very likely release Mockups as open-source. I also benefit from open-source software every day, so IMHO donating to OSS projects is the least I can do to give back. People on the OSS community respect that, and that's a very powerful endorsement.
  • you have a convincing arguments against hackers. Every few months we notice someone cracking our software and posting license keys or even key generators to the dark corners of the Web. It's ok, it's normal and it's a sign of success. So far, we have always convinced these smart, usually young people to take those keys down with this simple argument: look, we're good people, why are you trying to hurt us?
  • you might be able to treat part of your donations as a tax deduction (ask your accountant).

In general, I think everyone will agree that having a good reputation results in more sales.

Now, the beauty of this is that even if you don't believe any of the moral-duty, feel-good arguments I wrote about above and decide to start donating your software purely as a marketing move, the end-result is a big WIN for the recipients of your software anyways, so go right ahead! What do you know, even Scrooges can do good in the World! ;)

For full disclosure and for reference, we also donate licenses for marketing reasons, both to bloggers willing to give us feedback and publicity with a review and to people who want to demo Mockups in front of a crowd. These kinds of donations are not included in the $680,000 figure above, and their value amounts to just about 13% of all the licenses we gave away thus far.

breakdown

Going Forward

I have been wanting to write this post for a while but decided to save it for a special day. Today is that day, and to celebrate it we decided to donate some more, but this time in cash donations.

I asked everyone at Balsamiq to come up with a recipient for roughly $4,000 in donations, and this is what we came up with:

  • Mariah, after 35 years, has found the Vietnamese orphanage she came from. We are still trying to figure out if it's still around, but our plan is to deliver them our donation in person early next year.
  • I am sponsoring my uncle Luigi's trip to Africa in January 2010. He is a surgeon and joined a group called "doctors without vacations", for which he and his colleagues use up vacation time to go to places in need of doctors and practice there.
  • Marco is planning on sponsoring one or more projects similar to what you could find at Kiva.org (also a do-gooder license recipient) but organized by an organization based in Bologna. It will basically sponsoring part of a long-term project somewhere in Africa (he'll share more details here or on Twitter as we figure out the details).
  • Valerie donated to a campership fund that helps kids get to a magical (but expensive) sleep-away camp in Northern California. She says: "Charities have seen a dramatic dip in donations, so we remind our customers to keep giving to your favorite recipients, just give less. Keep flexing your donor muscle, even if you are able to spare less now than during boom years. It's important to keep the generosity habit alive."

We can think of no better way to celebrate our little company's success, and are committed and looking forward to donating lots more in the future.

Speaking of which, I still have to run this through our accountants to see if it's logistically feasible, but for the upcoming web version of Mockups we plan on giving you an option during sign up to specify a charity of your choice (or pick from a list), and we'll donate 5% of the money you send us for your subscription to them.

charitypicker

That's cash donations, not licenses. This idea was inspired by Working Assets (now called Credo), a long-distance telephone carrier I used for years back in San Francisco: their idea is that they round up your phone bill and use the extra change for progressive causes. We won't round up your bill, but instead use part of it to do good in your name if you so wish. We'll keep you posted on this program as we figure out the details.

We hope this post will inspire you do start donating your software as well, it's really a whole lot of WIN.

Peldi for The Balsamiq team

Comments (72)

  1. Hats off to you! I am quite impressed by your philanthropic spirit plus practical business sense – a marketing win for an ISV, a huge gift to the struggling non-profit community, and better UI’s for all. Looking forward to singing your praises in both the non-profit and Joomla developer communities.

  2. The donation part of myBalsamiq is a great idea. That feature and this post may just motivate me to finish off a website I’ve been working on for a couple months now: http://twomeals.org/ We’re oh so close, just don’t quite have the email stuff working yet. (Side note: You’d be surprised how many charities won’t accept money through PayPal)

  3. Pingback: Just 8 days and already profitable! - Napkee - make your mockups come alive

  4. for a future project of mine I always planned to have a licensing model like:
    - 5$/month or
    - 50$/year or
    - 60$/year including a 20$ donation (so you actually pay only 40$/year for the service) to a charity

    i think this is a great way to encourage people to donate. what do you think?

  5. By giving to open source projects, not only do you get good word of mouth, you get to demo your product to tons of prospective customers. Just about every OSS dev has a day job, most of which don’t qualify for free licenses. So if we use your product for our OSS project and love it, we’re going to start asking our bosses if we can get some commercial licenses for the office. I think your strategy is great, and I hope it continues to work out for you.

  6. Peldi,

    Very inspirational. By reading this blog entry, it makes me want to get out there and do more for the less fortunate.

    Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

    Shawn

  7. I fully agree with Peldi’s statements. I’m the webmaster at the Rock Church in San Diego. We received one of the 2,366 keys donated. We are using it to improve our church website. We are very impressed with the product and are thankful for the unexpected generosity. We work with other design firms, and of course Balsamiq Mockups has already come up as a topic of conversation. So, even if purely from a business perspective, the what Balsamiq is doing with the donations easily pays for itself long-term… in sales, branding, company perception, and customer relations. You can’t help but like them, because you know that they don’t have an ulterior motive. Think Google – “Don’t be evil!”

  8. Your blog posts inspire me very much, keep up the wonderful work you’re doing :-)

  9. The do-gooder license I got from Val was a total surprise; I had emailed you guys to thank you for providing such a useful demo. I said that it had helped me resist the temptation to bootleg, and I promised to pay for a full license as soon as my new job started. Val responded by thanking me for my enthusiasm and for avoiding “the pirate path” (as she put it), and gave me the license! I was shocked, and immediately convinced that the Balsamiq attitude was pervasive throughout the company (rather than just in the blog posts and website copy).

    Since then, Balsamiq has been super helpful. When I got the license, I was in the process of turning a web app that was being used internally in our household (to keep track of our chores, a sort of “super chore chart”) into one fit for public consumption. In addition to beefing up security and improving the architecture, this meant making the app much more usable (since users wouldn’t be able to walk into the room next to them and ask me how to use it).

    I (programming and usability), along with my mom (graphic design) and my best friend (copy writing), all work on the web app ( http://powrhouse.net/ ) together. Balsamiq allows me to quickly turn my ideas into things I can share with them and get feedback on. I’d been using Photoshop for this in the past, but it was a slow process, and it was often hard to explain to my teammates that they were rough mockups (they’d say things like “I don’t really like this, the font looks wrong”). With Mockups, it’s a fast process, and everyone understands which parts of the mockups deserve attention.

    Though my web app still needs some work, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of other things I’ve done in terms of usability, and Mockups deserves a huge amount of credit for this. It’s a joy to use, and produces incredible results quickly. Thank you so much for the license, and for the continued inspiration I’ve gotten from your blog.

  10. Very inspiring. Datamartist is just starting out- we’re making a “data sandbox” that lets people really play with data from multiple sources, without many of the constraints of databases and SQL.

    I bet there are lots of great folks and charities that could use our tool to understand their data- and avoid having to hire consultant database developers.

    I’m going to put nModals license donation program in place ASAP.

    You, and Balsamiq are a huge inspiration to startups like us. Keep up the great work.

  11. We greatly appreciate the license our not for profit organisation received from Balsamiq, it is great to see such goodwill from commercial software entrepreneurs.

    We are an interactive science museum which also runs three different websites in-house; Scitech – our main website, Astronomy WA – a website focusing on local astronomy news, and ScienceNetwork WA – a website focusing on contributions to science from local researchers.

    Currently we are re-developing the information architecture and navigation for our main website, and using Balsamiq for rapid prototyping of ideas has been very valuable, not to mention saving us reams of paper! We have limited resources to work with in-house and using Balsamiq has saved me time I can now spend on implementing some of the good ideas we’ve been able to generate so far.

  12. The essence of donating is not to show off about it.

    [Peldi: I feared that this post might come across as too preachy, so touche'. My intention is not to show off but instead to hopefully inspire other startups to donate more. So far, I have heard of 3 that are starting to implement donation programs after reading this post, so I have no regrets about the 'show off' post above.]

  13. Peldi – excellent post! I think letting people know how a small companies can make a difference is a very good thing to share. Here is another story about how giving does not have to be a big thing to make a difference. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1158171/index.htm

    Robert Tatsumi
  14. The software development world (or any business) should read this in it’s entirety and take it to heart – not because you are boasting but you are reminding us all that giving is good. It has inspired me to be better at giving and realise I may not give huge amounts but it will make a difference to someone and, I am lucky I do have something to give. Imagine non profits giving to non profits in a happy cycle of altruism. Awesome post. Thank you.

  15. Pingback: ConnectSolutions Podium (free) for Do-Gooders « ConnectSolutions

  16. The Mahara project has been a beneficiary of one of the free licenses, and already we’re getting such great value from it! While us humble developers cannot hope to truly produce great design from a mockup tool alone, Balsamiq allows us to share our visions with minimal effort, where before it was a truly momentous task.

    We’ve used it several times already, and I’m sure it’ll see a lot more use in future. Thanks, Balsamiq team! :)

  17. Yes! Yes! Yes!

    I love it! This is what we were made for. Thank you for setting an example and being an inspiration to those that read this blog.

    Anyone that has left the professional world to become a do-gooder has likely taken a big cut in income. It’s a leap of faith not only for you but for those that depend on you. The $680K “pay cut” you’ve taken is almost certainly a fraction of the value generated from the projects borne out of these free licenses.

    I sincerely thank you for committing to a counter-cultural lifestyle that puts others before themselves.

  18. Pingback: Donating your software - papadi Development Blog

  19. My wife was working on few jobs and now due to this tough economy she went back to the community college ,learning some flash/flex , i with hope contacted for a license and Val was so prompt to give it to us and we can learn the mockup tool well …

    Hats off to you

    I don’t think you ever stop giving. I really don’t. I think it’s an on-going process. And it’s not just about being able to write a check. It’s being able to touch somebody’s life
    Oprah Winfrey – Life – Philanthropy

    Rajaraman P
  20. Thank you so much for donating your wonderful s-ware. These days charities are operating on shoe-string budgets. Your donation has made it possible for us to proceed with a free service we hope to offer our members.

    The program is also so user-friendly. I was able to jump right in without any learning curve. We hope to create an app for our film festival, which is a fundrasier for our charity (www.goinggreenfilmfestival.com).

    Your customer support is also outstanding. I emailed you questions on a weekend and received a response same day. That is unheard of.

    So glad we came across your company and s-ware!

  21. Just wanted to thank you for donating licenses to SnapImpact (a free app available on the iPhone App Store for finding local volunteer opprotunities). We’re now using Mockups in our new relationship with AllForGood.org, where we hope to donate more time improving the site.

    It really is a great product, I’m by no means a UI guy but could convey my intentions clearly with only a couple minutes of work.

    I also won a license at a local CocoaHeads meetup where the app was demoed, and have been using that for my new startup called GoodCasts which hopes to marry the meta-gaming aspects of casual games (things like Leaderboards, Challenges, and Achievements) with social activism by providing rewards for doing good in your community. Mockups and MockupsToGo.net literally saved me days in getting my iPhone to Facebook and back userflow mapped out. Thanks!

  22. I’m really impressed. I’d like to meet you just for a small talk one day – I’m from Brescia. Keep doing business your way
    – Massimo

  23. Thanks for giving us another role model. I added the same non-profit policy for our software – a Windows-based syringe pump controller. Most of our customers are researchers of some kind – the majority are at universities, some large pharmaceuticals and perhaps there may be a few non-profits out there who can benefit.

    Again, thanks for encouraging others to be responsible citizens and for leading by example.

  24. Your vision is astounding and generous. You are extending your influence throughout the world by helping those who are helping others!

    Your product is excellent, and you can count on me to spread the word about it to all my friends who code for a living or volunteer.

    May Balsamiq prosper!

  25. Thanks SO much for the free license! Loving it!

    I’ve been using Skitch, which doesn’t even come close to comparing with Balsamiq. You guys rock and so does this app.

  26. What an awesome policy and outlook! The Comparative Toxicogenomics Database at the Mount Desert Island Biological Lab has benefited deeply from your great software. We use it to design better information visualizations that help scientists around the world develop hypotheses to understand the effects of environmental chemicals on human disease. Thank you for your donation!

  27. I downloaded the application one morning, and I had a working design for a new project just after lunch. This tool has already saved me so much time, and we haven’t even started tweaking the design or revisiting features. It gives us such a great way to show users what we are building and greatly increases their comfort level. It is not often that you find such a great tool that reduces the UI design time as well as reduces the development time. Thank you Balsamiq for all the time saved.

  28. Thanks a lot for this free licence !

    I used to draw user interfaces on paper… it was a waste of time. Balsamiq Mockups is a big time saver for me, I’ve really boosted my productivity ! It’s so simple to use…

    You have great product and a nice philosophy : congratulations for that !

  29. 1000 Grazie
    for this free-license for our non-profit project.

    I really like your social engagement with such a licensing strategy. When I represented big american software vendors in Europe, I always made sure to donate as much as possible. I always attached a small condition to it. The non-profits had to send me an example of their work after 1 year. They all proudly did….

    Kind regards
    Matthias T.

  30. Thanks very much to the team at Balsamiq and specifically Valerie. Dimagi (our organization) is a small for-profit company that builds technology for developing countries and also mentors many programmers from low-resource settings. I wrote to Balsamiq to inquire about using their tool for one of our open source projects that is used by non-profits after one of our contributors learned about it. Valerie responded in minutes and offered free licenses; Balsamiq’s support of our open source and non-profit work (even though we are a for-profit company) has been wonderful and we love using Balsamiq in our collaborations. We often work in low-bandwidth settings, and Balsamiq xml format is perfect for our environment. This has helped us immensely in the few months we have used it to share mockups internally and with our developers in Africa.

  31. Mockups is amazing. I’m a “retired” web developer with over a decade of experience developing software and sketching UIs on paper.

    I’ve been put in charge of developing a web application for our local humane society to track animals, assist with adoptions and, most importantly, automatically create the reports required by other facilities when we transfer animals to them. These reports were a tremendous amount of work for volunteers to complete.

    The ability to automatically print and email these reports will free up a lot of time that was normally spent “shuffling paper.” Volunteers have much more important things to do than paperwork. Mockups has allowed me to sit down with a few volunteers, present my ideas and get feedback on how the application should function.

    I am actually having fun creating a UI mockup. Thank you, Balsamiq.

    Anthony
  32. Loving the app. I work with LifeChurch.tv, and am finding this app very useful for mockups. Thanks so much!

  33. After using the online version of Mockups for over a year I decided to kindly ask Balsamiq for a free license. Within a few hours I recieved a mail with the license key.

    Thank you very much Balsamiq, you guys make the web a better place!

  34. Hi,

    I have been looking for a easy to aplication to make some mockups.

    Balsamiq was the answer to our troubles to have the GUI preview within minutes…

    We are now using it to build an open source application for a non-profit organization, it has already been very valuable to communicate with other teams and stakeholder about what we were planning.

    Thanks for your support!

  35. In a word: THANKS!!!

    In a few more words: Thank you very much!

    Seriously though; this simple donation will allow me to communicate my organisation’s needs to our development partners for our new website. I have spent 22 years in the private sector and one of my key goals is to bring best practices to my new organisation. The points you make in your blog hit all the right notes. It is very hard to make a case for software when there is always more students we can help get a good start in business.

    Please know that your simple act of sending me (and I’m sure most of the others) a key, helps us move projects forward, be a bit more professional, impress our constituents, and of course save a few bucks. Thanks again to the entire team at Balamiq!
    Take care!

  36. A while back Balsamiq very generously gave our NGO five Mockups licenses. One of my colleagues uses it a lot – she works on upgrading the design of various webpages of our sites. When asked for feedback she said that what she liked about Mockups is:
    * easy to use
    * looks good
    * every element you expect (especially web 2.0) is also actually there
    * quickly gives one a good impression of how the page in reality will look like

    Recently our communication department got a new colleague and as soon as she saw Mockups in practice she asked if she could get it too, her reason being for making advertisement layouts!

    Thanks from Friends of the Earth Netherlands

  37. Thank you so much to the Balsamiq Team to provide us with a free license!
    It really supports us greatly!

    I recently tried Balsamiq Mockups and I was absolutely fascinated! It saved me so much time and helped me explain my ideas to other people. Therefore, it gave a lot more energy to the idea and saved me a lot of time.
    I am one of the founders of emersense, an Austrian-based Not for Profit that enables individuals that want to change the world from intention to action.

    Some of our projects

    Solution – an UNESCO awarded conference for young professionals that want to become social entrepreneurs

    Social Impact Award – the largest Austrian award for students with ideas how to tackle social, cultural or ecological issues

    The Hub Vienna – a not-for-profit physical incubator for social innovators to work, meet, learn and connect

    nRich (in the making)- a program for underprivileged children to become leaders in their communities

    ReachOut (in the making)- a platform for community development by the
    community

    Austrian Social Startups (in the making) – an open source online platform,
    mapping the social start-up scene in Austria (and subsequently abroad) to
    help them to connect to each other and for philanthropists to spot new
    social investment opportunities
    ….

    All of these projects need a powerful, intuitive and easy to use web
    presence. Balamiq Mockups helps tremendously to make this possible!

    Matthias Reisinger
  38. Pingback: Building mockups and some good advice « Are You Software Experienced?

  39. Forse questo è l’unica cosa che non mi piace, mostrare quanto siete stati generosi.Cmq nessuno è perfetto e voi siete veramente molto bravi.

    [Peldi: grazie Anto. on mi piace parlar bene di noi stessi, ma ho fatto una eccezione in questo caso perche' lo scopo di questo articolo e' di spronare altri produttori di software a fare lo stesso, cosa che per fortuna e' successa. Everyone wins! :)]

  40. Spero che sia realmente cosi, altrimenti mi cade un mito :) ciao e buon lavoro

  41. You guys area absolutely amazing about this. I had requested this for my non-profit Project Causes which was rebranded and launched as Four Gifts. Please check out http://www.fourgifts.org. I have used balsemiq for how to images on the site and it is just amazing. We wrote a thank you on our page and many of our other friends and supporters (we get web designers to design for other non-profits as part of our organization) love this product as well. I would recommend balsemiq goes one step further and gives more pre-done pages (i.e more design in the templates). I wish them the best success and will recommend this product for it’s merit and the spirit of the folks behind it!

  42. Since I’m of an engineering background/mentality, and don’t have a designer on staff, and am extending a design created in the past by a “real” designer, having a tool that makes it easy/quick for me to sketch out ideas to clarify them for myself and my developers is a big win.

    And, being in a non-profit, we’re of-course resource-starved! :) So Balsamiq’s awesome support via free versions is a huge help. The next time I’m in the for-profit world, I’ll be buying a license.

    Thanks!

  43. On behalf of MAPLight.org, thanks so much for your generosity and for building such a convenient product. As a nonprofit, that makes a tremendous difference in our ability to do our jobs well.

  44. Wow! I’m impressed not only by your generosity, but by your leadership in calling the sector to think differently. Great post and great product.

    As the founder of EduGuide, I want you to know how important Balsamiq’s tool is to all of us. Quality user design shouldn’t just be reserved for luxury products. It’s even more important when you’re trying to help someone make a change in their life. Thanks for equipping us to make a difference.

    Cheers

  45. I am impressed by how fast your response was. And thank you for also supporting small businesses in countries like Cambodia for their social mission, not only (well-funded) NGOs. Your response shows us that you understand about our situation – many big software corporations could do better. Thank you for your heart and for making a difference.

    Our design advisor is also very happy: “Thanks to balsamiq we are now able to improve the design process by separating information architecture from surface design. Balsamiq was the choice because it is exactly doing what we need, hence it’s easy to train because trainees are not overstrained by functions nobody needs. This helps us a lot.” @dnlhtz

    Your licenses will support our efforts to train young Cambodians in graphic design and web development on a practical basis and in a real-life business context. Thank you!

  46. Just a few words to say how grateful I am about Balsamiq Mockups.
    I used to do my UI mockups using very expensive desktop softwares as it’s one the most important part of my job running an open source project.
    Since Mockups exists, I now use it every time I need to write a specification or to point up some UI elements we could define or add in our projects.
    Inside eXo, it’s now a common tool we use regularly. Mockups is really good as it removes all the fancy elements you don’t want to show in your basic UI foundations. It just goes right to the point ;-)

    So, thanks to you guys, continue the good work :-)

  47. Incredible tool I may say! I spent less than an hour to lecture my colleagues about Mock up from basic concept to how to use it. Everyone just understood how to use Balsamiq immediately.

    I am grateful that you gave me a chance to share information on this most easy and nice looking mock up program ever! With Balsamiq, we constantly communicate with each others using concrete stuff not using words in thin air.

    Thank you and I hope more people to learn about Balsamiq!

    Junsoo kim
  48. Balsamiq is really amazing – it means that every member of the team can get involved in wireframing and iterating design ideas regardless of their technical ability. We’ve learned that inspiration sometimes comes from the people who aren’t Photoshop or HTML wranglers.

    Ultimately, that’s opening up a whole lot of talent to rethink big problems that otherwise would have been wasted.

    Thanks!

  49. Pingback: Balsamiq – A whole lot of good! | The Bucky Box Blog

  50. Balsamiq thank you so much for your wonderfully simple and creative software which you allowed me to use for free.

    I am the founder of the bloomtrigger project; a simple, affordable and creative way for people to protect rainforest. I am developing a new visual model of online fundraising to enable individuals, businesses and primary school children to protect their own part of the rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon. I asked you almost a year ago if I could use your software to sketch out my idea, since then I have built my website bloomtrigger.com and we will soon complete our pilot phase to establish our concept. Ultimately we aim to raise £100M to help protect 1 million hectares of rainforest worldwide. Your software and organisation has inspired me since the beginning and has played a small yet vital part in making my project successful.

    Many thanks,
    James Sutton
    Founder of bloomtrigger

  51. Balsamiq Mockups is remarkable: it’s effective and efficient with a pleasant user experience.

    I’ve used the product in the non-profit space and in the business world. Each sector finds value in Balsamiq’s easy-to-use UI and intuitive iconography.

    I can’t stress BMockups importance as a quick and collaborative visual communication tool. I love it.

    Best of all, the team at Balsamiq is the definition of enchanting. They are kind, generous, sincere and engaging.

    I look forward to continue working with Balsamiq in the future, and hope to spread their product(s) far and wide. They’ve got a lifelong user on their hands.

    Simply put? Balsamiq is one of the best software companies out there. Thanks for your “Wow!”-worthy product.

  52. Balsamiq generously donated five free licenses to Samaritan’s Purse.

    We are a non-profit relief organization and we work in many areas of the world. These are a few examples of our projects:

    1. Clean water projects providing wells, sanitation and education in Africa.

    2. Building a refugee camp in Yida, Sudan for those who fled fighting in the Yuba mountains.

    3. Disaster Relief – we have several fully equipped disaster trucks that we bring in to US sites where floods, fires and earthquakes have devastated the area. We coordinate a team of volunteers – in fact it is upgrades to our volunteer extranet that I am using Balsamiq for.

    4. Children’s Heart project – where we bring children from impoverished countries to America to have life-saving heart surgery.

    5. World Medical Missions – where we refurbish medical equipment for third world hospitals as well as provide a network of volunteer doctors for short-term placement.

    6. Operation Christmas Child – where we collect annually millions of gift-filled shoe boxes and give to provide for children in poor areas of the world.

    We are very thankful for this generous contribution. We are in the process of casting the vision to our users to participate more in the design process. This mock up tool allows them to get immediate feedback and conveys the important concept that they can change their mind and easily rearrange things as we discuss best how to meet their needs.

    David Sable
    Senior Programmer/Analyst
    Information Systems
    Samaritan’s Purse
    PO Box 3000
    Boone, NC 28607
    828.262.1980
    http://www.samaritanspurse.org

  53. Thank you Balsamiq – on many levels!

    Valerie just graciously gave us a free Balsamiq do-gooder license. We are huge fans of Mockups and especially the spirit of your company. When my partner John and I recently started Jamoki, LLC (a very small mobile software company), we wanted to give back as part of our business goal. We have several not-for-profit projects spec’d out along side our other main stream ideas. As you know, it’s a leap of faith to start up a new venture. Progress is slow but steady and your generosity has added even more fuel to keep moving and paying it forward.

    We are very appreciative, inspired, and committed to living up to our ‘Do-Gooder’ status.

    Sincerely,
    Cynthia McCurdy
    Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), Jamoki LLC.

  54. Every time I open Mockups, I think to myself that it is the essential productivity companion to Microsoft Office, my web browser, my donor database, and my development environment.

    I’m someone who is very comfortable mocking up a site in code, but Mockups is a better starting point because it loosens me up to think about my goals and approach instead of nitpicking the little bits. And my work reflects that in the result. I’ll often use it to lay out a template for print design too.

    Thanks for the incredible donation. We’re using it regularly in our environmental education and outreach, and our use (and license use) will grow as we enter our next phase. Thank you, Thank you!

  55. Hi Valerie

    Thanks very much for the generosity of the not-for-profit registrations for Mock-Ups. We have just finished upgrading and redesigning our website http://www.lowitja.org.au. The Balsamiq mock-ups software was really helpful for bringing together our communications team and the web developers to talk about how the website would look.

    Many thanks
    Johanna

  56. Our NGO http://carefortribes.webs.com uses Balsamiq not for making websites, but as a lightweight, informal graphic design tool. Our shoestring budget (which comes from our own pockets) prevents us from purchasing apps like Adobe’s Illustrator or even Microsoft Word (Smart Art), so we have to think of ways to create great stuff within our limitations. Balsamiq’s ease of use is extremely helpful when we have volunteers who can’t speak English so well and are not so computer literate. Just drag, drop, tweak, export and it’s done! Thank you Balsamiq for such a great tool!

  57. Yahoo Balsamiq!

    Like many startups, it’s tough affording a monthly expense at a point when an income stream to support one is a long way off. I greatly appreciate the understanding that Balsamiq has for young, good startups by providing a free license. It helps me forge ahead with more confidence and a corresponding loyalty to the good folks at Balsamiq who are helping me.

    It’s particularly helpful as there are times when my ‘day job’ responsibilities keep me from making as much progress as I’d like, when a month or two go by without using the software. Knowing it’s available when I need it is huge…

    I can promise that when we have an income stream to support using Mockups that I’ll be the first to convert my subscription to real live cash, month to month.

    Thank you Balsamiq; you da best!

    ScholarDollars will help kids and families become financially literate in their day-to-day saving and spending, using mobile devices in a fun, informative family-oriented way.

  58. Setting up a Human Rights Commission in Samoa is a tricky business and one
    of the most important parts is making the information available to the
    whole population. Through using Balsamiq we will be able to design an easy
    to use site that has all the functionality we need. Without this
    user-friendly tool we may not have been able to employ designers to do this
    work for us so you guys have significantly helped in bringing human rights
    to the fore in Samoa! Thanks once again.

  59. Thank you very much balsamiq company members. Balsamiq mockup builder is one of the best mockups. we use it and i recommended all use balsamiq!!!!

    Hripsime
  60. Thank you so much Balsamiq. Valerie gave me a free license as I work for a charity. I was looking for a package to help me mock-up website pages to give to a designer and I did not know how to do it. However, within hours of receiving this package I was able to have mock-ups which I could present to colleagues to explain what I had conceptualized. I highly recommend your product to anyone in a similar situation – it was really simple to get started. I wish you every success with your company and product.

  61. I am working with a small and mighty non-profit called Project IDDACT, dedicated to making special education more accessible and effective for families of children with special-needs. Bright enthusiastic volunteers from various fields and geographic locations collaborate in building and accommodating assistive technologies.

    We are currently exploring the beneficial uses of interactive technology to help children with autism reach their full potential. Having Mockups around is such a great help! In prototyping apps, we have found Balsamiq to be a strong ally, maximizing the time of the volunteers and allowing the kids to try out the ideas before we spend a gillion hours on developing them. Thank you Val and the whole team for making this possible and for contributing to the greater good with such an amazing tool!

  62. An Ode of Gratitude to Team Balsamiq

    CyberTracker Conservation would like to thank Team Balsamiq
    For the two free licenses to their software uber slick.
    Now we’re, um, making a “mockery” of our design blocks,
    By using this software that totally rocks!
    The salad of wire-framing is now oh-so-tasty
    Thanks to the seasoning we added – Balsamiq zesty!

    The good Team Balsamiq is doing deserves a loud applause,
    Since they’re striving hard to further such a noble cause.
    Their philanthropic spirit in helping non-profits out
    Is something to absolutely to write home about!
    Keep up the excellent work! You’re making a difference!
    Giving generously – giving in abundance.

    -The CyberTracker Team

    The CyberTracker Team
  63. Hey Balsamiq!

    Thanks so so much for the Do-Gooder licence. We’re Geek Girl Meetup, we bring women together from across the world every few months to talk code, web and startup. We’re always demo-ing Balsamiq as it’s such a great tool but it allows us to show girls that want to get into tech that there are quick and versatile ways to start playing around with product design and user journeys. We’re huge fans and all the Geek Girls that try it are too – we can’t wait to get people using it as well so they can all start building their own Balsamiq mockups and then products too!

  64. For the design of the new “Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland” (e-codices) we use Balsamiq Mockups for Confluence. It’s a supberb and truly user-friendly tool that integrates perfectly with the Confluence wiki. The ease of use makes us more productive and adds extra fun to our work. Thank you so much for the generous free license!

  65. Hello Balsamiqistas,

    Now that I’ve spent some time with your software I wanted to give you and your team a long-distance high-five for this indispensable tool. I’ve used it for mocking up two websites and a tablet app, so besides being easy to use it also has proven to be very flexible.

    I spent a good amount of time testing various mockup tools, and I’m glad to report that Balsamiq is now a permanent part of my toolbox. It never gets in my way and does exactly what it’s supposed to do.

    Nice work!

    Regards,
    Gabriel
    SETI Institute

    Gabriel
  66. Hi Basalmiq folks! Just a quick note to say THANK YOU for the do-gooder license you have given to CaringBridge! We are a non-profit dedicated to offering personal, protected web sites that make it easy to stay connected during any type of health event. The Basalmiq tool has been a great tool for our current work wireframing the iOS and Android versions of our apps. It has become my go-to tool for wireframing; it’s a quick and light weight application to quickly get your thoughts down on paper.

    Basalmiq deserves a big thank you from the UX community for donating so many software licenses! They have helped so many great organizations to further their missions.

    Thanks again!

    Michael Ibach
    User Interface Designer
    CaringBridge
    http://www.caringbridge.org

  67. I have been using a do-gooder copy of Balsamiq Mockups off and on since 2010, and it just occurred to me that I’ve never thanked the good folks here for the donation! I’ve been able to help, as a volunteer, a small number of local NGO’s, churches, and impoverished rural units of local government (townships) with their website planning using Balsamiq. I only wish I were a better designer, but at least the organization and layout of the sites were pretty solid, thanks to the wonderful tool that Balsamiq provided! Thank you for all your help!

    Howard Yamaguchi
  68. Balsamiq donated a license to my group at edX fairly early on. It’s been a tremendously valuable tool. I’ve never used competing tools, so I can’t judge relative quality, but it does everything we need, and it’s saved us tremendous amounts of time.

  69. Since we received our do-gooder license to Balsamiq Mockups, we’ve been able to work on iterative improvements to our websites much more easily. It’s a great tool to have at hand. I’m really happy with how quickly I can sketch designs and get them to the rest of the team for their feedback.

    Thanks so much for your support.

    David
    Religion News LLC

  70. A big thanks from The Scripps Research Institute for extending our license in your “do-gooder” program. We use Balsamiq to plan out our training website and some of our database layouts. It’s a very easy tool to work with and allows us to share the new mock-ups and designs with our team quickly and efficiently.

    Scripps Research is non-profit organization working on some amazing things, which have the potential to help to develop cures for Alzheimer’s, cancer, AIDS and drug addiction.

    Owen
    The Scripps Research Institute
    http://www.scripps.edu

  71. Balsamiq astonished our team with it’s web version functionality. Even complex actions like nested grouping and editing grouped elements is easy and intuitive. Filling in data elements like Data Grid is quick and comfortable.
    Thanks to the whole Balsamiq group for giving us the opportunity to use so a nice tool.

  72. I just want to express my sincere thanks to Balsamic, especially to Valerie Liberty, for the impressively quick response to my request for a do-gooder license of Mockups. To my surprise, I got my request granted within 1 hour after I submitted it. More importantly, Valerie was generous enough to give me multiple licenses for our non-profit work. Before I made my request, I already like Mockups as a tried it since it allowed me to quickly create my mockup with a lot of convenient ready-made UI objects; it definitely saved me time. Amazing!

    Thank you so much again for the good you all do there Balsamic.

    Benigno

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