A chance conversation between entrepreneurs, talking about the perils of dealing with lawyers, led Vaughan Thomas, founder of Formunauts One, to a discovery that has since shaped his company’s journey. Vaughan knew that he wanted to set up a company that would do charity face-to-face fundraising differently. He wanted to find a trusted advisor who would not only provide legal services but also reflect their culture and their messaging. He wanted a change.
transformative legal design.
Fortunately for Vaughan and Formunauts One, his friend, a FinTech entrepreneur, let him in on the secret to his own success. This secret was legal design, and Lawbox Design in particular. According to Vaughan, “I haven’t looked back”, since then.
We caught up with Vaughan recently to find out how legal design has helped shape his journey and to share with you some of what they have been up to.
Q. What do you understand legal design to be?
A. To be honest, when I first heard about legal design, I wondered what on earth it was. After hearing a bit more, I was intrigued, I thought that it sounded refreshingly different. Now that I have been working with Lawbox Design, and have experienced it first hand, I would describe it as a process of detangling and demystifying what can be quite a scary legal environment. This is done both through the approach and the language, but also the look and feel of the outputs.
All of this helps me, as someone without a legal background, feel more at ease with having conversations – as opposed to the traditional approach where I might need to get “fired up” in order to speak with a solicitor. Talking to Lawbox Design feels like more of a normal conversation.
Q. Why did you choose Lawbox Design?
A. Overall, I went to market on a mission to find something different. Lawbox Design has met and exceeded my expectations. There is always a degree of nervousness with a new relationship, but our experience has now paved the way for a longer-term partnership. We work well together.
Q. How have your customers responded?
A. That’s the real test. We had worked with Lawbox Design on some different Framework Agreements. The first time I sent it off to a new customer, I wondered what the response would be. I thought, despite my enthusiasm, that maybe they would say, “what is that? There are pictures, icons, we can’t work with that”.
In fact, the feedback was how refreshing it was to see something so different. Something that looks and feels different and that is trying to do the job in a more user-friendly way. That is a real testament to what has happened, and how we got there. The client was receptive, which is what it is all about.
Q. If you had to describe Lawbox Design in three words, what would they be?
A. Inquisitive. Creative. Partnership.
Previous law firms I have worked with have been quick to assume and not fully understand our business requirements and our culture. Lawbox Design are willing to understand the context, our culture, and what we are trying to achieve.
Q. Tell us a bit about Formunauts One
A. Formunauts One is on a mission to change the way charities approach face-to-face fundraising. We want a different outcome for charities. We are the world’s first marketplace for the face-to-face fundraising community. With our SaaS fundraising package we can facilitate innovative one-off regular payments (working with a payment specialist in the Charity sector), and we have access to a panel of vetted fundraising agencies.
Q. How do charities see the difference working with you?
A. Charities have had to up their game in recent times and they have to think like a social enterprise or business. They have to forecast and for that they need to have recurring income. A big stream of income is from members of the public who are willing to show support in a number of ways. However, a typical face-to-face fundraiser will have perhaps 100 interactions a day and only sign-up 3 new supporters. We want to optimise the 3, but we also want to understand why the 97 said no. We are curious. They have spent time talking to the fundraiser, what is it that then makes them say no?
Q. Why are they saying no?
A. Face-to-face fundraising has for a long time been a double push channel. We want to move it to a pull channel. We want supporters to think “what am I missing out on?”. We think about supporters very much like customers and we want them to recognise value. How do you do that? You make the first conversation the start of the journey. You listen. It isn’t just about getting people to donate, there is intrinsic value in continuing that conversation and learning more. Most fundraisers only give one choice, sign up to donate, or don’t. What else can you offer people? Do you stop after they sign up or do you continue on a journey with them?
Q. How has Covid-19 impacted what you do?
A. 2020 was a challenging year and face-to-face fundraising only started back with increased activity on 12 April 2021. However, there has been a really positive response from the public. It seems people are craving to have safe socially distanced conversations. We want to make those conversations count.
Q. What would your top tip to charities be?
A. You don’t have to be asking people for money every time. Get your supporters excited by your mission. Understand them and help them understand more about you. Be more innovative. It’s a competitive market and you need to know your audience.
face-to-face fundraising software, build for fundraisers, by fundraisers.
Thank you to Vaughan for his time and for giving us such useful insight into the value of legal design for his business – we always hope for the best for our clients and look forward to continuing to assist Formunauts One on their exciting journey transforming face-to-face fundraising!
To find out how Lawbox Design can help you blast off on your mission, give us a call.