Our Blog

Thoughts, news, insights and sometimes just random musings.

Making a Career Change from Marketing to Digital Marketing

witcareerchange
​I've got to admit it. I've been in technology product and services marketing for a looooong time. Since faxing AS-400 query software product announcements was considered the height of "hi-tech." So when I run into former colleagues or meet other marketers who are of a similar vintage, they ask me if we can grab coffee to d...
Continue reading
  717 Hits
  0 Comments
717 Hits
0 Comments

Salesforce vs Hubspot vs SAP vs Microsoft Dynamics - Finding YOUR B2B Sales CRM

Salesforce vs Hubspot vs SAP vs. Microsoft Dynamics
How many customer relationship management (CRM) systems are there out there for B2B sales? More than you'll care to count - which can be daunting if you are trying to answer the question "Which CRM is the best one?" As I said in the first article in this series , the answer truly depends on your specific needs. First things to consider are the size...
Continue reading
  1673 Hits
  0 Comments
1673 Hits
0 Comments

Best B2B CRM for Your Sales Team: 4 Things to Know

Best B2B CRM - Laptop showing screenshot
The question I get most often about CRM systems for business-to-business sales teams is: "Which CRM is the best one?" My answer is always "It depends". Not what you want to hear, right? But it's true. There are many good customer relationship management (CRM) systems out there. Which one will work for you depends on these 4 things:   1. It was...
Continue reading
  1920 Hits
  0 Comments
1920 Hits
0 Comments

How I Missed Out on Over $350,000 Working In Technology

cassieresized2

Cassie Dennis from Monday Loves You tells us about the impact of salary history disclosure for woman in technology in a recent article published by Women Employed.

 How I Missed Out on Over $350,000 Working In Technology

It’s been a weird and windy road since my 11-year-old-self lost a chess match to an IBM 360 in 1970. Let me be upfront about this — my degree is in psychology; I work in marketing; and, I wasn’t born at a time when tech was in the mainstream — yet I’ve had a long career working in technology and technology-driven roles.

How?

The short answer: I said YES whenever someone asked me “can you figure out how to use this thing?!?”

It wasn’t always pretty, but I did learn how to use, configure, test, assemble and sell a variety of tech over the years, finding my niche in the software world by enabling people to solve problems with statistics, analytics, reporting and CRM.

Continue reading
  1367 Hits
  0 Comments
1367 Hits
0 Comments

Charity Ratings Compared: Charity Navigator vs. CharityWatch vs. Guidestar vs. GreatNonprofits

compass

Today, there are many charity watch organizations providing information on nonprofits – and you can count on prospective donors to use them. But who are they and how are their charity ratings composed? This article covers 4 of the well-known ones: Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, Guidestar, and GreatNonprofits. Each provides valuable information to philanthropists looking to make a financial contribution to a charity. Here's a basic primer on each:

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator is one of the largest and oldest evaluators of charities. The organization was founded by Pat Dugan, an entrepreneurial philanthropist who had been giving to a well-respected - but ultimately, financially flawed - 501c3. He realized that, at the time, it was difficult for donors to understand where their donations were really going. He established a nonprofit to provide a free, easy-to-understand, 4-star rating system based on Charity Navigator's reviewers using formulas with data from the charity's tax filings with the IRS. The idea was to make it an unbiased evaluation and strictly about the numbers – providing facts on a charity's financial health, not just emotional claims – making it about "intelligent giving". How and where the donations are spent is a big part of this analysis:

what is being spent on programs;administrative expenses;fundraising costs; and"fundraising efficiency" - how much do you spend to bring in a $1 of donation?

In 2011, the criteria expanded to include "Accountability and Transparency" of the charity. This is information extracted from a charity's IRS Form 990 and information on your website (governance; independent audits; etc.). The focus is around the charity's obligation and willingness to expose their business practices to the public – the good, the bad and the truly ugly -- and your responsiveness in answering the public's questions about those practices.In 2013, they added a third dimension into the mix: "Results Reporting". It is just what it sounds like – for dollars invested what were the results of your programs and services? Since not all charities currently collect or provide that data, Charity Navigator isn't including it in the scoring yet, though does make what data they do have today available for informational purposes. Once they have collected this information from all the charities they review (goal date: 2016), this will become another piece of the formula that is used to analyze and report on each charity.Who do they evaluate? Realizing that there are millions of charities, they focus their evaluations on 501c3 organizations which meet all the following criteria:

are required to file a Form 990 (not 990-PF's so no family foundations)bring in more than $1,000,000 per year total revenue in most recent fiscal year with more than $500,000 coming from individual givers (not including fees from services or government grants)provide 7 years of Forms 990 to Charity Navigator to evaluateare US-based charities registered with the IRS, though scope of charity work can be internationalwho actively solicit donations (so if zero dollars spent on fundraising, not eligible to be reviewed)

Charity Navigator wants donors to follow their own "philanthropic passion", so they don't discriminate what types of charities are reviewed, as long as each meets the above criteria.

They currently rate approximately 8,000 charities on their website and over 7 million people have visited the site to-date to learn more about those organizations. The ratings and underlying data for a nonprofit are available online and free to the public. They are well respected for many reasons, especially for the fact that they are transparent and forthcoming about their own organization's business practices and financials. To learn more about Charity Navigator, please visit: http://www.charitynavigator.org/

Continue reading
  7339 Hits
  0 Comments
7339 Hits
0 Comments

Get and Manage Grants Better with Salesforce.com

ssr-in-context-38463793

Though it can sometimes seem like a lot of work around soliciting an individual donation, they are typically quite informal acquisition processes, you:

• Approach the potential donor;• Engage in discussion/provide some information; and,• Ask!

You quickly know whether you've got the donation—and even if they say "no", you can sometimes win them back with additional conversation and/or data.

Wouldn't it be nice if getting and managing a grant was that easy?

Most foundations, corporations and government entities have imposed a rigid structure to their grant processes, which require a series of documents to be completed and submitted for approvals within a specific format, timeframe, and, in order. Even after winning a grant, there are typically narrowly defined reporting requirements. Many opportunities for things to go astray, missing a deadline—and losing out on the chance to gain that much needed money.

Continue reading
  3301 Hits
  0 Comments
3301 Hits
0 Comments

Getting Ready for a New Nonprofit CRM: Focusing on the "What" for Better User Adoption

selecting-crm-dark-df9cf402

It is in the plan this year – FINALLY – to replace your current mishmash of information sources with a new Nonprofit Constituent Relationship Management (Nonprofit CRM) system. It can provide the process improvement to better support your nonprofit or non-governmental organization. No more cobbling together pieces of information from various databases,spreadsheets and individual people's recollections in order to get a complete picture of what has been happening. You may even have picked out the software you want. Maybe you are taking advantage of the Salesforce Foundation's free licenses for Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) or NGO Connect available through the Salesforce.com "Power of Us" program for nonprofits—or at least checking out the possibilities for replacing your current legacy donor database with something that is more efficient and cost-effective. Something that will empower your development team; enable better volunteer management; and, create a coherent, 365 degree view of the people who make your goals possible: supporters, partners and staff.

Now what should you do?Start thinking about WHAT you need to accomplish with your new system – and realize that the HOW of day-to-day life for you and your team will change greatly. It will be a good thing eventually, but be warned – there can be tears along the way! Change isn't easy and you'll be interrupting your team's set patterns of work. There is no such thing as major change without a learning curve and preparing for it can help. As a leader at your organization, you'll be responsible for change management and for insuring new CRM user adoption by your team is complete.First think about how things work today.Many times folks focus on how they currently do things, forgetting – or never realizing – that often existing processes have grown up around the gaps in their current technology systems or connectivity.If they can stand back and look at it, most people find that many of their current "systems" are really a set of disconnected, old technologies each individually transmitting clumps of information to a human being. The technology doesn't connect and your person must manually combine those different clump of information with their own or other person's knowledge in order to accomplish the job. This "system" is really a bad manual process which is time consuming and has great potential for errors.Unfortunately, no matter how ugly or manual the process, it can be scary to let go of what you know. Sometimes the person had to build his or her own workaround process in order to do their job successfully -- and have been doing it the same way for many years. Remind your reticent Development Director or Programs Manager about what it took to pull together the information you needed to apply for that recent grant or comply with reporting requirements. Help them stand back and think about WHAT they are trying to accomplish and what could make them more successful:

Which information they could really use about donors, volunteers or grantorsWhen do they need the information in order to achieve goals and how quickly they need it when requestedWho also needs to easily access the information and use it either regularly or on an ad hoc basisWhich processes would be more effective if automated

Help those individuals understand about the opportunity to automate tasks – including the ones they may dislike intensely or waste their limited time. Some examples of what automated workflow and reporting can do:

Enable each member of your team to quickly access needed reports, activities, and tasks to manage their day through their personalized dashboardAutomatically calculate, roll-up and report on important measures, including donation statistics, with specialized reports geared for specific department heads, the Executive Director, the Board or for compliance reporting to foundations or regulatorsMove a grant proposal through the internal review and approval process with system-generated reminders and routing, including built-in oversight to reduce the need to manually "chase" approvals for a grant application with an impending deadlineAcknowledge all donations immediately for the donor's tax purposes – and alert the Development Director and/or the Executive Director if the amount hits a specific threshold or is from a major or high value donor to insure they get personal attentionEnable online program or event registration which immediately populates the participant's information in your system and automatically provides the participant with an email acknowledgement and other documents or information – no need to have a staff member or volunteer have to interpret someone's handwriting on a form and manually enter the information into the database – reducing errors and time to process

Most importantly, help your team focus on WHAT is important – your mission, goals and what needs to be accomplished every day – and what these changes can mean to the important people and organizations involved:

Better supporting your constituentsFacilitating the recruitment and retaining of volunteersImproving the nurturing of donorsComplying with regulations and funder requirementsIncreasing staff's available time to connect with donors, volunteers and program participants – the kinds of work which can't be accomplished by technology

A nonprofit CRM system is a financial and time investment for your entire organization. If you and your team start with the "What" instead of the current "How", your CRM implementation will be smoother and increase the likelihood of adoption. The better the adoption, the higher the ROI. Ultimately, if your team understands you consider them at the center of "what" is important in this process, there will be less tears along the way (especially yours) when you change the current "how" to be more effective with your new CRM in place!What has your experience been in past with new system implementations--lots of tears or smiles?  Something in between?Questions about making your new CRM a success? Contact us and we'll help.

  1031 Hits
  0 Comments
1031 Hits
0 Comments