“Take a look at this” said Steve. “It’s like everything Raiser’s Edge should be for fundraisers, but on the Salesforce platform”. A flurry of questions ensued, but this was the start of us finding Causeview.
Not every new tool attracts our attention. But when it does, we start by identifying our evaluation criteria. As a team (tech, fundraising, operations, developers, strategist, data experts, users) we look for a range of factors in a new tool, system or approach – everything from ease of integration, features and functionality, ease of ‘switch-over’ for teams in charities using one system and migrating to a new one … the list goes on.
We’re also looking at the track record of the developers (in this case, Canadian-based, Breakeven), and where else the tool is in use. We were keen to find out how they approach everything from customer feedback and input, through to development and ongoing service. We also look at where a new tool might sit in the broad spread of offers from a wide range of providers – where are the points of difference? Who will it suit?
And so, here we sit after a good few months of to-ing and fro-ing, with Causeview ready to roll. It’s complete with updates, adaptations and localised features for the quite specific demands of UK fundraisers – particularly direct debit and gift aid.
Another CRM – surely there are enough of these in the world?
Let’s be clear, there are lots of great tools out there for fundraisers. But everything in life has limits, and the roadmap and pace of development for some CRM systems is slow and taking a while to catch up with the pace of fundraising. Some are just plain expensive. And some are suitable-ish, but not really ready for a digital future.
Fundraisers are working faster – and need (not want any more, just plain old need) full integration and a cohesive, no-fuss approach to data sources.
The ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ effect
We’re quite pragmatic at heart, and realise that it’s a ‘big ask’ to have a tool that is everything we need, has an unlimited road map and is fantastic at everything. It doesn’t stop us asking – if anyone deserves perfection, it’s a fundraiser who is, after all, just trying to change the world.
The reality is that with today’s ‘platform’ approach to fundraising CRM (like Salesforce) one tool doesn’t have to do it all. The option to add a range of different expert components and plugins means a whole world of different tools can be joined together without fuss to enhance the ‘core’ features of a system but also extend, grow and develop our fundraising operations, and can support other organisational functions, too. So actually, we can have something that does do it all with Salesforce as a CRM. That means the ‘core’ is our critical choice.
Causeview as your ‘core’ choice
The Purple Vision team spent some time looking at the key features that are commonly used in fundraising. Not all fundraising teams need all of the features. Any decent fundraising strategy is unique in its own way, and so to help deliver the plan the features of fundraising tools need to reflect this., so for some, the feature might not be useful or interesting.
So when you come to benchmark a tool like Causeview, it’s possible to have what appear to be some glaring gaps for a tool. I mention this now as when you look at the things we benchmark in our ‘Game changing apps’ overview, and the fact we are recommending a tool that has limited functionality in these areas, your temptation will be to ask some quite unflattering questions about what we’re trying to say.
What we like about Causeview
One of the biggest things we like about Causeview is that it is what it is. It’s not trying too hard to be something that it’s not and overstep the mark and try and achieve everything. It’s not a jack of all trades. It’s quite clear who it’s aimed at in the intro video – Debra, the slightly stressed fundraiser
Here’s what else we like:
For organisations using Raiser’s Edge and looking to migrate over to a new platform with minimum fuss, the features and approach will be really familiar. We have experienced RE users on our team who, as they explore the tool, nodded along and saw the mapping. We have Salesforce only users in the team who also thought it all made sense when explained, and we have people who have used a range of other tools, too (ThankQ, Progress, CiviCRM) – who were pleased at how quickly they were able to ‘get’ the tool, layout and approach.
- Good, solid fundraising
The day-to-day bones of Causeview is about fundraising. Managing gifts, opportunities, major donors, batch entry processes, direct debits, gift aid, all the things you need and a data structure that will accommodate developments you might need. A logical campaign and appeals structure helps you allocate funds and keep track of all your codes.
If your strategy is to double your charity in 5 years, Causeview is a robust ‘heart’ to help you achieve this. Not only is it scale-able by user (so as you grow you can add more licenses), but the development roadmap for the system is focused on ‘onwards and upwards’ too. The approach of selecting a ‘core’ product and adding around it with the tools and plugins means that you’re not tied to one full system and set of integrations. An example e could be the trigger at which you are ready to scale-up and include automations and digital donor journey – it is as simple as plugging in a new email service provider (if you are an acronym fan, that’s ESP).
The dashboard features and functions allow you to create graphs and charts from any field within the tool. Reporting is real-time and easy to access – can be automatically send directly to the people who need to see key reports and is easy to ‘play with’ for creating new scenarios and ‘what if’ extrapolations. And because it’s all in easy-to-use Salesforce, pretty much anybody can do these things for themselves!
- Event features
Basic event features are included with areas and elements to manage a range of event types and stages. Future developments for this module are planned too*
The tool offers some superb volunteering features and ways of recording hours, signing up volunteers and keeping track of and reporting on volunteering hours.
Sticking our necks out
We love a bit of humour (our Ops Director Dan is the master of groan-worthy one liners). As we pondered the best way to demonstrate the system so fundraisers can see how it works ‘in real life’ – and to showcase Salesforce Marketing Cloud in due course – we hit upon a plan.
We know lots of charities with great stories but didn’t want to just showcase one charity and can’t adapt something personal for every charity we show the system to.
Our solution – invent our own charity so we can showcase examples under a single brand without crossing any lines or confidences. And so Giraffe Aid was born.
Giraffe Aid – our fake charity example – has taken on a bit of a life of its own now. It has a website, and a set up that has a programme, volunteers, fundraising events and a fantastic fundraising structure. If only real life was as easy as this!
We’ve been able to apply all kinds of giraffe-led humour and creativity to our working day. Comedy nights called ‘you’re having a giraffe’ (for those who appreciate a bit of cockney-rhyming slang), developing imaginary giraffe education programmes, curating funny pictures.
All this ‘fun’ has had a purpose beyond making a demo a lot more interesting for a user. As a team we have spent a lot of time playing with the system to set it up. We know a lot about real-life implementation. We *know* the system as a user would. We’re better placed than ever to not only implement the system but also to support and train new users to make the most of the data and explore it more effectively.
But seriously, see for yourself
If you’d like to see Causeview for yourself, you’re very welcome to join us and take a peak. Whether because you’re interested to see what the fevered fundraising minds at Purple Vision have cooked up with Giraffe Aid or are seriously interested in assessing your CRM options for the next 6-12 months.
We’re running a series of demonstrations that will
- Explain the Salesforce platform
- Share how you can grow and expand the platform to suit your needs
- Showcase Causeview’s fundraising features
- See how your fundraising strategy maps into a new tool
- Identify how your fundraising could improve
Join us on any of the following dates at our offices (near Oval Tube station in London) for a cuppa and a croissant:
- Thursday 29 October – 09.00- 11.00 – read more and book via this link
- Tuesday 17 November – 09.00-11.00 – read more and book via this link
- Wednesday 16 December – 09.00 -11.00 – read more and book via this link
If you can’t make these dates but still want a sneaky-peek, just get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to arrange something with you directly – give Keith (our Customer Solutions Director) a call via 0845 458 0250.
Note: these places are for staff, trustees and volunteers of charities only. If you are a consultant, supplier, or other business – even enquiring on behalf of a client – please get in touch directly to find out more rather than register at these events.