Introducing causeview

Introducing Causeview

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.

Find out more about Salesforce for Fundraising 

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.

See the Salesforce CRM comparison via Game Changing apps

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:

  • Familiarity

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.

  • Scale-ability

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).

  • Reportability

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*

  • Volunteers

The tool offers some superb volunteering features and ways of recording hours, signing up volunteers and keeping track of and reporting on volunteering hours.

Find out more about Causeview 

Sticking our necks out

Giraffe Aid - Purple Vision's 'fake' charity for demonstrating Causeview functionality

We’ve gone a bit bonkers about giraffes building a credible demonstration site …

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:

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.

EU/US Safe Harbor ruling and what it means for you

EU/US Safe Harbor ruling

First things first.  For those concerned with proper use of the English language, I must apologise.  The ruling we refer to is widely  (and legally) known as the Safe Harbor.  I’m itching to add the missing ‘u’, especially since it affects ‘you’ and nobody loves a bad joke like that more than the team at Purple Vision.

Itchy red pen issue dealt with, what we have to say next also does not relate to the image that the phrase safe harbor creates in our minds – calm seas, perhaps the wind gently whistling through the rigging of sailing boats … Safe harbor relates rather less prosaically to the issue of transferring data between the EU and US.

Why would you want to transfer data between the US and EU?

There are hundreds of reasons you might want to transfer data between the EU and US.  I might want to send an bank transfer to my best friend in California for Christmas.  If I worked for a multi-national company, I might transfer an active customer service case to be handled or processed between countries as the world passes through its rhythm of night and day.

In most cases, unless we get very geeky about small print, we might not even know that data is being transferred between the two locations.

The example that is being used widely in the media is about Facebook, because this is what has sparked the ruling. Handily it’s something most of us relate to as an example, too.

Facebook is an US owned site.  We’re using it in the UK (or across the EU).  Facebook crunches data algorithms to develop products and make startling insights about us (like my memory of the day from 5 years ago, or a compelling video of my 10 years on Facebook).  The main people that do this ‘magic’ might be in the US, but if our data is the EU and there are rules about data protection, how do I get the data between two places?

The safe harbor agreement – or to give it the full title International Safe Harbor Privacy Principles*  – provided a simple framework of self-regulation for US based companies to comply with the much more stringent EU data protection rules.

For the past 15 years, we have been able to sleep easy at night, knowing our data is being handled professionally, safely and with the respect demanded by anything which has the very bossy title ‘Directive’.

What’s changed? 

On Tuesday 6 October the European Court of Justice issued a ruling on the Safe Harbor pact.  This basically changes what has been the ‘established agreement’ on data and requires addendums – further additional protections.

The reason – quite simply, data may not be safe from US snooping.

As a result of Edward Snowden’s revelations (remember him, now lives in Russia after revealing secrets about US security operations and having them published in the Guardian?), an Austrian lawyer took Facebook to court in Ireland (their EU HQ), over the fact that data was stored in the US.  It’s not so much the fact it was being used in the US, as the way the data was being used – for example stuff he’d deleted was being kept over there.

If Snowden’s allegations are correct the US National Security Agency are snooping on the data and able to use it. You could argue they can see my holiday snaps on Facebook anyway (they’re welcome, I offer slideshows for the slow-to-say-no, too), but of course, it’s the principle that is the issue here.

The ruling basically states that “The United States … scheme enables interference, by United States public authorities, with the fundamental rights of persons…”

After years of happy compliance by thousands of companies it’s fair to say this was a bit of a surprise.

Yes, yes, yes, but what does it mean for ME?

Well for you personally, it might mean lots of things. But we’re primarily concerned with what this means for charities and organisations we work with, and the tools they use.

Number 1: Not everyone will be impacted. Remember this applies to companies who move data between the EU and US.  In many cases, providers use data centres in the countries they serve to avoid having to worry about things like this.

Number 2: In most cases where data is transferred its usually for a reason or a purpose which is clear. And most of us have nothing to fear from the NSA or other alleged agencies which may allegedly (see what I am doing here … ) ‘snoop’ on the data.

Number 3:  There is always a period of compliance with changes in Directives like this.  This period will start now and so this won’t, for many, be something that is solved overnight.

If you use Salesforce, it’s pretty easy to deal with

Salesforce is one of the organisations that relies on this agreement for some areas of its work.  Salesforce are one of the companies that have acted *super* quickly (to use an Americanism).  They have already been in touch with users with their immediate response and actions that you need to take.

Their email notes:

At Salesforce, trust is our #1 value and nothing is more important than the success of our customers and the privacy of our customers’ data. In light of the ECJ’s decision regarding the EU-US Safe Harbor Framework, Salesforce is immediately making available a data processing addendum that incorporates the European Commission’s standard contractual clauses, commonly referred to as “model clauses”.
The addendum ensures customers may continue to validate transfers of personal data under EU data protection laws.

They’ve issued a tool-kit of what to do, and it’s easy as 1, 2, 3

  1. Download the data processing addendum with the model clauses – handy link here to this data processing addendum
  2. Complete and sign
  3. Return to dataprocessingaddendum [at] salesforce [dot]com

They’ve also set up an FAQ page, which is sure to be one to watch with responses over the next few days.  There’s already handy info on the page (again, with the handy linky thing)

Our advice for other tools  and services

If you’re not a Salesforce user, what then?   The advice is really quite simple.

If you’re concerned about your CRM or other platform providers – do they have operations in the US?  If no, there’s no reason to worry.  If they do, watch your inbox.  If you want to be act now while you’re thinking about it, check their website and if there’s nothing there get in touch with your account manager to ask if there is an impact for you – they will likely tell you that something will follow shortly when they’ve had time to respond.  This will be soon.

But its not just CRM.  Check the digital tools you use.  Social media management platforms, email providers etc may all be US based or work with this pact.  Equally, they may not.  In this instance, we’re suggesting that you wait for an email from the provider.  You may also see a a notice or flash warning when you log into the site.  Read it and take the necessary action.


  • * EU Directive 95/46/EC for those of us who like to be really, really specific and look things up. Read all about it via Wikipedia (with all the usual caveats related to the use thereof), just like I did
  • Articles in The Guardian and via the BBC  News website are a good place to start for more information