Category Archives: Non Profit

Direct mail isn’t dead. But then neither is email.

Good news all your ardent fans of a direct mail piece.  It’s not dead.

You’d be forgiven for thinking it was as if you read the many blogs and content pieces delivered to our inbox seemingly daily,  you will hear that email is king – and prolific studies of the ROI of emails will be quoted at you.

Having not realised Direct Mail was past its expiry date, you will be relieved to note that there’s also a survey behind this news that it’s not dead, so it must be true.  The renaissance of direct mail (or DM as we lovingly refer to it) seems to be related to several market trends that are happening right now according to an agency that specialises in <drumroll> direct marketing.

What are these marketing trends?

Well, since you ask:

  • We’re all a bit wary of digital – if you’ve tried to get an audience for your Facebook post without boosting your post with cash, you’ll know how much harder it is getting. Ad blockers and algorithms make it harder to get your message out via digital and there’s a lot more email “noise” than there was a few years ago.  In amongst this, our survey doesn’t account for the fact that for most non-profits, DM has never really stopped, or gone away as we might like to mark our returned records.
  • Letters have regained some love – a letter (that’s not a bill) or something through the post that’s not a bill is a welcome thing indeed. With all the digital noise we live with, it seems that consumers have embraced a resurgence back to the old-school tactile brochure and something to have a bit of a browse through. This is certainly true for audiences of over 30 years old – the younger generation finds a catalogue a bit of a fuddy-duddy novelty it seems.
  • And with a click, you’re gone – it’s very easy for a digital customer – or contact – to simply ghost you out – unsubscribe from email or unfollow your social feeds so says this survey.   This point is very true.  I’d argue that this is ultimate data protection for the customer, so is good for them and we must keep putting their interests at heart. From a brand focus though if you’ve got no other way of making contact, it’s effectively killed your connection.  So DM once again becomes a player – especially in the GDPR focused future.

The truth for most non-profits is that DM has always been king. 

The appeal cycle remains a constant stalwart of delivering fundraising success.  Why?  In part, because you’ve got your segmentation down to a fine art, in part because of your demographics (older people like the paper as this survey also quotes).  I suspect that the reason DM is so firmly fixed for fundraising is that there is no way you can risk losing out on essential income by shifting a successful model to a more trial-based dynamic approach.

There is no getting away from the fact direct mail is expensive though and while it still delivers ROI, the rising costs (postage etc) give us reason to question. There’s been a shift towards email in non-profits for e-news, and most of us have a donate now button (which is also occassionally in the e-newsletter), but for many it is an adjunct channel for fundraising, rather than the heart of fundraising operations.  Considering that email is relatively inexpensive,  this is disappointing.

Setting aside the risk element of shifting a successful DM approach to digital multi-channel, why haven’t we made more of a shift to integrating email into our appeals cycle?

For some it is going to be the time that’s a factor – to get the income in that’s needed for operations, it can be a bit of a hamster wheel (newsletter, appeal, social media, event and do it all again).

For most charities though I suspect having the right technology in place is also a factor.  Answer this question honestly, with your charities current tech set up, do you feel confident that you could deliver a seamless customer journey?

So here’s one of the challenges.  We seem prepared to invest significant funds in the infrastructure around expensive direct mail (mailing costs, printing, mailing house files, data cleaning and segmentation … ), what’s holding us back from email?

The reality is that you can deliver great journeys with even the most basic email tools (MailChimp has good functionality if you pay for their Pro edition starting from £150 per month on top of your mailing costs, Campaign Monitor offers smart automation as part of their basic package so cost depends on your contacts – in most cases it is less than MailChimp though). The challenge here is that you may need to a bit more manual work and (technical term here) playing about to get some of the stages where you want them, but it is perfectly possible to deliver a journey via email.

The theory that you can use these to start is very sound – they deliver and work. They work best when integrated with your CRM solution so you can transfer data back and forth. When your programme is proven to be successful, then the business case for moving to a more robust marketing automation solution or marketing platform becomes more watertight – and the investment in this against say the investment in your direct mail infrastructure a lot more understandable.

To get to that point though, we have to do the time.  One commodity we’re all short of.

To prove that email is as successful (or even more successful) than direct mail will take some thinking through for your organisation.

The arguments for email as part of an appeal campaign are strong – cost, relative ease of delivery.  What needs the thought is the segmentation approach – which of your constituents are you going to trial for this approach?   Of course, customer preference could – and should – come in here.

My low-risk suggestion for trialling email appeals is to look at the segmentation that is trailing off via direct mail, the least successful groups.  Or the group you exclude on cost grounds.  Narrow out your audience and trial a small segment in a different format.

You do need confidence in your data and in channels and preferences to do this, but that’s kind of a basic given for all approaches in today’s fundraising and marketing world.  This shift to multi-channel is something that many charities are needing to build towards rather than being able to deliver straight away. Many large scale commercial organisations struggle with it, and they have the resources to push this, so let’s be kinder to ourselves.  Work on data, work on preferences (we’ll have to for GDPR in any case) to get results by ‘baby-steps’.

Keep plugging away at direct mail for fundraising appeals – it still has a key place, but look at where you can diversify the costs and results from shifting to another channel.

My colleague Ian and I spoke about ways to splice and dice our data to start to use it more effectively at the IoF Fundraising Convention in 2016, so you could start by reviewing our slides. Or give us a call to ask about this and how we could deliver something similar for your organisation.

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3 steps to tech success for small charities

Why we’ve launched Salesforce NPSP QuickStart for small charities

We’ve got a campaign running right now for small charities.  Called three steps to tech success, it’s aimed at helping the smaller nfps to take the first step with tech.

3 steps to tech success for small charities - click for the guide. bit.ly/3stepstech

But what’s it all about?

There comes a tipping point for most small charities where they need to do something more than using a list in Excel and calling that a ‘database’.

It’s at that point that the questions start…  Should you dare to ask about CRM or any questions around CRM on a public forum lots of folks will respond with well-meaning advice and other folks trying to sell you their favoured solution.

We’re in both camps, but hear us out.

What are the favoured solutions?

The responses that come back include a list of some typical solutions, the option to build your own solution (usually with comments about how much cheaper it is to do this), Salesforce (who will give you it all for free – more on this later)  and Donorfy.  There may be a few other random suggestions in there like Zoho or other favoured small solutions.   So, now we have a  list of CRM options, which is kind of what we asked. But for one thing.

We asked the wrong question. 

The question that would get a better list of real options to look at is one which narrows down what you want to do with your CRM.  How can I better manage my fundraising? What kind of fundraising do I do and how does that map to tech options? Do I need to use a ‘database’ to manage programmes and keep track of grant applications?

Ask the question again and the list that comes back may be different, or it may not.  But your approach to evaluating the responses certainly will be as you have a considered set of criteria.

So, what of the names on our list?  Nothing wrong with some of the tools on the list.  But what say time and time again in response to questions like this – and articles like the top 10 best CRMs for non-profits (UK Fundraising)  is a simple truth – what’s right for one, may not be right for another.

With one exception.  And I’ll come onto that.

Ignore the advice to build your own CRM – you’ll be tying yourself to an expensive tool that you need to replace in a few years and one person who knows how it is structured and built, making it hard to shop around for talent to help you develop.  Zoho and some of the other tools aren’t really designed for charities, so making the user experience much harder. Stick to things designed for charities at least if you want user adoption to succeed.

Think about whether you need a database or CRM (links to a Purple Vision blog on just that subject).  Look at the age of the tech for some of the other options. Are they really fit for purpose?  What are the up front, hidden and ongoing costs?

What’s the exception?

Salesforce is the exception to the rule that one size doesn’t fit all.  The world’s biggest CRM may not seem an obvious choice for a small charity with hardly any staff, but it has a compelling narrative for non-profits.

We don’t just mean ten free enterprise licenses (worth £££) although that itself is fairly compelling.  We mean the Non-Profit Success Pack (NPSP).  In its latest iteration, NPSP offers the vast complexity of a huge tech platform for business, packed up for non-profit functionality and rooted in charity language and processes.

What NPSP brings to the party is that you have an extendable platform that will grow with you.  In 3-5 years’ time when your strategy has changed, you’ve upped to the next level and need additional functionality, it’s all there waiting for you.  No need to change systems again, go through the procurement process again, get everyone in the team on the same page and teach everyone a new way to do things.  Or even start the process of looking for systems you can ‘glue together’. Nope.  Choose a platform solution like Salesforce, do all that once – and then just keep growing it as you need to.

Getting started with Salesforce

If you ask questions on public boards – like you did with the wrong question –  you’ll probably hear that Salesforce is hard to use out of the box and therefore not suitable for small charities.  That’s a bit like saying electricity isn’t suitable for a small charity because you need an electrician to add a new plug socket.

You might even hear that it’s free because Salesforce staffers donate time to get charities set up.  This is honestly a huge triumph of hope for budget stretched small charities.  What *is* true is that some staff time is donated by Salesforce to some charities – read about the 1:1:1 model to learn more and some folks who are learning Salesforce coding and set-up offer pro bono time while they’re learning so they can practice on you.  Just like everywhere in life, it’s hard to find genuine and real meaningful help for free.  Hope over experience that it’s free, I am afraid.

But we can understand why both these things are said, it’s a shame that they’re wrong and are oft repeated.

It’s true you can’t plug n play Salesforce unless you have a great tech resource on your staff team.  The reality is though that you can’t really plug n play any system that’s worth you using.  There are degrees of set-up required.  We’re the first in line to say that while Salesforce is a super-system, it does need a bit of know-how to sort out.  And in the same way you call an electrician for your plug socket, you’d call a partner to help.

Salesforce partners (hint: Purple Vision are a Salesforce partner)  have very clever tech experts on their teams who can make Salesforce do just about anything.  To achieve this, they ask multiple questions, review business process, talk strategy and future plans, and then create awesome things that meet your specification.  What’s helpful is the common language they use to create Salesforce, which means anyone who ‘speaks’ the language will be able to look at your system in the future and pick up where someone else has left off.

Which brings us onto QuickStart

We’ll be honest, it’s not always cheap to work with a partner – the skills behind Salesforce are complex and technical, and in the manner of other professional services like a lawyer or accountant, time is billed by days or hours.  Time is money.

Which is why we have come up with our NPSP QuickStart offer.

In reality, while many charities have quite a unique approach to their work, many have very similar functionality requirements from a system when they’re getting started.  We know this because we’ve worked with lots of them across a range of systems – and across Salesforce.  Plus, many of our NFP team have also worked charity-side, in the hot seats that our clients sit in – so understand the requirements and what needs to get done.

Our QuickStart offer, therefore, is set up to save the time involved in the detailed discovery sessions and get straight on with delivering Salesforce NPSP in a way your charity can use it.

By doing this and offering this service, what could be a complex and costly process becomes quite simple.   Our focus with QuickStart is in both the quick element – we can deliver this quickly for you, and in our start bit – and the focus on providing you with the start you need to get using a tool.

Choosing QuickStart

NPSP is suitable for all charities to use – but QuickStart has been designed with quite specific functionality in mind and the needs of smaller charities for fundraising.  We’re not offering complex processes here – if you really need that our QuickStart service might not be for you (but NPSP is still suitable – it just needs more of those hours to get it how you want it).

QuickStart brings to life a manageable set of the full-technical and functional force of the Salesforce behemoth. It is suitable for small charities looking for their first fundraising CRM, looking to upgrade from a spreadsheet and MailChimp. It’s suitable for charities with plans to grow.

When said charity is ready to grow – in fundraising, programmes, comms, finance, HR and all the key functional areas, it’s just a case of identifying what you need and working with a partner you trust to build out the system for you to take you to the next steps.  SThere is so much rich functionality in Salesforce Non-Profit Success Pack – and more is being added all the time – that it’s a shame to overlook it all in favour of a short -stop solution.

Find out more: 

Sign up to the paper – 3 steps to tech success for small charities






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It’s just a phase …

Dan Lockeretz, Purple Vision Project Delivery Director shares his experience of delivering CRM implementation projects – something he’s done quite a lot of in the years he’s been a Purple Vision, and even before that in his previous life charity-side.  This is the second in a series from Dan explaining projet delivery issues. 

Turns out your family is pretty much right. About everything.  Darn it.

Remember ‘don’t bite off more than you can chew’ or ‘you’ll never manage all that’. They were right.  Not about your ability to eat the whole Christmas selection box (just me then?).  Same as they were right when they said “it’s just a phase”.

Not about your excellent taste in hairdos and clothing (just me again, then?).

But if they’d been talking about CRM implementation, they would have been absolutely bang on.

A phased approach

When considering how to blend the right CRM implementation approach for your organisation, we very much encourage a phased approach.

We advise that you start with the very minimum you need to, and then build on all the additional functionality in phased stages after that.  This is known as implementing the ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP) – “a product with just enough features to gather validated learning about the product and its continued development

In the real world of CRM implementation, the MVP means delivering the system with the only the very essential feature in the first instance.

Moscow?! 

As part of any Discovery Phase, and during the collation of user stories, we would typically conduct a priority rating using the MoSCoW system.

  • Must have – essential features for success
  • Should have – should are essential features but not necessary to be delivered as immediately – they could be delivered as a second phase
  • Could have – typically these would be features that improve user experience or user satisfaction but aren’t functionally essential. If the budget will stretch to it
  • Won’t have / Would like (but probably won’t get!) – the key stakeholders agree that these are not part of the process because they are lowest payback, not immediately essential or perhaps more appropriate for a further development stage of the system (eg in a years’ time at review).

This begins the process of ascertaining what the MVP is that could be launched at the point of go-live.

This reduces the length of the initial phase, brings users on to the system as early as possible so they can actually see it and understand it, and it ensures a low priority requirement does not eat up time and budget in the first phase.

Add integrations … 

Similarly, with system integration, it is unlikely that all systems will need to be integrated in phase 1, so the process of prioritising the ‘Must Have’ points of integration applies here also.   We therefore recommend a phased approach to bringing in the different points of integration.

The downside to this approach is that it may not be completely understood how each area will be integrated or developed from the first point of go-live.

he risk therefore is that subsequent changes, additional costs, or difficult issues come up after the point at which the system is being used live.

This risk can be mitigated through thorough discovery and business analysis across all areas, so the understanding of those areas and requirements are well understood from the outset and the project team have less chance of being faced with a surprise requirement.

Connected Non Profit Conference – what you missed.

Last week, Salesforce.org organised an event called the Connected Non Profit Conference.  It was a small, sell-out event.  In the spirit of it all being about connected non-profits, we find some C words to describe what we found at the event

Concept

Every year, Salesforce organises Dreamforce, a beastie of a conference in San Francisco where basically a whole city-load of people all turn up and hear what’s happening with the Salesforce platform.  It sounds like a lot of fun but it is a long way away and pretty expensive to get to, especially for those on a non-profit budget.

A Mini-Dreamforce, 1-day World Tour event happens every year in London (May 18th 2017 – mark your diaries) that takes some of the content and positions it for just a day.  Other stuff happens that is brand specific.

These are all lovely.  They’re useful.  They’re exciting.  They’re a great place to meet really interesting and inspiring people. But they’re not focused on non-profit, they are focused on the entirety of the Salesforce world.  True, all the learning and new products and innovations are relevant as they are available to non-profits.  But the language is just, well, not us.

So kudos to the team at Salesforce.org in London for recognising this and putting something on just for us.  I think the size was just right for a first one – small, about 300 or so.  We can only grow from here!

Content

The stories at the event focused on – as you would entirely expect – how Salesforce has driven non-profit success.  From hearing about the new Non Profit Success Pack (Salesforce, distilled down for non-profits) and its roadmap (the new features that Salesforce will add, alongside the other features that may be unlocked via the Salesforce releases 3 x per year or the fortnightly (yes fortnightly) pushes to the NPSP), through to compelling stories and case studies.

We talked data (of course) and saw how Wave Analytics brings data to life and helps charities like RED to tell their story.  How with the help of partners, charities have created new functionality to deliver things like Gift Aid or bespoke programme management, how UNHCR use Salesforce to manage their fundraising programmes and more about email marketing and the connectivity.

This is the story of RED – their goals and how Salesforce is supporting them to deliver their goal.

This video makes me cry but fills me with so much hope.

Of course, it’s money that makes a difference but you can’t mobile, measure and deliver – or start to raise those funds – without the right tech.  Message clearly received there!

Connections

The measure of success of any event has to be two things – the quality of the content you hear and learn about, and the quality of the conversation you have with other people who are there.

One of the great things about this being a small and focused event was the ability to get to speak to so many of the people who were at the event.

Some were already Salesforce customers, some people looking at options on the market and there were a few of us partners around – and while the reality is we are ‘competitors’, we’re actually quite nice people and feel that we’re more part of a ‘community’ too if you see what I mean.

So there was lots of buzz and conversation, some free advice being bandied backwards and forwards and a lot of entente-cordiale.

And then there’s Cody

Cody is the name of the bear that features across all of the new visual identity Salesforce are adopting.  It relates to trailhead – the free learning paths offered by Salesforce to get users to adopt the system.  If I am honest, I am not convinced about Cody and campgrounds, but he keeps good company with other mascots so at least it keeps things interesting wondering who might show up next!

If you see another Connected Non Profit event pop up in our social feed, or via Salesforce.org, I urge you to act quickly to register.  This one was well worth attending.

Related Services from Purple Vision

To coincide with CNPC_16, Purple Vision launched two new services

Other Purple Vision blogs about NPSP

Steps to success with Purple Vision non profit success pack partner, Purple Visiom

Steps to success with Salesforce

This blog by Purple Vision CEO, Steve Thomas, is about the new Non Profit Success Pack.  Purple Vision has been supporting charities to adopt NPSP since we became Salesforce partners in 2010.

NPSP. 

Same acronym, slightly changed name – from non-profit starter pack to non-profit success pack.

A casual observer would be forgiven for suggesting that this change, announced recently by Salesforce.org with much fanfare, is little more than a minor makeover.

The technical enhancements that accompany the name change are comparatively light additions to the established core of the product which remains unchanged. But the change is significant – we believe that this shift  recognises the maturity of (arguably) the most successful software solution ever written for non-profit organisations.

In this way, we regard the Non-profit Success Pack more as a ‘coming of age’ than an ‘upgrade.

What makes NPSP unique and valuable?

Even in the world of charities it is unusual to get something for nothing. But NPSP really is a free gift. Salesforce.org, the philanthropic arm of Salesforce.com, launched the Nonprofit Starter Pack back in 2008 as an enhancement to its previous Nonprofit Template.

Since that time they have supported the solution through substantial upgrades as well as continuous enhancement releases. NPSP can be provided pre-installed with the Power of Us donated licence programme, as well as in open source code from Github.

Perhaps more significantly, by consolidating NPSP as the de facto framework for all non-profits that use the world’s best CRM system, Salesforce.org is paving the way for a whole new phase of development that will leverage its ever-evolving technology platform.

Salesforce today is almost unrecognisable from its origins as (unsurprisingly) a sales management tool. It has become a comprehensive customer-facing technology platform with

The Non-Profit Success Pack continues to provide the essential baseline that enables all non-profits to take advantage of these features with a structured but flexible framework that models their unique needs.

connected-np

This unique approach to donated licences with an open source overlay has helped build a substantial and active community of tens of thousands of organisations that benefit from Salesforce.

With the latest facility for developers, partners, and even customers to build and customise their own apps and features, NPSP will encourage and support a future with even greater diversity, innovation and collaboration.

What does NPSP actually do?

In a nutshell – it’s a special layer on top of the core Salesforce system – a data architecture designed to meet the special needs of non-profit organisations.

The key effect of NPSP is to adapt the Salesforce focus on business-to business (B2B) activities so as to more closely resemble a business-to-consumer (B2C) model that is common to charities.

NPSP sets up structures to manage

  • the relationships between individual donors,
  • their households,
  • the organisations they are associated with.

It also establishes a standard model for

  • creating and managing pledges,
  • donations,
  • recurring gifts,
  • volunteers.

Where next?

NPSP as the standard for quality, reliability and innovation

NPSP was originally intended to provide an entry point for smaller organisations to get started with Salesforce – hence the former name Starter Pack.

Those with additional requirements take advantage of the 3000+ pre-integrated third-party applications in the Salesforce AppExchange, together with bespoke development by a growing cadre of certified developers and partners (like Purple Vision).

Crucially, the success of NPSP means that it is increasingly accepted as the standard model, providing an industry-wide benchmark for organisations of all types, sizes and geographies.

The development focus for Salesforce.org in future is to constantly reinforce the central role of NPSP whilst actively encouraging customers, partners and developers to innovate on this platform.

Examples of this in the Success Pack include new features such as:

  • personal profiling,
  • in-memoriam donations
  • in-kind donations,
  • campaign tools
  • upgrading the user interface to the latest Lightning standard,
  • enabling NPSP for more languages, starting with Spanish, German and French.

Innovating with the security of a solid platform

The flexibility of the Salesforce platform means that customisation is safe and straightforward to undertake, especially with the extensive frameworks for formal accreditation and informal learning and support. With such a large community, developments evolve in all sorts of new directions. This leads to innovative and successful outcomes but also, in some cases, organisations find themselves with a system so heavily customised that they lose some of the flexibility of a common standard architecture.

At Purple Vision we believe passionately in future-proofing solutions so that our clients retain maximum flexibility around their long-term strategic objectives. We strongly support the development of universal standards such as NPSP, which mitigate the danger of over-customisation and we have been accredited by Salesforce.org as one of just four International Impact Partners formally supporting NPSP.

Wherever possible we advocate well-built, proven apps over DIY customisation.

We have tested, installed and supported scores of AppExchange solutions and we know where they work well (and where they don’t), and whether they offer value for money. As the saying goes, we prefer “clicks not code”.

Our solutions almost always involve NPSP, and we have delivered scores of successful solutions that work very effectively within this standard.

For example:

Be a non profit success with NPSP and Salesforce.org.  

Find out more about being a Salesforce success:

Take action – get started with Salesforce NPSP and Purple Vision

Purple Vision NPSP Resources

 

 

The truth about NPSP free licenses

Salesforce is free! Yippee!

Let’s talk about free licenses. NPSP – that’s Non Profit Success Pack to you and I.  NPSP is having a bit of a bask in the sunlight at the moment as it’s been relaunched by Salesforce.org the non profit arm of Salesforce.com.

The distinction between the two companies is important and is key to how you get to the free (technically, donated) licenses bit.

Every year, Salesforce.com – the big commercial organisation that services millions of users and the biggest corporations in the world – donates 1% of its time, product and profit to good causes.  This is called pledge 1%. Salesforce is very vocal about it and the role it plays in their culture.  1% of a billion dollar corporation is not something to sniff at and, let’s be honest, creates quite a lot of admin to manage all that lovely 1%-ness.

Administering the pledge

Enter Salesforce.org, the good folks to administer the pledge (this does sound a bit like you’re signing up for the temperance movement or something you do to your sideboard but do bear with the language!).

There are four key things they do:

  1. Administer the time aspect of Salesforce.com’s pledge – finding and setting up the opportunities around the donated time (with things like pro bono week, and regular staff volunteering).
  2. Make grants to deserving organisations of the 1% of profits pledged.  The grant process is pretty transparent and any organisation that qualifies can apply.  The team keep track of the projects and report on their success and help where it’s necessary
  3. Distribute the 1% of product licenses that are available as part of the pledge
  4. Manage the sales of Salesforce.com products to charities and non profits so that they get a good deal and great support

Lets wind back to point 3

NPSP is the focus of the key free product distribution.  The package is  built with the needs of non profits in mind, on a structured framework, that uses the best knowledge and experience from Salesforce.com’s R&D team (but in an open source structure).  It is a great product for charities to use for their CRM, donation management and volunteer/programme management. It’s simple, but effective. Covers the basics.

And the first ten licenses of this product are free.  The Power of Us license offer donates  10 user licenses to any organisation that has the required charitable status. You log on and download.

So, are you looking for the catch?  On the face of it there is no catch.  This is a genuinely free offer.  A really and truly free lunch, so to speak. And a posh lunch at that – that’s about £10,000 worth of license costs.

Purple Vision take on this is that this presents a challenge to an organisation, but also a massive opportunity, too.

Challenge

Salesforce is quite a system.  So, someone in your organisation has to know how it hangs together to make sure it works for you. You can take NPSP ‘out of the box’ so to speak, and can make it work  – if you have the time and that kind of mind.  But we know that not many organisations necessarily do.   When you’re faced with something new it can feel like a beast to get something set up like you want it to.  So yes, the truth is that these licenses are free for 10 users.

The challenge comes in using them.  The reality is that you will likely need the support from a Salesforce partner to help you get up and running unless you can invest the time and cash into a staff member taking the Salesforce certifications you’ll need.  For some organisations who need or want a huge amount of customisation or have specific functionality requirements, this will carry some costs – though there are options that build on the NPSP framework and offer managed packages of functionality that may prove more cost effective.  For example Causeview for fundraising, or SageLive for accounting. These are typically great for medium sized, more established charities.

For smaller charities or new starters to CRM, cost is a major factor.  Limited time and budgets often place a limit on ambition.  This is why we offer our NPSP QuickStart package, to get charities up and running with the basics (no frills, no fuss and all that) for a fixed fee.  As budget is freed up you can add other features if you want to.

In all honesty though any other system – CRM or otherwise – that you might consider for your non profit would typically also come with similar kind of challenge.  In that circumstance, you typically wouldn’t be getting the license for free, and set up and management more complex.  All systems carry some kind of cost, it’s one of the facts of life.

The Opportunity

The Salesforce.org offer brings you access to more than just 10 free licenses.  It lays open all the other tools and options that Salesforce has to offer, too.  Beyond more licenses – which, yes, you do have to pay for (at a discount of around 76% on ‘big company’ fees) – there is a whole world of Salesforce.  There are specialist tools that integrate with Salesforce that cover every aspect of non profit management and cover everything from marketing (email, social, mobile and web in one integrated package), through to service delivery, business intelligence and analytics with more added all the time as Salesforce.com grows and grows.

All of these are available to non profits at a discount rate too.  Not free, but at significantly lower rates than the ‘big companies’ pay.  No two ways about it, making the world a better place becomes easier with the right technology. And with the same technology that major corporations have, your challenge instead becomes ability to deploy these tools to accelerate your mission.  Which is a much nicer problem to have than the one about stagnating performance and doing the same thing over and over again because it’s all you have the tools, time and resource for.

Complete circle

By this point, most of us have got to the point where we’re saying ‘hey, aren’t we paying Salesforce.org for our extra licenses and tools but they are a charitable organisation?’  Well, they are and yes, you are.  When you pay for your extra licenses, you pay for the infrastructure that supports non profits to be able to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity – it needs a team who know what they’re doing to make it happen, just as any other organisation does.  The advantage with the Salesforce.org model is that anything they turn over beyond overhead goes straight into the grant making pot and becomes funding for other non profits who are also trying to change the world.   Point four and two of the list above refers.

Win-win

I think we can call this whole thing a bit of a win-win really.  If you’re thinking that this isn’t actually a free lunch, maybe you’re right – it might be more of a two for one deal. But the truth is, non profits deserve world-class products to help them succeed.  Salesforce is offering a genuine leg-up  here for organisations looking at CRM for the first time, as well as those looking to switch systems from messy and outdated donor databases. And the NPSP is just perfect for anyone looking to make that leap forward.

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Purple Vision have been Salesforce partners since 2010 and are Salesforce.org International Impact Partner, Registered Consulting Partner, AppExchange partner and Independent Software Vendors (meaning we can create and sell our own products on Salesforce).  We’re also one of only 4 UK partners to be approved NPSP partners.

If you’ve got questions about Salesforce, how to get started or want to chat through NPSP QuickStart or our other Salesforce services, please just give us a ring on 0203 176 1249.

 

Fundraising Tag

No, not a new game,  but maybe it could be?  Antonina Romanova, our german-speaking lead consultant headed to Germany for Purple Vision recently… 

Fundraising Tag

Over 300 representatives of non-profit organisations gathered in Potsdam and Dresden in September for Fundraising Tag. Fundraising Tag PotsdamOrganised by fundraisingmagazine.de, and supported by sponsors including Purple Vision, the days offer a mix of sessions, workshops and networking time.

A fairly standard format, but for us the exciting element was that it was in German and would give us an
opportunity to learn more about our fast-expanding customer base in Germany.

We saw these events as not just an opportunity to share our knowledge and experience but also to learn the needs and and requirements of German organisations and get a deeper  understanding of the technology and tools they use and problems they face in their day-to-day activities.

We’ve all got something in common … 

All non-profits, regardless of where they are in the world share some common factors, but it’s the specific requirements that determine best practices, internal processes, applications and solutions.  These will always be different as they depend on range of factors including market, political and economic situations as well as regulations at a market and government level too.

Of course the other major factor influencing the people, processes and technologies in non-profits around the world is the vision, mission and strategy of the organisation – which will vary widely.

In the exhibitor area of the event we were interacting with Fundraising Day attendees. We shared our experience in non-profit industry, explaining how a proper strategy and a vision in combination with modern technology solutions can lead them to a more successful fundraising and brand recognition. Together with Account Managers from Salesforce.org Christiane  and Lisa, we showed a number of people the power that Salesforce offers non-profit organisations.

Some of the common questions about Salesforce were related to various functionality modules, such as  donation management, contact management, digital marketing, event management, grants, volunteers, data protection and, of course, costs.

A number of people were excited to hear that Salesforce.org grants 10 free licenses. However, a couple of people noticed that if you need a higher number of licenses, than they become quite expensive. I should mention that Salesforce licenses are heavily discounted for non-profit organisations. But them being not entirely free means that resources are actually invested into the product development.

Network and Learn

But Fundraising days are not just about representatives from non-profit organisations talking to the exhibitors who offer various solutions and services. Fundraising days are also about learning and networking. There was a number of sessions and seminars that attendees could attend. Each seminar was dedicated to a specific area or functionality.

fr-tage-1For example, a Purple Vision speaker Klemens Karkow was talking about fundraising for small and medium clubs and associations.

Some other speakers were sharing their knowledge on how to build a successful partnership with corporate sponsors, how to better understand donors, how to work with major donors and how to benefit from social media and e-mail marketing. Each seminar provided not just a lot of content but also gave attendees an opportunity to ask their questions and get answers from the experts.

I have also attended one of the seminars. You can never know everything and I decided to use this opportunity to improve my industry knowledge. I attended a session on Practical Tips or How to Make Friends from Enemies.

It was very interesting to hear all the tips, related to organisation and contact donor journey communication. There were, however, a couple of aspects that made me think on how to bring together time proven best practices and the tendency of donors becoming more and more digital. One of the things mentioned by the presenter was that a research showed that if you send donors handwritten Thanks You letters within 7 days after the first donation, a chance to receive the next donation within 12 months is 16% higher than if you thanks them by email or print a letter and send it per post. I agree that for certain groups of donors, this will be the right approach. But if an organisation wants to attract younger donors, it should also consider other ways. And that’s were a marketing journey with 1:1 communication comes into play.

See you next time! 

I found Fundraising Days to be a great experience for non-profit organisations that could learn best practices, talk about consultancy and technical solutions to exhibitors and discuss their problems and successes with other non-profits.

2016-09-08-dresden-fundraising-tage-2At the same time it was a fantastic opportunity for Purple Vision and for me personally as it allowed us to get a better understanding of our current and future customers on the German market and learn about other solutions offered within it. As we are an independent consultancy, we should keep looking and investigating what tools are available in order to be able to offer our clients the best options.

See you at the next Fundraising Day!

 

 

Antonina is one of Purple Vision’s Lead Consultants for non-profit projects.  As well as being a Salesforce whizz, she also speaks Russian and German (hence being asked to help our German clients) and loves dancing.  She’ll be attending the next Fundraising Tag days in March. 

Unlock your fundraising potential

We’ve published a new whitepaper – Unlock your fundraising potential.

Our thinking behind the paper is about our experience and how things have moved on.

“Worldwide, an estimated 13,000 non-profits use Raiser’s Edge – a database that has been around for more than 30 years.  It’s no surprise that it’s widely been seen as ‘the’ tool for fundraisers. Purple Vision has supported clients who use RE for more than a third of the entire lifespan of the product. Over that time, we’ve learned a few things.  In this paper, we share some of our thoughts and insights to help you with the next steps that you are likely to take as you consider your options with this tool. 

There will be a next step, because at the grand old age of 30, Blackbaud upgraded Raiser’s Edge to Raiser’s Edge NXT.  On the face of it, for many it will feel like a natural progression.  But we’re urging charities to look beyond an auto-pilot upgrade, and consider their options.  Of course, you may still choose to use your tried and tested favourite, but for others, this is a chance to take a fresh look at the options available”.

Get your copy of the paper

  • Unlock your potential -read as a PDF
  • Unlock your fundraising potential – read as a flipbook

    Making the right choice for your charity 

  • For the first time, as charities look at their fundraising infrastructure, there are a selection of real and viable alternatives available to what was once the only really serious option for fundraisers.

    We share just one of these options as a potential alternative to review and consider – Causeview. We’ve described it as RE but on the Salesforce platform.  Its an interesting comparison and we’d like to  show you what we mean.

    But of course, we’re realistic.  For some charities, Raiser’s Edge is just where they need to be.

    What’s key is to think and decide which is the right way to go for your organisation.  So our paper explains the points at which you might need to consider a change and what some of those drivers and decision points may need to be for your charity.

    See for yourself

    We’re hosting a series of breakfast briefings to showcase Causeview – join us at one of these to see the tool for yourself and see how it compares to what you have now.

    Join us at 09.00 on any of the three dates below – just click the link on the date to register.

    We’ll be holding these events in our offices – Purple Vision are based in Kennington Park, just opposite Oval tube station in London.  They’re fairly informal affairs over coffee and croissants with a chance to ask questions too.

And while we’re talking about Causeview, of course we know there are other tools on the market too. We’re happy to talk to you about these, too – we pride ourselves on being independent and on your side.  For us that means doing the right thing for you – not shoehorning your needs into a box.

Get in touch

If you have questions about this paper or would like to know more about Causeview, give us a ring on 0845 458 0250 or email [email protected]

Solar panels to Salesforce Non Profit Starter Pack in 2 easy days

Solar panels to Salesforce Non Profit Starter Pack in 2 easy days

Alongside Africa’s motto is ‘opportunities not aid’, and this ethos extends through four key projects – micro-finance, craft activities, a street children programme and a child sponsorship programme.

Problems and solutions

Managing a charity in the UK and Uganda doesn’t come without challenges, but on this trip, Lawrance set out to solve one that has been holding them back.

The teams in Uganda and UK naturally need to work together very closely.  One of the issues has been sharing data and progress reports.  These not only inform donors of progress on projects but helps to ensure transparency.

The solution – Salesforce Non Profit Starter Pack – was clear. But the way to achieve it wasn’t quite as simple as we’d hope – the Ugandan team work in a location where electricity is not always available, internet connections patchy and IT skills and funds limited.

But one thing is in abundance in Uganda – sunshine.   And so a team of willing volunteers set about installing a solar panel in the Ugandan office location so Lawrance could provide the power and hook up routers for the internet. Only then could he start to install Salesforce, using the donation from the Salesforce Power of Us programme.

In the end, it took just two days to get the basic Salesforce system in place and copy over data from the legacy Access database. For Lawrance who holds Salesforce Admin certifications and is a consultant for Salesforce.org Impact partner Purple Vision this was the easy part!

Bringing bright hope

Lawrance tutors Alongisde African Uganda case workers in the use of Salesforce

Plans are already in place to expand the use of the system to record daily attendance of children at Amasiko and to use it to manage Alongside Africa’s micro-finance programme too.

This work can be carried out from both the UK or on-site in Uganda making Salesforce an extremely flexible solution, and enabling the charity to keep supporters up to date with the valuable contributions they make.

The rest of us felt a bit bad that our holidays had been spent in less worthwhile pursuits!

 

 

Follow the Alongside Africa story via www.alongsideafrica.org  and find out what else happened during Lawrance’s latest trip via the blog pages.

 

FundraisingWhite 160

Internal barriers to fundraising success – the battle within

Philip Roethenbaugh, a skilled fundraiser and our expert/go-to Associate Consultant for fundraising services shares his considerable knowledge with fundraisers via a series of blogs. This is the fourth and final in the current series of blogs.

The battle within – internal barriers to fundraising success

In 15 years working as a fundraiser in charities large and small, the greatest challenges on most occasions were not

  • the economy
  • donor apathy,
  • difficulty finding and retaining good staff
  • having an emotive cause to tell donors about.

The most common –  and energy sapping  – challenge is gaining and retaining the co-operation of colleagues in other departments, senior management and trustees.

Don’t complain – get buy-in

Without emotional buy-in and practical commitment to fundraising from colleagues and volunteers, the fundraisers will always be working with one hand tied behind their backs.

The hurdles can take many shapes. They might include a lack of understanding or disinterest in donor’s needs, to low levels of co-operation when trying to get ‘raw material’ for your case for support. The most difficult to overcome is a wobbly or non-existent business plan, leaving you with no foundation for your case to donor ‘investors’.

I am not here to give fundraisers licence to complain to colleagues.

Ultimately you must work with what you can get. But fundraisers must express their professional needs (the tools you require to get the job done), firmly and constructively.

Time dedicated to creating an environment that is more friendly to fundraising, is time very well spent.

Let’s look at some of the reasons for this strife and some possible solutions.

  1. A misunderstanding of what fundraising truly is

Like a lot of fundraisers, I used to see myself as Robin Hood. Taking from the rich and giving to the needy. This is entirely wrong.

A fundraiser’s skill is in what they can GIVE to a donor, not what cash they can take.

Non-fundraising colleagues may see fundraising in a Dickensian vein – fundraiser as Oliver Twist with a begging bowl.

This view is even more damaging, as it describes a one-way process in which the person asking is totally lacking in power.  Who wants to be a beggar?

Too many charity staff view fundraising as a necessary evil, like having to call the plumber in to unblock a toilet!  No, no, no!

Fundraising it is at the very heart of this thing we call ‘charity’. It’s about making a precious connection between those with a need (beneficiary) and those with the means to meet that need (the donor).

It’s a fundraiser’s responsibly to promote this healthier and more accurate picture. There is no quick fix, but a fun and engaging fundraising induction process, for all staff and volunteers is a great place to start.

  1. Lack of professional respect

Within the voluntary sector, there are two kinds of professionals.

Those that work directly with services users / carrying out charitable purposes (social worker, scientist, teacher etc) and those who do a job in support of that first group (accountant, fundraiser, IT worker etc).

Almost without exception, the first category are looked on as ‘heroes’ within the charity (no problem with that!).

However, ‘support staff’ are too often taken for granted, or in the worst case, seen as a terrible ‘drain’ on income. This is nonsense. Of course overhead must be justifiable, but each half depends on the other to get results. Like two blades in a pair of scissors or two wings on a plane.

Fundraisers should lead the way in advocating for mutual respect across the departments, seeking to influence senior management and trustee behaviour in this area.  Creating ‘buddy’ links between teams can be an effective way to build respect and co-operation.

  1. Lack of commitment at senior level

If the first two factors exist, chances are that this third factor is in play too. It may be the cause or symptom. Either way, if your chair of trustees and CEO do not have much time or interest in the fundraising function, it will struggle to perform.  I say ‘function’ rather than fundraising. All CEOs and trustees are interesting in fundraising performance. Fewer, however, want to get involved in the process.

But involvement is essential. This is because fundraising is very much a team sport. To mix metaphors, there are certain ‘roles’ that have to be played by non-fundraising people. For example, a wealthy donor is going to want to meet the organ-grinder (not the monkey). There are few things more painful, for a fundraiser, that sitting alongside a bored CEO, across the table from a keen major donor prospect.

Then there is the budget round. Enthusiasm for and commitment to fundraising (in the good times and bad times) is essential to get the long-range investment needed to grow income, on a sustainable basis.To use a biblical phase, one should not “muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain”. Or to put it another way, its illogical and wrong to send the team that raise most (or all) of the money to the back of the queue, when resources are being distributed.

In terms of solutions, for those leaders that are not naturally enamoured by the prospect of going out into the world to ask for financial support, my advice is to appeal to issues closer to their heart. Make the connection between fundraising’s success and their pet interest.

 

As a consultant, I’ve worked with dozens of charities, varying hugely in size and cause, but one constant remains – those charities in which fundraising is valued as a professional skill-set and colleagues are well informed and co-operative, succeed.

Learn to love fundraising and it becomes the charity’s heartbeat.

Some recommended further reading:

  • ‘Relationshift’ Revolutionary Fundraising’ by by Michael BassoffSteve Chandler (Robert Reed Publishers) 2010. Simply the best book for debunking damaging fundraising myths.
  • ‘The Porcupine Principle’ by Jonathan Farnhill (pub. DCS) – Equally insightful and entertaining. Clearly explains fundraising’s role in the big picture.

About Purple Vision & Fundraising

Purple Vision has a long pedigree of fundraising – we say it’s part of our DNA.  Our expertise is in the intersection between fundraising and technology – translating both specialist areas into practical solutions.  But behind that is our vision to support charities to set the right direction and strategy to achieve their goals – on a day to day, weekly and monthly basis, as they stride towards achieving the big, hairy, audacious goal that is your vision and mission.   Our fundraising consultancy services cover a wide range of areas from the strategic and visionary to the practical and data driven. Our expert team speak fluent non-profit and are on hand to share their expertise as you need it.  Get in touch if you’d like to know more.