Tag Archives: CRM & Database

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






Get in touch

Preparing your team for a CRM project

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 final entry in a 4 part series  from Dan explaining project delivery issues. 

Ready, set?  Let’s go

A CRM project isn’t something that will just magically happen, sadly.  It’s something that we, as your strategic partners, will work with you on.   We need your internal knowledge to deliver the end goal, and you need our knowledge and expertise to make it happen.

It’s a win-win situation and to make the most of it, a little preparation goes a long way.

How can you prepare and plan for your CRM project?

A key element is to identify and recruit to the project team Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) at the earliest point of the project.

SMEs would be expected not only to be experts in their current systems and processes but also to be experts in the new system going forward.  They’ll work with the Purple Vision project team (which will include your project manager and any resources we bring with us such as specialist developers, data experts etc.  The exact team will depend on your project.

The whole team will deliver the project together, and reports to the Project Board.  A key part of our initial discussions with you will outline overall project responsibility and who should be on the project board.

Let’s consider how your SME’s can help.

Some key tips on how to integrate SMEs into the development process are as follows:

  • Capture ‘user-stories’ from the SMEs early on in the project lifecycle. SME’s are the folks who use the systems we’re looking at day in, day out. They know what they need to do – and what they may not be able to do now that they will need to do.  User stories help us outline what success will look like for these day to day users.  We’ll explain more about all this at the relevant point.
  • The next phase of development is managed through the running of Sprints, ensuring each user story is built into the system. SMEs would work with the Development team at this stage to ensure the user stories are fully understood and interpreted correctly.
  • When we’re working with MVP (see It’s just a phase), we make sure that as soon as the base system is available, load it with sample data and share with SME. These guys – our users – will be rigorous in showing us what might be missing to make our concept turn into reality as early in the project as possible.
  • They’re gatekeepers to others using and adopting the system. Training is key to help SME’s not only work with the development team in configuring the system but in being ready to be an advocate for the system as others in the organisations start to ask questions and get involved.  A key part of this is User Acceptance Testing – the rigorous bit where teams are let loose with real case data to make it work.

Ahead of your project starting, consider who your subject matter experts may be and consider how to free up some of their time to engage in the project when it kicks off.  It need not been an arduous commitment but our experience is that it is easier to release staff to add these tasks to their to-do list if they’ve been considered ahead of time.

Read the full blog series: 

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.

CRM Project methodology – which one is ‘right’?

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 first in a series from Dan looking at project delivery issues.

When talking to organisations about implementing a new CRM, one of the most common questions we’re asked is  ‘what implementation methodology do you use?’.

Sometimes, the question is very open as an organisation may never have delivered a technology implementation before, or previously experienced projects in the days before cloud technology when things were quite different.

More frequently, the organisations we work with have done some research or have more experience and will be expecting us to say that we use one of the two best-known methodologies for system development – agile or waterfall.

Waterfall

Waterfall is described as a sequential (non-iterative) design process, used in software development processes, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, production/implementation and maintenance.

Agile

Agile is described as an iterative, incremental method of managing the design and build activities of information technology that aim to provide new product development in a highly flexible and interactive manner.

The Purple Vision approach

Over many years and hundreds of project, we have learned that the best process to adopt for a technology project is not necessarily one approach or the other, but a blend of both.

If your organisation has significant legacy systems, then there is often a need for a specific ‘go-live’ point – a moment at which the legacy system(s) should end and the new one starts.  A project like this will benefit from a waterfall approach.

The alternative to this is to manage multiple systems for a period of time, which can be complex, costly and risky.

Agile development takes a more phased approach to delivering implementations, and so is ideal for those who have little in the way of legacy systems and therefore no need to make a switch-over at a single moment.  There are lots of advantages including:

  • It engages the system users in the project at an early point and throughout the project. This means by the point of go-live those users have a good understanding of the system and have gained knowledge of the build and use of the system
  • It reduces the risk of the end product being the ‘wrong’ solution. Experience tells us it easier to manage lots of small adjustments on a frequent basis, than it is to manage large infrequent adjustments.
  • Progress is more tangible to the Project Team and engagement in the project may remain higher as a result

The disadvantage of an agile development methodology as we have experienced it, is that is requires a high-level input from process experts on the client side and can therefore impact heavily on business as usual.  If this is planned for in advance however, we believe this is the most effective way of engaging staff in the project and building a successful system with successful user adoption.

Best of both

Our best of both approach gives us flexibility to manage a project in line with an organisations requirements and needs, staff availability and other factors.

An example is a project where an organisation is planning to replace a system it has used for a number of years with something completely different – such as an out-of-date server-based system with a move to a cloud-based solution.

As the server based system may be out of date the team using it may not be able to deliver all of their key functions via this tool and may be using other tools or managing complex work-arounds.  In this situation, we would spend time looking at initiation, analysis and design of the new system (waterfall approaches) to make sure we’re developing and delivering what is needed today and not just copying what has gone before.

We would then be ready to construct and test using a more agile approach.

Which takes longer?

Neither approach is longer or shorter than the other necessarily – the critical factor is not time to deliver, but the project which is being delivered.  To identify a project timescale, we need to consider issues like the technology you’ll be using, how much work needs to be done to tailor the tool to your unique situation, how prepared you are (see another blog for more about this) and availability of key resources (like developers, trainers etc).

Other project terms you’ll hear

  • Iterative – iterative is a fancy word for repetition or frequency. Essentially, for agile developments which are iterative, the project is broken down into set blocks or sprints where work is completed.
  • Sprints – rather alarmingly for non-runners, sprints area often talked about as part of a technology implementation project. Don’t panic!  This term refers to the blocks of time in which work is developed and delivered.  It’s more common to have sprints in Agile development but it is possible to have sprints in waterfall but for different phases. It’s as much a way of everyone planning their time properly as anything else.
  • Legacy systems – this isn’t about giving money in your will. This refers to systems that you have already that may be in use that you are replacing as part of your technology project – be that an old CRM, a series of spreadsheets or anything in between.
  • Scrum – a scrum is a process used by a project delivery team to allocate work out to deliver the project – eg technical work such as things that need building, information needed from project management team, user testing, etc. Scrums cover a set period of time (eg a week, two weeks or sometimes longer).
  • User stories – this is simply a process of mapping out what the users need to be able to do in a system or with a set of functions. Mapping out and agreeing a user story means we all know what we’re working to achieve.

Can we help?

If you would like help and advice from Purple Vision regarding your CRM project, please call us via 0203 127 1249 or email us at [email protected] or via our online contact form.

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.

 

3 reasons to make sure you have system support

Purple Vision offers support services for both our Raiser’s Edge and Salesforce clients.

Of course, these products are as diverse as the two tools themselves but the fundamental principle is the same – we’re here to help.

Here are our three key reasons why we think support services are part of your key to success.

Protect your investment

The long and the short of any system is that you’ve paid money for it and continue to pay to keep it operating.  It is (or should be) a tool that’s central to how you work. Support services can help keep your system healthy, fit for purpose and ready to work hard for you.  Think of your system as the hard-working team member it is and set aside the time and resource needed to help it perform for you.

Efficiency gains

How long will you sit at your desk trying to figure out ‘how do I …?’ – of course, you might search online for a fix (self learning is always encouraged).  But at what point do you realise you could be doing something more valuable and call an expert who can make a fix for you?  Or help you and your team understand how to fix similar issues in the future?  Support services are here for just that.  Escalating issues so you can be more efficient.

Control your costs 

There’s nothing worse than getting an unexpected bill. Support services help you plan and anticipate spend requirements for your system.

  • Firstly, as a fixed price per hours contract, you’ll know what you’re paying for support services, know how much time you have left and be able to manage support needs in the future.
  • Secondly, sticky tape fixes and work-arounds are never a great long term solution to managing systems but we see many that are common in legacy systems.  Our expert team will be able to help you assess when more permanent fixes, updates and additional needs should be formalised.  They will help you to look at the best processes to keep you operating or even to consider making a move to a new system (if you’re still using Raiser’s Edge), or when to add a new app for the functionality needs you have (Salesforce) – so any more serious changes to your system can be carefully planned and costed rather than knee-jerk responses.

Find out more about our support services below.

Can we help? 

Whatever your question, we’re happy to help.   You can

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.

 

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.

Finding the right CRM partner

A question that often come up is what things people should look out for if they’re looking for a CRM partner or someone to work with on a project.  How do you pick who is right from the many people out there?

Your relationship with the team who will work with you on our CRM is vital so its a great question to ask.   

Let’s start with language

The term ‘consultant’ is often a loaded one for many – perhaps not quite up there with tax inspector – but a word that challenges some.  Your reaction to the word will be based on your own experiences (we’re all grown up enough to know there’s good and bad in all professions), and what you’ve heard from others.  While you might engage a CRM consultant, we prefer to think of the term in a collegiate way – we’re the colleagues you haven’t met yet.  And the term we prefer to use for this relationship is partnership.

There’s a really important point behind that for us – success is based on trust, honesty and integrity from both sides and in working together.   Your project – be it CRM, CMS or anything else – is not one sided.  Its your project, who you hire is there to help you and be on your side.

Its just like online dating (ish)

I’d like to say that finding a partner to work with on your CRM programme is not at all like finding a partner via an online dating site, but as I think about it, there are some similarities.  Not the kind of similarities that cause the most entertainment and horror thankfully (though you might find the odd out of date photo on LinkedIn!) but a few all the same:

  • It can take time – in the world of online dating, if you want a partner or long term relationship, you have to be committed to the search. You have to put the time in to search and find someone who is right for you.
  • Find out what’s on offer – check out who or what is out there by doing research in all the usual ways. Google is your friend.
  • Likes and Dislikes – let’s assume we’re not shallow and aren’t *just* interested in the photos or brand identity. When you dig around online you’ll find lots of info about what a potential partner is interested in, talks about and delivers.  You’ll know if that is interesting to you or not and if there’s a synergy with your team and organisation.
  • Gentle introduction –  a bit of ‘this is who we are and what we need – who are you?’ will help you to find out how a potential partner replies to you – are they friendly and welcoming?  Helpful?  Do you like what you hear or read?
  • First date – nothing like a date really, but you’re both trying to find out the same kind of things – does what I read match the reality?  Do they know what they’re talking about?  Is there synergy and energy?  Plainly and simply, do we get along?  Something to think about for organisations is that your CRM partner may pose difficult and challenging questions as your relationship develops – how do you think you’d handle that? That’s all this first meeting is really about – what are you looking for, what are we the partner looking for, do we get along and want to take this further.
  • The ‘relationship status’ chat – once you’ve worked out if you can work with a CRM partner, it’s time to have the chat about the terms of the relationship.

Some would say it’s all a PR exercise, and to them, I’d suggest it might well be if: 

Do all the R’s: 

  • Research – ask around, look around and listen to what’s being said about partners on the market. Find out what you can via You Tube, Google (other search engines are available of course!), LinkedIn and more.
  • Reach-out – chat to a few likely prospects to find one you feel an affinity with
  • Rationalise – be rational about your expectations. Is anyone really perfect?  Are you? If there are niggles in your mind about a potential partner, ask them the questions so you can work them out and be rational about what you’re expecting them to deliver with you in the time and to the budget you had in mind.

 Don’t do the P’s:

  • Panic – you’re not the first organisation to be bamboozled by how to find a CRM or a partner to implement it. But if you have a clear goal and strategy it’s easier to find a system that will support you to achieve your objectives. Knowing what you’re looking for and why puts you ahead of the game already!
  • Procure – don’t procure a system with tick boxes and paperwork. A tender isn’t likely to pluck something unexpected and perfect from obscurity for you. Quite the opposite in fact – because of the investment of time and effort in completing a paper exercise lots of supplier partners just don’t respond so you may miss out on a good match.  Take the time to do some research and make some calls rather than relying on good people finding your RFP buried online somewhere. By all means, use a procurement process to satisfy all the boxes you need to tick – but after you’ve had some meaningful conversations with providers who have taken time to understand what you need and why.
  • Pontificate – well, not too much. Procrastination is the enemy of action. The sooner you find a partner, the sooner you can gain the benefits of a new CRM to help you deliver your tasks and goals.  Stay focused on the end result throughout – that focus will help you ask the right questions and find the right people to help.