Tag Archives: Non Profit Success Pack

Salesforce events in May

This May brings a Salesforce bounty for event attendees.   If you are immediately thinking these events don’t apply to you as you are not a Salesforce user (or not yet a Salesforce user), think again.

Salesforce World Tour – 18 May (Excel)

Registration link via: https://www.salesforce.com/uk/campaign/london/

The Salesforce World Tour brings the full power of what is usually a 5 day tech conference (Dreamforce for Salesforce, F8 for this year’s Facebook) to a town near you.  It’s a lot of marketing – but you’d expect that really.  But it’s also a chance to see for yourself some of the tech that is on the market now and hear about (and see) some of the innovations on the horizon.

If you’re already a Salesforce user, it is a great chance to see what’s happening with your tool and see for yourself what’s coming next.

If you are not a Salesforce user, it’s a chance to see what other tools are up to, get some new ideas about the future, new ideas about how you can handle or solve data problems and gain some fresh insights on problems and opportunities.

Added bonus for 2017

Steve Thomas (our CEO) will be speaking in the Non-Profit Theatre with our client, RAFCTE – the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises – who will share how the Royal International Air Tattoo manages thousands of people, planes and plans using Salesforce to deliver their world-famous air show.

NPSP Day – 19 May

Registration link: http://www.npspday.org/events/london?utm_campaign=power-of-us-post-ryan

It is important to note that NPSP Day is not organised by Salesforce.org, it’s the brainchild of the team that work hard behind the scenes to keep NPSP – the non-profit success pack – on track.  For those that don’t know, NPSP is essentially an open source development or collection of features on the Salesforce platform. It’s free for non-profts to access (for the first ten users).  To keep it up to date, users, developers, partners and Salesforce.org all chip into a development process and regularly release new features and updates.

NPSP day is about a range of things – it’s about how people use NPSP, why people use NPSP, what needs looking at – how to do certain things, how not to do other things (best practice), and really a chance to get together and share in what it is all about.

It’s a no fixed agenda ‘unconference’ format – so the attendees lead the way the day progresses.

There’s a charge to attend of $40, which basically covers lunch and refreshments.  And it’s in dollars because the team who organise these all across the US are heading to London to host this day and bring the style and format to life in the UK.

The astute among us will notice it’s the day after World Tour London so don’t get too frazzled at the drinks reception!

Our notes: 

We’ve never been to one of these – they’re  new to the UK – but they sound interesting.  Our view is that existing NPSP users would probably get the most out of these, rather than those of you still at the stage of considering NPSP.






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

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.


Non Profit Starter Pack

What’s the NPSP – Non Profit Starter Pack?

It’s the basic out-of-the-box Salesforce package to help non-profits get to grips with fundraising via Salesforce CRM.

Why Upgrade?

NPSP 3 was released last year. NPSP 3 offers comprehensive updates that make managing a range of non-profit interactions more efficient, and adds new features, too.

Since then, some have upgraded, while others have held back. The reasons for not upgrading are as wide and varied as the non-profits using Salesforce.

  • Time is a big factor since hours in the day are limited, and I’ve yet to meet anyone in a non-profit who sits twiddling their thumbs wondering what to do next.
  • Fear is another. If you’ve spent hours getting your data in shape, and working out how the system works, even training and supporting others to use it too, there will naturally be a fear that an upgrade will change things and you’ll have to start again with the training (see Time).

I think we have to be honest, too ― the path of least resistance is also a well-trodden trail. If there’s no compelling reason to change something, or no immediacy, then it’s easy to ignore it or keep moving it down the list.

All these are, within organisational context, are fair enough. But we think the reasons for upgrading *are* compelling.

Our 3 key reasons why you should upgrade to NPSP 3:

  1. Not getting left behind. Other non-profits have already upgraded and are able to take advantage of the additional functionality. The extra features will help with your day to day tasks, and ultimately mean you will get smarter reporting and be able to make better decisions about your funding, relationships and direction of travel. Don’t get left behind when you could be enjoying additional benefits.
  2. Compatibility with other packages. The Non Profit Starter Pack is just that – a starter pack. As demand grows and more users are adopting it, more third-party developers and members of the community are building add-on packages that extend the Starter Pack. Many managed packages and apps for non-profits are built to be compatible with the NPSP code base, so it’s possible that packages you have or may want to have in the future may not work on anything but the latest version, or may not work optimally on an older version.
  3. Automatic updates. When you’re using NPSP 3, new updates will automatically appear every 2 weeks. Yes, 2 weeks. That’s how fast things can change and develop. These updates will be a mix of fixes and new features. If you’re not on NPSP 3, you’ll miss the automatic upgrades.

If you’re still not sure about upgrading, ask for help. There’s plenty of it around – via the free Power of Us Hub (you’ll need your Salesforce login) release notes and documentation (via the Hub Knowledge Base), as well as the Upgrade Webinar recording.

Alternatively, you can ask a Salesforce.org Partner for support. While you will have to pay for this, it may be the fastest way for you to make the upgrade. Purple Vision is one such partner that you could ask.  We’ve got years of experience of supporting non profits to adopt Salesforce as the CRM of choice – both with the Non Profit Starter Pack and with other managed packages for fundraising, operational and service delivery and more.

What’s included in the Upgrade

There’s something in NPSP 3 for everyone, whether you’re a technical or functional user. Salesforce Administrators can enjoy some smart new features that will make life much easier, such as a Health Check that automatically checks data for inconsistencies and makes sure that settings are still valid.

But the biggest change for admins is the automatic upgrade – bug fixes and releases will just be auto-rolled directly to your Salesforce instance in the future.

Overall, the biggest changes are around architecture – and six packages of code have been consolidated into one single package, making future upgrades even easier. NPSP will also work more effectively with the Salesforce1 Mobile App.

The other updates are around Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities, with a range of new options available to you to configure as your organisation requires. The ability to set a primary contact for each a household is one example.

Make the move today

There’s a lot of extra support for making a move to NPSP 3 in February – (it’s NPSP Upgrade Month – I bet you didn’t have that on your calendar), and throughout the year. Extra support is a good thing and accessing it wherever you can is going to help. Make sure to sign up for ‘office hours’ (dial an expert) and visit the Power of Us Hub Upgrade Group for advice from others doing the upgrade, too.


What we learned on Tour

A few weeks ago*, along with 14,000 other people, we jollied along to the Salesforce World Tour London. We’d planned ahead  and were pre-excited  (or perhaps more properly, anticipating the experience).

We learned a *lot*. We went to a lot of sessions. We met people. A *lot* of people. And it was all good.

The plenary session

We had a moment of excitement at our twitter activity appearing on the tweet wall right at the start as the intro session segued into the ‘main event’. It only encouraged us, so we went a bit twitter mad. And found some very funny comments frm other twitterati, too.

The plenary featured a James Bond style arrival at the venue (some very creative minds in Salesforce events!) of the VP delivering the main session – which covered a lot of stuff about cloud software, market share and new products and services. If you want the juice, its best to watch it back to be honest,  but there were two main non-profit highlights were that:

  • Billie Laidlaw, CIO of RSPCA shared how they are starting to adopt cloud technology to support a range of their services
  • Salesforce Foundation donated £200,000 to CoderDojo, an organisation offering coding schools for young people around the world – these are brilliant, do check out the site – www.coderdojo.com

And there our en-masse Purple presence broke up to follow the many tracks and options available and learn as much as possible to support our clients to use Salesforce.

Some highlights from other sessions

The biggest news for non-profits at the World Tour was the launch of NGO Connect (and Advancement Connect for higher ed). This new non-profit app is to take over from the non-profit starter pack and serve the needs of larger organisations. It’s in use already in the US, and coming to the UK and Europe in the autumn. This was really the first sneaky public peak – though Purple Vision are partners on this service and we’ve already been trained and are ready to support implementations when the time comes.

The main features are around constituent management, fundraising and event management – with features for Gift Aid and Direct Debit being developed now for the UK. The events module is impressive with a graphic interface seating management option, and campaign options.

To be really honest, you couldn’t see masses in a 40 minute slot – if you are curious, check out our game changing apps flip book or ask us for a demo, we’ll be running them frequently from September and already can deliver them on demand.

Salesforce 1 Lightning
Lightning is the app builder that links with Salesforce – its quite impressive by all accounts with our technical team exclaiming over the drag and drop functionality that is on offer among other features. They’ve all bookmarked this tool to look at further, and hopefully share more in the future

Salesforce Wave – the Analytics Cloud
Wave is the new Analytics offer from Salesforce. It was impressive. The word amazing was used. The tools presented as easy to use, intuitive and flexible and showed impressive results from the data used.  It was usable on any hand held device and data didn’t have to be held within Salesforce to use the tool either – a big selling point for charities with data in multiple sources.

Our take on this is that this is one to watch – we’re not yet sure how the pricing model is going to work (though of course Salesforce Foundation discounts will apply to non-profits). We’re also not sure until we’re able to play with it how much it will be able to play with classic non-profit modelling like RFV (recency, frequency, value), attrition rates, lifetime value and so on. And we know you’d want us to know that before we say more to you, so we’re checking it out.

Marketing Cloud
Marketing Cloud is all about content, audiences and personalisation – principles at the heart of most non-profit comms goals and approaches. Who am I talking to, what do they want/need vs what do we have to deliver, how can I make sure we recognise and build on their preferences so they have a truly unique experience of our services? The tool goes beyond smart email (journey builder is a dream!) and into integration with social listening, customer care (I am not sure that our American colleagues have figured out that when they say social care we infer a different meaning than customer care via social!) web and video.

There are smart integrations with the Service Cloud to deliver really holistic customer service, too. There are features like being able to switch someone out of planned marketing activity if they have an open case with customer care (who wants a marketing email when you’re in a dispute, right?). Not all of this super functionality will be relevant for all non-profits but I like the flexibility to be able to buy bits of the tool, play around and then add more later if you want.

Our Purple attitude is always to future proof and use tools that will grow with you – this delivers that option. I suspect you won’t have heard the last of this from us.

HR Employee and Engagement
The focus for HR professionals remains engagement and the benefits of employee engagement – yet many tools have a very transactional focus. Salesforce shared some customer success stories from employers using a bundle of apps to form an employee engagement solution. This approach echoes Purple Vision’s own ‘palette’ approach which we recommend strongly to our clients.

Change Management
The key message for change management and technology is clear – and one which the Purple team has been advocating for some time – you cannot simply develop and deliver great systems and expect people to use them – you have to facilitate the process. Deloitte identified the three top reasons why IT projects fail as:

  • Resistance by employees (82%)
  • Inadequate sponsorship (72%)
  • Unrealistic expectations (65%)

Projects must now focus on stakeholder management, business readiness, communications and training, and the success of a project measured by the value it delivers.

Habits and hacks for Salesforce Admins
The goal of this session was very practical and focussed on short-cuts for admins to take in making the most of the system. I think this advice is helpful regardless of the system you use, but is particularly apposite for Salesforce of course

  • Think of your Salesforce users as clients – engage, get feedback offer 1:1 and hands on sessions and user chatter to support users to learn more for themselves
  • Get into ‘good habits’ – such as daily, weekly or monthly tasks to keep the system in tip top shape and keep everything manageable
  • Use resources wisely – the App Exchange has great dashboard packs for admins, LinkedIn and other user groups post updates and feedback
  • Update – share new developments and updates with your ‘clients’ – prepare them if there is an update that may change how they view a system, share new apps and of course for admins, update your certifications each year, too.

Thoughts on the day

These notes are really only the tip of the iceberg from the day – we saw much more besides and you’ll no doubt hear more form us as we go.

Salesforce World Tour London was certainly a ‘full on’ day – its an extravaganza and very American in its style and approach. A cynical Brit (moi?) might find it a bit overwhelming but its actually pretty infectious – and you will find yourself saying ‘awesome’ at some point during the day, even if you actively try and resist it.

The passion of the people behind Salesforce really does come through.  Its not just the tech – though this was beautifully showcased – but its the investment in  customer journey and customer experience too that shines through.  You do genuinely feel that Salesforce cares that you have a great time and want to bring tech to life for real users, not just our more technically minded colleagues.

I think we’ll come back on this experience at some point, and reflect more – and be able to share more, too.

Purple Vision Salesforce Services

NGO Connect

idden away upstairs, in one of the breakout sessions at Salesforce World Tour, London was a session entitled:  NGO & Advancement Connect: The solution suite for non-profit and higher education. 

As an official NGO Connect partner, Purple Vision has already been trained and enabled to support non-profits to implement and use the tool when it is available in the UK – the planned release is autumn 2015.  We’re excited to share the details with you.

The background

NGO Connect was announced back in September 2014.   It’s a new app for the Salesforce Platform, designed for non profits.

Salesforce Foundation* has essentially built NGO Connect as a new an improved version of roundCause. roundCause – by software provider roundCorner – is a very successful native Salesforce app for non-profits in North America.

To launch in the UK and across Europe, several changes and adaptations are required – for things like Gift Aid, Direct Debit which are unique to our fundraising landscape – and the team are busy in development to finalise the tool.

The Salesforce Foundation will manage the NGO Connect product as they do their others, with regular updates and a planned roadmap – so it’s not a solution that’s going to stand still. Or go away.

*The Foundation is the ‘charity’ bit of Salesforce, that administers the 1% model they have adopted – with 1% time, 1% revenue and 1% product being donated to non-profits.  It’s a powerful model for a multi-billion dollar outfit to adopt, so the benefits for charity in the UK are tangible and real.  Starting with donated licenses (up to ten) and then significant discounts on linked products.

Bringing more choice to charities

There are already apps out there.   The simple start-up is the Non Profit Starter Pack. It’s great, but the clue is really in the name ‘starter’.

For a larger organisation with complex requirements and multiple teams, it’s not enough on its own. Of course, you can develop the NPSP by adding apps, and integrations are available to adapt it.

But its not the same as being able to install a fully featured solution that you know will be around and supported for many years to come.

The point of NGO Connect is that it starts to give more choice to non-profits, and enables them to choose and deploy Salesforce – and the myriad of benefits associated with it – quickly and easily.

But it’s not just a two-app choice

Of course, part of the joy of Salesforce is the depth and breadth of solutions, partners and developers who collaborate together to create solutions to suit customers’ needs. And so, besides these two major options, there are other considerations for charities, too.

Of the many solutions around, we believe there are two others that merit a direct comparison – Causeview and Donor Nation.

We reviewed the features and functionality of what we believe are the four key Salesforce game-changers for charities. 

The 4 main contenders (compressed)Matrix comparison (web compress)Spider Comparison

Your charity – your choice

What’s clear from our reviews is that it’s really down to each charity to choose the tool that works best for them, based on the features and options that are important to them now, and that will support them to deliver as they grow and develop, too.

And that’s the joy of the Salesforce community – select your key app, and expand your palette of options as you need to.

Nothing illustrates this better than some of the glaring gaps you may see in some of the scores on our spider charts.

A zero score means that the tool does not have the features or functionality included for that area of activity which you may (or may not) want. Not that its a bad choice. Who is really an expert at everything?

If you don’t need the function in the app, its no problem.  But if you do, a top quality app that provides the level of features you need for your specialist function will be available.  It will do what you need at the level you need and integrate with the other features you need in the main app you’ve chosen.

It’s the start of your palette of options – creating your own bespoke solution for your own specific organisation.

palette blank (compress)

We care that you get it right 

Our approach to working with non-profits is to support each client to implement the right solution for their own unique needs.

So, if NGOConnect is right for you, we will tell you, and if you wish we will help you to implement and adopt it.

But if you’re not sure which Salesforce tool or configuration is right for you, ask about our Signposting services, which will help pinpoint the right mix and blend – the right flavour – of Salesforce for your organisations needs.

Next steps

View this post as an easy to read full colour e-book