Tag Archives: Purple Vision News

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We’ve taken the pledge – pledge 1%

Fear not, this is no pronouncement of our support for the temperance movement (though ask us after our Christmas Party and we may say differently).   This is about why we’ve chosen to Pledge 1% and what it means to us.

Read about Pledge 1%

About the Pledge

Pledgeonepercent is – in a neat and tidy nutshell – all about corporate social responsibility.  Giving back.  Being active members of the communities we live in.  It is a philanthropic movement to encourage businesses of all sizes to be good citizens as well as good employers.

Essentially, you can pledge four things

  • Equity – this is the polite way of saying cash.
  • Product – if an organisation has a software product, offering 1% of that product for non-profits to use is included in this
  • Time – the simplest metric of all – staff days or time.
  • 1/1/1 – all three of the above elements.

Why we’ve taken the Pledge

Purely and simply, we’ve taken the pledge as we believe it fits with our values and ethos as an organisation – where we are now and where we started from.  Doing the right thing and being on our customer’s side are critical to who we are and what we do, and what makes us ‘purple’ as a team.  Making sure we stay focused on our part in the world matters to us.

Of course, we could just have got on with doing our bit without signing a pledge.  Many organisations do.  We’ve chosen to sign up so that we can be counted as part of the movement, and help others to look at and consider the pledge too.  Collective impact of a movement is easier to measure – and with measurement comes the evidence of what the programme is achieving.  And thus encourages more organisations to take part in something meaningful.

How we set about doing it.

Applying to participate is the easy bit.  Understanding how our team – a group of strong individuals – want to use that time a little more complicated.

Mike, our Chief Operating Officer and organisational development specialist, opted for a staff survey to gather opinion and ideas about the kind of benefits the team would expect to gain, and also look at the initiatives we could consider as a team.

Collating the feedback was enlightening.  Not least because it revealed the extent to which staff are already freely involved in giving of one kind or another.  Most importantly, it revealed more of the spirit that sits in the Purple Vision team and the passions that drive individuals in their daily lives.

The majority in the team asked the organisation to steer away from collective activities that involved politics or religion, but these are of course a strong personal preference for many and our relationships at work are already respectful of any boundaries that these two areas can create – so it felt like a natural ask from the team and one we are happy to accept.

Our collective endeavours will focus on areas where we have identified a shared concern or passion.

What it means for us

We’re keen that Pledge 1% is real and meaningful for the Purple Vision team, so this may be all you ever learn of our Pledge.  It’s really important for us that this isn’t about PR, but this is about doing the right thing to be members of our society and community.

Mainly, we’ll give our time as individuals, but probably for one day a year, we’ll work on a project as a team together.  Quietly, without pomp, but with a lot of purpose.

For some of us it will be a continuation of the kind of things we’ve already been doing.  For others a chance to explore opportunities that we may not have had before, to participate, understand and learn.

1% is a small step in the right direction.

Of course, in an ideal world, companies would be able to offer more than what sounds like a humble 1% to achieve meaningful and impactful social change.  1% sounds small.  1% time is 3 staff days a year – that also doesn’t sound a lot on paper.

But look two things here.

  • We’re a small company and 3 days a year is a lot of potential work time. So it is a sacrifice for us to make at an organisational level.
  • For our team of 20, 3 days each is 60 days a year. 2 calendar months a year of time, or 480 hours in working time

We know we can make a difference in that time.

More info:

  • If you’d like to know more about Purple Vision’s approach to Pledge 1%, give us a ring and ask to speak to Mike, or send your enquiry via our web form.
  • To sign the Pledge for your organisation, visit the website: – http://pledge1percent.org/

Pledge 1%

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. 

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Supercharged to help you succeed

We’ve supercharged to help you succeed

Exciting news from us this week – Purple Vision and Appssential have merged.

This makes us all round bigger and better at what we both do and how we do it – we can offer more support, services and even more expertise to our respective clients and will help us to grow – as our infographic shows – story continues below.

Purple Vision - supercharged for your success, and here's how

Our story

The new story we are creating for ourselves stems from a chance meeting – a meeting of minds and values – between Steve (Purple Vision) and  Tin (Appssential) at a Salesforce event.

In the intervening 18 months, the two companies have worked together to bring successful client projects to fruition, and on initial activity for Sugati-CRM an innovative framework for the travel sector.

Leveraging synergies

The synergies between us are tangible.  What matters most is that we share the same values and approach. We share the same commitment to customer success, innovation and development of new tools, services and products to support our clients.  And to welcoming new clients to the benefits that technology can bring to their business.

We also share fantastic people.  Our teams are already integrating, bringing a wide range of technical qualifications, expertise and experience together, as well as a variety of languages.  Even if we say so ourselves, we’re quite a fun bunch to work with.

Interestingly, we don’t share the same client base.

Appssential brings expertise in the travel market and a diverse range of corporate clients to compliment Purple Vision’s expertise in the non-profit sector (charities, associations, higher education) and fundraising know-how.

As we grow, Purple Vision is still firmly committed to the non-profit sector and to our strong fundraising heritage. Our ‘supercharged’ Purple Vision will enable us to continue to develop our non-profit work and build more innovative and engaging solutions and opportunities for charities, associations and higher ed institutions of all sizes.

But ‘supercharged’ Purple Vision will also serve the needs of the travel sector as we deliver our unique framework, Sugati-CRM and will serve some other commercial clients.

It’s also important to note that while we’re a Salesforce partner, our services for non profit technology still include Independent Technology Advice.  We’re still independent and recommend only the right solutions for your organisation.  And we still work with Raiser’s Edge.

Quite simply, together we’re supercharged versions of what we were before. 

Timing and change

Officially all the legal work has already happened, and we have told a few people already – it was important to us that they knew personally what was going on and what it means for them. So now, we can speak publicly about the all-new, supercharged Purple Vision.

The wider public changes like our social presence and, websites will fade in over the next few months as we bring together two groups of people into one organisation (and one office).

We’ll be working as Purple Vision (so keeping this site and our colours as the main brand) but also expanding presence for Sugati-CRM to give this travel framework a platform from which it can shine.  We’ll keep you posted as we progress.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch with us via our contact form or give us a ring via 0845 458 0250.

3 reasons why we’re ramped up to be at the Salesforce World Tour London

“World Tour date is set”, my contact at Salesforce told me.  The first thing I did, aside from promising to write a blog, is tell all my colleagues so we could all get registered.

The Salesforce World Tour is an annual must-attend for the whole Purple Vision team and one of the rare days we’re all out of the office doing the same thing.  We’re interested in what’s new and exciting in Salesforce and checking out the developments, case studies on show and product demos.  We split the sessions between us and make sure we get as much information as possible.  So it’s a day for our learning – personally and for our business too.  Understandable, perhaps, as we’re Salesforce.org Impact Partners so are invested in the community already.

It’s also a great time for us to catch up with our clients and share some time with them. We always invite the non-profits we’re working with so they can catch up with what could be next for them, learn some practical tips and tricks and meet other users.   For our prospects, it’s a chance to learn more about the platform and tools we’re suggesting they adopt and see for themselves why we keep saying ‘awesome’ a lot.  Everyone quickly learns that it’s infectious rather than an affliction.

It’s good to be on hand for clients and prospective clients visiting the World Tour, especially for the first time.  There is so much going on it can feel overwhelming if you’re not just a tiny bit prepared.   So in preparation for preparing our colleagues and guests, I asked some of the Purple Vision team what they were looking forward to this year.

The conclusion is that we’re pretty ramped up to be there, and there are three key reasons why.

2016 SF World Tour graphic

  1. I’ve heard the hype…  One of our colleagues is new and while she’s got the ‘creds’ (Salesforce qualifications are called credentials) has never been to World Tour event before.  She’s heard stories and is keen to see if they match the reality. We’re pretty confident they will.  The all-singing, all dancing keynote, raft of new stuff, presentations and case studies will surprise and delight in equal measure.  And when you need a time out, there’s always a drink somewhere close by (snacks, did I mention snacks yet?).  The challenge as I said up thread is seeing it all.
  2. Introducing the all-new. Our development team are extra keen to see what’s new.  I find it fascinating to see things we’ve been talking about as trends and concepts become real products and tools that we can use (donor journeys are good example here – we used to do these with bits of string, willpower and a spreadsheet, now we can use marketing automation tools like Pardot and the Marketing Cloud Journey Builder).  But it’s not just the shiny and new that’s interesting, it’s the updates and new features to the familiar that matter too.  There’s often a chance to get your hands on tools and have a bit of a play and a look.  And how are other people using the products and tools?  Case studies offer us inspiration that we can take home and apply when we’re back behind the desk.  We’re quite excited by the non-profit stream this year which includes the RNIB talking about how they’re using Salesforce apps in some quite clever, life changing ways.  I heard mention of Augmented Reality ….  I also heard there may be puppies in the keynote, but might have been wishful thinking.
  3. People, people, people. Salesforce community is more than a product. Salesforce attracts great people and you can meet these people – be they Salesforce staff and partners, fellow Salesforce users, people checking it out but not using it yet, super-admins, developers and the tech teams that build and work with the tool.  The enthusiasm you will feel from the community around the cloud will leave you feeling charged up and ready to roll. If the idea of networking gives you a bit of a cold shiver, panic not.  You have never met a friendlier bunch of people and pretty much everyone is up for having a chat.

We’re all registered and ready for May 19th at Excel and looking forward to seeing you there too

Register: https://www.salesforce.com/uk/events/details/london/

Ps One final reason just from me.  Last year, I got to meet SaaSy – the no software cloud – in person. You’ve made it as far as I am concerned when you’ve got a picture with Sassy for your social feed and I need to better last year’s pic !

SAASY

Resolutions – start, don’t stop!

It’s 2016!

Welcome back to work!  

Typically, things slow down a little for many in the non profit sector over the two week period of Christmas and New Year.  Not for all of us of course, as many who provide front line services have still been hard at work while the rest of us have wallowed in being indoors (enforced by weather and visiting relatives?) and had a chance to recover from 2015 and face down a whole new year.

For those of us who have had a chance to reflect on the past year and look at the new one ahead, I’m sure several things have come to mind.  Lots of personal things you’d like to do and plan to do this year – from big things like move, change jobs, move on with relationships, through to small stuff like promising yourself to not eat all the chocolates and eat more veggies instead.

Resolutions

I am not a fan of new year resolutions typically.  In the broadest possible terms, you can change anything you do – your attitude, behaviour, approach, how you dress, what you eat, whether you can be bothered to go to the gym – at any time of the year.  You don’t have to wait until the darkest month of the year to to it.  But New Year – linear calendar new year, or any other new year that you have –  is the one time you do get pause to reflect and so on one level it makes some sense.

But what are you reflecting on?

It’s fairly typical to hear people reflect on the more negative aspects of life and think about what they want to stop doing.  For example, if you want to stop smoking, lose weight.  On the face of it these are great goals, but they’re also huge.   It is very hard to stop something, particularly when parts of it may be out of your control.  It is much easier to change something or start to do something differently.

Start doing something instead

I’d like to ask you to flip your thinking.  I think you’ll find it more successful in the long run.  Start do do things instead of stopping doing things.  Its much easier to start afresh and with a new page – just look at the list you left on your desk at the end of last year.  It feels easier to start a new list on a new page than work through half completed scribbles.  The personal gaols like stopping smoking can work in the same way – you want stop of course, but does it sound easier to say  I will start having 20 cigarettes this week (rather than 30 or 25?).

And then starting with something and working towards it is easier to it.  It’s really hard to stop smoking full stop.  Not impossible, but hard.  If you keep trying and fail you’ll lose heart and are back to square one. Better instead to make small steps of progress towards your end goal – whether smoking, or another goal.

Some of this is about language and semantics.  Stop is negative.  Start of change is positive.  All of us respond better to positive feedback than negative – its easier to process and put in context.  So let’s use that knowledge to make positive differences in our life.

It is not always easy to start something or change something.  Sometimes stop sounds simpler to write.  But take the time to make that a more positive frame for yourself.   I’d start by writing your list out – whether work or personal to do.  Then look at how you can flip it – what is in your control to achieve? What behaviour or action do you need to do differently to be able to deliver the change you want to see?  How can you plan for this?  Are there steps and milestones along the way?  What do you think might happen to get in the way of you achieving what you want to?  How can you mitigate that risk?

There are hosts of reasons why we don’t do what we say we’ll do 

There are hosts of reasons why we don’t achieve what we know we should – or want to achieve.  When you’re making plans, you’re in a different place than when you’re delivering the work – that’s when you’re stressed, tired and while doing the work not always doing it with enthusiasm, passion and commitment.  Real life gets in the way too – who can be 100% when you’re concerned about getting the boiler fixed or a sick relative, or worried about money.  Be realistic when you’re planning things – but still push yourself to excel.

These reasons that get in the way of success are never going to stop.  It is *always* going to be this busy – and get busier in real life and work life.  We are going to have find ways to cope.  I think we all recognise in ourselves that we think ‘I’ll get past this piece of work then take some time to plan‘.  And I think we can all recognise that this time probably doesn’t happen.  You’re already into the next thing.  If you thought like this last year about getting organised, why do we think that this year is going to be any different?  I think we’ll make more progress if we realise that this is how it is now – there’s no point hanging out for a break in the pressure of work to get organised.  You have to do it now, while the modern madness of phone, email, web, home, work, balance – stress – is going on around you.

We have to adjust to this, or ultimately we personally will lose out – lose opportunities, lose personal time to stress and worry, let work take over personal space.   It doesn’t mean roll over and do everything.  It means adjust our approach to deal with it.

It sounds harsh and negative and like we’re all under pressure the whole time.  But I think if we face up to the fact that this is how the world mostly works now, its easier to deal with.  We can wish it was different of course, but if we bury our heads in the sand about it and dream of a time when we are able to have time between projects, tasks, every day pressures, then I think we are not being realistic or honest with ourselves about how the world around us has changed.  It is certainly like it in the commercial world, and all the signs are there in the non profit world that these pressures are getting worse – lots of conversations last year.  A great signal is when someone asks you how you are, and you reply ‘busy’.  Busy is not the right response.  Fine, thanks.  Just getting over a cold.  Feeling great, actually. These are responses to an enquiry about your health and well-being (however much as Brits we realise this is not a time to actually tell someone how you are ….). Saying busy is a sign that you’re not really paying attention to that question and are thinking about all the other things on your list that need to be achieved.

If you don’t recognise any of those pressures, you are lucky.  Do what you can to keep things as they are.

What’s all this got do with work?

A happy you is a productive you.  You’ll be happier and more productive at work if you feel more in control of your time, work and approach.  Your boss will be happier and you’ll receive better feedback if you deliver what you agreed and are mindful of your colleagues.   Being an active participant in life at home and work makes you a better, happier person who is able to manage to live both to their fullest – and do more than ‘just survive’ the year ahead and keep your head above water. No-one wants to live like that.

My four simple things for 2016 to be better personally and professionally

On the face of it, none of these things I plan to start doing this year are either innovative or particularly hard to achieve.  But I know that I didn’t optimise my time last year around these areas, so by starting to do this will make a positive difference on the year ahead.   I always reflect on life a lot when it comes to my birthday time and I count how well I feel I am doing with the passing of the years and whether I am happy with where I am and what I am doing – so I know I will be able to assess whether this is having an impact later in the year and will be able to look at what else I can do to achieve things.  I’m happy to share my four key things and be held accountable for them by sharing them publicly.

Everything about our jobs in non profit is about making the world a better place to be for the beneficiaries we work with.  But I think we can only really do that when we are also being the best we can be in our own lives too.  So my work/personal ‘hacks’ for the year ahead are really really simple and will help me cope with a rapid pace of change.

  1. The daily list – a clean page every day.  No recriminations for not doing everything on the previous days list, just a new start, every day.
  2. Take lunch – whether you get a half hour or an hour, this is critical time to mark out in your calendar.  It’s a win-win for you and your employer as it means you know you can make time to call about the gas bill or catch up with personal email and concentrate on work when you should.   It is also a great time to get some air and take some exercise.  If you’re too busy or have too many commitments to get to the gym, even a 10-15 min walk every day will make a difference to your health, and your ability to do your work.  Sit back down at your desk with a clear perspective on what to achieve in the afternoon.  Most of us don’t have life and death jobs, so can really do this.  How many of us do?
  3. One life, one schedule – Of course, personal and work appointments are not the same but your life is a whole and our ‘new ways of working’ often blur distinctions.  I’m going to try a  whole life planning approach and use only one system to record actions and plans.  Update or synchronise your work calendar to your personal calendar or vice versa and you’ll never again be making an excuse for an important late meeting as you forgot you had parents evening.  Use the same way of keeping notes or reminders  (Google Keep, MS One Note, Ever-note etc) or find a sync between them so you can easily jot down things you remember (like the need to call a colleague about a project while you’re in the supermarket, or make a call about the gas bill when you’re in the midst of a conference call).  I think ultimately this will save time and mean I am able to be focused when I have the time to commit to small or big tasks at home or at work with minimal distraction or loss of focus on either.
  4. Be more focused – as many jokes as apply about being able to properly multi-task, there can come a time when you have 10 tabs and 10 sheets open and you enter the wrong thing in the wrong place or all the tasks somehow take all day to achieve. Some tasks need focus and attention.   I think that by recognising this, I will be able to achieve things more quickly and use less mental energy in the process as I try and remember what I am trying to juggle.   If you have a ‘stop doing too much’ goal or resolution – this would be the flip positive approach.

 

Here’s to a healthy, happy and productive 2016.

 

Purple Vision – winners at EuroCloud Awards 2015

Award-winning.  Always a good start to any company description. And now we can describe ourselves as award-winning, too.  

We found ourselves in illustrious company last night with many talented individuals and companies who are involved with EuroCloud.  We turned up as nominees for the Best Business Impact Achieved through Cloud Services Deployment category, having been nominated by FinancialForce.  And much to our surprise and delight, we won. Hurrah!

Wind things back a few notches, and the story of why we were there becomes clearer.  

As a consultancy, we use Salesforce to manage elements of our business (as well as being Salesforce Cloud Alliance partners  – which means we help others to use the system, too).  We’re a growing company – moving from a handful of staff all working remotely to an office-base, a fixed development team and more consultants in just a year – and we have plans to grow.

A scale change  requires a change in how you work.  The days of us all working off individual spreadsheets to manage projects, our time and how it is allocated to client projects, project timescales and resources, budgets and billing needed to end.

We elected to use Financial Force PSA – professional services automation – as it is a solution designed for people like us, and built on the Salesforce platform so would neatly integrate with our existing CRM system – connecting back office functionality directly with the face to face work we do with clients.

Its a decision that has had a big impact on our business. 

We’re saving time.  Rather than integrating 4 separate spreadsheets and spending 4 days working out timing, billing and more, we’re able to gather the data at the touch of a button.  This is time we can spend with our customers rather than with our heads buried in Excel – its valuable time we’ve saved.

The data is easier to input, too.  It all goes directly into the system by the team either using the desktop interface or while we’re out and about directly into our phones.  Doing your expenses on the train home has become a reality rather than something we probably could have been doing to use our time wisely.

In short, we’re better able to forecast, plan and deliver.

Knowing now how we have achieved this and seen the benefits, we’re also able to share our experience with our clients too – allowing the non profits we work with to understand some of the valuable savings that can be made in the back office, allowing resources to be focused on mission and goals over admin.

EuroCloud Awards 2015

FinancialForce kindly nominated us for this award on the basis of our results to the EuroCloud network – a trade association for companies and individuals involved in cloud-based technology. And a lovely welcoming bunch they were too – even the folks from the categories we were nominated against!   The awards are designed to reward innovation, development and deployment of cloud solutions – regardless of sector or even size of organisation.

I should say as well how well organised everything was.  Let’s be honest, some awards do’s can get a bit stale as they go along – EuroCloud got it absolutely right.  The awards were pacey and interesting – we heard from nearly everyone who was nominated but we were all limited to 2 minutes only and 1 background slide.  We heard how the judges summarised each entry and weighted and considered their decision.  And were very kindly hosted by BakerTilley with lovely drinks  on the terrace afterwards (thanks guys!).

Through the EuroCloud awards 2015 we heard from a small SME who became G-cloud (the super-secure government cloud) accredited to deliver a project, innovations for NHS agency working arrangements, niche solutions to manage intellectual property and super-smart tech to help real-time decisions, social integrations and more.  As a ‘non tech’ it was fascinating to see all the ways in which the technology is shaping and changing our world behind the scenes.

In our own category –  Best Business Impact Achieved through Cloud Services Deployment – surely the Longest Title for an Award ever considered – Purple Vision was up against Accellion (file sharing and collaboration) and Web Technology Group (with a fantastic case study relating to the Department of Health).

After our 2 minute presentation, we were delighted – and jolly surprised – that we had won! Hurrah for Financial Force and Purple Vision.

Award-winning Purple Vision.  It’s got a ring to it.  We might have to find some more awards to go with our new shiny glass gong as it sits on the shelf.

With thanks to Financial Force for our nomination.

Announcement: Dawn Varley returns to Purple Vision

 Welcome back, Dawn!

After two and a half years as the Director of Marketing and Fundraising for the League Against Cruel Sports, Dawn Varley is returning to join the Purple Vision team as a Lead Consultant.

During her tenure with this high profile animal welfare charity, Dawn worked on an award winning public affairs campaign (#What the Fox?), was a well-respected media spokesperson and delivered a successful programme of 90th anniversary events for the charity. Dawn grew the charity’s voluntary income to more than £1m through the introduction of new income streams – including a very successful crowd-funding appeal.

Dawn currently serves on the Institute’s of Fundraising Standards Committee, and was previously a Trustee of the Institute of Fundraising (2010-2013).

Commenting on the move, Dawn said “I am looking forward to helping more charities boost their fundraising performance through data and digital technology – two areas I am passionate about”.

Purple Vision Managing Director Steve Thomas added, “We are very excited to welcome Dawn back to Purple Vision. Her outstanding fundraising skills and experience are already in high demand and I know she will make a big impact from Day 1.”

Dawn returns to Purple Vision on 2nd March as Lead Consultant, having previously worked with the consultancy team for two years.

Expanding Development team

Alongside Dawn’s appointment, Purple Vision are expanding their in-house development and configuration team to support more charities with CRM, web, data, training and integration requirements.

Daniel Ferrer will join on March 23rd bringing development skills and experience in php/Drupal, .net and Java, as well as the Salesforce platform.  He joins a small team who between them hold an array of Salesforce qualifications, including the coveted Developer, Service and Sales Cloud Consultant credentials, together with extensive experience of related cloud technologies for marketing and fundraising.

3 things about … brand activation

Three things about … re-brands and brand refreshes

You might have noticed we don’t look like we used to.  We had a bit of a re-brand.  Well, to be more technically accurate we had a brand refresh, an activation if you will.

‘What’s the difference’, I hear you cry.  Well, our values, company, goals, people or services haven’t changed, nor has our proposition, position, price or approach.  If those elements had changed we’d be a new brand or a re-brand,  but as it is, we are much the same as before (albeit with a slightly bigger team and an office which we didn’t have before!) and so we are simply ‘refreshed’.

If you knew us of old our logo was a plum.  A purple plum, granted. But beyond all the fruit jokes you could ever hope to make into a salad and call dessert, none of us could really explain the plum very well. And so obviously, it was time to move things along.

I’ve been involved in delivering brand work several times now.  Here’s three things I have learned:

  • It will *always* take longer than you think

Even the best planners among us will find that decisions are delayed, or just don’t come in time.  The critical path starts to look a bit too critical at some points and when usually everything that was the ‘received wisdom’ that you worked to is up in the air.  You can’t proof the brochure if you haven’t done the training in the new written style and rules – and you can’t do the training for people until all the details are pinned down.  And when they are, the web copy writing team need to look at them too … it feels like a perfect storm of deadline and decision.  And everything will take longer than you think it will as a result.

  • People care. People care a lot. And they care about things that will surprise you!

Who would have thought line spacing, the style of grammar you adopt and whether bullet points should always be in a contrasting brand colour would be so fascinating to so many people? Well, most of the time we really don’t give two hoots. But suddenly decisions like this pop up and need to be made, often with the input of a varied group of brand who all do things very differently to start with need to find a single way forward and be able to apply the rules easily when the initial work is done.  Its fun to an extent – you find out who cares passionately about the use of the Oxford comma, and who understands the complexities of pulling different elements together.  It’s less fun when  a final decision is reached and one least person (often quite influential) pipes up with a strong objection. And then you find yourself going back over the conversation again, right from the start.  Usually at the expense of another decision being delayed, but hey.  At least they  care, right?!

Of course, the subject of most passionate response is on colour palette, font and imagery.  I am surprised there are not professional lobby groups for the use of certain fonts (Comic Sans Criminal will give you an idea of what I mean!).  Such passion! The comma lobby are quiet, and usually understated but firm.  Font and colour commentators can get quite visceral by comparison.

  • Most people underestimate how much work goes into each of the different elements

Even a well structured work plan falters at the sheer volume of elements that need to be delivered.  Truth be told, no brand is ever fully finished.  But there are core tools that need to be delivered – stationery, websites, social media, presentations, updating old document versions, redrawing diagrams.  The diligent among us will discuss with colleagues which ones are a priority, and which ones have a longer time-scale for delivery.  None of it can happen overnight (much to some people’s surprise – it’s ‘only a website’ after all).  And so you create a list and work your way through it.

However diligently you work through the list, there will be heart-sinking times when someone asks innocently “When can we have the-super-important-thing-we-only-gave-a-low-priority-to?  We need it tomorrow!”.  Or worse “can you just update this?” expecting a whole presentation to be made into a wide screen version immediately, while you juggle a print deadline and gently point out that that is not on the priority list.

You have to laugh (you do, or you *will* cry into your gin) especially if the brand update was your idea. You will find your enthusiasm waxes and wanes.  There are times when, frankly, you don’t care if you never see it ever again.  Yet, you’re a professional so it somehow all happens.

And when someone says, wow! thanks – that looks brilliant, so much better than before, you will find your enthusiasm is all buoyed up again and you actually start to enjoy it all over again.

What being Purple means to us

What being purple means for how we work

For the Purple Vision team, the word ‘purple’ is a shorthand for how we work.  When something feels right  we talk about it ‘feeling very purple’.Most organisations develop their own little codes and shorthand ways of doing things – its a good measure of how embedded brand values are to hear staff talk about they way they work.

We are used to listening to what our clients share with us about how they work – and how they want to change how they work to improve and develop.    Our clients don’t often get to hear how we work though we hope our commitment wouldn’t be such a surprise.  Being purple is our way. We have ‘purple ways’ of handling tasks, we talk about things ‘being quite purple’ – in that they feel very like us or true to us, and equally some things don’t feel purple to us at all and make us uncomfortable.

For Team Purple Vision, it certainly is a demonstration of how brand values – when they are held and shared by everyone – make a difference to how people behave and act!  We’ve recently been through a bit of a brand refresh too – there just wasn’t enough purple involved before (!) – and the journey of reviewing our values and proposition has made us appreciate how much we want to ‘be purple’.

For our customers, our ‘purpleness’ can be seen in our approach:

  • Fresh thinking – a new pair of eyes and insight can help you look at your charity and it’s opportunities with a fresh pair of eyes.
  • Customer focused – Customer relationship management is not just about databases. It is a philosophy for business, and at Purple Vision we advocate this in everything we do.
  • Know-how – of course we use buzzwords (who doesn’t) but at our heart we are about sharing know how to inspire leaders and staff alike and help our clients succeed.
  • All about not for profit – we all have experience of working in the not for profit sector. We understand it and love the people that work in it.  Helping non profits succeed is what matters to us. And relationships based on shared values are more successful.
  • Professionalism and integrity – we love working in the public and voluntary sectors where the opportunity to make a difference is tremendously motivating. Whatever your situation, we will make sure we deliver exactly what’s required, although we will also challenge assumptions if we feel that fresh thinking could add value.
  • Hands-on – our hands-on approach works because we care about what we do and want to make a difference.

If you’ve worked with us, perhaps you know what we mean about our ‘purpleness’ and can share what it has meant for you too?

 

 

 

The importance of being earnest

For me, one of the advantages of getting older, and hopefully wiser, is that I can be more relaxed about admitting that, sometimes, I just haven’t got a clue what somebody is talking about!

As a consultant, one of the most important skills I have to demonstrate is clarity of communication. If a client doesn’t understand what I’m saying, and I don’t understand what they’re saying, we’re hardly going to have the most productive consultancy session!

It’s vital that I take every opportunity I can to clarify ideas, make sure the client and I are truly on the same wave length, and that decisions and next steps are documented and minuted.

With my colleagues at Purple Vision, when we’re knocking around new ideas, this still holds true. Last week, we had a ‘teach-in’, where David Williams-Jones gave us all an overview of our new product ‘Total Sketch’, which, simplistically, can help an organisation identify the true demographics of their supporter base, and identify and target people just like them.

This link here explains it all…in plain English!

http://www.purple-vision.com/product-service-detail.asp?Auto_ID=17&SectionID=2&SubSectionID=3

It’s a very, very, very clever piece of kit – and the sort of thing that somebody with a) a geography degree and b) a distinguised career in charity database management should instantly get…

…but I didn’t get it. I just simply had little or no idea how it worked at all.

I had two choices a) be quiet and pretend I understood what was going on to save face or b) be frank and explain that if David had explained it all in Korean it would not have been less clear.

I chose option b. I need to understand this tool to be able to explain it’s value to our clients. I need to understand this tool in order to help deliver any projects related to it.

Ignorance would not be bliss, it’d come back and bite me very hard on my posterior. So, for the sake of several hand-in-the-air/’please Sir, can you explain it again?’ moments, I’ve saved myself some future pain – and I’m sure it’ll be worth it