Google

  1. The Gmail Labs “Undo Send” button saved me many times, however, until recently I had only 5 seconds to undo sending a message. Google just added new increments: 10 seconds, 20 seconds and now 30 seconds.
  2. Free phone calls, yes free. Google is now offering free phone calls from Gmail to anywhere in the US and Canada! Phone calls will be free “for at least the rest of the year”. I have been using it and I love it!

Online Community

  1. However, free phone calls are not a good reason to abandon other channels.J I really liked Debra Askanase’s post about Designing Social Media Engagement.
  2. Just remember, though, that your engagement should include great contact so here are 20 fantastic content ideas for your online community.
  3. Additionally, as Debra explains, you need to determine the appropriate online spaces and channels. While doing that get your nonprofit started with YouTube and make sure to claim your nonprofit places page on Facebook.
  4. And most importantly, measure your social media outcomes and analyze your website traffic. Here is a great article from NTEN about improving your site’s bounce rate.
  5. Google Grant’s blog has a few good suggestions on how to convert your website visitors into donors.
  6. Finally, I think that all you twitter fans will love this short vide where a giant bird takes over Twitter’s following list:

Salesforce

  1. Force.com labs have been very busy recently, with lots of good activity. Specifically, check out: Social Salesforce using LinkedIn Company Insider, Find Nearby, and Birthday Emailer.
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The Salesforce Foundation is offering nonprofit organization and benefit corporations 10 donated licenses of the Salesforce Enterprise edition. You can choose from two different configurations of their product donation – Salesforce CRM or Salesforce CRM + Nonprofit Starter Pack. What is the difference? Which version is right for your organization?

The stand alone Salesforce CRM is the “out of the box” edition that is generally geared towards the business world. With that being said, Salesforce is an extremely flexible platform and it can be customized to meet your nonprofit’s       mission and needs. The “generic” Salesforce CRM configuration provides your organization with full control over your database; however, it might take more time (and money) to tailor it to support your operations.

What is the Nonprofit Starter Pack?

The Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) was created to help nonprofit organizations use Salesforce. It was built to extend the functionalities of the standard Salesforce CRM to nonprofits in addition to supporting common business processes across social change organizations. It currently includes five managed packages. Each package consists of custom fields, custom objects, reports, workflows, page layouts, Force.com Code (Apex) and VisualForce pages.

So what are the different packages?

  1. Contacts and Organizations Package – manage relationships with organizations and individuals (contact-to-contact). For example, with participants, students, or volunteers.
  2. Household Package – group people who live in the same household.
  3. Recurring Donations Package – track donations pledged over time.
  4. Relationship Package – manage key relationships (family, friend, acquaintance, co-worker) between individuals.
  5. Affiliations Package – track individual’s affiliations to organizations. For example, John Smith can be an employee of ACME Corporation and a board member at Save the Whale.

Pros:

  • Out of the box solution that addresses key nonprofit needs
  • Allows managing relationships with individuals, not only organizations
  • No need to update when code changes or bugs are fixed
  • Can be uninstalled easily

Cons:

  • Every organization is different; it might not fit to your needs
  • It is managed; cretin components are locked and cannot be configurable
  • Individual module (one-to-one) is very limited
  • Does not support Person Account
  • Installation is complex

Salesforce CRM Donation + NPSP

Implementation and Training Costs

Whether you choose the NPSP or standard Salesforce CRM, you will likely require some assistance with customization, data migration, adoption, and training. The actual cost will vary depending on your needs, the number of staff that will be trained, your data, and complexity of business processes.  If the NPSP addresses your core needs it may require less customization than the standard Salesforce solution.

You Can’t Go Wrong

The Foundation enables you to sign up for a 30-day trial before you make a decision. If you are not sure, try both before you apply for the donation. Ready to get your hands on? Click here to sign up.

Please remember that with either template you choose, there may be a number of things to configure, there is no magical solution. Salesforce is one of the most flexible web-based solutions available on the market and it can be customized to meet your needs.

Still not sure? Contact us to consult which template will be right for your organization. We provide one hour of FREE consultation for nonprofit organizations.

ScheduleMemphis

If you have ever moved from your home town to a new place you probably know that, for a while, everything looks different. The street signs, the roads, the people. It is an opportunity to meet new people and learn new things, but where do you start? How do you find out what is happening in town?

A few months ago while surfing through Facebook I read a post by a native Memphian complaining that he has to attend 4 launches tomorrow and he wished that all these organizations would coordinate their activities and avoid scheduling conflicts.

I did not know about any of these launches and they all sounded very interesting. I recently moved to Memphis, TN. For me, it is not only that the signs look different; they are in a different language. I was very active back in Israel and after I moved to Memphis I had no idea where to start.

So what could be done to make all the events, meetings, workshops, conferences, and shows in Memphis more accessible to everyone and help the organizers avoid scheduling multiple events during the same times?

To address these issues a solution should:

  1. encourage collaboration and sharing
  2. be accessible from anywhere at anytime
  3. be quick, we need to be up and running in a very short time
  4. and most importantly, be easy to use for both the organizations and attendees

Being in the “cloud business” I did not have to think twice. Cloud technology is revolutionizing the world because it is open and flexible. In my eyes, this is exactly where technology should serve the community and support social change.

ScheduleMemphis

Therefore, in an effort to serve and support the community, I chose to use the Google platform and created www.ScheduleMemphis.com, the first community-wide calendar with all events in town.  The calendar is a one-stop-shop for community organizers who are trying to avoid scheduling conflicts and are having trouble reaching out to the greater community. Additionally, individuals like me can use the website to be more informed.

How did I do this?

Well…The website was built on Google Sites which enabled me to deliver the platform in less than a week. I use Google Forms to collect nominations for new organizations –non-profit organizations nominate themselves to use ScehduleMemphis. Then, I create a unique Google calendar for each organization where they can simply create and update their events. All calendars are shared on the website.  It was simple to create and is easy to update.

The website already has 10 organization’s calendars and I have 20 more in the funnel. I found that it is also democratizing the organizations’ outreach efforts. It does not matter if you are a multi-million dollar organization or a one man (or a woman) show, you receive the same access and use the same platform, for free. (I am not charging the organizations).

Visit www.schedulememphis.com and let me know what you think.

July NPTech Gems

Facebook

1.     Does your organization have a social media strategy? If you have ever considered creating one (and you should) you need to read this great post about NTEN’s social media strategy and why you should follow your gut.

2. Finally a decent welcome tab creator for Facebook! Pagemodo is a service that simply allows you to create a ‘Welcome’ or ‘About Us’ tab for your Facebook page without any FBML knowledge. I used their generator to create my  company’s Facebook page and found it very easy to use and install. Let me know if you add it your Facebook Page!

3.     After you create your organization’s welcome tab upgrade your personal profile. Check out this new tool and turn your Facebook profile picture into a video.

4.     By the way, Facebook will remain free forever.

Websites and Blogs

5.     What do your website visitors really want? In this post (also from NTEN) the writer divides your visitors to strangers, friends, and fans. I love this approach.

6.     What should you write about? 10 Blog Content Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations.

White Papers and Guides

7.     Online Fundraising Best Practices from Convio (by the way, we are a Convio implementation partner now!)

8.     The Idealware Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide

Salesforce

9.     A busy month for the Salesforce Lab team, check out their 15 most recent app updates.

10.  Force Monkey wrote a great post about Salesforce and Microsoft Outlook Integration.

I would like to share with you all this short video about my company’s new education solution on the force.com platform. The video includes a short demo of the student admission solution we created for the Technion’s International School of Engineering.   Please share your comments and suggestions!

Excel is not a database

Before I founded Cloud for Good I worked for a small nonprofit organization that loved to collect information. When I joined the organization, as a director of resource development, I inherited the organization’s most kept treasure. An Excel spreadsheet with all the donors and foundations we contacted in the past six or seven years, their social interests, who contacted them, when, how much money we asked, how much we received etc… This was (by far!) the largest spreadsheet I have ever seen in my life.

Overall, it seems like spreadsheets can be ideal for manage the organization’s knowledge. The Microsoft Office package is installed on most computers. Additionally, it is a very simple to use tool that we are all familiar with – we can easily create new columns and save. However, do not be tempted.  Excel is not a tool to manage and cultivate relationships!

 Excel is great with numbers but it is very limited. As a resource developer I could not efficiently track year to year donations or identify that one of our graduates could have been a potential donor. It was a great tool to analyze quantitative information, but it did not enable me to manage relationships between the information I tracked – it is “flat”.

  • Yes, you can add more columns to manage the information; however, how many columns will you need to track all the phone calls, emails, and meetings with your donor, volunteer, or student? Not to mention tracking all their donations, preferred days and time to volunteer, and program attendance. This is important information – if you wish to form a relationship with the constituent (or the foundation).
  • When your organization collects all the information (just like in my previous organization) the spreadsheet could include thousands of values and become very difficult to manage.
  • Your spreadsheet will not support your business process nor will it include workflows and automatic reminders. For example: Excel will not remind you to send a thank you letter every time you receive a donation.
  • Reporting in Excel can be very challenging. How would you know who gave last year but not this year and attended one of your programs’ graduation ceremonies?
  • And what about security? Everyone who has access to the spreadsheet can make changes and delete anything. You cannot determine who can see all of the information and who can edit specific columns.

 

Your database is one of the most valuable assets for your organization.  A good database is necessary to help you grow and provide better services to the community. It should support the organization’s mission and should be adopted by your entire organization and not only one team. It should be easy to use (you don’t want a system that only one person within your organization can use), flexible (it should evolve with your strategy) and it should support the type of work you do.

Dreamforce
It is the 8th annual salesforce.com user and developer conference! Dreamforce, a four-day conference, is the perfect place to take advantage of hands-on training, learn best practices of successful users, and connect with peers and salesforce.com experts.
Here are just a few things you will find at Dreamforce:
  • 325+ breakout sessions
  • A dedicated nonprofit/education session track
  • Cloud Expo featuring 250+ partner solutions
  • Hands-on training, interactive demos, and more
  • Opportunities to network with other nonprofit/educator attendees
Registration opens today and as a nonprofit client you should have received an email with a registration code. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Salesforce Foundation is offering a heavily subsidized nonprofit/educator rate of $99 USD to the first 400 nonprofit and educator registrants (versus the standard registration rate of $999). Once the $99 rate has sold out, the rate will increase to $199. This special rate is for the sole use of nonprofit and educational institutions.
Salesforce Foundation
To register at the special rate, visit the Dreamforce home page and enter your registration code. Be sure to register soon to ensure your spot at the cloud computing event of the year.

I will be there!