Click & Pledge Update: Is Your Domain Secure?

Click & Pledge, the online donation portal, has recently notified its users of a domain security update. Our clients asked us to advise them on how to respond to this. Fortunately, the solution is relatively straightforward. Like Salesforce, Click and Pledge is aware that it is passing on extremely confidential information like credit card numbers, names, and emails. Their email is a demonstration of their commitment to following the latest protocols in ensuring that the information remains confidential. This is what the email notification looks like: Click and Pledge provides tools so that you can post a donation form on your website. The issue is whether the donation form is hosted locally (i.e. by you) or remotely (generally by Click and Pledge themselves). Either way you can easily confirm whether the donation form is secure. Here are four easy steps to follow: Go to your website Click “Donate Now” or the equivalent Look at the command line on your browser. If it begins, “https:” you are secure. If it only begins “http:” you should follow the instructions in the email in consultation with your web developer.  ...

Express Grants: Training Reimbursement for Nonprofits from the Workforce Training Fund

As a non-profit executive, you know that your most vital asset is your employees. In a time where you face constant challenges in technology and funding, training is essential for maintaining the effectiveness of this critical resource. Rarely does an opportunity to enhance your employee’s skills and expertise crucial to your organization present itself in as easy and generous manner as it does with the Workforce Training Fund. The Commonwealth Corporation, in conjunction with the Department of Employment and Training, offers an opportunity for qualified nonprofit agencies to receive training in a wide variety of disciplines at 50% savings. The Workforce Training Fund’s Express Grants Program is aimed at small to medium sized agencies (100 or fewer employees), particularly those that would be unable to offer training to their employees otherwise. The program is restricted to agencies that support the Workforce Training Fund by paying into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Unemployment Insurance program. We’ve added a page on our website devoted to explaining the Workforce Training Fund Express Grant Program. It includes a program overview, nonprofit eligibility explanation, a link to view approved courses, additional resources, and a downloadable step-by-step guide to applying for a Workforce Training Fund Express Grant. Download the step-by-step guide to get started. Agencies must apply and have its course selections approved ahead of time. The agency pays the full amount of tuition to the training provider. After the course is completed, the agency may apply for 50% reimbursement of the total amount, up to a limit of $30,000 agency-wide or $3,000 per employee, per calendar year. To see what courses are available, consult the...

The Importance of Volunteering

Last Friday, Bill and I had the opportunity to volunteer at Community Servings, one of our wonderful clients who are working hard to make sure that chronically ill people get nutritious, balanced meals. Not only that, but Community Servings makes sure that their caregivers and family members get these delicious meals, as well. You can learn more about these Real Life Heroes here. On Friday, Bill and I spent our shift in the kitchen, preparing the meals for distribution. Never the culinary expert, there was a slight learning curve for me when I was asked to expertly chop cucumbers and to make a carrot/cranberry salad. However, the head chefs were very helpful and kept things lighthearted and fun. A Top 40 radio station played us some holiday classics in between a rotation of Taylor Swift and Beyonce – it was a great time for a great cause. In honor of the holiday spirit, and inspired by our trip to Community Servings, here are five reasons why volunteering is such an important thing to do, and why you should sign up for a shift the next chance you have: It’s for a good cause. So, getting the most obvious and most important point across up front: volunteering is such a significant thing to do because of the impact that it has on those who are being helped by your efforts. In our case, Bill and I knew that we were helping to make sure that people in need in Greater Boston were not only getting fed, but getting meals tailored to them and prepared with their health in mind. Getting to be...

501Partners is Thankful For…

A simple list of the things we’re truly thankful for as Turkey Day approaches: The NPSP Data Importer. We recently were introduced to this impressive tool by the Salesforce Foundation’s Marc Baizman. Currently, our consultant, Paul, is checking into all of the great features included in this data importer. Expect more information soon! Funny cat videos. Sometimes you just need to laugh. We are big fans of turning to YouTube for our fixes, and our go-to search is ‘funny cat videos.’ Here’s a sample of our favorites. Chocolate. The 501Partners office is partially fueled by chocolate. In what we call ‘The Fun Room,’ we have several varieties. Just like with Salesforce solutions, one size does not fit all, and expecting only Hershey’s to cut it for the diverse chocolate needs of our staff would just be wrong. (Note: This is also a stellar reason to become a Salesforce Academy participant.) Coffee. In addition to chocolate, coffee is THE fuel for all of 501Partners’ needs. We can always be counted on to have fresh coffee brewing. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, 2pm or late at night, it is essential that a pot of coffee is ready and waiting to be devoured by our lovely band of caffeine-aholics. Our Bootcampers & Academy participants. Salesforce Bootcamp and Salesforce Training Academy are two of our favorite things that we do here at 501Partners. Between the amazing people that we get to meet at each training and the wonderful amount of learning that goes on as a result, we are truly grateful to be able to run these programs. Salesforce. Of course we’re thankful for Salesforce, the platform...

Accelerate Your Nonprofit’s Data Management Evolution

We’ve spoken to dozens of nonprofit organizations during the past eighteen months, and a clear pattern of data management has emerged.  It spans a breadth of nonprofits from tiny history societies to large, capacity building nonprofits. Many nonprofits still have their data originate onto paper forms.  At some point, they begin entering it into Excel.  Spreadsheet dependence usually persists until someone realizes that nobody actually knows where all the data resides. The next logical step is to move onto Filemaker or Access – usually with the assistance of a friendly volunteer.  Sometimes, the organization will also procure a donor management system. The problem with this evolution is that the data typically resides in silos – each requiring its owner to know the relevant system, each requiring backup and security, and no means to readily use the data across all constituencies. With the evolution of Software as a Service (SaaS), nonprofits have a golden opportunity to integrate all of their data and make it ubiquitously available across all of their devices without worries about backup and security. Salesforce, in particular, has been embraced by tens of thousands of nonprofits.  Why?  First, it’s free (for the first ten licenses), or practically free.  Second, it’s a powerful Constituent Relationship Management system (CRM) that provides a single source for donor, volunteer, grantor, member, compliance and program data. As the most popular SaaS platform in the world, Salesforce easily integrates with thousands of apps that allow nonprofits to become more efficient (managing events with EventBrite, for example). Of course a platform as powerful as Salesforce requires a total commitment from any nonprofit that embraces...

Google Maps and Your Nonprofit’s Data

Please join Jenn Taylor, 501Partners’ COO as she leads a hands-on discussion and training on the use of Google Maps to map your nonprofit’s data. The event is being hosted by HandsOn Tech Boston on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (EDT) in Cambridge, MA. To register, please click here. For a preview of the process, you can visit page on Success Stories or directly at this...