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Automating Membership Renewals with MACDC

By | Case Studies, Client Spotlight, Member Management, Nonprofit Management

Solving a Common Nonprofit Pain Point with Salesforce

Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) is a statewide association that supports the work of their 88 members through advocacy, capacity building trainings, technical assistance, and work that strengthens the entire sector. MACDC takes on an ambitious amount of work for a relatively lean staff. 501Partners worked with MACDC to implement Salesforce and automate membership renewals to give staff more time to focus on impact.

Prior to working with 501Partners, MACDC prepared membership renewal notices manually and sent them through the mail. Preparing these mailings was laborious and time intensive, as was tracking who had paid/not paid and sending out reminder invoices.

We helped MACDC create a solution using the automations of Salesforce, augmented with two additional apps: FormAssembly and WebMerge. FormAssembly is an online form tool that can bring information directly into Salesforce with its sophisticated integration.  WebMerge is a mail-merging tool that can be used to pull Salesforce data into any kind of format—PDF, Word Document, Excel, PPT, etc.

The Result:  MACDC now uses Salesforce to quickly send invoices, reminders, and easily report on what dues are collected and what renewals are still pending.

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Team members assembling puzzle pieces to create a whole

Understanding What ‘Operational Capacity’ Means for Your Salesforce Project (Part 2 of 2): Managing Salesforce Throughout Its Lifecycle

By | 501Partners News, CRM & Salesforce, Data Management, Good Governance, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Tech, Operations and Development | No Comments

In our previous post, we introduced the idea of the organizational capacity model and the graph of decision variability over time that helps illustrate the idea. In this post, we take the same graph but break it down differently, to reflect a project’s lifecycle.

The first takeaway in this series is that knowing your current organizational capacity can help you align the type of Salesforce projects you pursue for optimal success. You can read about that in more detail here.

Takeaway Two: Your technology enforces your organization’s business processes, which puts a burden on your organization at the same time it offers efficiency gains.

Graph displaying decision variability over time
Everybody wants technology that fits them perfectly—technology that helps them do their work faster and better while alleviating pain points. When you adopt an enterprise system such as Salesforce, you have access to a powerful platform that can be made to automate just about any business process you can think of. In our ebook on the Data Maturity Model, we explain why that should be approached with some understanding of what your organization can support. In this post, we want to further explore the lifecycle of a Salesforce customization, and illustrate both the types of skills you may want to look for outside of your organization, and the tasks your organization should be prepared to take on for a healthy, well-maintained custom project.

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Staff brainstorming ideas

When Should You Automate in Salesforce?

By | 501Partners News, CRM & Salesforce, Data Management, Good Governance, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Resources | No Comments

…I have observed that people want the magic new thing more than they want improved management to fix problems. Managers need to carefully determine the areas in their business where new technology is the right choice and other areas where a back-to-basics management approach may be more effective.

- Temple Grandin, quoted in Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferris

Is Your Organization Truly Ready to Automate?

Nonprofits are in a unique position with their technology needs. With complex program delivery and ever-changing funder requests for new and different data, it is often a struggle to map an organization’s processes, let alone find the right technology to support those processes.

In my role as 501Partners’ senior solutions architect, I’ve had the opportunity to build or design dozens of interesting, complex technical solutions for a range of organizations using Salesforce. Needless to say, I’ve learned some important lessons along the way.

Lesson 1: Assess internal capacity. It’s critical to align internal capacity with technology selectionthis is so important that it became the subject of an entire ebook.

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The word Plan Action on two matching puzzle on orange background.

Understanding What ‘Operational Capacity’ Means for Your Salesforce Project (Part 1 of 2)

By | 501Partners News, Case Management, Data Management, Data Maturity, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Tech
501Partners often works with organizations who are trying to use their Salesforce implementation to help transform their operations. We’ve learned that our clients’ chances of success are dramatically improved when they are able to think about where their organization is in terms of operational and data maturity.

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Notes and Attachments—We Hardly Knew Ye! (Part 2)

By | CRM & Salesforce, Data Management, Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Tech, Salesforce News and App Reviews, Salesforce shortcuts and tips

In Part I of this blogpost I covered how the familiar Notes and Attachments related list is giving way to the new, separate Notes and Files objects in Salesforce.

In this post we’ll look at how to convert your existing Notes and Attachments to new Notes or Files. Whether you need to do this depends on how and how frequently you used these tools. Some of our clients are very conscientious about using Notes to update every interaction they have, and often report on these.

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Notes and Attachments—We Hardly Knew Ye! (Part 1)

By | Data Management, Nonprofit Tech, Salesforce News and App Reviews, Salesforce shortcuts and tips, User Management

Salesforce has been making noises since at least 2016 that the “Notes and Attachments” related list is not long for this world. With the Winter 2018 update, they are making good on this promise.

However, there’s no need to panic, as they are 1) allowing users to preserve all their existing notes and attachments; and 2) replacing “Notes and Attachments” with two full-fledged objects—“Notes” and “Files,” with the effect of vastly increasing the usefulness of these functions.

In this post I’ll be showing you how to activate and use the new objects and discuss the enhanced functionality.

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Managing the Departure of a User or a Super-User

By | Data Management, Nonprofit Tech, User Management

It’s never easy having a colleague leave your organization, but after you throw the party and eat the cake, be sure to take care of her Salesforce account. Accounts are valuable. You don’t want someone who is no longer there taking one up. Above all, for the sake of security, you don’t want someone who has no defined connection to your organization having access to your constituents’ names and giving histories.

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Connect: The New Way to Click & Pledge

By | CRM & Salesforce, Donor Tracking and Management, Nonprofit Tech, Salesforce shortcuts and tips

Click & Pledge, the online donation tool for nonprofits that integrates with Salesforce, has really upped its game with a new platform called Connect.

What Click & Pledge Does Well

The functionality of Click & Pledge, both on the payment processing and on the Salesforce integration end, has always been superior. The money goes straight to your bank and the contact data goes right into your Salesforce— keeping everyone happy. Particularly helpful is the sophisticated logic Click & Pledge employs to prevent duplicates. For example, when Paul Baxter gives $100 to your organization every Christmas for five years, the logic recognizes that the single contact Paul Baxter gave a total of $500, rather than five separate Paul Baxter’s donating $100 each.

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Pitfalls and Best Practices: How to Keep Your Salesforce Project From Being Doomed

By | CRM & Salesforce, Salesforce shortcuts and tips

Participants from our popular Salesforce Bootcamp for Nonprofits trainings will be familiar with an exercise we run called “Pitfalls and Best Practices.” In this exercise, we hand out sheets of paper to every participant, each piece with a different scenario on it. The students then must interpret the situation and use an anecdote to illustrate why it is or isn’t a good thing. We will often pass on particularly noteworthy stories at other Bootcamps, with names redacted of course!

A selection of these “Pitfalls and Best Practices” are offered below. So, you can either give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, or shudder at the mistakes you have made (or maybe just barely avoided).

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