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Nonprofit Management

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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social media fundraising ideas

Nonprofit Fundraising Ideas: Harnessing Social Media With Salesforce

By | CRM & Salesforce, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Tech

fundraising ideasA study by SurveyMonkey made headlines last week when it revealed that social media users are far more generous than we might think. The survey, which polled around 1,000 adult users who identified their social media habits as ‘regular,’ yielded some very useful insights for nonprofits, including which social networks are the most effective for implementing fundraising ideas. In particular, LinkedIn users were found to be the most charitable, having given, on average, more than $100 and more than ten hours to various causes in the past year. What’s interesting, though, is that less than 1% of these same users find LinkedIn to be useful for finding out about charitable causes and events. When it comes to brainstorming fundraising ideas for your nonprofit, don’t underestimate the power of social media; further, don’t neglect to research which networks will work the best for your campaign. Though these tasks can seem daunting, they’re important, and Salesforce understands that. Here are a few handy ways to harness social media with Salesforce and to really propel your online fundraising.  Read More

data practices - spreadsheet

3 Principles to legitimize your Data Practices

By | CRM & Salesforce, Data Management, Information Technology, Nonprofit Management
data practices - spreadsheet

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever wondered why your staff is using Excel spreadsheets and Google Docs to track data when you have a perfectly good central database for that purpose?

We see this problem over and over. If data is warehoused in disparate files, its value is seriously diminished. Plus, overall efficiency suffers whenever you actually try to use the data

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Investing in Nonprofit CEOs

By | Good Governance, Nonprofit Management

CEO image“How do you up your game as CEO?” Some years ago, a CEO Coach asked me this question and I really didn’t have an adequate answer.

I read bunches of books on leadership and management, but I didn’t really have a structured approach for improving my performance as leader of an organization.

Fortunately, the company where I worked could afford to hire a Coach for me. Over the next five years, she would come in once a month to teach me better CEO skills and work “on” the business. This created a powerful impact on the organization and we were able to successfully navigate huge disruptions in our industry.

As I’ve become immersed with nonprofits, I consistently wonder what ED’s and CEO’s are doing to “up their game”. I’ve spoken with leaders who have engaged in executive peer groups, but most of them are relatively unstructured, or the cohort of peers doesn’t “get” nonprofits.

Others would like to hire an Executive Coach, but almost universally, there isn’t money to fund this.

When you think about the impact of great leadership in the nonprofit community, it seems like investing in their constant improvement should be a priority.

So the question is – How do you “up your game” in nonprofit leadership?

501Partners Does a Listening Tour of Local Nonprofits

By | CRM & Salesforce, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Tech

Listening

Over the last couple of months, I have been doing a “Listening Tour” of local nonprofits to learn more about how organizations are managing their data and the challenges they face. I’ve met with staff from 10 different nonprofits, ranging in size from 5-100 staff, and representing a variety of issue areas. I’ve heard the perspectives of program and development staff, as well as those in charge of managing the data for their organizations.
With such a spread in size and maturity, it’s no surprise that each organization handles data differently and uses a variety of systems. There was a huge range in the levels of sophistication, from the small organization that was mainly paper-based and tracked constituents on an Excel spreadsheet, to the organizations using the full extent of CRM software to manage most of their enterprise-wide data functions.

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