Posts Tagged ‘nonprofit’

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It’s February and whether you have a valentine or not, we know you’ll have a great time at this month’s Salesforce User Group meeting. It will be held on February 16, 2011 from 8am-10am and we’d love to see you there! If you want the chance to collaborate, network, and share ideas with other salesforce users who are right here in the Atlanta area, then be sure to attend this Salesforce User Group meeting! It will be at Hub Atlanta which is at 1375 Spring St. (address and parking info). Catering (coffee, breakfast yummies) will be provided by Cafe Campesino Atlanta.  Please RSVP here

Monthly Agenda

  • 8-8:30am: Networking and breakfast (coffee, bagels, breakfast burritos, pastries)
  • 8:30-8:45am: Announcements
  • 8:45-9:15am: Salesforce Demo: Skoodat (B Corporation)
    Zach McElrath, Skoodat Developer, will show you how this B Corporation uses Salesforce’s Service Cloud and Collaboration Cloud! You’ll get a sense of how to use cases for client support and internal task tracking, as well as how a distributed team uses Chatter to make collaboration effective.
  • 9:15-9:45am: Salesforce Training: Spring ’11 Overview
    Spring ’11 is rolling out now! Get a glimpse at the cool new features now available in this presentation.
  • 9:45-10:00am: Networking and planning for future meetings


Hub Atlanta is based at the junction of Midtown and Buckhead and a short distance from some of Atlanta’s most exciting sustainable projects. We are easily accessible at the intersection of Spring St. and 17th St., just south of the I-85/I-75 interchange. By public transit we are one block north of the Art Station Marta train stop.

Limited parking is available at The Hub. You can also part across the street at The Atlanta Ballet (lots of available parking).

Address: Hub Atlanta, 1375 Spring St., Atlanta, GA 30309

If you have any questions about this Salesforce User Group meeting, you can contact Christopher at cjj@ifpeople.net. We look forward to seeing you there!

Please RSVP here.


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Volunteers are crucial to a nonprofit organization’s sustainability.  You may have existing tools attract, and retain talented people who are willing to contribute to your cause, but now you can consider how social media can be part of the mix. Since internet users are more likely to volunteer it’s good to figure out how to use social media to engage people in your nonprofit’s volunteer efforts.

The three core functions of a successful volunteer program can be broken down to Recruitment, Retention, and Recognition. Each of these can be powered and accelerated with the strategic use of social media. This blog will discuss how this can be used for recruitment.


volunteerThe first step in a successful volunteer program for your organization is attracting people to help out. In the hunt for volunteers, you can use social media to get some traction in your efforts :

  • Leverage Your Existing Social Media Network: In your volunteer recruitment efforts, if you are placing a generic posting on a nonprofit job board, chances are some of the people who see your ad may like your organization or be keyed into your cause, others may not. If you are already engaged in social media, your existing tools are the first place to start. You have already established a connection and presence with people who care enough about your cause to follow you in some way. Your messages to your twitter followers or facebook fans have by default become more targeted because they are people who are already interested in what your organization represents. Design campaigns that go out to your existing networks.
  • Make It Shareable: Social Media is called “social” for a reason. Increase your chances of being mentioned through word of mouth in the by giving people who sign up easy ways of sharing your organization’s project with their friends.

-Facebook- Get a more tech savvy staff member to use facebook integrations so when users sign up to volunteer with you, they have an option to share that message with their friends.

-Twitter- Create a hashtag for your event and use it for tweets related to the volunteer project. Then use Twitter’s Widget Tool to create a badge that shows all the tweets about the event based on the event.It will give people the impression that there’s a buzz about it and also give users a way to signal to each other that they are participating in the same event.

  • Connect with Influencers: To widen the scope of your influence after getting the word out in your own circles, start engaging individuals with high leverage points in your target audiences. By getting buy-in from people who have wide audiences, your volunteer opportunities will not only be exposed to a larger number of relevant people, but will likely come from someone who is trusted in the community you are trying to reach.

Case Study: Volunteer 4 Long Island

This is a great example of an organization that used some of the above strategies for a successful volunteer recruitment campaign. They started by optimizing their existing social media vehicles and corrected the error in the site. After taking stock of what they had in place already, they chose to expand their reach by tapping into the specific network of Long Island Tweetups. They messaged specific twitter influencers in the group to get them on board with Volunteer 4 Long Island’s project. This lead to retweets, facebook messages, and several more volunteers signing up.

If you’d like to learn more strategies and read more case studies for how social media can be used to boost your nonprofit’s volunteer efforts, then be sure to sign up for the webinar on the topic in a few weeks.

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If you’re a Salesforce customer, you know that Salesforce is a huge system. The reports and dashboards can help you get a handle on what’s going on in your database. In fact, it’s kind of the only way to wrap your head around it in a reasonable amount of time. Salesforce has a handy tool to help understand this called the Personal Account Reviews, which is a monthly email digest of a bunch of data about your org, how it is being used, and how it stacks up to your peers. Pretty sweet…especially if you’re a data junkie like many of us Salesforce addicts.

Well, sometime in the Fall I noticed I wasn’t getting those anymore. It occupied my brain for about as long as it took you to read that sentence…until a recent conversation about how the Salesforce Foundation characterizes the usage of the tool by its clients. The Foundation looks at a variety of factors, from login rates to number of custom objects, workflow rules and dashboards – all things you got in those handy emails! Hey…wait…what happened to those emails?!

I asked about it on the Answers community and found out two things:

  • They still worked for most customers (for profits)
  • They had stopped working for nonprofits / Foundation customers.

But the good news is – they’ll be back in February! Apparently there was a change in the way this setup worked for the customers of the Salesforce Foundation (nonprofits and B Corporations) that caused the emails to stop coming.

Glad they’ll be back soon! Keep up the good work at the Foundation! Thanks for helping roll out this system to nearly 10,000 nonprofits and counting!

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Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the best CMS of all? We may not have enchanted mirrors to tell us what the deal is, but Idealware has done nonprofits the favor of compiling an updated report that compares four major Content Management Systems and assesses their different strengths and weaknesses. The report, an update of the popular report that came out in 2009, takes into account the latest version of each of the tools. Even if you’re not with a nonprofit, this is likely one of the best sources of information comparing these tools!

IdealWare uses fourteen criteria to evaluate Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and Plone. Each system had its strengths and weaknesses but we were pleased to see that the CMS that we most often use, Plone, came out on top in a number of ways. The report noted that Plone was the CMS of choice for many major newspapers and large businesses. When measured against WordPress, Drupal and Joomla “Plone’s functionality is as strong, or stronger, than the other three systems in every area we reviewed except for one.” Go Plone! Below is a closer look at some of the strengths, and points of improvement for Plone

Securityplone logo
One aspect of Plone that is operating very competitively is website security. The report found that Plone’s architecture made it difficult for security issues to present themselves through add-ons or themes. There are also generally few vulnerabilities and errors. Plone beats out the rest hands down.

Accessibility and SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) determines how highly ranked your website is for specific keywords and Plone has several features built in that enhance how highly ranked a website is. Things like having an automatic header page and being prompted to use alt-tags on images is standard SEO practice that someone who’s not tech savvy could implement seamlessly. Plone also automatically populates metadata fields from the content of a page.

Ease of Use for Content Managers
While Plone can be used for complex websites, it excells as being easy to use in terms of the interface for managing the content. It is easy for anyone to keep their site updated with editing tools that are in the same place that you view the content, as opposed to a backend area. The report notes how intuitive Plone’s dashboard is, and how simple it is to perform cornerstone tasks in website management like adding pages and editing text. Plone was one of the stronger CMS in making it easy for users to achieve their daily tasks.

So what didn’t Plone do so great in?
Plone is a complex system built on a different architecture than the other systems compared (a main factor in why it is more secure!). As a result, it is a little more challenging to install and set-up without the expertise of consultants who know the system and tools. Even so, Plone has made huge improvements in the last two years to provide great ease of installation experience. While we are confident that tech-savvy self-starters can figure it out, ifPeople is also happy to do the heavy lifting when it comes to taming the technology for your use! Contact us if we can help you evaluate Plone for your website or sign up for one of our monthly Plone demos (free webinar). The ease, organization, and security your website will get will be well worth it.

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what really works with internet donationNetwork for Good has recently released an extensive study on online fundraising and have come away with some interesting conclusions. They’ve parsed through data from more than 66,000 different nonprofits who have collect donations online through Network for Good’s internet platform from 2003-2009. The report outlined three online sources for funding, an organization’s website, a giving portal that aggregates various charities for donors to choose from (like Guiding Star), and social media.

How’s your website?
The report found that the largest percentage of giving was done through the nonprofit’s website. Since 66.4% of donations were given directly through the charity’s site, it’s important to ask yourself if your website is optimized to receive donations. One way to do this is to ensure that the actual giving page on the site is streamlined, simple, and branded to work well with the rest of your website. The report found that websites with branded, well integrated pages received donations that started at a higher level and increased more over time than unbranded generic pages with multi-page sign ins. It’s important to provide a positive experience for people interested in giving on your site and projects we have completed targeting donation process improvements (see case study here) have resulted in immediate increases in donations.

Intermediary Sites
Giving portals are convenient but don’t yield as many or as high donation amounts. One major difference between giving portals and your personal website is the break in identity and connection to the uniqueness of the organization. This may be why the average gift is 25% lower than the average give on personal websites and there are fewer recurring donations.

Is Social Media the Answer?!

Of course! What was the question? Seriously, though…Social Networking sites that use charity pages on Facebook brought in donations at an average of $113 but that number didn’t increase in subsequent years. This could be an issue of poor follow through in strengthening relationship through these outlets. As organizations find more ways of integrating social media with systems to strengthen potential relationships, they may see an uptick in giving through these outlets.

‘Tis the Season to be Giving
December is a big time for giving. December donations account for a value that’s 51% higher than donors in other months. While their motivations may be heavily influence more by the  tax write-off rather than the goodness of the cause, it’s important for your organization to capitalize on this time. When building relationships with potential donors ensure that by the time December rolls around you’ve strengthened your presence in their mind.

As the authors of the report state “Raising funds online is not about technology, any more than raising funds through the mail is about paper. Fundraising online is all about relationships.” To make the most of your internet endeavors to raise funds, it’s important to build and maintain a strong connection with your donors. Research like this may give you clues on how to do that best.

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If you want to the chance to collaborate, network, and share ideas with other salesforce users who are right here in the Atlanta area, then be sure to attend Atlanta’s next Salesforce User Group meeting Thursday, November 18, 2010 from 8-10am. The meeting will be held at The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Catering (coffee, breakfast yummies) will be provided by Cafe Campesino Atlanta.  Please RSVP here

The agenda is as follows:

8:00am-8:30am – Coffee and Networking

8:30am-9:00am- Salesforce in Action at a Nonprofit

Jo Ann Lewis, Director, SalesForce.com Administration & Adoption, Points of Light Institute.  This session is a review of how Points of Light uses Saleforce.com to bill and track Affiliate Membership Due. Find out how to utilize SalesForce.com to keep track of you affiliates and subscriptions! Jo Ann has worked with SalesForce.com for many years.  She is a certified admin with a focus on process design & business analysis.  She joined Points of Light Institute in September after spending the majority of her career in the For-Profit world.

9:00-9:30am – Salesforce Reports Mini-Training

Mike Melnick, Principal, AskTwice presents on Getting Your Data Into Salesforce. Migrating a company’s datastores can be one of the most compelling ways to build user acceptance to a new system and one of the more valuable assets in running your business.  We will be discussing various methods for importing both system and user level data into Salesforce.com including data cleansing, importing into system objects, custom objects, and designing data exports to best fit your Salesforce implementation. Mike Melnick has over 30 years experience in system analysis and database design and in the past 15 years has been managing enterprise wide implementations on three continents and in 15 countries.  Currently he is the principal at AskTwice, a consulting firm offering expertise managing projects in Customer Relationship Management, Business Intelligence, and Healthcare IT.

9:30-10am: Q & A

We’ll discuss potential topics and presenters for future meetings.

If you have any questions about this Salesforce User Group meeting, you can contact Christopher at cjj at ifpeople.net. We look forward to seeing you there!

Please RSVP here.

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On October 20-22, the Independent Sector is hosting a conference called “Forging a Stronger Future Together”. One part of the conference is the NGen series, a schedule of programming events that focus on the next generation of nonprofit leadership.  The subject of nonprofit leadership is a contentious one in the sector.

As Baby Boomers cycle out of their positions as Executive Directors of some of this nation’s  prominent organizations they are looking behind them and often finding there is nobody there to fill their shoes. According to Bridgestone’s 2006 report “The Nonprofit Sector’s Leading Deficit”, nonprofits are looking to fill an estimated 640,000 senior managers in the next 10 years. This places a pressure on nonprofits to find ways to engage younger nonprofiteers in the sector who could start filling this leadership gap.

As younger leaders take more prominent roles in organizations, new trends are emerging in how organizations are run. Below are three trends that are largely being driven by shifts in generational values and represent an opportunity for organizations seeking direction for evolving to also attract younger talent:

Using More Technology- Nonprofits can (and should!) leverage the best tools available for running efficient, effective organizations. Technologies continue to evolve at an accelerating pace across desktop, Web, and mobile devices. In the age of iPhones, texting, and skype, technology has fostered in a new era of interactivity that nonprofits can gain from tremendously. More than 30 million dollars was raised through mobile donations for Haiti. Technology is not just offering new ways of raising money, it’s also creating more efficient ways of meeting. Instead of flying to a new city, or using time to commute to a client, software like skype can be used to facilitate meetings online.

More relationships oriented – Facebook and Twitter are not just work distractions – they are indicative of how much more social our world has become. Your organization’s growth will have a lot to do with how well you manage your presence in many of (online) social spheres. It will also require more closely cultivated relationship with your constituents in order to stand out in their mind. As a result, CRM systems like Salesforce become increasingly important to having an edge on your business.

Hybrid Models-  The future of nonprofit organizations challenges the very premise of its structure. Many who are motivated to do good are willing to use market forces to do so. As a result, hybrid organizations that blend business with social causes are building momentum behind Social Enterprise, and the BCorporation.  To encourage new leadership to step in, it’s important to be open to considering new models for achieving your organization’s social aims. Consier how your organization (or new ventures) could work on revenue-generating models such as the L3Cs, Social Entrepreneurship, or BCorps.

In considering what your nonprofit needs to do to engage a new generation of leadership, consider how these trends can be applied to your existing structure so that you can move in a more progressive direction.

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