Posts Tagged ‘nptech’

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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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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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NTEN’s National Technology Conference 2011 is gearing up for another robust showcase of all things tech in the nonprofit world. NTC 2011 will take place in Washington D.C. on March 17-19, 2011 and as always, will feature sessions from tech companies and organizations throughout the country who are chosen by you! It’s voting time again, and we would love for your support in the following sessions we proposed. We’re on a quest to share our knowledge and this is a great venue to reach many people and our session proposals for NTC range from strategy to innovations to downright fun!   Below are the sessions we have submitted. By following the link you will be able to give the session a ranking. More high ranks = more chance that it gets accepted!

  • Salesforce + CMS Integration Showdown: Plone, Drupal, and Joomla- With the rapid increase in Salesforce use by nonprofit organizations, integration has become vital. One question we often get is – what website tools integrate best with Salesforce? We’ve decided to bare all in a battle of the most common nonprofit Content Management Systems. We’ll feature the open source tools Plone, Drupal, and Joomla in a rapid-paced, information packed session to help you decide! It will be fun, exciting and concise!
  • Unleash Your Fundraising Potential: Marketing Automation for Nonprofits Is your fundraising success limited by the number of touches you can have with each potential donor? Learn to cultivate relationships to a transaction with marketing. Marketing automation is a way to convert more people to donors that can effectively grow your staff’s capacity (without adding to head count) while increasing your effectiveness. In this session we will introduce the importance of integrating marketing and fundraising and show how you can use marketing automation.
  • 25 Ways to Improve Your Communications Capacity.
    The shear quantity and frequency of communications that most organization seek to produce has increased dramatically. Whether its blogs, tweets, commenting, web site updates, collaborations, cross posting, press releases, or good old print brochures. To stay abreast your organization needs to maximize its capacity for communication. At a time when there is no way you are hiring additional staff, that means making the staff you have as efficient and effective as possible. This session introduces 25 ways to use your existing resources to make the most of your communications.
    Implementing new technology project is always a process of organizational change. But it doesn’t have to be painful! You can take the opportunity to improve your strategy and operations while increasing your teams capacity for learning and adaptation. This session will cover how to approach a technology project with the impact on the organization in mind, how to develop requirements in an inclusive way, and how to manage change within your organization as you implement the system.

Show your support by giving your voting for your favorite sessions!

If you have suggestions for other topics you’d like us to share on, please leave a comment!

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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 next Thursday on August 26 from 8-10am. The meeting will be held at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center. Continental breakfast and coffee will be provided.

Please RSVP here

The agenda is as follows:

8:00am-8:30am – Coffee and Networking

8:30am-9:00am-Tuere Thomas, CRM Administrator for National Christian Foundation
Tuere Thomas will give a tour of how the National Christian Foundation (NCF) uses campaigns in salesforce. The NCF and its nationwide network of Local Chrstian Foundation affiliates, have granted over $2 billion to over 18,000 churches and ministries worldwide. Tuere, who has been using salesforce for 5 years, will share his experience with how salesforce helped to effectively manage this organization.

9:00-9:30am Christopher Johnson, Cofounder of ifPeople.
Christopher Johnson will give a tour of how Accounts work in salesforce and discuss some of the different configuration options available to nonprofits.  He will specifically discuss the default setup, using Households from the Nonprofit Starter Pack and the bucket model. Chris is Cofounder of ifPeople, a B-corporation that helps nonprofits leverage salesforce to build relationship-centric business systems.

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 for this meeting here.

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ifPeople has 2 nonprofit events coming up this Thursday (Feb 25). Be sure to sign up and join us!

Online Fundraising webinar: did you know that online giving has grown, even in the tough economy? Learn about how to take advantage of opportunities to raise money online. Sign up for the webinar, which takes place 11am on Thursday (Feb 25)

Nonprofit Technology Conference Pre-party: Join us to celebrate with local Atlanta nonprofit technologists! You’ll have a chance to learn more about the best nonprofit tech conference (coming to Atlanta in April) and hear some previews of great talks, including ifPeople’s Tirza Hollenhorst, speaking on 25 ways to increase your communications capacity. More info and sign up here.

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Just last month, David Glick announced some great news in the Plone-salesforce integration world. salesforcepfgadapter 1.6b2 has been released!

Some Background

salesforcepfgadapter = Salesforce.com + PloneFormGen

The adapter is the glue lets you take your forms made using the point-and-click easy to make forms killer Plone app (aka PloneFormGen) and integrate them with Salesforce.com via the API. It’s awesome – build forms and then make one or many things in your database of relationship, whether it’s a simple lead or tie together multiple objects from one form (account + contact + opportunity). Real world use case – you want someone to sign up for your newsletter on your website. The form creates a lead record for them and adds them to your newsletter campaign. Next time you send the newsletter, you’ve got it all right there without any extra effort!

What’s New?

This integration has been around for a while (4-ish years, I think), so why are we all excited you might ask? It’s all about the upsert!

While it’s always been easy to send new records into salesforce.com from the PFG form, what about the case where you want to let a user update their contact info? Or even more generally, what about creating a form that lets people with an existing record in your database update their record and those that are new to create a new record? This is the mythical upsert (update + insert) we’ve been waiting for! And, as David said, “You might say this release puts the RU in CRUD ;)”

That’s a Solid Beta

Back in the fall, we started poking around and asking questions about the upsert branch that had some work done and was mostly functional even. ifPeople ran that code through some rigorous work for a project, did some testing, provided some patches, and filed a few bugs. Seems that David (Groundwire) was also busy on the code base and got some help from others in the community (Alex Tokar from Web Collective, Jesse Snyder from NPower Seattle, Emanuel Sartor with ifPeople)  to get that branch code from the branch to a releaseable version. We’re glad to see it come to completion and grateful for the release management by David and Groundwire!

While this is released as a beta, this version has had some serious testing and work going into it. We’ve already got it in a production site that handles almost 2,000 users and ran load testing on the integration before launching that app.

What Else?

Ok, so it’s not just about the upsert…there were several bugs squashed in this release! There is a now a better way to configure hardcoded values that should always get passed to a particular field in Salesforce (e.g. a Lead Source). Other goodies:

  • read-only fields are no longer shown as options in the field mapping UI.
  • Info on the mapping of filenames and mimetype of file uploads (probably from an attachment object) sent directly to fields in Salesforce.com, in addition to the data itself. This should improve uploading files from the form to salesforce.com.
  • A new ‘Preset field values’ setting so that hardcoded values can be mapped to Salesforce fields, eliminating the need to create a hidden form field.
  • Plone 2.5 compatibility was restored and Plone 4 compatibility added.

Want more?

If you’d like a demo of how this integration works in live sites, please sign up for one of our upcoming free webinars!

For more on how to use these features and to download the latest, see the product page on plone.org.

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Every year, Techbridge partners with one local non-profit organization, helping them develop the essential information technology they need to succeed in their mission of service. TechBridge has just announced the 9th annual Technology Innovation Award! Want an extreme technology makeover?

TechBridge and Accenture are seeking deserving nonprofits with an innovative vision for using technology to increase capacity to deliver on its mission for the award.  Entries are due by February 8, 2010. All applicants must electronically submit an award application form, available online.

Three award finalists will be selected in March 2010 and invited to deliver a live presentation to the Technology Innovation Award Judging Panel. The winner will be announced at the 2010 TechBridge Digital Ball on May 8, 2010.

The winner of the 2009 Techbridge Technology Innovation Award is The Tommy Nobis Center (TNC). The two runners-up were Habitat for Humanity – North Central Georgia and Open Hand.

Have a look at the eligibility information and make an application online today! http://techbridge.org/tia/application.aspx

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