Archive for January, 2012

8 benefits of a newly designed Soapbox site: The Bridge NY

The Bridge LogoIf your non-profit’s website is in dire need of an overhaul, but you’re having trouble getting your decision makers on board, fear not! We have a list of surefire benefits to justify your cause with a clear cut example to boot.

But don’t just take our word for it. PICnet had the pleasure of working with New York-based non-profit, The Bridge, on their handsome new site. Here’s what they said.

“Soapbox was exactly what we were looking for in terms of sophisticated and search friendly design. We are thrilled with the way our new site looks and functions. Thanks to our PICnet team!”  - Ann R. Hyatt, Director of Development & External Relations, The Bridge

What got Ann so excited? First, let’s look at the before and after shots.

Read more »


NTEN Happy Hours from Coast to Coast

PICnet is proud to be a long-time supporter of NTEN (Non-profit Technology Network), which is why we do our best to keep the NPtech love flowing from coast to coast with our monthly 501 Tech Club happy hours.

I organize the meetings for the DC “Accidental Techies” on the fourth Thursday of every month while my co-worker, Lauren Grau, coordinates the San Francisco NTENers one night each month.  The NTEN Happy Hours are a great way to meet more people in your field, learn something new about non-profit management, and keep up with today’s ever-changing technology. And don’t worry; you don’t have to be an NTEN member to join, so invite your friends!

This week is a very busy one on the PICnet social calendar as both Lauren and I have happy hours. Find details below. Read more »


Record types in Salesforce’s Nonprofit Starter Pack

We’re doing a bit of work creating user-friendly and affordable engagement tools for non-profits.  Much of this work is connecting our Soapbox services to Salesforce’s Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP).  A goal in our integration is to make it as seamless as possible for organizations to use the NPSP out of the box with Soapbox.

One of the things we’ve documented are the record types utilized by the NPSP.  These record types are important, as we’re able to have our Soapbox service pass event registrations, petitions, donations, and more through Salesforce.  This seemed a little difficult for us to find, and we’ve been seeing some inconsistencies in the creation of record types in the NPSP (I think others have as well), so I thought we’d document what we’ve found.

Trialforce NPSP installation

Opportunity Object

  • Donation
  • Grant
  • Major Gift
  • Matching Donation
  • Membership

Account Object

  • Individual
Manually created install of NPSP

Opportunity Object

  • Donation
  • Grant
  • Major Gift
  • Membership

Account Object

  • Individual

Have others found similar differences between these NPSP installations?


Leading the fight to provide effective, affordable tools for non-profits

Ask any economist, and you’ll likely hear the same response:  as markets mature, consolidation tends to occur.  So, while it’s big news, it’s not necessarily surprising to hear today’s announcement that Blackbaud is purchasing Convio.  These two publicly traded corporations have been in the non-profit technology space for a long time, and I congratulate their boards on coming to such an important agreement.

Now, let’s get to the real business at hand:  what can be done now to ensure technology service prices go down, not up, in an era of mega consolidation?  Our answer:  a fresh approach with a dose of healthy competition.

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We are the 99%: extending the benefits of nonprofit tech beyond the few

we are the 99 % percent -occupy wallstreetIt is startling what technology can do as we begin 2012. The rate at which data can move and systems can be connected is astonishing. The potential for harnessing this to create positive social change is compelling and inspiring.

And then you look at the price tags being charged to leverage all of this fancy, powerful stuff. It can be staggering. It isn’t uncommon for us to attend conferences and sit in rooms with panel discussions showing off a nonprofit’s custom-built solution to integrate their website, constituent relationship management system, email marketing platform, and other communication channels. The screenshots are slick. The crowd is wowed. The mind races with the possibilities for one’s own organization.

Until the price tag is quoted. It’s usually toward the end of the presentation. It’s often mentioned almost as an afterthought.

“We paid $100,000 to a web development firm just for the front end web interface. The CRM setup was separate.”

Or, “we raised $200,000 for this implementation.”

Staggering. And everyone leaves the room feeling as if they live in a two-room shack and just watched an episode of Cribs that highlighted what they can never have. It’s all great and impressive and inspiring – but the real question rolling around in everyone’s head as they hit the hallway to go to the next session is:

“Damn! How in the world could they raise six figures for a web project?!?”

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Register Now for the Bay Area Nonprofit Technology Teach-In

Bay Area non-profit techies, mark January 18th on your calendars! Our friends at Aspiration have partnered with Community Technology Network to hold a no cost nonprofit technology training at the Google campus in Mountain View, CA on January 18th.

This Nonprofit Technology Teach-In aims to help you learn new techniques and best practices to take advantage of online tools for your work. Aspiration events are famously hands-on, highly interactive and follow a question-driven format.

Together you’ll tackle the following questions:

  • How can I write a good email message and send it to thousands of folks?
  • How can I track where my nonprofit and issues are being mentioned online?
  • How can I use social media to support campaigns and advocacy?
  • How can I better organize my online communications?

Read more »


Mo’ mass emails, mo’ money: can nonprofit tech industry do better?

With many of us still packing up the holiday lights and cleaning up after New Years bashes, we were impressed to see the good folks over at the Nonprofit Marketing Guide arriving into 2012 all bright eyed and bushy tailed with the release of the 2012 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report.

Not a bad way to get a jump on the new year!

A couple of the findings caught our eye. As folks doing web development for nonprofits, we were happy to see organizations rank their website as their most important tool. Job security and all that, you know!

Nonprofit Communications Tools

Their website was followed closely in importance by Email Marketing / E-Newsletter. That Iowa-Republican-caucus-like close second is not surprising when you see that 78% of nonprofits say they’ll email supporters at least monthly in 2012.

Nonprofits and Email Frequency

That’s a lot of emails – and, for anyone who has priced mass email services, those mass emails ain’t cheap. So, again, it’s not surprising that the list of what scares folks when it comes to nonprofit marketing in 2012 includes some big, juicy orange words revolving around having enough resources and funding to pull off all of this marking stuff.

What Scares Nonprofits

That leads us at PICnet to ponder a simple question for our own nonprofit technology sector:

Can we do better?

As 2012 dawns and more and more nonprofits move away from traditional mailings to engage in regular email marketing campaigns, can our industry innovate to keep pace by developing new, more cost effective ways of delivering those services and do so in ways that more tightly tracks outcomes tied to individual recipients rather than dubious metrics like open rates?

For those lovers of nonprofits who are convinced that technology can supercharge their missions to make more flowers bloom, more hungry folk fed, more truth shine, and more peace reign, we should finish putting away our holiday lights and cleaning up after the New Year’s bashes. There’s a world that needs changing and it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to do it.