Archive for the ‘CRM’ Category

Why you should use a CRM for your nonprofit

Helping build membership is a great way CRM can help nonprofits.

Helping build membership is a great way a CRM can help nonprofits.

Nonprofit organizations are a hard-working bunch. Whether it's maintaining a strong network of contacts with donors and members, or writing up requests for the sake of winning grants from government and philanthropic organizations, there's so much to do. It takes a lot of effort to keep things rolling, but if you work for a nonprofit, you probably persevere because you believe in your group's mission and goals. Being more organized may greatly help you perform better at and handle outreach in a way that comforts your organization's supporters. Sometimes it helps to take a few pages from big companies in how they handle their customers, in other words: through customer relationship management software.

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Convio Common Ground Refugee Countdown: What’s your plan for March 30, 2014 shut down?

With March nearly upon us, the year countdown will begin for Common Ground Refugees to find new homes for their constituent relationship management (CRM) system before the March 30, 2014 shut off of their services with Convio Common Ground – a shut off date that means you will no longer have access your CRM unless you have a current contract extending beyond that date.

What’s your plan for your nonprofit ahead of the March 30, 2014 shut down?


If you’re in need of one, our Convio Common Ground Refugee Assistance Email Hotline is at your disposal.

And take some time to consider the three questions each Convio Common Ground Refugee should be asking themselves as they consider alternatives that will serve their nonprofit into the future.

We’d also encourage you to review our Soapbox Engage Partners for a list of folks who can help with your migration to a new system.

Photo credit: Bill David Brooks on Flickr


Who’s Keeping Your Salesforce Clean?: Soapbox Engage Partner Guest Blog from CloudFixer

PICnet is proud to welcome CloudFixer as the latest certified Soapbox Engage Partner. CloudFixer automatically improves, cleans and maintains your Salesforce instance for you. In this guest blog post, they share tips from their data custodial expertise that can benefit your nonprofit.

ehren-150x150By Ehren Foss
Founder and Managing Partner of CloudFixer

This nonprofit-focused Salesforce stuff is pretty snazzy, don’t you think? People are building everything from online fundraising apps and wealth data sources to special migration tools and lots of other things to lower the cost of doing good.

Soapbox Engage and Soapbox Mailer for Salesforce have assembled several widely trusted components (Joomla and Amazon Web Services) into something many nonprofits need, like simple event signups, donation forms, and a mass email tool integrating with Salesforce.  These basic components can be quite a challenge to assemble and interconnect without a service like Engage.

It’s the “little” things that can bog down a DIY nonprofit person, like mobile-friendly templates. Having many of these snags taken care of by the platform is a plus. I also like how Soapbox unobtrusively inserts data as Leads, thereby working more seamlessly with the many different Salesforce data models we’ve seen in the wild.

One other “little thing” that can drag down your organization is data hygiene. If you aren’t careful, you might not end up so happy with duplicates, staff turnover, and unused reports. Read more »


How to easily contribute to the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack

Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack LogoIf you’re one of the thousands of organizations using the Salesforce Foundation’s open source Nonprofit Starter Pack, you have a good understanding of the great features and power that comes under the hood.  It’s one of the world’s best fundraising apps sitting atop one of the best cloud platforms, and it’s improving every day.

For some of you, open source software might be a new and somewhat mysterious concept.  Luckily, there’s a not-so-well-kept secret to  but the immense power of it is what enables so many fabulous organizations to use the Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP):  you have the power to contribute to it and make it better.  The question is, how?

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Salesforce Tooling API and nonprofit developer happiness

Salesforce Spring 13Salesforce is well-known for its cloud database model and architecture, making it one of the most popular platforms for building the next generation of apps for non-profit organizations. With the forth-coming Spring 13 release, developers will receive a late holiday present:  the new Salesforce Tooling API.

One of the challenges that developers have had during the past few years is easily sharing their code and best practices with other organizations to help create an open source ecosystem around Salesforce. This is often due to barriers to entry that make it a bit difficult to easily export/import code into your Salesforce instance, especially for those of us supporting the Nonprofit Starter Pack.

In short, it’s not easy to collaborate within the Salesforce developer community as it is in other software communities.

With the new Salesforce Tooling API, however, developers in the community can start to build tools for other developers that might make it a lot easier to share code and ideas.  The Tooling API allows for access to key building blocks of development, including Apex classes, triggers, and VisualForce pages.  This means that our developer community could effectively create tools that makes it easier to share their code, thereby increasing the flow of best practices within our community.

It’s enough to make this open source supporter giddy with ideas for the future. Read more »


Improving the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack API

Imagine if you’re a third-party developer creating integrations with the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP).  Right now, you need to build services on your own that manage the routing of data, creates matching between inbound data and existing data in the NPSP, and much more.  With the NPSP spread across multiple Salesforce packages, integrations for donations, event registrations, and more can be quite cumbersome.

What if instead, the NPSP had a pre-built set of APIs that you could tap into, providing you a landing zone for your inbound data.  A location where you needed to know little-to-nothing about the NPSP, but your organizational clients could know that their data was being properly routed to its own home.

Well my friends, a few good folks from the NPSP developer sprint in DC this week have started to make this happen.  Life as we know it for ISVs will become much better.

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What’s missing in Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack?

While there’s healthy discussion happening in the Nonprofit Practitioners user group, an area that isn’t highlighted enough is new ideas for the Nonprofit Starter Pack.  I don’t mean just feature ideas for fundraising, donations, case management, etc.  I’m talking about bug reports, bug fixes, documentation, tutorials, translations, and more.

With such a great community of users and implementers, this seems like a missed opportunity.

During chats at the Nonprofit Developer Sprint in DC this week, Salesforce Foundation staff  made it clear that they welcome community support in a variety of contexts, including ideas that can make the software itself better.  Hence, the Foundation’s fantastic support of events like this week’s sprint.  The challenge, it seems, is that there hasn’t been a path to community engagement in the form of cultivating new feature ideas, bug fixes, documentation, etc.

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Comparing the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack options: Trialforce vs managed packages

If you’re interested in getting your hands on the Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) for Salesforce, there’s two standard ways to get started.  Depending on your needs, especially if you’re just tinkering before building a full Salesforce implementation for your organization, one of these installs will likely be more useful to you than the other.

The most common way is through a system called Trialforce.  This is the type of Salesforce org that is created when you sign up for the Salesforce Foundation’s free product donation form.  The benefit of using this version of the Nonprofit Starter Pack is that it comes pre-built with a number of items that aren’t included in the managed package version of the NPSP, like record types that are specific for non-profit organizations.

This can save  you a lot of time getting up and running; however, if you’re looking for a customized installation of Salesforce, you might end up spending quite a bit of time deleting customizations.

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Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack brings back opportunities

Who said retro wasn’t cool again?  Once shipped off to the island of business language, the term “Opportunities” has returned to the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) a few weeks ago.  Kevin Bromer of the Salesforce Foundation confirmed today at the NPSP developer sprint in DC that all new installations of the NPSP will replace the old “Donations” tab with an “Opportunities” tab.

What does this mean for the average organization?  Probably not much, it’s just a default label change within Salesforce.  That said, this is a good time for folks that are doing documentation and video training materials for organizations using the NPSP to update their materials.


Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack project sprints forward

For the past 15 years, I’ve dabbled a bit in the world of open source software. During most of that time, I’ve worked within communities free of corporate structures, many of which have produced some of the best software the world has ever seen without any corporate governance.

The background explains why I’m so interested in seeing things done in a different, corporate structured way, in the world this week. Starting today, the Salesforce Foundation is bringing together a small team of developers to Washington DC for code sprints on the Nonprofit Starter Pack, a set of tools that organizations can use to more effectively use the platform for fundraising, contact management, and more.  I’ll be among those folks contributing ideas and code to the project, and looking forward to collaborating with my buddies in the Salesforce world.

Make no mistake about it: the Nonprofit Starter Pack is the single most important open source contribution Marc Benioff has put his company’s 1/1/1 giveback model towards supporting. And, with the not-so-new-but-still-new-to-me code repository (hello to GitHub) and great leadership, the project is moving down an exciting path that I foresee disrupting the nonprofit CRM marketplace in a very positive way.

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