Posts Tagged ‘tools’

FREE WEBINAR TOMORROW: Leading supporters through the engagement path

Effective online fundraising is more than a donate button. It’s a complete path that moves people from casual visitor to recurring donor and dedicated supporter – all while minimizing overhead.

Leading supporters through the engagement path
Wednesday, December 4th 3 – 3:30 pm ET
Register Now!

Join us tomorrow for our first in a series of webinars throughout the month of December!

We’ll be highlighting strategies and tips to complete your path for more online donations and supporters as well as presenting the tools available within Soapbox Engage to complete your path.

Path image Read more »


FREE WEBINAR SERIES: Complete your path for more online donations and supporters

Effective online fundraising is more than a donate button. It’s a complete path that moves people from casual visitor to recurring donor and dedicated supporter – all while minimizing overhead.

How does your nonprofit’s path look? Is it a single donation page and a strategy involving crossed fingers and wishful thinking? Is it a cobbled together collection of tools that kinda sorta work together?


If so, not to worry! You’re not alone – and we’re here to help! Read more »


INFOGRAPHIC: 7 facts every nonprofit fundraiser should know about the path to online donations

Seven essential facts every nonprofit fundraiser should know about the path to online donations: Read more »


Online event management enhances attendee info collection – all integrating with Salesforce

What do you get when you take Soapbox Events and expand its options for collecting attendee information as part of the reservation process?

Why, online event management that’s made to order and integrates seamlessly with Salesforce.

‘Cause sometimes you just need to ask “Want fries with that?”

Oven roasted french fries
Read more »


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 »


Setting up Authorship for your website with Google+: What to expect and how long it takes

We posted a great little tidbit the other day regarding the authorship service available to Google+ Profile owners and how it can help increase traffic to your site.

By following Google’s instructions for verifying authorship of content on a website, search results will display your Google+ Profile headshot and a link to other content you’ve written, increasing the likelihood that your link will get clicked:


We followed the instructions provided by Google for our own blog and can report back the following: Read more »


New & Improved Google Analytics

Google just released some major upgrades to Google Analytics that make it extremely valuable for anyone managing a website. So, if you haven’t logged into your account for a while, or if perhaps you never got around to signing up for one, now is the time to immerse yourself in Google Analytics.

Here are a few things that have changed:

  • Real Time Reporting: This means you no longer have to wait around to view how people interacted with your site in the past. Instead, you can see how people are using your site right now. With this feature you can more directly track how changes to your site are affecting the way people are interacting with it. For example, if you add a new homepage banner to your website about your Thanksgiving Food Drive in preparation for your drive being featured on a local radio station, go to GA while they are announcing the food drive and see if people are clicking on the banner during the radio segment. It will help you to learn whether or not the banner was an effective addition to your website. Read more »


Nonprofit technology inadequate, study says; six ways software as a service models can help

Think your nonprofit has inadequate technology to get the job done? You’re not alone. Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Listening Post Project released a study showing a whole lot of folks in your shoes feel ya.  In fact, I believe that was one of the survey questions:

How would you characterize your attitude toward this statement: “I feel ya.”

  1. Strongly Disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. I’m not sure what I feel
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly Agree
  6. I SO feel ya!

No surprise, right? Nonprofits often feel like the youngest kid in the Walton family getting the hand-me-downs from brothers and sisters. Poor Jim-Bob.

Though Hopkins didn’t ask me, I feel ya, too. When I read the story in the Chronicle of Philanthropy about the study, I couldn’t help but think of a gig I had prior to PICnet for a great nonprofit where I was cobbling together donated broken down IBMs and a couple Mac IIe machines to form a reasonable representation of a computer network.  Whether your nonprofit is in that meager a state or not, the Hopkins’ study likely isn’t news.

Even in better economic times, a good number of factors contribute to the nonprofit challenge of meeting technology needs.  Donors are loathe to bankroll equipment and software.  Staff specializes in the doing of the mission, not the wiring of the mission.  Equipment costs require significant initial cash outlays that are hard to come by.  Technology advances at the blink of an eye so money spent on boxes and software seems to become obsolete faster than your iPhone can stream Ray Charles’ “I’m Busted”.

What intrigues me about the study isn’t the obvious finding but how industry trends toward software as a service (SaaS) models can help nonprofits deal with the dilemma.  Rather than buying software in shrink-wrap off the shelf at your local office supply store and installing it on your computer, software as a service leaves the software with the provider and you access it over the web.  Undoubtedly, you and your nonprofit already use some SaaS options.  If you are a Non-Profit Soapbox client, you definitely do since all you need to update your website is a handy dandy browser that connects to the software we house and update on our servers.

There are at least five reasons why this is trend helps combat the finding of the Hopkins study.  As for the sixth I’ll tentatively toss out, I’m down with any and all comments that enlighten me as to its validity.

1) Reduces hardware costs

Software as a service means more software in the cloud and less software on your computer.  The less software on your computer, the less you need to expect from your machine.  That lowers the price point of new hardware and extends the life of old hardware.  Have an old machine without enough horsepower to effectively run Adobe Photoshop?  Pop open a browser and tackle that image alteration with Pixlr or any number of other online options.

2) Reduces staff time invested in upkeep

Software has updates that need to be run on machines.  That requires someone running those updates and standardizing versions across computers.  Software as a service models eliminate that because the software doesn’t live on your machines.  Case in point: when PICnet pushes the latest Non-Profit Soapbox release next week that will add some great new features for Soapbox 2, your site will automatically have the new functionality ready to be used as you wish.

3) Pay as you go to use what you need

Initial cost of many software as a service models is generally the monthly fee you will normally pay, reducing the initial out-of-pocket expense and flattening out the cost curve over time.  And services scale to allow you to gradually increase your use over time also on a more graduated cost curve and fitting more neatly into annual budget cycles.

4) Nonprofit-friendly pricing from various SaaS providers

This is a trend we love to see: great services sold at a reduced rate to nonprofits – or given away for free to nonprofits.  And while free or reduced priced software could always be come by before, the SaaS model makes it easier to systematize discounts and removes barriers to your nonprofit scoring a deal.  From big boys like Google and Salesforce to elegant tools that are more targeted like Wufoo‘s form solution, plenty of SaaS models (heart) nonprofits.

5) Free options

Some software as a service providers don’t care that you’re a nonprofit.  They just give theirs tools away for free regardless.  While some are worth exactly what you pay, many – like noted above – are just plain groovy, depending on your needs.

That’s five benefits.  Here’s the tentative sixth that I’ll leave up to you to assess the validity of:

6) Easier to find funding from willing donors?

With the monthly pricing model associated with software as a service models and their pay-for-what-you-need approach, is it easier to fund software as a service costs through donor funds if there is a clear, definite use of that service for purpose of a given program activity?

To put it another way, can software as a service costs be viewed less as overhead and more as program costs?


Wufoo forms smarter, more flexible, still don’t take out the trash

Tired of boring old static webforms? Feeling restricted by limited confirmation emails you can send after form submissions? Sick of taking out the trash all the time? Well, the gang at Wufoo has great news for you — they’ve introduced conditional logic and branching to make their webforms smarter and more effective!  Sorry – still waiting on that trash bit, though.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up. Whofoo? Conditional What?” For those of you out there asking yourselves these questions, let us take a step back. Wufoo is a super easy and affordable webform solution that we’ve found works well to fit many of our clients needs – as well as our own! As they’ve put it on their FAQ page:

Wufoo is an Internet application that helps anybody build amazing online forms. When you design a form with Wufoo, it automatically builds the database, backend and scripts needed to make collecting and understanding your data easy, fast and fun.

We at PICnet are big fans of Wufoo and the great work that they do over there. For more information on why you might want to look into using Wufoo (hint: 50% discount for nonprofits) check the Tips & Tricks in our Help Desk.

Wufoo recently announced some awesome new functionality to make forms even better. With conditional logic and branching, you can now:

  1. Set the form to hide or show fields based on a user’s answer in another field. For example, you could set it to ask the user for their spouse’s name only if they’ve selected “married”.
  2. Skip entire pages if they don’t apply to a user depending on their answers. Say somebody wants to pay by check for a purchase handled through the form, well now they can skip a credit card processing page you’ve setup.
  3. Create customized confirmation emails based on responses. For example, instead of sending everybody the same “Thank You” email, you could send one message to new members, and another to renewals.

Even better, they’ve managed to make constructing the conditional rules as easy as we could have ever imagined in our wildests dreams (trust us — our dreams about webforms have been wild). Want to learn more? Check out their conditional logic blog post for more information and how-to screencasts.

Not yet using Wufoo? Unsure if it’s right for you? Check out Wufoo’s site to get the get the lowdown.


Soapbox 2.0.11 Released: Seven tools to better manage your site

We’re happy to unveil the latest release of Soapbox 2 and introduce you to seven handy tools we dropped into the toolbox in the wee hours of the morning.

Manage standard content more efficiently, reduce spam, mix up slideshow transitions, alert folks when they’re leaving your site, monitor the disk space you use, customize page not found errors, and maximize Google Analytics.

Whew! That was a mouthful for just the overview. For the full details, check out our Help Desk and Happy Soapboxing!