As a nonprofit organization, it's incredibly important that you respect your donors' privacy. You likely have access to great amounts of personal information on your constituents, and those constituents are trusting that that personal information is FYEO.Read More
Throughout the year, we post encouraging blog posts about nonprofit industry trends, tips and tricks, inspiration, and happenings. However, as the political landscape, technology and the world around us continue to change, our industry must, too. With that, nonprofiteers are facing new challenges and issues head-on.Read More
Nonprofits, we know how stressful it can be to start the search for a CRM. It’s like trying to buy a car when you’re not a car person. All that talk about ABS, E-REV, Electronic Stability Control, horsepower, all-wheel drive versus four-wheel drive – it all sounds like a foreign language, and eventually you find yourself nodding, smiling and then driving off the lot in a new car wondering how you got there.
It's that time of year again -- time to head to the AFP International Fundraising Conference! Kicking off this Sunday, this conference is one of the most premier fundraising conferences in the world and brings in fundraisers, philanthropists and service providers from around the world, and we are proud to be a part of it for another year!Read More
We’ve heard it on all the blogs – having a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program is incredibly important.Read More
One of our goals here at Metafile is to constantly provide up-to-date, functional software that will enhance your fundraising efforts and make your job easier.Read More
We all crave positive affirmation, whether we want to admit it or not. We know that people do great and generous things out of the goodness of their hearts, but that warm, fuzzy feeling is also a huge factor in why we do what we do. And the same goes for your donors.Read More
We’ve heard it said time and time again – it’s more beneficial for nonprofits to retain existing donors than to try and acquire new ones. A one-time donation is something to be thankful for, but it’s vital that nonprofits can rely on donors who give regularly over longer periods of time.Read More
As if the Big Game taking place in our home state wasn’t enough, the ALDE IGNITE Conference is coming to Minneapolis Feb. 28 – Mar. 3 this year!Read More
The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is now law, and it has many nonprofits and small businesses quivering a little bit. It’s important to remember that there are many facets to this new act and to understand the potential repercussions, both positive and negative.Read More
By: Sarah Tedesco, Executive VP at DonorSearch
Part 3 of "7 Ways to use Existing Donor Data for Year-End Fundraising" is here, just in time for year-end! Catch Part 1 and Part 2 on the blog for a complete look at year-end fundraising and how to utilize your donor data for best results.Read More
By: Sarah Tedesco, Executive VP at DonorSearchRead More
By: Sarah Tedesco, Executive VP at DonorSearch
Your CRM, with its rich donor data that you’ve compiled from donation forms and donor meetings, is stock full of detailed constituent profiles.Read More
Back in June of this year, NonProfit Pro published an article about the five "Donor Love Languages," stemming from Dr. Gary Chapman's well-known book about strengthening romantic relationships, "The 5 Love Languages." With Thanksgiving on the horizon, many of us really start to think about the things, people and situations that we are thankful for. Oftentimes, these include our family, friends, jobs and opportunities and Thanksgiving and the holiday season offer the ideal chance to show love and thankfulness in a very tangible way.Read More
Starting to see flyers in your mailbox asking for clothing donations? Is your email inbox filling up with requests from organizations you've given to in the past (or not given to ever)? It's November, and November kicks off the most charitable time of the year in the U.S.Read More
You're a dedicated fundraiser with a passion for your mission. You know the ins and outs of major gift programs, creating campaigns, organizing donor data, segmenting your constituents and handling appeals. But asking for donations, no matter how seasoned you are in the world of fundraising, can still be intimidating and even a little awkward.Read More
In times of tragedy, we often feel completely helpless as we're watching the events unfold and seeing the news stream in on TV, radio and social media. Following the events in Las Vegas this week, we saw the country come together to offer love and support to all those affected by the horrific occurrence.Read More
Even if you're typically relaxed, easy-going and go-with-the-flow, there's a little bit of Type A in all of us. When you're walking through the store and see a jar of peanut butter facing the wrong direction, one shirt unfolded, a roll of paper towel in the soup aisle... there's a little piece of all of us that gets driven a little crazy by these inconsistencies.Read More
Fall is in the air (again? Really?) and it’s time to start thinking about what’s next for your nonprofit. Will you be maintaining a goal that you established earlier this year? Focusing on implementing a new donor relations strategy? Implementing new technology? Autumn is a great time to reevaluate and bring to life the things that you’ve been dreaming about for your organization since the first day.Read More
It’s that time of year again, and whether you’re holding on tight to the last few remnants of summer with your kids or ushering them out the door, back-to-school is inevitable. By the time they’re getting on the bus to head to their first day of school, you are confident that their lunch is packed, backpack is zipped, supplies are purchased, they’re rocking their first-day-of-school outfit and you’re mentally prepared not to cry (OK, maybe a little) this year. They’re ready and you’re ready to take on another year.Read More
We’ve heard it before: The better your data, the better your results. Data may seem boring, tedious and something that you, as a fundraiser, shouldn’t have to deal with. Think again! Data is everywhere and usable by everyone. And it’s not only useful, but can help you do more good and be more successful in your mission.Read More
We won’t deny it – working for a nonprofit organization is hard. Limited funding, endless hours of work that so often goes unrecognized, number crunching, task juggling and fundraising. While Metafile is not a nonprofit, we work closely with the organizations who work day and night to accomplish their missions and see the blood, sweat and tears that nonprofiteers put into their work. This, and many other blog posts out in cyberspace, probably make you wonder why anyone would ever choose to work for a nonprofit.Read More
You’re all set for the party. You have the burgers and the hot dogs, the patriotic desserts, the red, white and blue streamers that you stood in line for an hour at Party City to get, the piles of fireworks the kids are just dying to get their hands on. This promises to be a 4th of July your friends and family will never forget!Read More
Each year, Giving USA releases its annual Report on Philanthropy for 2016. This report is one of the most respected yearly updates on trends and stats in the philanthropic realm in the U.S. We are constantly amazed by the momentum and forward movement within this space.Read More
Summer is on the horizon (really, it is!), and with that comes the summer-slump for many of us. We don’t want to be spending the beautiful days in the office, we want to be at the pool, on the beach, on the court, in the garden, napping on a hammock or playing with the kids. How can you keep up that philanthropic momentum, even when you’re being pulled toward the summer sun?Read More
Let’s be real here: Everyone, at some point, has dreamed of being a superhero. Flying at the speed of light, saving the world from evil, using your supersonic strength to move mountains, having the latest and greatest superhero gear and gadgets…
Another AFP International Fundraising Conference has come and gone, and while we are already missing the fundraising and nonprofit camaraderie (and the warm California sun), we left with more tools in our arsenal, a renewed sense of inspiration for the nonprofit industry and some great takeaways.Read More
Getting your executive director or upper management on-board to adopt new software technology can be difficult. Between the associated costs, time spent transferring data and the learning curve involved, many nonprofit executive directors will keep outdated technology (or no technology) indefinitely. In case you need more fodder to convince your leadership team that new technology is for you, here’s another reason you may not have thought of yet: It’s good for the environment, too! With Earth Day coming up tomorrow, it’s great to remind ourselves that being environmentally friendly should go beyond just one day of the year. And, believe it or not, technology, like a donor management system, can help you do that. How?
We’re only a few weeks away from the 54th AFP International Fundraising Conference in San Francisco on April 30-May 2! This conference features more than 100 educational sessions, approximately 4,000 nonprofit decision makers and hundreds of exhibitors showcasing their products and services. Plus, you can’t beat the parties! AFP’s After-Dark Party is a great way to kick back, laugh, network and enjoy great food and drink.Read More
Our ResultsPlus team believes that the most important piece of fundraising is a solid donor relationship strategy. Michael Rosen, president of ML Innovations, Inc., backed up our belief in a recent blog post entitled, “What is the Special Ingredient that Leads to #Fundraising Success?”
As a millennial PR and communications professional, I think it’s safe to say that I love me some social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn – I’m always plugged in. And while we can debate whether or not this is healthy another time, it’s clear that the best way to connect with me is through digital means. In the words of children’s cartoon character, Kim Possible, “Call me, beep me if you want to reach me!”
As a busy nonprofit professional, you are likely always looking for ways to streamline your fundraising processes and procedures. Luckily, there are many tricks and tools available to you so that you can maximize your time and focus on your mission.
We are one month into 2017, and we hope that you are on-track to achieve both your personal and professional resolutions! This year promises to be an innovative and transformative year in the nonprofit industry, and we are excited to see what it ha09s in store. Here are some of the fundraising trends we’re keeping our eyes on in 2017:
This week is training week here at Metafile. A dozen dedicated ResultsPlus users will travel to tropical Minnesota during the first week of February to spend three days learning all they can about ResultsPlus. And despite the weather forecast that suggests it will be in the twenties with ‘a little snow,’ it will be a warm and cozy 70 degrees in our training room, with hot coffee and tea aplenty.Read More
Are you ready for some football!?! The Big Game is coming up in just over a week – the day when the best of the best in American football duke it out on the field for the title of "Champion." At your nonprofit, you may have your own bowl, of sorts, going on. We’re not talking about football, we’re talking about making the final decision between two donor management solutions. Now that you’ve narrowed it down to the best two, it’s time to find the champion – the Nonprofit CRM that will provide the greatest benefits to your organization.
One of the most common problems we hear about on the support lines involves the ResultsPlus Primary Directory – the location on your network where all the ResultsPlus shared resources are located. If you have ever had a multi-user installation of ResultsPlus (not including ResultsPlus Online), it would not be uncommon for you to have had this occur at least once in recent memory. It happens when one little question gets skipped during installation, and suddenly a ResultsPlus workstation is pointed in the wrong direction and starts to behave strangely.Read More
Happy New Year!Read More
2016 is coming to an end and, while some of us are bidding it a sad farewell, many are pushing it out the door and are anxiously awaiting a fresh new year.
We've been celebrating the holidays in the best ways possible at Metafile over the past couple weeks. From Secret Snowflake gift-giving to white elephant and holiday potlucks to ugly sweater contests, Metafile has been filled with holiday cheer and office camaraderie!Read More
Importing data into your database can be a very efficient method for updating your donor information. For newbies or first-time importers, however, it can also be a bit intimidating.
Another #GivingTuesday has come and gone, and the results of this year’s day of giving were phenomenal. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this holiday, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving and is celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, providing a chance to give back after two busy days of consumerism (Black Friday and Cyber Monday).Read More
It’s that time again – time for year-end! You’ve baked all the cookies, decorated the house, written holiday cards and sung all the carols, and now it’s time to say goodbye to 2016. Organizing holiday parties may not come with an instruction manual but, luckily, the ResultsPlus CRM year-end procedure (that may have made you cringe) does! So don’t panic, here’s how to do it:Read More
A new generation has arrived in my family and it has nothing to do with the birth of a child. For the first time, a member of a newer branch of the family tree has volunteered to host the family for Thanksgiving dinner. My niece has invited us all to her home in a downtown metropolitan area, providing the address of the parking ramp where we can park our cars. She has asked only that we bring whatever we want for a buffet-style meal and has committed only to providing the ‘protein’ portion of the meal, which may or may not be turkey. She has reserved the party room which has plenty of room for all of us, though not for a large dining table to accommodate everyone. Oh, and there’s a liquor store in the building so we can just pop downstairs to pick up whatever wine we might like to have with our meal.Read More
By Sarah Tedesco, Executive VP at DonorSearch
In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, an agreement was signed in a forest outside of Paris to end hostilities between Germany and the Allies at the end of World War I. It was the beginning of the end of World War I and the start of Armistice Day, celebrated by many allied countries to honor and remember those who serve the military of their countries. In the United States it has evolved into what is now Veteran’s Day, a federal holiday set aside to honor any and all persons who have served in the armed forces.
Nonprofit technology, like donor management software, is on your radar. Maybe you attended a conference and talked to a provider of nonprofit CRM software, or read a blog post or case study about a donor database that can increase your fundraising success. However you discovered it, you’ve decided that your nonprofit organization can definitely benefit from some new technology that can track donors, gifts, pledges and more.
I often review the requests from customers that come into the ResultsPlus support queue to get a feel for how our customers are using their database. The questions they ask, the scenarios they describe, and the problems they encounter provide very valuable information as we continue to look for ways to improve and grow ResultsPlus.Read More
Have you ever gone to a home improvement store and bought all the materials for a project, then got home and asked yourself, “Now what do I do with all of this?”
Have you ever seen the rocks-gravel-sand-water presentation? The presenter takes several large rocks and places them into a container until no more can fit. They ask the audience to confirm that the vase is full and receive a room full of nods in response.Read More
Tomorrow morning, members of the ResultsPlus sales and marketing teams will be jetting off to Washington DC for the National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC). This is the conference “where Catholic fundraisers need to be,” so we decided that we should be, too! ResultsPlus Nonprofit CRM makes a great addition to any fundraising team, so there’s nowhere we would rather be next week than helping fundraisers achieve greater success in their philanthropic efforts.Read More
Many years ago, when I was about to embark on a new job that involved raising funds for a nonprofit organization, the practice was still called fundraising and donor management systems were just becoming common. I found myself in this situation after being encouraged by the Executive Director to branch out from my original responsibilities, and I had agreed with no small amount of trepidation.
Here at Metafile, the ResultsPlus team has one more week of preparation before our conference schedule gets all sorts of crazy again!Read More
The talented folks on our marketing team are just getting ready to put a new video testimonial on our website. I had the chance to preview it last week and it was a great reinforcing reminder aboutRead More
By Karrie Wozniak, VP of Sales and Marketing at BidPal
There are a host of fun celebrations scheduled for September. Some you may have heard of most of them…probably not. But being the naturally creative person you probably are, given that you likely work for a nonprofit organization, consider that some of these special days may give you just the opportunity you’ve been looking for to connect with some of your donors in a fun and interesting way.Read More
If you’re working for a nonprofit, it’s likely that you are operating under a very tight budget. You may have to make do with outdated nonprofit technology, limited staff and not the most ergonomic office equipment. When it comes to making a big purchase, it takes a lot of planning, negotiating, discussion and possibly a large pros and cons list.
This coming Monday, August 22nd, is ‘Be an Angel Day.’ It seems fitting, doesn’t it? That we would promote this special holiday through a blog read by the ‘special people’ who work for charities and philanthropic organizations?Read More
Yesterday, the USA Women’s Gymnastics Team took home the gold medal at the Rio Olympics. And not only are they officially the best women’s gymnastics team in the world right now, but they may be the best women’s gymnastics team EVER.
A storm blew through yesterday afternoon, complete with ominous clouds, heavy rain, thunder and lightning. It’s an awesome thing to watch the lightning jump from sky to ground before your brain even registers that it happened.
The 2016 presidential election is coming up, and whether you are enjoying the debating, political-ranting, opponent-bashing and candidate paraphernalia or not, it’s impossible to escape. The U.S. is completely consumed in politics right now as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton duke it out for the position of President of the United States. The election propaganda has taken over more than just your Facebook and Twitter feeds – it's also affecting charitable giving and fundraising. But not in the way you might think.
Donor management systems are a great way to streamline your development office processes and procedures. Generating gift acknowledgments is a great example. The ability to merge gift and demographic information into an email template or word processing document means your thank-yous are accurate and timely and on the way to your donors very soon after a gift arrives.Read More
For about a week now the newest mobile app, Pokémon GO, has been taking over the internet (and the hearts of us 90s kids) as people take to the streets trying to “catch ‘em all.” Pokémon GO uses location technology and augmented reality to make the user feel like a Pokémon Master as they go from place to place looking for Pokémon, fictional cartoon monsters, to catch and collect. Users are divided into three teams, encouraging people to work together and get to know each other.
It’s summer, and in my house that means we do things like get dental checkups, schedule eye exams, start gathering supplies for fall and, perhaps most importantly, schedule some time away from work. But at work, it’s also a good time to schedule some tasks that can help the rest of the development and calendar seasons be a little more efficient.Read More
It’s the start of another holiday weekend, and I think I speak for many of us when I say that it is much-needed!
It seems that there is some new technology available to development professionals nearly every day. Phrases like ‘data-driven decisions,’ ‘mobile optimization,’ ‘cloud-based computing’ were not even on our horizons just a few short years ago. And yet here we are, using terminology like this in our planning, strategy, and day-to-day discussions. It appears that we just won’t be able to survive in the future if we don’t adapt to and take advantage of all the technological developments that are currently available.
This week, tragedy struck a club in Orlando that shook the country and the world to its core. In the early hours of June 12, a gunman opened fire in a nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 and injuring 53. The event has been labeled the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.Read More
I belong to a list serve of people in the senior-services sector of the nonprofit industry, some of whom are fairly new to the world of fundraising and development. Today someone posed a question to other members of the group, seeking advice on how to get started:
Social media has been abuzz lately with the news about how Microsoft has been getting users to upgrade to the newest Windows 10 platform.Read More
I’m feeling guilty and a little conflicted. This coming Monday is Memorial Day and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m happy to have a day off, a long weekend including a trip ‘up north,’ a short week of work next week, and to have reached what the Today Show called ‘the unofficial start of summer.” There will be parades, and picnics, and ice cream, and red, white and blue stuff everywhere you look.Read More
On May 5, the LeadingAge weekly newsletter published a piece by Stephen Maag about the benefits of good data for residential care and aging services facilities.
We’re excited to be in the midst of another session of the ResultsPlus Essential Elements class here at our corporate office in Rochester, MN this week. The class is full and so, as it appears, are the
heads of all the wonderful ResultsPlus users who have come to absorb all the knowledge they can get.
On April 21st, the world lost a musical icon. As a Minnesota-based organization, we felt (and are still feeling) the full effect of the death of Prince, a Minnesota native. It seems that we learn something new about Prince’s behind-the-scenes life daily as reporters uncover more details.Read More
The Baby Boomer population is the largest aging population ever, and we want to do our part to help nonprofit aging services organizations compensate for the influx of seniors needing care by providing them with nonprofit fundraising CRM software.Read More
Take a second to think about the organizations that you are drawn to the most. Which would you be more inclined to give to: The local nonprofit that sends a generic letter asking for a donation for their upcoming event? Or an organization who details their mission through photos, videos and personal details to give you a sense of the urgency and need for your donation?
I was pleased to get out of the office on Wednesday and spend it at the 2016 Nonprofit Technology & Communications conference sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits in Minneapolis. The theme was ‘Then & Now,’ which is particularly fitting in the world of technology. Things change and grow so rapidly – it’s hard to keep up! And with so many specialty and sub-specialty areas, it’s difficult to decide what to focus on, what to store, and what to leave for later.Read More
As a fundraiser, it’s important that you recognize that your donors fuel your mission and you want to appreciate the donors you have, acquire new ones, convert prospects and help existing donors increase their impact on your organization. Many organizations do this through a major gifts program.
Gearing up for a special event for your organization this summer? If you haven’t yet seen the new Projects features of ResultsPlus Platinum, you might want to take a look. It’s been available for a while, and we’re already starting to make improvements based on suggestions we received from our customers.Read More
This week, I attended the annual AFP International Fundraising Conference in Boston. As an exhibitor at AFPFC 2016, I had the unique opportunity to talk with so many great conference attendees who are doing their part to make the world a better place. And, although my colleague and I were there for business purposes, we always take pride in knowing that we are helping to provide fundraisers around the world with some of the tools they need to advance their mission.Read More
The annual AFP International Fundraising Conference is coming up in less than two weeks, and we are so excited to be jetting off to Boston to exhibit again this year! When it comes to attending conferences, we fancy ourselves to be pretty much experts. And since we are AFP International Fundraising Conference veterans, we have compiled a list of tips and tricks to make sure you’re getting the most out of your conference experience.Read More
Sometimes I review the calls that come into the ResultsPlus support lines to get ideas on what to blog about. It’s always interesting to see and hear what customers are calling and talking about. And without fail, over the thirty years we’ve been in the business, the most common question asked is always ‘how do I build a query to… (insert example here).’Read More
By John Killoran, CEO of @PayRead More
There is a fascinating discussion beginning to play out in the media regarding data privacy and security. It’s a battle between the FBI and Apple over a cell phone used by one of the attackers in the mass shooting at the San Bernadino County Department of Public Health on December 2, 2015.
On February 1, ResultsPlus from Metafile announced that it had launched a major rebranding project, including a website facelift, in celebration of providing 30 years of nonprofit fundraising software. We have since unveiled our brand new website and are so proud of the results!Read More
We just survived another snowstorm here in Minnesota, using our trusty shovels and snow blowers to dig ourselves out. With the right tools, some elbow grease, and a bit of persistence, we’re usually able to get our sidewalks and driveways cleaned up in no time.
At your organization, you likely have a great team behind you, each member with a unique set of skills. When combined, these team members enhance your mission and make your organization more diverse and well-rounded.
I’m looking at the forecast for this week and it’s bone-chilling. Several of my so-called friends on Facebook are only making it more poignant. One is posting a picture showing side-by-side screenshots of weather reports for both Minnesota and Antarctica, and it’s warmer in Antarctica. Another ‘friend’ is posting pictures of themselves on a white sandy beach in the Caribbean. I can’t honestly decide which makes me feel colder.
Did you know that by the year 2020, the number of adults age 55 to 64 will outnumber the population of children younger than five for the first time in history? Did you also know that by 2030, 20 percent of the population will be older than 65?Read More
By Adam Weinger, President of Double the DonationRead More
It’s that time again – time to start thinking about year-end procedures. If you’re a ResultsPlus user, that means closing out your calendar year, and that can be a little scary if it’s your first (or even your tenth) time doing it. This enables your system to generate final numbers and stats for the year, and to clear the counters in preparation for the new year.
On this last day of work before the Christmas holiday here at Metafile, there are people wearing Santa hats, and goodies galore. Even in the midst of a strategy session or team meeting, someone’s earrings will be blinking or a holiday pen will be scribbling notes.
The holiday season is a time of fluffy white snow, hot cocoa, fresh-baked cookies, bright and shiny Christmas lights and…
Have you ever noticed that when you enter a new constituent address into ResultsPlus, the city, state, and county automatically appear when you enter a ZIP code? If not, we’ve got some great news for you. The option to ‘Default city, state, county from zip code’ is found in the User Settings area of the Users dialog on the Administration tab in ResultsPlus. Your ResultsPlus administrator can enable this for you and help save you loads of time when entering new constituents and addresses.Read More
This year’s #GivingTuesday came and went in a flurry of tweets, posts, likes and favorites. As a social media manager, can I just say how exciting it was to watch #GivingTuesday trend on Twitter and see the overwhelming number of posts and #UNselfies that dominated social media?Read More
By Jack Karako, Founding Principal and Strategist at IMPACTism
I was so pleased to have been able to attend our local AFP chapter’s National Philanthropy Day luncheon this week. In addition to connecting with some of my former colleagues in the local fundraising community, it was heartwarming to hear the stories of those who received special recognition for the special part they have played in the philanthropic sector.Read More
One of the biggest giving days of the year is approaching fast: Giving Tuesday.Read More
Microsoft has been promoting upgrades to their new Windows 10 in a big way. They are offering it as a limited-time free upgrade to qualified Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, and this may be getting people to consider it sooner than they might otherwise. New computers are coming with Windows 10 installed, though some will offer ‘downgrade rights’ if you’d prefer to start on a more familiar and well-tested version. We are currently testing ResultsPlus in the Windows 10 environment and all appears to be going smoothly. Once the testing is complete, we’ll announce official support for this newest version of Windows.Read More
We are very excited to be attending the LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo in Boston on November 1-4 as first-time exhibitors! We believe in the importance of providing quality donor management software to nonprofit aging services organizations in order to help them increase their fundraising success so they can continue to provide quality care to aging Americans.Read More
Anyone currently using EventsPlus should know by now that support for this legacy special event management application will soon be ending. That may be unsettling for those who prefer things to stay as they are, but with most change also comes new opportunity. In this case, the new Projects area of ResultsPlus is the new opportunity, and it’s designed to be a better fit for current-day event management.
We talk a lot about utilizing your nonprofit CRM/donor management software to its full potential and making sure you’re taking advantage of all the features available to you, but we also understand that many of our readers may not have transitioned to using donor management software to track donor data yet.Read More
I’d be willing to bet that one of the most valuable features of ResultsPlus (or any donor management system, for that matter) is also one of the most under-utilized. I’m talking about constituent-relationship management: the fields in your database that allow you to define, record, monitor, compile, analyze, and report on your major donor cultivation progress.
For the not-so-social butterfly, attending a conference with the intention of meeting new people and making connections can be nerve-wracking. Talking to people you don’t know, in an unfamiliar environment… What do you talk about, the weather? Where should you approach people? What do you do with those new connections when the conference is over? Isn’t it awkward?
Thanks to our prolific and creative marketing team, there are new bits of ResultsPlus- and fundraising-related information being published and presented nearly every day of the week. In case you haven’t yet found us through any of the following social media channels, here is a listing of the many ways you can follow along and pick up great information:Read More
By Richard Smith, DonorSearch
Interested in learning more about your current donors but don’t know where to start? Researching prospective or current donors can be a daunting challenge, especially if your organization hasn’t conducted prospect research before.Read More
For years our customers have been asking for the ability to store gift-related collateral materials in their ResultsPlus database. I’m talking about things like pledge forms, check images, and other correspondence included with donations that arrive in your mailbox. You know, those things we feel compelled to store - just in case we’re ever asked to produce it?
Tomorrow is System Administrator Appreciation Day, and we want to use this week’s blog post to say how much we appreciate our System Administrators here at Metafile, and why you should show yours how truly thankful you are for them.
You’ve been carefully tracking your donor’s data on meticulously organized Excel spreadsheets with military-like precision for years. They have become such an integral part of your job that you can’t fathom what you would do without these color-coded, alphabetically-organized, formulized rows and columns. Leaving your spreadsheets in the hands of someone else is enough to raise your stress level and your blood pressure. But the amount of data is getting overwhelming as your organization continues to grow and you realize that your tedious – yet cherished - methods are outdated.Read More
In case you haven’t seen an announcement, Microsoft is ending support for its Windows Server 2003 program this week:Read More
About this time every year, a host of ResultsPlus customers have just completed their fiscal year. The business office and/or accountant begins to wrap things up, formulate totals, reconcile accounts, and generate financial reports. Collectively, this is termed ‘closing the year’ and it usually involves some reconciliation between the accounting office and the development office.Read More
This year, America is turning 239 years old! That’s 239 years that we have celebrated freedom in this country. There are so many 4th of July traditions that people and families around the U.S. adhere to in order to commemorate the day of America’s independence. Parades, copious amounts of Red, White and Blue, fireworks, cook-outs with friends and family – These are all fun ways that many Americans celebrate.Read More
Credit card processing has become a regular activity for most nonprofit organizations, which means that sustained giving programs are being utilized regularly in the sector. Quick, convenient and affordable to process, your organization likely has a recurring giving program in place.
Last week’s blog post discussed the importance of backing up your database whenever you’re about to perform a ‘major data-changing procedure.’ So how do you know when you’re about to do that?Read More
Consider the following scenarios:Read More
Though the first day of summer has not officially arrived yet, many of us have already transitioned into our summer mindsets. Whether it’s Memorial Day, the last day of school for your kids, the warm weather or finally putting away that puffy winter coat, we all have a moment that pushes us into summer-mode.Read More
By Sarah Tedesco, DonorSearch
In all likelihood, you’ve heard about the benefits of casting a wide net. Whether sending out job applications or entering the dating game, expanding your options can help you succeed in the long run. Shouldn’t the same strategy hold true for nonprofit fundraising?Read More
As we approach the Memorial Day holiday, we remember the members of our armed forces who died while serving our country. We hold community dedications and parades, fly our flags proudly and place flowers on our veterans’ grave sites. In short, we find meaningful gestures to honor our deceased soldiers and veterans.
If you haven’t yet started receiving donations online, you may have a little catching up to do. In this digital day and age, so many donors – particularly younger ones – are more apt to go online to accomplish nearly everything, including making a charitable gift. And like with traditional giving methods, the easier you make the task, the more likely the donor will complete the steps that result in a successful donation to your mission.
Volunteers are the ones who keep operations at your organization running smoothly, and you greatly appreciate all they do for your mission. However, finding a group of dedicated volunteers is often a huge and difficult undertaking. Whether you’re sending out mailings, putting a plea on your nonprofit’s Facebook page or creating mass emails, reaching out to the right people can seem nearly impossible.Read More
Eight years ago this spring, a handful of ResultsPlus donor management customers signed on as the first users of ResultsPlus Online, a hosted version of our fundraising software that users accessed via the internet. It was a relatively new concept then and nonprofits were just beginning to embrace the idea that their fundraising data and its management could be handled safely and securely on someone else’s servers.Read More
Social media was buzzing yesterday with people talking about how their families or companies were going green for Earth Day. It’s always inspirational to see the flood of eco-friendly posts that take over on the day when people are most earth-conscious. But your tree-hugging, can-recycling, food-composting Facebook friends haven’t been the only ones trying to make the world a more sustainable place.
This week, the country celebrated volunteers during the 41st annual National Volunteer Week. Established by Points of Light in 1974, National Volunteer Week is comprised of seven days to inspire, recognize, show gratitude for and encourage volunteers.Read More
Keeping track of donor data, including past gifts, correspondence, event attendance and personal information, is one of the many tasks in a fundraiser’s job description. For organizations – big or small – it is often difficult to make sure that this information is organized, clean and able to be analyzed.Read More
There’s something in the air here today in Rochester MN. We’re experiencing our first 70-degree day today – and it’s only the first week of April! Someone brought in flowers, someone else brought in bagels, all to celebrate a gorgeous day. We’re conveniently forgetting about the fact that thunderstorms are predicted for this afternoon, but we’re willing to overlook rain and 50-mph winds in exchange for the parking of our parkas.Read More
One of the most important aspects of donor retention is making sure to thank your constituents for their contribution to your cause. Letting them know that they are appreciated and that their money was put to good use is a major factor in turning one-time donors into repeat donors.
Learning a new software application is rarely easy. And while it can be exciting to experience something new, it can also be frustrating to find yourself a bit disoriented when you have so much work to get done.Read More
Have you heard these stereotypes about the millennial generation?
It’s March already – almost spring! It’s also the time of year when we make a plea for you to participate in the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) Annual Survey. FEP is a collaborative effort to ‘grow philanthropy’s share of the GDP’ by providing nonprofits with tools to evaluate growth in giving. Participation is easy; you can do it from within ResultsPlus, and it only takes a minute (even less for many organizations). And at the end of the day, we can all benefit.Read More
Many of us in the nonprofit industry rely on email to correspond with donors and prospects, whether it’s asking for a gift, reminding them about an upcoming event or thanking them for a donation. If your response and click-through rates are not where you would like them to be, it may be time to rethink your nonprofit email marketing campaign and try some new tactics.
There is a beautiful story on this week’s home page of The Chronicle of Philanthropy website about a 90-year-young woman who made a $100-million gift. The donor is Gert Boyle, chair of the Columbia Sportswear Company, and she has just taken the top spot on my ‘if-you-could-invite-any-ten-people-to-a-dinner-party’ list.Read More
There’s a lot of talk surrounding the 2015 Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Fundraising Conference (AFPIC) taking place in Baltimore on March 29-31. If you’re like us, you’re in the midst of planning your conference schedule—the speakers you want to hear, the sessions you want to attend and the expo booths you want to visit—while also thinking about some of the unique Baltimore sights that you want to check out while you’re visiting. We’ve highlighted some of the must-sees at both AFPFC, as well as in the historic city that’s hosting us.Read More
A CRM (constituent relationship management) system like ResultsPlus gives your organization the ability to track the details of your relationships with your donors. Furthermore, it can help you remember the little things – the details about who your donors are and what they are interested in.
While everyone is busy making (and trying to keep) resolutions in the New Year, jump on the bandwagon and consider making one for your donor management system. Resolve today to get your data cleaned up and standardized so you’re ready for any mass mailing you might decide to do in the months ahead. And then make another resolution to keep it that way – by scheduling an NCOA update every quarter.Read More
Does it feel like the millennial generation is speaking a foreign language? With their eyes glued to computer, smartphone and tablet screens, it seems that today’s young adults are uninterested in face-to-face communication and that they’re lazy and can’t drag themselves away from their electronic devices.
For our customers who operate on a fiscal year that coincides with the calendar year, it’s time to think about your year-end procedures. To that end, here are some quick and helpful tips to get you moving in the right direction:Read More
As 2014 is nearing the end, all of us at Metafile would like to wish you all a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! It has been an exciting year for us and we are excited to see what 2015 has to offer.Read More
A few years ago my family began a new tradition for holiday giving. Instead of buying each other presents, we decided to take turns developing new and unique ideas for a gift exchange each year.
As we near year’s end, many charitable organizations and nonprofits are amping up their fundraising efforts. As we all know, the holiday season is the time of year when most people do their annual giving. In fact, according to a 2012 GuideStar Survey, 50.5 percent of the organizations surveyed said that they received the majority of their contributions between October and December.Read More
Shortcuts can sure get a bum rap. They’re too often associated with negative concepts like laziness, poor quality and undesirable outcomes. But I’m a fan, and I personally think they have some pretty important uses. (Example: that store-bought pie crust I used for my Thanksgiving Day offering last week.)
A few days ago I was reading an editorial piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The author was criticizing the foundation for focusing their efforts on causes outside of the United States when there is so much need inside their home country. While I can admire the passion of the writer for a cause he champions, I was mostly focused on the idea that giving is such a personal choice. Every gift should be celebrated, and every donor appreciated.
We hear it at least a few times per year: “The home of the free because of the brave.”
As a nonprofit organization, it is important to get the word out about your cause. This helps to increase donations, keep your charity afloat and do the most good. However, you’re probably also working with a very limited marketing budget that doesn’t include billboards, television commercials, fancy brochures and pamphlets or website retargeting.
Our local community is observing National Philanthropy Day on Thursday, Nov. 6. The Southern Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals has organized and promoted a gathering of donors, nonprofits and beneficiaries to share, learn and celebrate. It’s been happening for more than 10 years, but this year may be the best yet. It will feature Jerold Panas, a nationally-recognized (and internationally-known) expert in the field of philanthropy, as the keynote speaker.Read More
As the holiday season approaches, many nonprofits have begun considering how to jump-start their nonprofit's fundraising efforts in order to increase donations. Whether it’s through a photo of a stray dog with those adorable puppy-dog eyes, a touching personal story or an eye-catching marketing campaign, nonprofits are constantly looking for ways to increase their number of donors.
It may be hard to believe, but there are still plenty of organizations out there who are using “manual methods” to store and manage their fundraising information. They may be keeping lists on paper or in spreadsheets, but they apparently don’t have software that is specifically designed to manage donors and other information specific to nonprofits, according to the results of the ‘BuyerView 2014’ survey conducted by Software Advice, an organization that reviews and provides software-purchase advice throughout all sectors of the business community.
Written any grants lately? Submitted any applications recently? What is the total of all your outstanding requests? How many proposals are outstanding for your new initiative project?Read More
Unless you’ve just returned from a third world country, you most likely could not have avoided the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that is spreading like wildfire through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. What an amazing phenomenon it has become! To date, it has generated over $53 million dollars and brought in 1.1 million new donors to the ALS Association.Read More
August is an exciting time in the non-profit sector when The NonProfit Times releases its seventeenth annual Power & Influence Top 50 list.Read More
This is a landmark year in my household. I’m officially ending my 22-year run as a parental participant in the annual back-to-school ritual. No more fighting for cart space in the school supply aisle, no more pleading for the kids to go through last years’ clothes and pass them on to the next sibling, and no more suppressed tears on the first day of school until after the bus pulled away. It’s bittersweet, to say the least.Read More
Today seems to be Import Day on the ResultsPlus Help Desk. I’m not sure if this was coincidental, or if something is significant about passing the mid-point of the summer calendar - the July 4th holiday. Regardless, there were an unusually large number of calls from customers seeking help with importing data into ResultsPlus.Read More
From the ResultsPlus team at Metafile Information Systems, please have a safe and fun Independence Day holiday. Whether you’re watching fireworks, grilling burgers, camping, or spending time on the water, we hope you find a way to relax and appreciate the best of summer. We know how hard you work – you deserve the break. Enjoy!Read More
The annual Giving USA report was released last week through the collaborative efforts of the Giving USA Foundation, The Giving Institute, and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. This well-known publication is used by many professionals and organizations as the benchmark for philanthropic health in the US.Read More
It is with both sadness and joy that I write my final blog post. Never fear, the blog will continue with new and exciting tips and information each week. However, I am taking on new challenges. I am leaving Metafile after nearly 15 years (sadness) to return to my home state and pursue a new opportunity (joy).Read More
For those of you with a fiscal year coming to a close this month, it’s time to start thinking about year-end reporting. Two of the simplest things you can measure are your Retention Rate and your Attrition Rate. Thanks to the Fiscal Summary table, this is a fairly easy task in ResultsPlus.Read More
If you’ve ever wanted to take the same contact information, for example, the date, time, reminder date, note, etc., and apply it to multiple records in ResultsPlus, wait no more.Read More
The end of the fiscal year is fast approaching for organizations that run on a July-June fiscal year. Here are a few tips to support your efforts to report on your current year and plan for your next year.Read More
I recently read a little story in a philanthropy publication that touched me. It was about a surprise million-dollar gift given to a small church in a remote area of the country – a gift that far exceeded the church’s annual budget. The obvious surprise was that the donor was not really involved in the church and had definitely not advertised the fact that he was capable of giving a million-dollar gift. In fact, he was described as a recluse who lived in a portable home with no running water. He had apparently attended the church as a child.Read More
We’re wrapping up development of a new feature for ResultsPlus Platinum: Document Archival. While not every organization needs this functionality, it does make life a little easier for a number of organizations. This post covers a few of the reasons an organization may want to use the new document archival functions in ResultsPlus Platinum.Read More
When I first began writing blog entries, I promised to work through a list of the top ten things I wished I would have known when I was working as a development officer and using fundraising software. I must confess that I’ve been remiss in keeping this promise - so far I’ve covered only five of them:Read More
Have you ever wondered who made what change to a record, for example a donation, in your ResultsPlus database? In addition to the Audits screen available for every record in ResultsPlus (SHIFT+F12 to bring up the screen), you can also run very specific auditing reports.Read More
I recently had the opportunity to participate in a webinar presented by John Greenhoe, author of the book called ‘Opening the Door to Major Gifts: Mastering the Discovery Call.’ I suspect the term ‘discovery call’ was borrowed from the sales world, referring to the point at which a cold prospect becomes warm.Read More
If you read last week’s blog, you’ll remember that I waxed rhapsodic about medians, and a wee bit about other common statistical calculations. I also promised to provide step-by-step instructions for how to produce this data using ResultsPlus and other tools you already know and have. Here goes (in alphabetical order)!
Averages: In addition to several reports that contain this type of data, you can take any query in ResultsPlus and obtain an average. Any time you print a list of constituents in ResultsPlus, you have the opportunity to turn that list into a report. The wizard that allows you to do this is called the Quick Report Wizard. From within the wizard, you can add an average for any numeric field:
I’m pretty sure we are all aware of what an average is. Averages have a pretty significant weakness, though, from a data analysis perspective: They are easily skewed by “outlier” data. One extremely large gift, for example, can make your average significantly higher than it would otherwise be. There are numerous things you can do to minimize this impact. For example, statisticians will often remove outlier data on both ends (high and low) before calculating the average. But what constitutes outlier data? If you are planning this route, you then have to start worrying about additional calculations.Read More
I highly recommend that you watch more TV at work.Read More
If you haven’t already seen a notification in ResultsPlus when you log onto your database each day, you will see one soon. We’ve released a significant update to ResultsPlus. For our customers on the ultra-lite, lite, and standard editions of ResultsPlus, this will look like a normal revision to ResultsPlus 11. However, for our ResultsPlus Platinum edition customers, and that includes customers for whom we host ResultsPlus on our servers, the release of 11.5 is no small thing. The project management features are now available for your use. These features include management functions for dinners, golf outings and auctions, as well as the ability to produce reports, queries and mail merges for project management data.Read More
Some applications can be run with what are known as “switches.” ResultsPlus is such an application. Have you wanted to see the full descriptions of funds, campaigns, and appeals on the Executive Summary instead of the codes? You can. In order to do this, you must start ResultsPlus using a switch. You can create a shortcut and add the switch to your shortcut. The switch to tell ResultsPlus to display the full descriptions on the Executive Summary is “-i”. You can append the “-i” to the end of the path in your shortcut. Then, whenever you launch ResultsPlus from that shortcut, the full descriptions will display. Here’s an example of how the path in the shortcut might look:Read More
This seems like a good time of year to talk about years. Specifically, I’m referring to fiscal years and calendar years. Based on the calls we’ve been receiving about generating tax letters for donors, I thought it would be a good time to distinguish between the two and to clarify how ResultsPlus helps you with both time periods.Read More
For the next few weeks, I’ll periodically post a bit of information about our upcoming release of our new project management features. These features are a part of our ResultsPlus Platinum edition.Read More
A new calendar year has just begun, and what better time to make three little comparisons to help you assess the effectiveness of your fundraising efforts. The questions can be applied at nearly any point in your development program – your overall totals, an individual appeal, or even to a single donor. They’re pretty simple, and hopefully you’ll find them helpful to get started on your own.Read More
Greetings and Happy New Year! We thought we’d start off the New Year with a quick tip on contacting support. Our Technical Support Specialists love our customers and vice versa, so it can be tempting to send an email directly to a specific specialist. We urge you to avoid this temptation and to send emails to email@example.com or call our toll-free number at 800.222.4096. The reason for this is because, depending on the time of year and vacation schedules, you may not hear back with an answer in a timely fashion if you send a note or leave a message directly for a specific specialist. There are numerous reasons for this, and none of them are that we don’t like you.Read More
If you are using these products, we wanted to give you a heads up that they are nearing the end of their extended support lifecycle. Per Microsoft’s website, the end of lifecycle date is April 8th, 2014. If you’d like to know more about it, please visit their website at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/lifecycleRead More
Regardless of when your organizations’ fiscal year ends, your donors operate on a ‘fiscal’ year that ends on December 31st. We know that because that’s what the IRS tells us. And since donors often behave in predictable ways based on the calendar (e.g. giving surges in December), it makes sense for you to use the January-December timeframe for analysis and reporting – regardless of what your accounting year is.Read More
We added a new video to our ResultsPlus channel on YouTube this week that I thought might be of interest to some folks. It's a quick video on the reasons why you might choose to add custom areas to ResultsPlus, including the actual creation of a custom table, setting up security for it, and creating a drop-down list for one of the fields. The whole video is less than 5 minutes, and if you've ever wondered about why to create or how to create custom tables, this video is right up your alley.Read More
Before you take the plunge and dive into your marketing messages, it’s always good to test the waters first. Nonprofit Times recently posted advice on their website from one of ResultsPlus’ product managers, Amanda Mallinger Reinartz, which describes the importance of testing fundraising marketing messages. The blog post also offers best practices on what to test, how to record your findings and ultimately, what to do with the results.Read More
We, at Metafile, wish each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family and friends. Know that we are humbled to have customers like you, who spend all year working towards making the world a place for which we can all be even more thankful.Read More
I feel sorry for the little holiday. Before it lays the frenzy of ghoulish costumes and buckets of candy, and then quickly following it is the all-consuming holiday season that eclipses all others in the commercial world. In fact, if it weren’t for the Thanksgiving holiday, marketers would have us jump from Halloween right into Christmas (and actually I noticed a few who did just that). And now with Black Friday starting earlier every year, it’s only a matter of time before someone decides to park food trucks near the long shopper lines, sell roasted drumsticks and pumpkin pie bites, and call it Turkey Thursday. Voila - no more worries about the crowded table at Grandma’s!Read More
If you’ve never done it, importing data into a database can be an intimidating task. But if you plan your work ahead of time and follow a few basic rules, it can be a huge time-saver and an important way to keep your database current and clean.Read More
I’ve recently spent time working with our Support team to help them work with customers to troubleshoot “missing” donations. As more and more data entry is automated, when something suddenly doesn’t work, it can be more difficult to figure out what went wrong and where the data is. Here are a few tips to help you troubleshoot the various ways a donation can go “missing.”Read More
If you’re lucky, things run pretty smoothly in your development office. Each of your staff has their unique area of responsibility and interacts seamlessly with other internal experts. If your luck holds out, this state of equilibrium will continue for a very long time.
If (or perhaps more accurately, when) your luck runs out, then one day you’ll find that a key staff person (like the person who administers your donor management system) has announced they have taken a position with another company or are retiring. They have years of information about donors and gifts, processes and procedures stored neatly inside their head and it’s about to walk out of your building.
Suddenly your big puzzle has a missing piece. And you have a new priority to hire and train a new employee. Where do you begin?
The answer may depend on how much money you’ve set aside in your budget for staff training. If you’ve prepared for this scenario, then you can simply visit the training page of your software company’s website to learn more about what your options are. You may even be able to purchase a training session right on the spot.
But if you haven’t the financial resources to purchase training services for your new employee, consider what you might already have at your fingertips. In the good old days when software came with manuals, you could just dig them up (hopefully) and start reading. Now, software is designed with the help system built right into the product. That means that there is likely a digital version of the old-fashioned manuals waiting to be explored whenever you’re ready. If you haven’t found it yet and you’re using a Windows-based application, look for either of these two fairly-universal tools for Windows-based software applications:
There may be even more ways to get a jump start on training a new employee on a shoestring. Consider the following possible resources:
This week’s blog post is short and sweet…And it comes with a picture. To celebrate October, we thought we’d share a picture of the ResultsPlus Support and Development team. You have probably spoken to some of us on the phone or via email more than once!Read More
An email went by recently from Idealware. The message touted A Practical Guide to Integrated Communications: A Workbook for Nonprofits. Interest piqued, I downloaded this free guide. It is excellent. I highly recommend any organization that communicates with constituents via multiple channels (Facebook, website, twitter, email, for example) download and use this guide. It is clearly written, and it contains worksheets to help you identify who is responsible for communicating what at your organization. It then guides you through setting up strategic, consistent (but not necessary exactly the same) messages and building a timeline for those messages.Read More
If you’re a fundraising professional, I suspect you might have the same pile of magazines and newspapers building up on your shelf that I do. You know them - the magazines and newspapers, whitepapers and shared articles that people have passed on to you because you’re next in line on the literary trail. If you’re like me, you have great plans to go through those while you’re eating lunch at your desk one day. Then months go by and the pile has not moved or changed, except for an increase in height.Read More
Did you know that Metafile has a referral program for ResultsPlus? It may be one of the best kept secrets we have. And I’m here to remove the mystery!Read More
We are pleased to announce that a new e-learning course has been added to the ResultsPlus.tv site. ‘CRM for Major Gift Development’ is a new six-session course that focuses on how ResultsPlus can help you manage the myriad of details involved with major donor cultivation.Read More
I’m giddy right now. How often does a software developer use the word giddy? (Answer: about once every 2-3 years! Ha!)Read More
In my non-professional life, I’m currently chairing a fundraising committee. The fundraising we are doing is funding a literacy initiative for local area first graders. Part of the fundraising effort involves, you guessed it, a special event. Because you, as nonprofit professionals, experience what it is to manage a project like this as part of your daily lives, I wanted to say “Wow!” I’m only doing this as a very limited gig, and I cannot imagine the necessary organizational skills, enthusiasm, and energy it must take to do this full-time. In the spirit of sharing, here are a few things I’ve learned during my time chairing the committee. These things are universal, and I’ve no doubt those of you with experience have already learned them many times over!Read More
This week we are in the midst of a three-day session of the ResultsPlus Essential Elements class here at our corporate headquarters in Rochester MN. (We’re also in the midst of a serious heat wave, but thankfully most of the attendees are from the Midwest and are well-accustomed to this type of mood-swing in the weather.)Read More
Metafile has recently launched a YouTube channel for ResultsPlus. We have put a video on Solicitor Metrics on the channel for your viewing. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be uploading additional videos on industry topics. If there is a topic you’d like to see us cover, let us know!Read More
An increasing number of inquiries are coming in about Moves Management and how software can help implement it. For organizations with a staff large enough for specialists, it is probably a familiar concept and term. For smaller and one-person development offices, it may be yet on the horizon.Read More
Today I held a somewhat long conversation with…myself. It went something like this:
Query is one of the most powerful tools I have in my ResultsPlus toolbox. It’s my favorite thing to do in ResultsPlus. I can use it to analyze most any imaginable scenario, as long as I’ve got the data. With this kind of magical tool in everyone’s hands, how could it not be the hands-down favorite?
Ah, Self, let me count the ways for you…
- I don’t know where to find the information I want to analyze.
- I cannot ensure that the data is entered that I will later want to analyze.
- Ands and Ors are confusing.
- Parentheses: The bane of my existence.
Hmm…Self, you make some valid points. Let’s work through them.
- Did you know that the database fields are identified in the tooltips for the fields? If you know where the information “lives” on the screens, you can hover your mouse pointer over the label and the database field name will appear. If you prefer to see the fields in list form, you can print the fields from the ResultsPlus Help system.
- This one is tricky. At the start of any campaign, we probably identify how we want to analyze it later. Perhaps we can make certain fields required in ResultsPlus so we cannot accidentally forget to populate them. We can also set up default values in our Quick Entry forms for gift, pledge, membership, and adding new constituents. If the needs are more complex, we can talk with support about additional options. (OK, so maybe I didn’t have this whole conversation with myself, but the suggestions are still valid options! :-))
- Ands and Ors can definitely be confusing. This is because, in English, sometimes “and” actually means “or” (“I want everyone from Minnesota and Iowa included”), but in query languages that NEVER happens. Being aware of when this is likely to occur goes a long way toward clearing up the confusion.
- Ah, parentheses…think of them as the two arms of a hug. A hug you only need if you are working with both Ands and Ors in the same query. (After all, Ands and Ors are confusing, so a hug seems like it might be needed therapy!) Years ago, we had a trainer who had one of the best examples of how parentheses are used in “real life.” She used the example of ordering breakfast.A person would get steak and eggs, country potatoes or hash browns, and toast or fruit. In this case, the commas work pretty well as parentheses. Let’s re-write the menu: Steak and eggs and (country potatoes or hashbrowns) and (toast or fruit)
If you still aren’t convinced the query is one of the best things ever, we also cover many aspects of query in the Help. Here is a snapshot of some query topics:
Having worked in the nonprofit sector for many years, I have definitely had my share of golf balls. Yes, you read that correctly, I said golf balls. I’m not talking about the freebies given away at a charity golf tournament, I’m talking about that feeling you get when you’ve witnessed something so powerful that it moves you to tears, and in the process of trying to suppress them you get this feeling that you’ve just swallowed a golf ball.Read More
A growing number of ResultsPlus customers are using custom donation pages to integrate with their ResultsPlus application and database. Not only does this make the data entry process easier for them, it can also make life simpler for the donor who prefers to give online. It can, that is, if the webpage doesn’t chase them away before they are able to finish the job.Read More
Yahoo! is disabling accounts that have been inactive for at least 12 months, as of Monday, July 15th. Other people can apply for these accounts any time between that date and mid-August. After that, the accounts may be re-assigned by Yahoo! to new account holders. What does this mean for nonprofits? It means that you could have addresses that, if you do not confirm them within the next month, may have been transferred to people who have not opted into receiving communications from you. If you would like to read more about this change, you can do so on Yahoo!’s blog.Read More
Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy was released to the public a few weeks ago by the Giving USA Foundation. Like every year since 1956, the report summarizes and reports on the sources and destinations of charitable giving in the United States. The Giving USA 2013 report issued on June 18th provides data on gifts made in 2012, collected and aggregated from millions of households, corporations, estates, and foundations.Read More
I’ve recently run into a number of really good articles and posts online about different topics. I thought I’d share a few of them with you this week.Read More
This light-hearted blog post on “10 Things I Hate About Fundraising,” by Kathryn Brooke, found its way past my eyes, and it first made me laugh, then made me feel happy. No small accomplishment for a single post. I thought I’d pass it along. As an aside, software developers have some of these same experiences…I’m beginning to think that no matter our job descriptions, number 4 applies. :)Read More
I spend a bit of time with customers who are exploring ways to take their ResultsPlus application to the next level. Through Metafile’s Consulting Services offering, I get a chance to learn about their business processes and daily practices so I can help them better utilize the program to meet their needs.Read More
If you’ve worked with mail merge letters, you are probably no stranger to seeing the occasional error. These errors are typically due to security and the way Microsoft Word attempts to protect you and itself from abuse. Below are a few common errors and what can be done to eliminate them. I’ve snipped this content from the ResultsPlus User Assistance, so never fear, you’ve got the answers at your fingertips all the time!Read More
I’ve apparently been under a rock for the last month, because I missed this great article from The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Just in case you missed it as well, here’s the link: http://philanthropy.com/article/Most-Charities-Forecast-Rise/138303/ .Read More
Churches have been doing it for generations. The Combined Federal Campaign and United Way have both built their foundations on it. And if you’re not doing it, perhaps you should be. I’m talking about a recurring gift program – inviting your donors to make repeated gifts at regular intervals.Read More
I recently attended a great Tweet Chat #GrantChat hosted by the Grant Professionals Association @GPANational. I must admit, I was there to “lurk and learn.” And did I get a chance to learn a lot! I also discovered that there are some things ResultsPlus can do to help with some of the commonly identified problems (but I was too new to the medium to be comfortable commenting). Does this mean that there aren’t a number of improvements that can be made to ResultsPlus to help with Grants Management? Of course not, it just made me realize that, while I learned a lot about what we can research for the future, it is also true that a number of people are unaware that, perhaps, their existing CRM tools can help them in some ways.Read More
Your organization probably has a website, and you probably have a way to give online. But are you currently driving your donors to give online? Some donors will always prefer to give via the mail, but a growing number of donors find giving online to be quick and convenient. Here are a few tips to encourage your donors to give online. Some of them are likely obvious, but hopefully you’ll also find a few gems in this list.Read More
Everyone needs to KISS.
No, I’m not promoting the spread of germs via lip lock. I’m talking about the acronym KISS – the one that stands for ‘Keep it simple, stupid’ or ‘Keep it simple and straightforward.’
KISS is a design concept that originated in the Navy in the sixties. It was a term coined by an engineer who wanted to build an airplane that could be fixed with just a simple set of tools. And since the term is still in use 50 years later, it clearly still has ongoing value.
It’s such a simple concept that the need to define it hardly seems necessary, and yet we all know how often things go too far in the other direction. Consider the example illustrated in Rube Goldberg’s cartoon called 'Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin.'
One of our customers recently asked if there was a way to geo-code his ResultsPlus data to create a map to show where the families they serve are located as well as a map to show where their donors are located. There are numerous reasons why an organization may want to do this. Perhaps the goal is to create a way for your donors to visualize how many/much service is provided in a specific region/city/neighborhood. Or, perhaps it’s important to identify and see where most of your donors are coming from geographically, for example. There are various tools on the market to help you do this. There’s also a way to do it for free with Google Fusion. The rest of this post will discuss how to create maps and visualizations with Google Fusion.
If you intend to create a map of your data, the first thing you need to do is figure out what data you want. Create a query in ResultsPlus that qualifies the set of addresses you wish to use. For example, if you want to visualize how your donors are geographically concentrated (where they live), build a query to find all your active donors. Be sure to include Address1, City, State, and Zip code in the field fields you wish displayed in the result. Save the result as a spreadsheet (I used Microsoft Excel).
At this point, you will need to massage your data a wee bit. No worries, though, the steps to do it are below. For Google Fusion to geo-code and map your data, it requires that your address information be combined into a single column. Because ResultsPlus (and most databases) store address information in multiple fields, we will need to add a column to the Excel spreadsheet we just created. Open the spreadsheet you just created and add a column to the end of it. (I named mine “Combined.”) Populate that column by concatenating the Address 1, City, State, and Zip code columns. Here’s an example formula to do that:
=CONCATENATE(C2," ",D2," ",E2,", ",F2)
In the case of my spreadsheet, “C2” is Address1, “D2” is City, “E2” is State, and “F2” is the Zip code. Notice I put a little bit of formatting in there, as well (spaces and a comma), to create separation between the values. The result is that my new “Combined” column has a complete address in it. Save the spreadsheet as a CSV or TAB delimited text file. (Google Fusion cannot take the Excel file format directly.) Before you upload the file, you may want to remove all of the non-combined fields (and especially any columns that contain name information) to ensure you are not accidentally exposing more data to the web than you wish.
At this point your data is ready to be imported into Google Fusion. For the exact steps to do this, I refer you to a great set of steps I found online. The steps are incredibly simple to follow. That being said, there are a few things I'd like to point out to make sure you are aware.
Google Fusion is designed for sharing. Because of this, you need to take special care to ensure you do not accidentally share your data unless that is your intention. In step 6 of the referenced article, there is an “Import New Table” dialog that displays. Be sure to uncheck the option in the following picture. If you do not uncheck this, your data will be available to others for download.
I just spent the last week drawing pictures. And although you’ll never see them displayed in a famous art museum, they are still of significant value. Using a series of squares, diamonds, and arrows, I drew out a process flow chart to document a new responsibility I’ve recently taken on. And in my opinion, there is no better time to document a process than when you’re first learning it.Read More
It’s officially spring, and what better time to do a bit of spring cleaning on your database! A couple weeks ago there was a great article in Nonprofit Quarterly on doing just this. I highly recommend the read. And, if you’re looking for something ResultsPlus-specific, here are a few ‘cleanup’ tips.Read More
I recently had the opportunity to attend a webinar that focused on best practices for donor management systems. I attended not so much to learn new facts but to help validate the kinds of advice we give to our customers on a regular basis. I was not surprised to find out that the practices recommended by the presenter are consistent with the suggestions we make to ResultsPlus customers every day. And in most cases, we build specific tools into the application to help carry out those practices as well. Here are just a few of the recommended practices, along with the ResultsPlus resources available to help you achieve them:Read More
In recent days and weeks, it seems that every major nonprofit journal, blog, professional association, and newsletter has been talking the “mobile” talk. While most donors still give offline (yes, it’s true), those who give online do so from a number of different devices including PCs, tablets, and smartphones. As more and more of the population are adopting smartphones, the ability to display an online giving page in a mobile-friendly format is becoming more important.Read More
I am a proud member of the sandwich generation. I’ve been in that club for quite some time, but it’s never been more obvious than right now, when I’m simultaneously coaching my mother through her second knee-replacement recovery while supporting my daughter through her first real crush and prom date.Read More
Do you send (or want to send) birthday greetings to your donors and prospects? If you know the day or even just the month of your donors’ birthdays, you can send a nice birthday note easily and inexpensively using ResultsPlus. If you wish, you can send a card in the mail. If you prefer email, you can do that instead.
I’ll start by showing a query to qualify people with birthdays during a given month. After that, I’ll write about a few additional tweaks you may want to make, and I’ll mention a few things you may want to think about as you work out how you can implement a sustainable “birthday greeting” process for your donors.
So, if what you really want to do is find all the people in your database who have a birthday in March, for example, your query criterion would look like this:
Month([Folder].[BirthDate]) = 3
For those of you who write a lot of queries, you’ll probably notice this isn’t something you’ve seen before. When writing queries in the designer, the default is to qualify the entire date, not just a part of it. However, with a bit of manual work when initially writing the query, you can adjust the query to focus on one component of the date instead of the entire thing.
The steps would be to:
- Select the Folder Table
- Select the BirthDate field
- Select the Equals (=) operator
- Enter the value of 3
- Manually enclose the [Folder].[BirthDate] field in Month() like so: Month([Folder].[BirthDate])
- Remove the hash symbols (#) from around the number 3.
A link at the bottom of a recent issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy caught my eye just as I was about to close the page: “Shoe Shiner Turns 30 Years of Tips Into $200,000 in Gifts.” This is the kind of donor story that warms my heart, and often the kind that gets overshadowed by gazillion-dollar gifts to mega-sized institutions. I was immediately compelled to click the link to the original story, aired by local television station WTAE Pittsburgh, and I was rewarded with a story that was indeed heartwarming.Read More
I thought I’d take a few moments to write about ways you can use the data you have in your database to identify patterns that may be useful. The rest of this blog post identifies some basic trends to look for and a few example things you can do after you’ve identified them.Read More
Last week’s blog post was a reminder about the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s annual survey. Titled ‘Giving Metrics and Benchmarks: Something Quick and Easy,’ it was intended to encourage you to take a few simple steps to allow everyone to benefit from the value of our collective fundraising statistics.Read More
For many organizations, the change of the calendar year results in a frenzy of year-end processes, including sending tax statements to donors. Now that February is here, and everyone has a few moments to recover from January, I’d like to ask you to do something.
Please participate in the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s Annual Survey. Participation is easy; you can do it from within ResultsPlus, and it only takes a minute (even less for many organizations).
What’s In It for Us?
We are able to use the data submitted to generate statistics regarding how fundraising went last year. We can provide them to you, along with a few ideas on what you can do with the data and statistics to improve your performance. We can also do research into the market to see if we can help identify what contributed to the outcome of the data.
What’s In It for You?
You can compare your individual organization’s performance to that of the ResultsPlus customer base as a whole. You can also compare your individual performance to that of all Fundraising Effectiveness Project participants in the nonprofit sector.
- You can identify areas for improvement in your fundraising activities.
- You can identify where you are doing well.
- You can do your part as a “nonprofit community citizen” by contributing to the benchmarking and progress of the sector as a whole.
How Do You Submit the Data?
In ResultsPlus 11, you access the submission form from the System Add-Ins tab of the ribbon.
In ResultsPlus 10, you access the submission form from the Administration tab of the ribbon.
The button looks like this:
Knowledge is power – everyone knows that, right? We hear it first from our parents and teachers when they encourage us to take advantage of our education. Then we hear it again from our employers and mentors when we begin our careers.Read More
Now that the newest version of Microsoft SQL Server© has been out for a while, we get calls from customers asking about compatibility between ResultsPlus and SQL Server 2012. I thought I’d share what we know from testing here.
ResultsPlus 11 supports SQL Server 2012. Our testing here has indicated no issues with it, but that doesn’t mean there are no issues with SQL Server 2012 itself. We know of one major change in SQL Server 2012 that can be disconcerting. There are situations where SQL Server can be restarted in such a way that it skips 1000 values in fields’ people typically think of as “auto-increment” fields. No records or data are lost, but when the server starts again, it simply jumps up 1000 numbers and then continues with the numbering scheme.
The numbering scenario was originally reported as a defect on Microsoft Connect by users in the wild. Microsoft has now stated that this behavior is by design, so we do not expect a return to the “old way.” It was done, per the statement here, as part of the changes made to increase performance of SQL Server.
What does this mean for ResultsPlus? It means that ResultsPlus will continue to work the same way it has in the past. However, it is now possible, though uncommon, to find legitimate gaps of 1000 values in fields that store auto-increment values. Example fields are FolderID, GiftID, AddressID, etc. This change in behavior on the part of SQL Server serves to highlight how important it is to have all of the auditing and logging features enabled in ResultsPlus as well as SQL Server, just in case you ever question a gap in a numbering sequence.
Here’s a quick rundown of the most common features you may want to have enabled:
- Upgrade to ResultsPlus 11. We have expanded the data logging to this version based on input from previous versions.
- Uncheck the user option to allow editing gifts after posting. If this option is checked, users can delete donations, creating gaps in the GiftID sequence. This will not prevent the deletion of unposted donations, however.
- Only allow one user (or login) to delete constituent records. To do this, place that login in its own workgroup. Then, grant Read Only or Hidden access to all workgroups except the one that should be used for Maintenance functions. This will ensure that all deletions (and constituent merges) go through a single source and are properly vetted at your organization prior to occurring.
- Set your database to be fully logged in SQL Server. This will enable you to identify all deletions by “replaying” the actions up until certain points. This is not something that can be handpicked, though, so don’t feel this is a way to choose to undo certain actions and not others.
As we all get up to speed with the new year, I thought I’d post a handy link to the IRS website. This link is to a pdf which does a nice job of explaining what needs to be done from its perspective when it comes to acknowledging charitable donations.Read More
The new year has begun, and with any luck you’re still busy entering in all those last-minute gifts from your donors. You know the ones I mean – they arrive about January 20th and are dated for 12/31/12? You’ve probably already had the discussion on how to handle these generous donations, and hopefully you’ve come to terms with that decision, whatever it may be. When you do finally get all the 2012 gifts entered, here are a few suggestions for some year-end activities that ResultsPlus can help you with:Read More
I suspect a number of folks are still enjoying the holiday, so this week’s post is short and sweet. It’s a link to a brief but very informative article from The Nonprofit Times website on how to approach “the ask” when it comes to major gifts fundraising. Enjoy!Read More
Regardless of where your organization is in terms of your fiscal year, you can’t ignore the fact that the calendar year is quickly coming to a close. And even if your fiscal year doesn’t end for another 6 months, you might consider that yourdonors’ fiscal year – the one determined by the IRS – ends on December 31st.Read More
As part of my preparations for a service learning trip to a faraway place, I recently scheduled a trip to the Travel Clinic. There I received vaccinations for a whole host of unpleasant illnesses. While ruminating over the state of my arm and all its new holes, along with the greatly increased number of pills I will be ingesting over the next several weeks, I began thinking of how a little bit of discomfort now will prevent serious discomfort in the future and how this can apply to databases.Read More
Do you find yourself entering the same bits of data over and over when entering donations? If so, there are a couple things you can do to save yourself quite a bit of time.Read More
On the day I am writing this, it reached 63 degrees here in our corporate headquarters in Rochester MN. Why is this news, you ask? Because it’s the first week in December and snow is far more typical at this time of year. That must be why they call it ‘Tropical Minnesota.’Read More
We’ve had a number of requests from our customers to enable mobile access to ResultsPlus. Today I have some exciting news I can share as the result of research and newly available technologies. But first, let me regale you with the history of our research into mobile access options for ResultsPlus.Read More
This post is about a handy key I suspect you may not often use: The F5 key. The standard use for the F5 key is to refresh or reload. You can use this key to reload web pages in your web browser, for example. This key is also very helpful when used inside the ResultsPlus application.Read More
I love the democratic process. (Don’t misunderstand me. I dislike the negativity and the seemingly 24/7 attack ads as much as the next person.) What I love is that we have the privilege and duty to listen to the candidates, learn their positions, and to think about our positions. We have to sometimes step outside ourselves and our own personal interests and attempt to think through the issues from the perspective of what isn’t just best for us personally, but for our fellow Americans as a whole.Read More
It’s probably not customary to write a blog about the customers of another company, but I’m actually feeling bad for the customers of Common Ground, a donor management application which is in a period of significant upheaval. Because their parent company was bought out by a larger company, and the larger company has decided to phase out the program, current Common Ground users will now have two choices: 1) migrate to a program offered by their new ‘parent’ company that is geared toward larger organizations or 2) start all over, research all the available fundraising database applications and choose something new.Read More
Most donors these days expect organizations to provide a way to donate online. However, not every online giving page is designed to best meet donor expectations. Here are a few tips to help you review your online giving page and make adjustments to ensure your donors have an efficient, secure, and friendly online giving experience. And if you have a tip I’ve not mentioned, please submit it in the comments section so that we may all benefit from it!Read More
We are pleased to announce that a new course has been added to ResultsPlus.tv, our online library of recorded e-learning that helps users to learn ResultsPlus. The course is called Tribute Processing and its aim is to teach you about the process of recording and acknowledging gifts made in honor or memory of people or events. In addition, the course helps you understand how to set up and notify people who might wish to know about these gifts. We call them notificants, referring to the family members of a deceased person who has been memorialized or a living person or event being honored by a tribute gift.Read More
If you’re like most non-profits, you’re probably currently at some stage in the process of sending out a year-end appeal. Perhaps it’s an email appeal, or a phonathon, or a traditional mail appeal, all intended to take advantage of the most giving time of the year: December. My guess is that you’ll be sending it to anyone who hasn’t been specifically disqualified for some reason (requested no mail, deceased, etc.). In fact, it’s probably a really good time to use a ‘hail Mary’ approach for your appeal to anyone you know.Read More
This post was has been delayed a bit due to a blogging software update. We’ve applied updates to our blogging software that should address an issue that was discovered with posting comments.Read More
This week’s post is all about ResultsPlus 11, including a list of new features!Read More
Yaaarrr Maties! September 19th is an auspicious holiday…the 10th Annual Talk like a Pirate Day. If you’ve been wondering just how to celebrate this holiday at your organization, I suggest talking to your colleagues in a pirate voice.
To give you a few ideas on how you can approach your unsuspecting colleagues, please watch this brief video on using the “spreadsheet”-style gift entry form in ResultsPlus 11, delivered in, you guessed it, a pirate voice. Not only can you entertain with your pirate voice, you can educate, as well. Happy Talk like a Pirate Day!
When I first began writing blog entries, I promised to work through a list of the top ten things I wished I would have known when I was working as a development officer and using fundraising software. So far I’ve covered four of them:Read More
Have you ever had a bunch of tabs open in ResultsPlus and wanted to close them all at once? Use SHIFT+Escape. This will close all of the ResultsPlus tabs you have open in one step.Read More
We’re nearing the end of summer, which generally causes some predictable things to happen here at Metafile. Our support team tends to get busier as our customers return to a ‘normal’ office routine. Summer vacations wind down, new school years are prepared for, and employees on reduced summer schedules are back in the office full-time.Read More
If someone told me I would no longer have access to the internet, I’m pretty sure I would cease to function. It’s not because of email, though I am quite dependent on that mode of communication. It’s not because of Facebook or Twitter, since I don’t have exciting minute-by-minute details to share about my life. And it’s not even shopping, since I actually prefer to do that the old-fashioned way.Read More
Are you feeling comfortable with ResultsPlus? Are you ready to learn a few shortcuts to make it even easier to accomplish tasks you do every day? Below is a list of a few tips and shortcuts that many people are unaware of. Try them out; I hope they make your day better!Read More
Every once in a while we hear from a customer who has encountered something catastrophic at their site. This is a terrible thing to hear, and we feel an incredible amount of sympathy for organizations in this situation. It can be made even worse when we hear that the organization hasn’t been backing up their data. Why? Because an organization in this situation may have just lost one of their most valuable assets.Read More
Whenever my mother has a problem with her computer, she calls me for help. For some unknown reason she doesn’t call her other children nor any of her grandchildren. But more important, she also never calls the Help Desk for the product she needs help with. Why?Read More
Finding IT consultants who are qualified to work with SQL Server can seem like a tough thing, especially if you aren’t familiar with SQL Server yourself. A customer asked an interesting question the other day, and I thought I would share the question with the hope that it helps others in their quest to hire qualified IT consultants.Read More
You may have received an email this week about some exciting news for our company. Metafile is preparing to move to a brand new location – a beautiful new building of our own after 20 plus years of leasing space in various locations in Minnesota and New Jersey.Read More
I’m a runner. There…I’ve said it. I run marathons, I run 5Ks and 10Ks, I do Zombie runs and Warrior runs, even relays…if you can run it, I’ll do it.Read More
There was a fascinating blog entry in last week’s Chronicle of Philanthropy which summarized the findings of a recentstudy on the relationship between politics and charitable giving. Three universities (Rice, UT San Antonio, and Penn State) collaborated to find out how a person’s politics influence how they donate. While many donors may not believe that their political beliefs have anything to do with their charitability, the results of the study suggested otherwise.Read More
I was recently perusing the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s website, and I ran across a transcript from a conversation fundraisers had on persuading donors to give “big.” Specifically, this conversation was on the relationships and time involved, along with other aspects of persuading donors to give. The conversation was a really good one, so I thought I’d share it as this week’s blog post. Please feel free to check it out here: http://philanthropy.com/article/How-to-Persuade-Donors-to-Give/131832/Read More
Memorial Day – the official start of summer. For schools, it’s the start of those precious 2-3 months when all the planning gets done. Often it’s a time when people take vacations or are just not as available as they are at other times of the year. And for many, it’s the slowest time of the year in terms of donor activity.
Data Data Everywhere!
Metafile is co-hosting a webinar with Fundraising Success on using data to optimize your fundraising results. This free webinar will cover topics such as how to clean your data, how to use it to identify donor interest, how to communicate with specific segments, and so on. The session will be moderated by Margaret Battistelli Gardner, Editor-in-Chief of Fundraising Success.Read More
Mother’s Day always makes me feel a little guilty.Read More
Wow! The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. We’ve had numerous customers asking us to provide an online giving form for them. And we’ve been happy to oblige. Working on these web forms in recent weeks made me wonder how many of our customers are aware that we can do this, so I thought I’d share what “this” is.Read More
In my January 20th post I committed to sharing items from a ‘Wish List’ - things I wished I would have known when I was an active ResultsPlus database user. Well it’s time for wish number three, and no one was more surprised than me that I never took advantage of some very basic functionality in ResultsPlus: the calendar.Read More
Having recently returned from a conference, I’ve been thinking about some of the current themes in nonprofit technology. As in the past, integration (vs. silos) was a major topic. In recent years the concept of silos vs. integrated systems has come up time and again and I’ve often felt the discussion missed the mark. While in the extreme, data silos can definitely contribute to issues, the major barrier to effective, consistent communication and knowing your constituents is often a human one.Read More
I was thrilled to be an attendee at the AFP International Conference in Vancouver BC last week. It was exciting to be amidst this energized group of professionals in such a breathtaking location! Thanks to our Canadian neighbors for hosting the event and for sharing the beauty of their city and country.Read More
For those of you who are wondering what the NTC is, it’s the nonprofit technology conference held by NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network) each year. Historically, I’ve enjoyed the conference and always learned a lot when I’ve attended. This year is no different! I wanted to jot a few notes about what I’ve learned so far, and to invite any of you reading this who are also at the NTC to drop me a note.Read More
Two side-by-side articles on the front page of the NonProfit Times March 1st issue were pretty eye-catching: “Pink Ribbon Gets Black Eye” and “Where’s Your 990?” I doubt it was by coincidence that these two articles were paired together, since both aim at the issues of accountability and transparency by charitable organizations.Read More
If you read the headline for this post, you likely already know what very special holiday occurred this week on March 14th. It was Pi Day, and I’m not talking about apple, pumpkin or the yummy chocolate silk varieties; I’m talking about that very special number: πRead More
A number of years ago I was working for a company that was engrossed in business strategies like ‘Total Quality Management’ and ‘Continuous Improvement.’ For a while it seemed that all we did was plan. We even had planning meetings to plan our plans. At the time, I don’t remember accomplishing all that much, which was pretty ironic. But in actuality, I can now see that I learned something very important which I use nearly every day of my current life. It’s a single piece of advice that stuck with me and here it is:Read More
As we’re getting ready to release ResultsPlus 11 (phase 1), I’ve been thinking about version 12…and 13…and… It comes up fairly often that a customer asks how to submit a suggestion for an enhancement, and it’s easier than you might think. Every enhancement suggestion submitted, either by email, phone, or pony express, gets entered into a central location and reviewed regularly as we are laying out plans for upcoming versions.Read More
It’s time for another wish from my ‘if only I knew then…’ list. If this makes no sense to you, check out my post from two weeks ago where I promised to share some of the things I’ve learned about ResultsPlus I wished I’d known when I was sitting on your side of the desk. This post contains wish number two.Read More
I’ve been seeing a lot written about segmentation lately. I even attended a Network for Good NonProfit 911 webinar on that very topic this week-and it was excellent. The concept of segmenting your prospect and donor data is nothing new, but the recent re-focus on the concept has me “all aflutter.” I love segmentation because it’s a beautiful example of how you can make all that data you’ve been so diligently gathering and entering into your fundraising CRM system work for you.Read More
Now that another calendar year has passed, it’s a logical time to evaluate your fundraising efforts for 2011. Did you obtain new donors? Did you increase the size of the average gift over the previous year? Did any of your donors increase their giving? It’s no surprise if these questions seem familiar to you since they are likely asked every year by many of your colleagues in the nonprofit sector as they evaluate their development efforts.Read More
If you read Marcia Grimm’s post last week mentioning she wished she would have recognized the value of reports (where she even shared a few), you may be wondering about what other reports are available. Here are a few common ones I like to highlight.Read More
The past five years as a member of the Metafile support team has given me a fascinating perspective on my former life as a fundraiser. And while I’m busy looking forward and gaining new knowledge every day, I often catch myself looking back with that annoying cliché: “if only I knew then what I know now.”Read More
As the new year kicks off, I wanted to take a few moments to share with you some of our plans for ResultsPlus in 2012.Read More
There must be something about turning the calendar page which makes us think of turning over a new leaf. Aside from the obvious change in numeric year, maybe it marks the end of the excesses of the holiday season and a self-promise to be healthier.Read More
Perusing the NonProfit Times website, I found an easy-to-read article on 5 ways to boost responses based on data in your donor database. This article seems like a perfect way to refresh and update development skills even though time is likely short for many people as the year draws to a close. Each of the 5 recommendations can be done using your ResultsPlus database and the donor data it contains.Read More
This is the time of year when organizations start thinking about closing the year, if their fiscal year matches the calendar year. And even for organizations whose fiscal year doesn’t coincide with the calendar year, things like the distribution of donation summaries for donors are in many professionals’ thoughts.Read More
Our free webinar on using the charts available on the Performance Overview in ResultsPlus will be held December 8th at 1PM Central Time. If you would like to learn more about it please register today!Read More
For this week's post, I wanted to highlight how thankful I am for our customers. Aside from the obvious business reasons, I am grateful for each of you because of the fun and unique relationship we've built over the years. I look forward to continuing those relationships and building new ones with new people and entirely new organizations. Working with nonprofits is its own special joy. It's such a privilege to work with people whose purpose is to help others, whether through community service organizations, spiritual organizations, health services, education, animal welfare - the list goes on. Know that you and your work are appreciated! Happy Thanksgiving.Read More
Before the main topic, just a quick note about today, November 16...It's Give to the Max Day (www.givemn.org)! Today is the day all of Minnesota focuses on charitable giving. (We don't ignore it the other 364 days, but today is really special.) To date, GiveMN has helped Minnesota nonprofits raise over $30,000,000.00. Let's raise that by another few million today!Read More
We're putting together our next free webinar for ResultsPlus to be held on Thursday, December 6th from 1 PM Central Time - 2 PM Central Time. The topic will be Performance Metrics, and specifically focused on the Performance Overview and how to read, interpret, and use it for decisions. Please let us know if there are additional aspects of the Performance Overview you would like covered in the webinar. Or, if there are other specific questions you have regarding gathering performance statistics, let us know that too.Read More
This past week, I spent quite a bit of time helping with a 4-day event here in Rochester. It was a fundraiser for a local nonprofit. The event required about 500 volunteers and had between 5,000 and 6,000 participants. I came away from this event with several thoughts that I’d like to share with you.Read More
Halloween is right around the corner, and it has me thinking of things that go bump in the night. I thought I’d share the 3 scariest things I hear from people when it comes to technology and fundraising software. The good news is, these 3 scary things are all easily remedied or avoided, so you don’t need to stay awake at night in fear.Read More
The results for the 2010 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey are now available. This annual survey is conducted as part of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, of which Metafile is a charter member (Donor Software Workgroup). The project was started by AFP and the Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. With this new data, the project now has data from 2004-05 through 2010. It’s growing into an essential statistical resource.Read More
I read a post on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's website the other day titled, "Making Sure No Donor Gets the Same Thank-You Letter Twice" (http://philanthropy.com/blogs/prospecting/making-sure-no-donor-gets-the-same-thank-you-letter-twice/31153). It was an interesting and short read about one organization's approach to ensuring that its acknowledgment letters are continually updated and refreshed so that donors do not get the same letter more than once. I don't think that the idea of updating letters periodically is a new one, but what is interesting to me is that there is a source for finding new letter content. And that's my reason for this post.Read More
As a volunteer, I've coordinated other volunteers for a few different organizations, and I hope that sharing some of what I've learned, and soliciting feedback from other non-profit professionals out there, can provide help for anybody stepping into the role of volunteer coordinator at their organization. The steps seem minimal, but they can be intense. My hat is off to all the volunteer coordinators who've done this time and again as part of their full-time job! Also, please feel free to share what you've done that's been successful!Read More
Being based in Minnesota, I am well-aware of the "great Minnesota give together" known as Give to the Max Day. (Yes, I lifted that pithy phrase off the http://givemn.razoo.com/p/gtmd-postgame website.) For people who are unaware of what this is, or who wonder how they, as a Minnesota nonprofit, can prepare for participation, please continue reading.Read More
There's a lot of buzz around QR codes lately in the nonprofit community, if the nonprofit tech sites are an accurate reflection of interest. I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon.
To answer the question, "what is a QR code", it is, quite simply, a Quick Response code. There is more to this, of course. They are 2 dimensional codes that are readable by electronic means. For a better definition, visit the ever-popular Wikipedia for a definition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code).
Wow. Last week our marketing folks sent out an email to our customers announcing our new blog. Within a few minutes, we had an unexpectedly high number of subscribers. That leads me to two things:Read More
I've recently been getting communications from an organization of which I've been a member for a number of years. And I've been getting communications regarding my lack of renewal, which prompted me to go online and renew. The reason I'm mentioning this is because it reminded me of a number of things that I like when it comes to communications from my favorite organizations-especially in regard to lapsed donor/renewal communications. Each of these things can be managed/made easier with CRM software. If you're a ResultsPlus user and don't know how, please give us a call!Read More
Greetings! This is my first post for the RP Blog. My hope for this blog is that it can serve as a place to find fundraising information and ideas. While ResultsPlus is a donor management/CRM product, so many aspects of fundraising are sourced from, entered into, and reported from products like ours that this blog seems a good place to make broader fundraising topics available for discussion. Readers, please feel free to become contributors by posting comments, making suggestions, and generally sharing your expertise on the topics!Read More
Do you ever feel like phone calls tend to run along specific themes from time-to-time? I know I do. When I was in Support, I remember thinking that fairly often. It turns out that it happens with our account managers, as well. One gal recently mentioned that she has spoken with a few customers who were asking the Benevon Model for donor cultivation and sustainable fundraising, and she asked if I would blog a little bit about the model and how it applies to fundraising software. Always grateful for topic suggestions, I agreed without a moment’s hesitation, and here we are.Read More