Adopting a More Coordinated and Effective Approach to Fundraising

Health System Database Merger Case Study

Managing disparate donor databases typically leads to one thing: inefficient fundraising. Merging donor databases across your nonprofit  — whether yours is a single location, a primary organization with multiple chapters, or a healthcare system — helps you streamline internal development operations, reduce the risk of duplicate or inconsistent donor communications, and, ultimately, improve overall fundraising performance.

Here’s just one example: A prominent health system worked with Heller Consulting to merge 11 separate donor databases into a single system for more efficient and effective fundraising.

Following are some of the results:

  • Increased efficiency — The main database administrator can now run reports for individual medical centers, freeing development staff time.
  • More effective fundraising — The system no longer competes over shared donors, dual development officer assignments are minimized, and officers are closing more gifts.
  • Improved performance — The consolidated database paved the way for processes that manage and track development office performance.

Find out more about this success story here:

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What is CRM and what does it mean to nonprofits?


Questions Concept Blackboard


For the past couple of years, I’ve been hyper-focused on CRM. Changes in the technology landscape and nonprofits’ engagement with their constituents have converged to present exciting opportunities to effectively meet the needs of contemporary nonprofits via CRM. But what is CRM? Three simple letters but often a Pandora’s box full of responses when you start asking. However, I am willing to take a swing at it.

First, the basics. In the nonprofit sector we talk about “Constituent Relationship Management” (in the commercial sector it’s about Customers). To dig deeper, I’ll pull on our firm’s experience designing and implementing CRM environments at many nonprofits large and small, and our conversations with many more organizations.  For our 2012 white paper “Insights into Nonprofit CRM” , we interviewed CIOs at 30 of the largest nonprofits in the country.  In the course of these conversations, three definitions for CRM emerged: CRM as a System, Service and Strategy.

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Implementing Salesforce for Outlook [Tech Tips]

Integrating and Outlook - New Features

Salesforce for Outlook is an application that integrates Microsoft Outlook with and automatically syncs contacts, tasks and events between them. It replaces Connect for Outlook (now a legacy application). Salesforce for Outlook seems to run more smoothly and efficiently than Connect for Outlook, and it includes a number of new features, the coolest of which is the new Salesforce Side Panel.

Following are some highlights and things to consider when implementing Salesforce for Outlook:

Capabilities and Considerations

When setting up the Salesforce-Outlook sync, it is important for system administrators to understand the options and implications. Before activating the syncing functionality, especially for contacts, administrators should develop a plan for how their organization wants to sync data from their users’ local Outlook applications to

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Using the Right Tools for the Right Jobs with [Tech Tips] for any nonprofit organization can sometimes feel a bit like the Old Wild West. There are many possible paths to accomplishing what you want, no hard-and-fast rules and guidelines, lots of folks trying to sell you snake oil, and there’s always gold in them thar hills.

So how do nonprofits make the right decisions regarding One of the secrets to success is having a strategy and methodology from the start – as I’ve put it to clients now and again, “Plan for a plan, then make a plan.” Jumping in without making a map to how and what aspects of will be used are sure-fire ways to get in to a dustup.  You’ll be firing in data and processes pell-mell into a platform that requires thoughtful data alignment and best practices for both scalability and reporting. Part of making this plan is knowing what tools and resources are available for implementing Using the right tools for the right jobs means acquiring the right resources outside of your instance, and using the right tools within it.

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Top 10 Free Apps for Nonprofits [Tech Tips]



Every week, I eagerly await the AppExchange digest to see what new Apps have been released on the AppExchange. I also like browsing the AppExchange to learn how others are solving their problems.

Over time, I have discovered a few Apps that I depend on to make my job easier as a administrator, as well as some that I frequently recommend to nonprofit clients if the functionality is missing from their fundraising managed package. (For more information and in-depth reviews of top fundraising applications built on the platform, download our recent report, The New World of Donor Management Apps for Nonprofits)

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