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Heller Consulting is a nation-wide firm that helps nonprofits streamline their operations and maximize their use of software to advance their missions. Heller Consulting has 40 employees with offices in San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, Boston, and New York, and has helped more than 1000 nonprofits. The company specializes in developing and implementing solutions that allow nonprofits to connect their systems, teams, and communities and build lasting relationships.

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Here are our most recent posts:


Taking Engagement Seriously – Developing an Engagement Journey

Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in Blog, Connected Cause, Consortium, CRM, Digital Agency | 0 comments

Nonprofits are continuously presented with opportunities to engage with constituents – partners, volunteers, advocates, donors, the beneficiaries of the mission and more. While some organizations rise to the challenge and provide a rich engagement experience to those seeking to connect, other times organizations miss an opportunity to meet constituents with the right type of engagement at the right time. Those missed opportunities can translate to loss of connection, loss of dollars, loss of goodwill and loss of motivation to do more with the organization. To help nonprofits understand the impact this can have, Heller has created the paper Taking Engagement Seriously to explain how to develop an Engagement Strategy, and clarify how it can influence how your organization approaches all of your constituent engagement efforts. We covered the first step in planning an engagement strategy in our blog post on the CRM System. Step two focuses on developing an engagement strategy. An engagement strategy is an outline or “journey map” that guides your organization to truly serving your constituents’ needs while you strive to meet your organizational goals. This can be challenging for organizations at any stage in their development. Organizations in a growth phase struggle to make the increased investments in sophisticated technology, while established organizations can struggle with creating a personal and relevant experience. While we know we need to treat and engage with our supporters better – never before has that need become such an urgent mandate. The commercial sector is investing in technologies and strategies that have heightened consumers’ expectations for relevant, personal and important information whenever they want it. Taking Engagement Seriously goes into detail on the following topics to help you create an effective engagement strategy. Obtaining the “360-degree-view” of the constituent Strategy and content before technology Choosing which channels work best for your constituents And more! For more information on developing an engagement strategy to align your organization and advance your nonprofit’s mission, head to the Heller Consulting website to download the free paper, Taking Engagement Seriously. Jump to Taking Engagement...

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Understanding CRM for Nonprofits

Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 in Blog, CRM | 0 comments

The 21st century consumer is accustomed to a personalized, seamless experience in everything they do. It’s simple to find old friends and stay in touch through Facebook, watch all of their favorite shows on Netflix, or order necessities off Amazon and have them delivered to their door the next day. The commercial sector strives to get to know their customers and understand their needs so they can quickly and easily fulfill their requests. Nonprofits often have more limited time and resources and struggle to create that personal connection tailored to what their constituents desire, but their constituents expects the same high bar that the commercial sector has set. In order to become a “connected” nonprofit, they need a CRM solution to track the interactions between their organization and all of their members, volunteers, and donors. An effective system paired with a strong engagement strategy allows nonprofits to truly understand their constituents, leading to a personalized experience and long-lasting relationship. Heller Consulting has 18 years experience working with CRM strategy and systems and a resume that includes over 1,000 nonprofit clients. Below is a selection of posts, papers, and resources that they have shared to help nonprofit organizations understand CRM and how it can benefit their staff, constituents, and organization. Understanding CRM for nonprofits: Taking Engagement Seriously Components of CRM What is CRM and what does it mean to nonprofits? Developing skills in your CRM implementation Transforming CRM vision into a reality What to do with CRM data Building a CRM roadmap How to articulate a CRM strategy Making your CRM aspiration a...

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NGO Connect Feature: Ease of Basic Processes

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in Blog, NGO Connect | 0 comments

NGO Connect (formerly known as roundCause) was developed as an application that specializes in addressing sophisticated, multi-channel fundraising management needs for larger organizations without compromising the native strengths and innovations of Salesforce. In general, NGO Connect offers more complex functionality than the Nonprofit Starter Pack, and also offers additional features in areas such as events and grants management that the NPSP does not include. Also unlike NPSP, there is a per-license annual cost associated with NGO Connect. Already unmistakably powerful, the NGO Connect roadmap features many updates that will continue to improve usability for fundraising staff. Heller Consulting released a white paper describing the basic features of NGO Connect. Today we will be reviewing Ease of Basic Processes in NGO Connect. Because so much of NGO Connect’s application is customized to meet the client’s individual needs, the ease of basic processes, such as constituent entry, gift entry and duplicate checking, is dependent on the resulting product. As a result, nonprofits will need to adapt the user guide that is provided, or create much of their own system documentation and training. NGO Connect is designed to manage large-scale direct marketing initiatives with complex segmentations. The Campaign setup feature has been customized to allow easy generation of segments and source codes. If using the optional roundScope suite to generate complex direct mail segmentation, Campaign Memberships will automatically populate in NGO Connect. For nonprofits without advanced system administrators, NGO Connect is developing a less complex query tool on the Campaign record for creating simpler mailing lists. This update is currently on the roadmap for future release. Find out more about the features and benefits of NGO Connect’s newest capabilities by downloading this free resource now. Download Free White...

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Executive Summary: Taking Engagement Seriously

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in Blog, CRM | 0 comments

Failure to engage with constituents results in a loss of connection, dollars, and goodwill. So often, organizations believe that a large CRM technology change will be the key to solving all of their constituent engagement problems. Unfortunately, technology is one piece in a much larger puzzle. In this executive summary of Heller Consulting’s paper, Taking Engagement Seriously, they discuss the many components that go into a CRM solution including aligning business practices, planned engagement strategy, and the right technology. This paper covers: Where to start – outlining a vision of enriched engagement and interaction with constituents Developing an engagement strategy – improve communication, analyze current data, and map out a journey Improve internal communication to build a better experience for constituents Why automation will make your life easier Using data to develop results driven solutions To download the executive summary, head over to Heller Consulting’s website. Jump to the Executive...

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Case Study – Alliance to Save Energy

Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The Alliance to Save Energy is a bipartisan organization that works to promote a cleaner environment, healthier economy and energy security through policy advocacy, research, education and technology programs. They were familiar with the Salesforce Platform and had completed an implementation several years earlier, but they wanted a product that was better suited to their specific needs. When it came time to renew, the Alliance to Save Energy was prepared to go with another Salesforce product. They were interested in a solution that fit their budget while allowing for greater membership management capabilities. Heller Consulting guided the Alliance to Save Energy through an evaluation process and eventually determined a solution that was the best fit: NGO Connect. To learn more about this project, head over to Heller’s site to download the full case study. Jump to the Case...

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NGO Connect Feature: Financials

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

NGO Connect (formerly known as roundCause) was developed as an application that specializes in addressing sophisticated, multi-channel fundraising management needs for larger organizations without compromising the native strengths and innovations of Salesforce. In general, NGO Connect offers more complex functionality than the Nonprofit Starter Pack, and also offers additional features in areas such as events and grants management that the NPSP does not include. Also unlike NPSP, there is a per-license annual cost associated with NGO Connect. Already unmistakably powerful, the NGO Connect roadmap features many updates that will continue to improve usability for fundraising staff. Heller Consulting released a white paper describing the basic features of NGO Connect. Today we will be reviewing Financials in NGO Connect. NGO Connect uses Opportunities to record financial transactions, pledges and recurring gifts, and each Opportunity is backed by at least one Transaction. Transaction is a Record Type of Opportunity which is further detailed into a Payment or Refund. Transactions permit multiple allocations of a donation for hard and soft credits, for example. Nonprofits will have the opportunity to customize the application for gift types, such as gifts in kind, as well as features like gift adjustments. NGO Connect offers robust planned giving functionality as well. Planned gifts are tracked in a separate custom object, which makes the creation of the many planned-gift-specific fields easier. Integration with PG Calc is on the roadmap. Many planned gift vehicles are supported. Basic batch gift entry is available but currently requires significant effort to set up and customize for daily business processes. NGO Connect also offers a powerful and sophisti- cated Batch Upload tool that is the main way for all types of bulk data to be added to the system. This tool requires deep knowledge of the app architecture to be able to set it up effectively. Improvements to batch to increase usability are planned for early 2015. NGO Connect offers a choice of several payment processors for processing credit cards with- in the application. Nonprofits do not need to process credit cards through NGO Connect if they are already using other methods (such as a lockbox). However, having the option within the application is a great feature. There are also donation and event registration form builders available in the app which make it easy to get real-time gifts and registrations into the system directly from a website. Find out more about the features and benefits of NGO Connect’s newest capabilities by downloading this free resource now. Download Free White...

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10th Annual Bridge Conference

Posted by on Jul 2, 2015 in Blog, events | 0 comments

The 10th annual Bridge Conference in Washington, DC is almost here! This event brings together the best integrated marketing and fundraising experts from around the country. Each of the sessions are designed to provide you with in-depth knowledge on the newest trends in fundraising, strategic marketing solutions, insights into improving your ROI and much more. With over 77 sessions featuring experts from the field, the Bridge Conference is a great opportunity to network with like-minded professionals and expand your skill set. Heller Consulting has been asked to present two sessions on improving digital fundraising and planning for conversion-focused constituent engagement. Both sessions promise to deliver information that can advance any nonprofits’ fundraising efforts. Read more about these sessions...

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Taking Engagement Seriously – The CRM System

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Blog, CRM | 0 comments

Nonprofits are continuously presented with opportunities to engage with constituents – partners, volunteers, advocates, donors, the beneficiaries of the mission and more. While some organizations rise to the challenge and provide a rich engagement experience to those seeking to connect, other times organizations miss an opportunity to meet constituents with the right type of engagement at the right time. Those missed opportunities can translate to loss of connection, loss of dollars, loss of goodwill and loss of motivation to do more with the organization. To help nonprofits understand the impact this can have, Heller has created the paper Taking Engagement Seriously to explain how to develop an Engagement Strategy, and clarify how it can influence how your organization approaches all of your constituent engagement efforts. A strong CRM system is crucial for carrying out your engagement strategy. When we refer to your CRM system, we don’t just mean your technology, although that’s clearly an important component. We’re also referring to your people and your business processes. When you align your internal people, processes and technology you’re optimally able to engage your external constituents. Fortunately, over the last few years there have been significant advances in both CRM technology and the business practices that enable sophisticated engagement strategies. Much of this is driven by the commercial sector, which is setting constituents’ expectations much higher regarding engagement and communication channels. They expect to be know and recognized the same as on their favorite websites and services. We also benefit from the commercial sector’s technology investments, which “trickle down” to the nonprofit sector at a fraction of the cost. The primary benefit is the evolution of true cloud-based, nonprofit-centric CRM solutions that have become widely available and strongly supported. These CRM solutions are not simply “point solutions” but full “platforms” with rich ecosystems of application developers delivering a wide array of software solutions that can “play well together” to meet each nonprofit’s unique needs. Finally, early nonprofit innovators have paved the way, learned and are sharing lessons, and are experiencing success. Collectively, these developments mean that an ever-increasing number of nonprofits can move towards their CRM vision with lower risk, lower investment and as part of a larger and growing community of like-minded peers. But one fact remains the same across the commercial and nonprofit markets: The best technology in the world won’t make a difference if it isn’t put to use properly. The basic truth is that beyond all the numbers and data, the very core of what all nonprofit organizations do is bring people together to help others. We come together to interact and engage with our community and share our experiences. Organizations that focus on planning rich personal engagement and interaction are the ones that develop lasting and devoted constituencies. Today’s CRM technology is designed and built exactly for this purpose, but before you can put it in place, you have to develop a plan for what you want to achieve. A CRM roadmap defines this plan and vision, and helps to focus the goals an organization. How and where do you want to interact with your constituents? How should they interact with you? How will your internal teams manage the inevitable departmental overlaps? How will your departments work with each other to provide the best experience for your...

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Case Study: Project Open Hand

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in Case Study, NGO Connect, Salesforce.com | 0 comments

Project Open Hand was created as an effort to fight the AIDS epidemic in 1985. Since then, it has grown into an incredible organization that serves the Bay Area’s most vulnerable citizens who are fighting serious illness, isolation, and the challenges associated with old age. Today, Project Open Hand has over 100 volunteers and delivers more than 2,500 meals and 200 bags of groceries every single day. For some time, Project Open Hand was using multiple, disconnected systems to manage interactions with clients, volunteers, and donors, but none of them were meeting their needs. Each system had issues: lack of basic functions, inability to create necessary reports, limited/no technical support, etc. These problems were not only creating unnecessary delays and challenges, but were also roadblocks, preventing Project Open Hand from truly understanding critical connections between donors and volunteers. By working together, Heller Consulting and Project Open Hand came up with a strategic implementation plan to smoothly transition Project Open Hand onto a single, cohesive system, and to streamline and optimize the inter-related aspects of the organization’s business processes. Visit the Salesforce Foundation project overview here. For more information on this project, head over to Heller Consulting’s website to download the full case...

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NGO Connect Feature: Demographics

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

NGO Connect (formerly known as roundCause) was developed as an application that specializes in addressing sophisticated, multi-channel fundraising management needs for larger organizations without compromising the native strengths and innovations of Salesforce. In general, NGO Connect offers more complex functionality than the Nonprofit Starter Pack, and also offers additional features in areas such as events and grants management that the NPSP does not include. Also unlike NPSP, there is a per-license annual cost associated with NGO Connect. Already unmistakably powerful, the NGO Connect roadmap features many updates that will continue to improve usability for fundraising staff. Heller Consulting released a white paper describing the basic features of NGO Connect. Today we will be reviewing Demographics in NGO Connect. NGO Connect requires each contact to be related to an Account record, as is typical for Salesforce Apps and is the preferred model in NPSP 3 as well. Accounts can be managed as either Households or Organizations with certain relevant fields and layouts for each. As with NPSP 3, there can be one Preferred Contact per Household or Organization, which is designed to help produce “one-per” mailings. NGO Connect also allows specifying a Secondary Contact as well. There are many donation summary fields available on the Account and the Contact to make reporting easier. Both Accounts and Contacts can have multiple functional addresses for different purposes, though nonprofits will need to specify their own business processes for synchronizing their usage. Relationships can be created from Contact to Contact and from Account to Contact. The out-of-the-box relationship types cover nearly everything a nonprofit would need and range from family to corporate. The Relationship Visualizer is a dynamic visualization that makes it easy to quickly see all of a constituent’s relationships. One feature that stands out to us is the Preferences object, which centralizes customer-specific codes such as donor interests, mailing list inclusions and communication preferences. This centralization makes these codes easier to use in reports. Currently the Preferences object is also where volunteer information is stored, while more complete Volunteer management functionality is being developed. Mailing lists are highly customizable, thanks to the multiple salutation and opt-out options. Multiple salutations allow the organization to succinctly address the contact based on the approach, though currently additional addressees and salutations need to be entered by hand (only a basic Contact and Account addressee and salutation are automatically added when the record is saved). The opt-out fields make postal and email list management simple and, when combined with the mailing preferences above, ensure that the organization is effectively contacting selected constituents. Membership functionality in NGO Connect is advanced, with options available to track multiple membership programs, and is backed by a sophisticated inventory management system that can also automate assignment of benefits at different membership levels. NGO Connect is configurable for chapter-based organizations, though non-chapter-based organizations have nothing to fear: the configuration is behind the scenes and there are no detrimental effects if it is not used. NGO Connect comes with well-developed events functionality that is a real strength of the app. Designed to manage complex multi-day conferences or seminars, the functionality is easily adapted to the more traditional gala and golf-tournament-style events. One drawback that nonprofits should be aware of is that currently event ticket purchases do not create Opportunity records. Find out more...

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