Fundraising with NGO Connect: Webinar Transcript
On November 20, Keith Heller talked with Joe Jagassar of Alliance to Save Energy, one of the first organizations to go live with NGO Connect. Also joining the conversation was Nick Ward, founder of NGO Connect creators roundCorner, as well as NGO Connect expert Stuart Longley providing a detailed demo of the product. The first part of the transcript is below, and you can watch the full webinar here. Bryan Giese serves as moderator and starts off the presentation.
Bryan: Hi everyone thank you for joining us. Today Heller Consulting and roundCorner and Alliance to Save Energy are here talking to you about The Connected Nonprofit and Fundraising with NGO Connect. So again, thank you very much for joining us hope you get some great information about this. We’ll definitely have time for questions at the end, so please put your questions into the question window of Go To Webinar and we will be answering those.
Today’s Presenters are Joe Jagassar from Alliance to Save Energy. Joe is the senior program manager of marketing technologies and he is responsible for the strategy for developing and implementing all of the web based solutions from their website to CRMs and everything that they do at Alliance to Save Energy.
We also have with us today Nick Ward, he is the chairman and founder of roundCorner and he is one of the driving forces behind NGO Connect. He has not only been making the tools but he is also using them, serving on the board of a number of state and national nonprofit organizations.
Also from roundCorner is Stuart Longley. Stuart worked for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in various fundraising and technology roles and now is associate director of business development at roundCorner.
And then, bringing up the tail end is Keith Heller of Heller Consulting. He has been working with nonprofits for 18 or 19 years now and helping them leverage their technology to support their mission and creating more efficient, effective organizations.
To start off today lets start with a question for you. What I want to ask is “which of these most closely resembles your organizational and constituent management tools?” Keith, why don’t you tell us a little bit about the different options here?
Keith: Thanks Bryan and don’t think I didn’t notice that you called me the tail, that’ll be coming up in review. Well thanks everyone for joining us today, we really appreciate you giving us some of your time and attention and a big thanks to Nick and Stuart and Joe for being on the presentation today.
The first question we have for you “which of these describes your constituent management tools.” Constituent Relationship Management, the acronym is CRM and the basic concept around that is a strategy and systems connect with all of your constituents across your organization. So, currently which of these look most like your environment?
- A single coordinated system sharing data across departments
- A few connected systems with some additional spreadsheets (don’t worry about admitting to that, everybody has got a few)
- Data from various databases and when you want to pull information across databases really you’re having to go into a customer reporting system, access and excel
- Or the last one, it’s a funny way of saying it’s a little chaotic
So please pick one and we’ll tally up the results and let you know later. And this is all anonymous!
So lets talk a little bit about that CRM concept, the strategy and goal is that you would have a unified view of your different constituents and the same constituents as they interact with different aspects of your organization. But this is what a lot of us have currently. This represents silos in an organization. We might have the same prospect or donor or client in multiple systems – our donor system, our online engagement system, our mission or program management system.
You’ll notice the constituent we have here today is Kevin Bacon. If you thought he looked familiar, absolutely, feeling a little “Footloose” today… that is a throwback reference for those of you who are my generation. The reason we picked Kevin Bacon is that he is the test point for the concept of connecting with constituents. There was a whole series of conversations about the sixth degree of Kevin Bacon, six degrees of separation, and that in fact we’ll all end up being connected to him somehow. But in this slide, while your organization is connected to Kevin in multiple ways, you’re not actually aware of it. It’s a pretty standard situation but a pretty difficult one to operate in. To try to move out of that, you have to take a step back.
What you want to do when you’re moving towards CRM is to put your constituents at the center or your organization and to think about what experience do you want your constituents to have with you. How do you want them to feel connected and engaged by your organization? Understanding that there are going to be multiple touch points, fundamentally you want them to have a unified experience, you don’t want their experience to feel fractured like the right hand, the left hand, the middle hand, the top hand, the bottom hand, don’t know that they are part of your community. Put them at the center and then you can start to make decisions about your system. When you have your constituent at the center, what donor management system do I want, what donor engagement capacities do I want, do I want to manage my program in mission… But when you put the constituent at the center you’ll find that the decisions that you make may be different than if you put each departments preferences at the center of the decision making process.
When you put the constituents at the center you’ll be building a set of systems and a strategy that allows you to really engage. Which in turn, will help them provide the best relationship to you whether that is as a volunteer, an advocate, a supporter, a fundraiser, etc. Salesforce and the Salesforce foundation have a vision for this which they call the connected nonprofit. This relates to the NGO Connect product. They have offered us a framework of connected programs, connected partners, connected staff and connected supporters. Today we will be talking about that final one, connected supporters, and about fundraising, the key pillar in an organization.
We have a second question for you.
Around your fundraising strategy, what best describes the systems you use? Likely you have multiple systems, so please do feel free to check multiple boxes here. We will give you a minute or so, this is something we will tally up and share later. We’re just going to assume that everyone also uses Excel. It is our mission and passion to move us all off of Excel and into a better solution, but for today we are going to assume that it is part of your mix.
The last slide I’m going to talk about is providing some context. Salesforce 1 for Nonprofits is a framework for helping nonprofits unlock the full power of the Salesforce platform to organize and mobilize their organization and mission. There are four pillars to this: program management, community engagement, marketing communications and fundraising. Under each of these you’ll see there are multiple ways the platform can support your organization. That is important to keep in mind as we look at that fourth pillar today, fundraising, because leveraging a full CRM platform that Salesforce offers can support fundraising in ways we never thought of before. If we’re able to combine data on constituents across an organization all of a sudden we’re going to have fundraising opportunities that did not exist in the past. It’s a very exciting movement in the nonprofit sector and we’re going to be talking more about it overtime. Today lets start with fundraising because it is key to all of it. With that I’d like to turn it over to my copresenters.
Bryan: Joe why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve done with Alliance to Save Energy.
Joe: It’s been quite the story. As many people on this call at a nonprofit probably know, you wear many hats. I’ll talk a little bit about how I got my Salesforce hat. I came on board to the Alliance about four years ago as web master and web developer. My first project was dealing with Contara, or as some people know it Blackbaud Sphere. Right as I joined they had just signed a contract to move to Luminate Online system. Which did things that Contara didn’t do for us. It sent e-mails out on time and its web forms were a lot better.
There was one problem – no one looked at how we would do relation management or for us our primary function, member management. It became really hard to communicate effectively with our member organizations and with employees at those member organizations. The solution, because we were on that platform, was to deploy Common Ground, which is now Blackbaud CRM. For those of you that don’t know the product is built on Salesforce. Suddenly there was this whole world opened up to us. We could build whatever we wanted, we could make reports that ran themselves, and we could communicate within the context of a particular donor, opportunity, or grant. We quickly realized that all this function wasn’t a Convio or a Luminate function it was inherent Salesforce function. We were going to try to leverage it all.
There was a small problem there though… right around the time we really started picking up in the Salesforce realm we hit an iceberg as an organization. There was a lot of money being funneled though the government’s TARP act and that ran out. We ended up having to spin off a bunch of our programs into their own organizations. We lost 50 % of our unrestricted staff—and these were the people most poised to leverage Salesforce, the events, development, communications, marketing and cooperate events people. We really had to embrace our motto of “Using less, Doing more.” With us so diminished, we’ve really had no choice but to go back to what we were talking about before and break down those silos. Everyone in the organization was scrambling to fill in the gaps. We had development people hosting events, policy people doing marketing communications, wherever you could help that is where you went. By using all the functionality that Salesforce provided us we were able to standardize on a system that everyone could access and train in at once. It was a really easy win for us.
So when it came time to renew we looked at Convio and said “Alright, what is Convio and what is Salesforce. Everything we liked was Salesforce, why don’t we look at Salesforce and say what can we add on to that that we need.” That is where the conversation started with NGO Connect. We actually came across it while talking to Heller primarily because their relationship is so close with roundCorner. I think at the time they were the only developer that had any viable deployment for it. They were nice enough to deploy for us, we looked through a number of products. Association products didn’t do anything for events and events products only did events. The biggest selling point for us was their membership functionality. We are a membership organization, which is where most of our funding comes from. That is one thing they did really well and they did everything else we needed as well.
There were some stumbling blocks, NGO Connect is not the only product we deployed. We deployed a number of other fully Salesforce integrated products which allowed us to create that constituent concentric view of Kevin Bacon. Now a days I can say that despite the 50% reduction in staff we’ve managed to maintain near the same level of funding, put on just as many events, and streamline our communications. The icing on the cake for us was that by moving to NGO Connect and even with related products it actually cost us half of what we were paying before.
Bryan: That all sounds awesome Joe, Nick why don’t you tell us a little bit about NGO Connect from your side. So obviously you’ve been working to develop this and create this, tell us a little more about it.
Nick: At its core, it’s exactly what Joe and Keith have said. It’s really about putting the constituent in the center of your operation. Keith and I started talking about this maybe five six years ago, CRM was not a very well accepted term. There wasn’t a common understanding of what the “C” was. Was it donor management? Was it board management? Constituent Management? Constituent was the term that we settled on but that fact that there wasn’t a widely embraced term at the time is really an indication that this new way of thinking about how an organization operates as a connected nonprofit is a fairly new lens for most of the organizations we are working with, because in the past they were organized according to their individual business process-centric broadcast-out way of thinking instead of coming in from the inside with the constituent at the center. So the core of NGO Connect was building a system that started with the constituent and then added the key pieces that Joe and others had needed, which is how do you create gifts, how do you pull the right online forms, can you manage events, will if give you the kind of reporting that you’re looking for on a consistent and regular basis. All at a user driver level so that each individual that is a part of the organization can see the information that they need to see and execute their own work process and their own work flow all drawing from the same single source of the true and all contributing to the continued enrichment of the single source of the truth, which is the constituent record.
For the full demo of NGO Connect, please watch the full webinar available here.
For more information on CRM options for nonprofits, visit Heller’s Resources page for a wealth of papers and reports on CRM, NPSP, NGO Connect, and more.