Travis Butterfield

Salesforce and your nonprofit

posted by
Travis Butterfield,
Project Coordinator,
Marketing/Communications
ASU Lodestar Center

Whatever your nonprofit experience level and situation, you probably have to keep track of donors and other key constituents. Many of you have probably relied on multiple Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and maybe a Microsoft Access database at some point in your professional life. But, as an organization’s needs grow, this kind of system becomes burdensome and labor-intensive. Contacts begin to slip through the cracks, and it becomes harder and harder to juggle all of the data.

The solution to this dilemma is a customer relations management (CRM) system (sometimes called a donor management system in the nonprofit arena). There are dozens of CRMs out there that cater specifically to nonprofit needs. A great resource for finding your best fit is NTEN’s Consumer’s Guide to Donor Management Software.

One resource you will inevitably hear about while researching CRMs is Salesforce. My purpose here is not to try to “sell” this product, nor is it to discourage people from implementing Salesforce in their organizations. Rather, my primary motive with this blog post is to share a bit about the ASU Lodestar Center’s recent experience in implementing Salesforce as a CRM solution. My hope is that I can provide insight and experience that will be helpful for other nonprofits who currently use, or are thinking of implementing, Salesforce as their primary database.

Many of our readers may not be aware of the fact that Salesforce has created something called the Power of Us program. The essence of this program is that Salesforce donates 10 free Enterprise Edition licenses to qualifying 501(c)3 nonprofit institutions and other organizations. It also provides deep discounts on additional licenses, products, and services. This “free” price tag makes Salesforce a service that should seriously be considered by any small to medium nonprofit. It can be a great resource for those looking for a CRM solution.

Research Friday: Resources to Close the Nonprofit Technology Gap

posted by
Travis Butterfield,
Project Coordinator,
Marketing/Communications
ASU Lodestar Center


Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.

A year ago, Johns Hopkins University's Center for Civil Society Studies published a document titled, "The Nonprofit Technology Gap - Myth or Reality." The authors of the publication were curious to find out how accurately the widely held assumption that nonprofits are at a technological disadvantage reflects reality. Their findings were somewhat mixed. They reported that the majority of nonprofits rely quite heavily on technological solutions in their day-to-day operations. However, despite the fact that nonprofits seem to utilize technology more than may be expected, the majority of respondents expressed a discontent with their technological status. An official press release for the study reads:

A Holiday Season without Mr. Scrooge

posted by
Travis Butterfield,
Project Coordinator,
Marketing/Communications
ASU Lodestar Center

"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time."
— Charles Dickens
, A Christmas Carol

I recently joined a book club. The book for this month is, not surprisingly, Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol. I have read it before and seen several adaptations for the screen and stage. But, the wonderful thing about the literary arts is that they can teach you new things with each reading.

As I was riding home from work the other day on the light-rail, I started reading this book. I was surprised at how I had never realized how closely the text relates to the nonprofit sector. The epigraph, included above, really surprised me when I read it because I had never, despite working in the nonprofit sector for over three years, thought of this section as distinctly "nonprofit" in nature.

As I read, I was impressed by the optimism and goodness of the two gentlemen taking up a collection for the poor. They provide a perfect counter-point to Ebenezer Scrooge, who is the consummate villain. He is bitter, cold, and unfeeling.

The cockroach under the refrigerator: scandal and malpractice in philanthropy

posted by
Travis Butterfield,
Project Coordinator
ASU Lodestar Center

Ever since I worked with Laura Tan on editing her recent blog post, I have been thinking about the unintended effects that volunteer service can have. So, I was immediately interested when a link to an article titled "Good Intentions vs. Good Results" popped up on my Twitter feed. The article is actually a blog post published last week on Sean Stannard-Stockton's Tactical Philanthropy Blog. It's a fascinating read, and I highly recommend it.

Stannard-Stockton referenced a video produced by "Good Intentions Are Not Enough," an online service of The Charity Rater, LLC. It is a provocative piece that really made me re-evaluate how I view disaster and humanitarian giving. I am including it here, because I felt that it was a great springboard for this post.

I don't think it's possible to watch this video without feeling a strong mixture of emotions. One can't help asking whether the charitable gifts one has given are fundamentally flawed, and are actually having little or no positive impact. It's horrifying to think that something so well-intentioned as charitable shoe/clothing donations could actually cause more harm than good.

Forum Follow-up

posted by
Travis Butterfield,
Project Coordinator
ASU Lodestar Center

As has previously been mentioned, the ASU Lodestar Center recently collaborated with the Arizona Grantmakers Forum to present the 13th Annual Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness, "Nonprofit Grantees & Funders: Building Strong Relationships - Assuring Community Impact." We feel that the success of this event was directly related to the active participation and shared wisdom of its attendees.

Over the next few weeks we would like to document and share some of the ideas and insights gleaned from our participants and presenters through a series of short video montages. In this way, we hope to preserve some of these important insights and observations, keeping the topic fresh and relevant, as we attempt to implement what was learned into new and innovative paradigms of the funder / grantee relationship.

Charles Best is "Character Approved"

posted by
Travis Butterfield
,

Project Coordinator,

ASU Lodestar Center

 

 

In preparation for the upcoming 13th Annual Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness that the Lodestar Center will be hosting in a few weeks, I have been working with the center's Director of Professional Development Education, Cristina Archibeque, to create postcards, e-blasts, and other promotional materials.  In the process of doing so, I happened to stumble across the following short video about one of our forum's keynote speakers, Charles Best.  It was produced by the USA cable network, as part of their "Character Approved" series.

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