Robert Weiner

Migrating recurring donors to a new system

Robert Weiner

Credit card image from Ed Ivanushkin. A client is migrating to new Association Management Software, which will entail changing their credit card processor.

New book: “Advancement Services: Enhancing Fundraising Success”

Robert Weiner

CASE has just published the third edition of its guide to Advancement Services. The title of this edition is " Advancement Services: Enhancing Fundraising Success." The book was a labor of love for over 2 years by 25 of advancement services professionals, led and edited by the esteemed John Taylor.

Trending Sources

An Eleven Step Program to Cure Shiny Object Syndrome

Robert Weiner

NTEN just published of mine called " An Eleven Step Program to Cure Shiny Object Syndrome " (technically, they reprinted an article that AFP will publish this summer). My co-conspirators were Dahna Goldstein , Marc Baizman , and Tracy Kronzak. The four of us, plus Vered Meir , will be leading a workshop on the topic of shiny object avoidance at NTEN's Nonprofit Technology Conference in March. Best Practices IT Management Nonprofit Management Nonprofit Technology NTEN

Blackbaud kills off Common Ground

Robert Weiner

Yesterday the news was that Blackbaud had laid off 50 employees it acquired when it bought Convio in May. In what was said to be an unrelated development, they also announced the departure of Gene Austin, the former CEO of Convio. Today the news is that Blackbaud is killing off Common Ground , one of the two donor management products (aka CRMs or Constituent Relationship Management systems) that they acquired from Convio.

Preventing Fraud on our Online Giving Pages

Robert Weiner

Vered Siegel , Manager of Development Services. Children’s Home + Aid. Kirsten Williams , Associate Director, Gift Services. University of Oregon Foundation. The Scams. The credit card scam/fraud attempt that many nonprofits have experiences starts with a very large online gift from an unknown donor. Shortly afterward, an email arrives saying the amount was a mistake (e.g., 7,000 instead of $700) and asking for a refund of the difference to a different credit card.

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What to Do When Technology Isn’t Your Problem

Robert Weiner

Copyright P. Mueller [link]. Does it feel like you never find the right combination of technologies to just make things work? Do you lie awake at night and wonder how everything is going to get done, or why a new project was just dumped on your plate?

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Creative credit card donation scam

Robert Weiner

A friend forwarded the following description of a scam aimed at a well-known college. Fortunately, they didn't fall for it. I would like to make everyone aware of a recent situation here that is most likely a scam to launder stolen credit card funds, appearing as a gift. A $9,000 gift is received and approved from an unknown entity (in this case a “Cassandra Harvey”), with Smyrna, GA address, Yahoo email and legitimate phone number.

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On the value of donor database ratings

Robert Weiner

A colleague forwarded the following email from a vendor and asked how I think a potential buyer should respond. I've redacted the message to anonymize the vendor: Dear _, I thought you might be interested in a recent analysis of low cost fundraising software, conducted jointly by independent organizations Idealware and N-TEN. If you are not familiar with Idealware and N-TEN, they are both well-respected non-profit organizations that focus on helping non-profits enhance their use of technology.

Lame spams of the day: Your AT&T bill

Robert Weiner

I see the occasional fake AT&T message all the time, but got 15 variations on this theme today. Looks like a baby spammer playing with a new toy. Senders included: Kristi Leal (support@irs.gov). Sally Moser, Jody Grace, Loretta Bragg (all at alerts@irs.gov). Emily Delgado, Johnnie Espinoza, Luz Wyatt, Bernadette Shelton, Ruth Hodge, Brice Herring, Mabel Luna, Amelia Weeks, Chelsea Mcdowell (all at robot@craigslist.org). Subjects included: Your AT&T bill is ready to be viewed.

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Robert on the (Internet) radio

Robert Weiner

This Friday, October 16 at 1 pm Eastern time, Nonprofit Radio will be broadcasting a discussion with me, Tracy Kronzak of Bright Step Partners; Marc Baizman of the Salesforce Foundation; and Dahna Goldstein of Altum.

Spam of the Day: So and so wants to connect on LinkedIn

Robert Weiner

It was only a matter of time. I've started receiving phishing messages that look like LinkedIn connection requests. So far the text has been identical.

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Reigning in shadow databases

Robert Weiner

The following story, posted with permission, was sent to the FUNDSVCS list in response to a question about how to reign in schools and departments at a university that keep their own shadow databases of contacts. The response hit the nail on the head: We started working on folding shadow databases into (Raiser''s Edge, our central database) about 8 years ago. There are still quite a few of them out there, but we are slowly bringing them into the fold!

Pinterest and privacy

Robert Weiner

I was planning to check out Pinterest to see what the buzz is about, but their privacy policy gives me the creeps. I can only sign up by linking a Pinterest account to my Facebook or Twitter account. The description on the Twitter link page says this allows them to: Read Tweets from your timeline. See who you follow, and follow new people. Update your profile. Post Tweets for you. It's really no consolation that the app doesn't: Access your direct messages. See your Twitter password.

Robert in the news(paper)

Robert Weiner

I was interviewed for two articles that were published recently. The NonProfit Times ran the story The Evolution of Donor Management And Its Fundraising Future , which deals with how technology is transforming the way nonprofits interact with donors, particularly online. And the Chronicle of Philanthropy ran 'But It's Free!' and 9 Other Lines About Technology You Don't Want to Hear. If you're a Chronicle subscriber you can read that one by clicking here.

Year-end donation processing

Robert Weiner

As the calendar year draws to an end, charities (and ideally, donors) are focused on year-end donations and tax deductions. Here are a few scenarios for U.S. charities to keep in mind. Note: I am not a lawyer. When in doubt, contact an attorney who specializes in nonprofit law or contact the IRS for a ruling. ). Let's say the following donations will be processed by different nonprofits in the United States on Jan.

Lame spam of the day: USPS Delivery Confirmation

Robert Weiner

Like the American Airlines spam , this one didn't bother to include any graphics to make it look official. Further, it shows plainly that the link goes to www.usps.com.ww062.com (note that the domain is ww062.com). Some scammers are just lazy. Sender: auto-notify@usps.com. Subject: Delivery Confirmation. Text: Dear Customer, We attempted to deliver your item at 11:02 am on November 5, 2011 and a notice was left.

Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems

Robert Weiner

Our friends at Idealware and NTEN have released their Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems. The guide presents detailed comparisons of 33 donor databases that cost less than $4,250 in the first year. It includes a high-level overview of common features, comparisons and summaries of the systems they reviewed, recommendations for which systems might be suited to a variety of nonprofit scenarios, and a directory of consultants who can help you select a database.

CTK Foundation’s "Heart and Soul" Grants

Robert Weiner

The CTK Foundation just opened its 2011 Heart and Soul Grant Award Program. They'll be awarding over $25,000 in grants to nonprofits, charities and voluntary organizations of all sizes in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The only eligibility requirements are that the submitting nonprofit must be a registered 501(c)(3), charity, or voluntary organization and that it follow the submission procedures. Here's where it gets fun (or tricky).

Controlling data entry

Robert Weiner

A member of the PRSPCT-L listserve (for prospect researchers) asked "What do other institutions do to regulate or “police” data entry work, specifically when you have multiple users with authority to make updates?". It's a tough problem. Here are a few approaches (other than locking down data entry): Policies. You need clear data entry standards. Security. You need to control who can make changes and what they can change. Training.

Thinking about a donor database selection workshop

Robert Weiner

I'm planning a new workshop on selecting donor databases, focusing on the question, "Why is this so friggin' complicated?" Some initial thoughts: The maxim "Fast, cheap, or good -- pick two" is true. You want the technology to be forward-looking but also want to avoid shiny object syndrome.

More nonprofit software mergers and acquisitions

Robert Weiner

Last year the big news in my industry was Blackbaud's acquisition of Convio and the merger/acquisition of Datatel and Sungard Higher Education (now called Ellucian). 2013 is off to a bang with Accel-KKR's acquisition of Sage's Nonprofit Solutions Group and iModules acquisition of Harris Connect. The Sage staff I've talked to can't comment publicly until the sale is final, which they hope will happen this month.

Lame spams of the day: everyone wants to send me money

Robert Weiner

Here are some of the "loan offers" that have landed in my spam folder. None have attachments, links, or graphics. One used a blue font, the others were plain old black Courier. The subject lines were blank in every case. The senders included: kelly loan offer (web.office20026045@att.net). Alreford Ltd (web.0123345667785@att.net). LOAN OFFER APPLY (web.office_10.5088@att.net). EQUITY LOAN (web.office.91.98.0@att.net). Get A Loan Now (web.cp.office_2ww5@att.net).

Lame spams of the day: LinkedIn phishing

Robert Weiner

The recent theft of passwords from LinkedIn prompted me to post these spams masquerading as messages from that firm. The first one made no attempt beyond the Sender name to look like it came from LinkedIn. The others made a minimal attempt to look like a LinkedIn message and all look like they came from the same source. Sender: messages-noreply@bounce.linkedin.com on behalf of LinkedIn (welcome@linkedin.com). Subject: Fwd: Wire Transfer (65483QW63).

Blackbaud’s acquisition of Convio is a done deal

Robert Weiner

Blackbaud completed its purchase of Convio. The next adventure starts today, as we wait to see what the future holds for their various systems. Advancement Services Databases Donor Databases Email Marketing Fundraising Nonprofit Technology Online Fundraising Software

Blackbaud – Convio merger expected to close this week

Robert Weiner

The Department of Justice signed off on Blackbaud's acquisition of Convio last week, and it looks like the deal will close this week. This is just the beginning of the story. I expect that it will take at least several months, and probably several years, before the dust settles and we know what's left behind. David Lawson has been arguing that Common Ground is a goner and clients will be pushed to eTapestry.

Predictions for Nonprofit Fundraising Technology in 2012

Robert Weiner

NTEN published my somewhat snarky predictions for nonprofits' use of fundraising technologies in 2012. My overall predictions are that most things will be pretty much the same as last year (and 2010 and 2009, etc.): many nonprofits will struggle with out-of-date systems. No surprise -- many will also lack the funding to replace them. But others will fail to see that technology, and people who know how to support and use technology, are necessary investments.

Spam of the Day: “McDonalds invites you to The Free Dinner Day”

Robert Weiner

Sender : I love McDonalds (helping@mcdonalds.com). Subject : We are fond of you and thus invite you for free helpings. Attachment : Invitation_Card_37021.zip. Hello. McDonalds invites you to The Free Dinner Day which will take place on 25 June, 2011, in every cafe of ours. Free Day’s menu! Angus Chipotle BBQ Bacon. Chicken McNuggets. Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken. Strawberry Triple Thick Shake. McCafe Iced Mocha.

Firefox error: sec_error_untrusted_issuer

Robert Weiner

I picked up some malware recently and one of the many annoyances it caused was problems with Firefox's security settings. When visiting secure (https:) web sites Firefox would say "the connection is untrusted." When I said I wanted to trust the site I would get a further error saying "sec_error_untrusted_issuer" (The certificate is not trusted because the issuer certificate is not trusted).

Want your product covered in Idealware’s Donor Management report?

Robert Weiner

Idealware is updating its 2009 report on low-cost donor databases. If you're a database vendor and want to be considered, fill out the survey at [link] I assume their criteria will be similar to what they used last time, which was a starting cost of less than $4,250 in the first year and at least 100 active clients (see the report for the full criteria). The survey deadline is Feb. 4, 2011, so don't delay. Donor Databases Software

Going from Accidental Techie to Technology Leader

Robert Weiner

I just wrote a guest blog post for NTEN on the topic of moving from an accidental techie role to a leadership role. Last July, Holly Ross wrote that it was time to retire the phrase "accidental techie". She said, "it's not very nice to call anyone an accidental anything. What's really gotten under my skin lately, though, is that as long as someone is an 'accidental' techie, they're going to have a heck of a time being taken seriously.". I agreed, but only to an extent.

Idealware’s revised Consumers Guide to Low-Cost Donor Management Systems

Robert Weiner

Idealware just released the latest version of their Consumers Guide to Low-Cost Donor Management Systems. It will give you an overview of 32 systems and in-depth reviews of their top 11 “best value” choices. Several systems were included for the first time: @EASE, Bloomerang, Exceed Beyond, Salsa CRM, The Raiser’s Edge NXT, and NPOconnect (formerly known as Orange Leap). You can download it here. Databases Donor Databases Fundraising Nonprofit Technology Software

Lame Spam of the Day: Lehman Brothers Centre for Women 2008 Newsletter

Robert Weiner

It''s been a while since I got a spam message that rose to the level of true lameness (maybe because I''ve improved my anti-spam tools), but this one hit the target.

Discussion of Donor Data Retention

Robert Weiner

A few months ago I wrote a post on the topic of whether nonprofits should delete old donor records. The same topic came up recently on the APRA''s listserve, PRSPCT-L. The original question: My organization is working on a data retention policy and wondering if others have insights to share. There seems to be a feeling we should remove any records that have not had an action in 7 years. I’m a bit worried by this. Does this make sense to others?

Lame spams of the day: so many ebills

Robert Weiner

I got two dozen of these this morning, which may be some kind of record. This site says they're malware delivery devices, so do not click on them! A few of the senders: alets-no-reply@customercenter.citibank.com. alets-no-reply@serviceemail6.citibank.com. alets-no-reply@citibank.com.

Lame spams of the day: Your score apparently changed!

Robert Weiner

I got a bunch of these this week. I don't know what happens if you click the links, but they look like malware delivery vehicles.

Lame spams of the day: Support Center

Robert Weiner

This batch of spams looks like Facebook messages -- same colors, fonts, and formatting, and they have a "Go To Profile" button. But they don't mention Facebook. Does the familiar look and feel dupe people into clicking before they read? According to this post , they're selling meds online.

Maybe It’s Not Your Database, It’s You

Robert Weiner

I'm working on an article with the title, "Maybe It's Not Your Database, It's You." The premise is that complaints about an organization's database may be misdirected: the problem is how the system is being managed (aka management problems disguised as technology problems).

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Lame spams of the day: Fake Amazon and PayPal receipts

Robert Weiner

I got a big batch of these today. They're similar to the fake Amazon HDTV receipts I wrote about in September. These aren't as lame-looking as most of the spam I write about: they use the right logos, fonts, and typefaces. This site says they lead to malware.

Lame spams of the day: Fake UPS and FedEx delivery notices

Robert Weiner

My inbox has been polluted by a rash of these this week. They're so badly formatted, it's hard to believe anyone would fall for them. The spammers haven't even tried to make the reply-to address look legit. Some have a sender name from UPS but use the FedEx logo.

Should You Delete Donor Records?

Robert Weiner

I was recently contacted by the vendor behind a new cloud-based donor management system with this question: We have noticed that our clients have become much more conscious about archiving/deleting old donor/prospect records because our pricing model is based on the number of records. After talking with some clients, it seems opinions vary wildly regarding this subject. For example, one nonprofit archives records every year based on past giving or when someone last interacted with them.