Robert Weiner

Blackbaud kills off Common Ground

Robert Weiner

the Salesforce world, Affinaquest and RoundCorner are getting good reviews, and lots of organizations are working with Salesforce's Nonprofit Starter Pack. 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.

Preventing Fraud on our Online Giving Pages

Robert Weiner

Some organizations even go so far as to require a CAPTCHA or RECAPTCHA field in order for a donor to make a gift online. In the end, every organization must carefully weigh the pros and cons of setting up front-end security that may confuse or frustrate donors, and balance their security needs with concerns related to donor relations. Vered Siegel , Manager of Development Services. Children’s Home + Aid. Kirsten Williams , Associate Director, Gift Services.

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Trending Sources

Thoughts on the Blackbaud – Convio deal

Robert Weiner

There are tons of choices out there for small and mid-sized organizations. But that product started out with development and support from a major organization (the Metropolitan Opera). Lots of people have already weighed in on Blackbaud’s purchase of Convio (two of my favorites: [link] and [link] ). Here my perspective. Disclosures: I have clients that use both companies’ products, as well as products from their competitors, open source products, and homegrown solutions.

What to Do When Technology Isn’t Your Problem

Robert Weiner

If you technology decisions at your organization are driven by some of the following, we’d love to see you at NTEN''s Nonprofit Technology Conference (aka the NTC): We chose the system because we have a volunteer who knows it. It worked great at my last (completely dissimilar) organization.

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On the value of donor database ratings

Robert Weiner

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. They have published numerous reports and whitepapers on technology for nonprofit organizations.

Discussion of Donor Data Retention

Robert Weiner

The original question: My organization is working on a data retention policy and wondering if others have insights to share. Is it a criteria which is temporary – “they’ve not given to us ever” doesn’t mean they may not wish they had, and upon decease urge gifts “in their memory” to your organization. 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.

New article: Take Control of your Organization’s Data

Robert Weiner

It's in their DIY series -- short tips for implementing something for your organization without extensive tech know-how or extra budget. NTEN just published a short piece of mine on data management in their Change magazine. The topic they gave me was managing decentralized data entry. Advancement Services Databases Donor Databases IT Management Nonprofit Management Nonprofit Technology

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

Robert Weiner

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). I'm working on an article with the title, "Maybe It's Not Your Database, It's You."

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Should You Delete Donor Records?

Robert Weiner

Organizations need to have a policy about what level of donation gets a particular level of stewardship. I have no quarrel with deleting nonresponsive “prospects” or constituents with no tangible connection to the organization.

Lame spams of the day: ADP Notifications

Robert Weiner

If you have any questions, please contact your ADP Technical Support organization. I've been seeing a variety of these recently. Since I don't use ADP it's obvious that they're spam, but others may fall for them.

Lame spam of the day: FBI & Nigerian Govt want to send me money

Robert Weiner

The letter begins "Series of meetings have been held over the past 7 months with the secretary general of the United Nations Organization. Dear Beneficiary, Series of meetings have been held over the past 7 months with the secretary general of the United Nations Organization.

Lame spam of the day: Meeting invitation from George Adoo

Robert Weiner

Here are the details: Organizer: johnnymark3000@gmail.com. Guest list has been hidden at organizer''s request). I''m not sure if this one is lame (the subject, text, and double salutation are certainly lame) or clever. This spam arrived in the form of a meeting invitation. My Outlook spam filter (SpamBayes) doesn''t seem to look at meeting invitations, and it also slipped past the SpamAssassin filter on my mail server.

Lame spam of the day: They want me to donate $50 million?

Robert Weiner

I got your contact while making inquiry for reliable person that will stand for God for charitable organization and change children’s lives in any part of the word, the reason behind this missionary work is based on the fact that my husband and my four children died in the plane crash on the 7th, of September 1998. Usually this type of come-on is offering me free money, but this one seems to want me to give them $50 million. Or maybe they're going to give me the money and I'm to regift it.

Blackbaud kills Common Ground: So What?

Robert Weiner

I’ve been hearing from many large organizations that are wondering whether they should be looking elsewhere. According to the Foundation Center’s analysis of data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are approximately 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S. According to the Q&A that Idealware conducted with Blackbaud , approximately 400 nonprofits are using Common Ground. That’s about.026 percent of U.S. nonprofits.

Tales of faux donors scamming charities

Robert Weiner

Tale 6: At another organization I worked for, a person visited our offices and asked for a tour. He indicated to the receptionist that he was opening a business in town and wanted to contribute philanthropically to our organization for which he had the utmost respect. The following is a compilation of online discussions of faux donors trying to scam colleges, schools, and nonprofits. In most cases it’s not clear what the scammers are trying to achieve.

Roundup of 2009 Online Giving Stats

Robert Weiner

69% of the organizations they looked at raised more online in 2009 than in 2008, while 31% raised less. Most organizations saw declines in average gift size. Small organizations grew fastest. I t's the season for a slew of reports analyzing last year's online giving results.

ROI for a donor database

Robert Weiner

If fundraisers (preferably senior or at least influential ones) don’t think there’s a problem, the organization is going to have a very hard time justifying a new system. My colleague Charlie Hunsaker posted the following question on the FUNDSVCS Advancement Services listserve: I have two clients who are looking for new systems and want a “cost justification” for their acquisition to share with their management. Probably an issue that we should all be looking at.

Idealware’s Field Guide to Nonprofit Software: Fundraising, Communications and Outreach

Robert Weiner

Through a friendly, easy-reference format, this book helps you pinpoint the types of software that can help your organization based on your needs and your level of technology savvy, and provides user-friendly summaries to demystify all the possible options.

Social Media for Revenue or Volunteers? Maybe Not

Robert Weiner

While the majority (of respondents) began using social networking with an expectation that it would help the organization attract donors and volunteers, results have been particularly disappointing in those categories.

Lame spam of the day: Fictitious Business Name Renewal Center

Robert Weiner

And every 5 years I get an official-looking form from this organization telling me that "California Law Requires You To Renew Your Fictitious Business Name.". If you run a web search on the name of this organization you'll see lots of posts with words like "ripoff" and "scam". It's novel to get the snail mail equivalent of spam. This one came via U.S. mail from the Fictitious Business Name Renewal Center in Sacramento, CA.

Lame scam of the day: Fictitious Business Name Renewal Center

Robert Weiner

And every 5 years I get an official-looking form from this organization telling me that "California Law Requires You To Renew Your Fictitious Business Name.". If you run a web search on the name of this organization you'll see lots of posts with words like "ripoff" and "scam". It's novel to get the snail mail equivalent of spam. This one came via U.S. mail from the Fictitious Business Name Renewal Center in Sacramento, CA.

What’s in Your Data Ecosystem?

Robert Weiner

NTEN describes it as follows: The nonprofit ecosystem is a way of thinking about how data is shared by and flows across the different departments and activities in your organization. Our friends at NTEN have launched a survey to examine nonprofits' data ecosystems.

Taking Advantage of a Crisis

Robert Weiner

For the first time since the index began in 2002, overall revenue per donor declined; revenue per donor declines were experienced by two-thirds of the organizations in the index.

Do New Online Donors Give Again?

Robert Weiner

One-time Internet givers to the 12 organizations who reported their fundraising data in January gave a median of $27 more than those who made single gifts by mail.

Chosing a donor database

Robert Weiner

I'd need to spend time learning about your organization to make any kind of informed recommendation. Talk to organizations with similar fundraising programs, staffing, IT support, etc. I get a lot of emails like the following from small nonprofits: We desperately need to get a new donor database and most of them are totally unaffordable!! Looking at the Idealware Low Cost Database report , I find that there are so many considerations that it is quite complicated to make a choice.

Resources from the Compasspoint Panel

Robert Weiner

My own resources page: [link] It includes links to articles like: Should Your Organization Use Social Networking Sites? Yesterday I spoke on a fundraising panel at Compasspoint's Silicon Valley/Peninsula Nonprofit Forum and mentioned a variety of resources. Here they are, with links: Donor Retention. AFP's Fundraising Effectiveness Project: [link]. The Agitator’s post “No New Donors!&# [link]. Attracting New Donors.

Thoughts on Software RFPs

Robert Weiner

I often see RFPs that are quite lengthy and well-considered, and looking for a system that has huge strategic value to an organization, but the required turn-around time to respond to the RFP is very short – often only 2 or 3 weeks. Or do the clients often not understand that vendors are working with multiple other organizations at the same time?

Phishing Scam: Habitat for Humanity fundraising

Robert Weiner

An organization like Habitat wouldn't look for employees by sending mass emails to "undisclosed recipients." Hello Prospective Employee, At HABITAT FOR HUMANITY INTERNATIONAL, we work hard to improve and provide training, technical expertise and support in fund-raising to the national organizations in all the regions of the world. We are an organization with a remarkable heritage. I received the following phishing email today.

A Month with the Palm Pre

Robert Weiner

I found that MediaMonkey , a free music organizer/player, sync tool that I had used with an older MP3 player, will sync my tunes with the Pre. I've had my Palm Pre Plus for a little over a month now. I wrote up my initial impressions after having it for a week. Overall, I love it except for Outlook sync. My major problem with the Pre is due to its lack of a built-in sync with a standalone/desktop copy of Outlook.

C3 Announces 2010 In-Kind Donation and Grant Program for Nonprofits

Robert Weiner

C3 is looking for examples of how organizations can increase internal communication, communication between donors, clients and communities, and/or effective communication strategies in times of crisis or other large scale campaigns. Applications are being accepted for $2,500 in-kind donations of audio, video, and web conferencing services from C3 Conferencing. C3 will also provide complimentary training as needed.

Ingredients of a High Performing Advancement Services Shop

Robert Weiner

These are the people who need to determine whether a contribution can be counted as a gift, which fund it should go to, who is the legal donor, whether it's tax deductible and who gets tax credit, whether accepting it violates any federal, state,or organization rules, who should be notified of the gift's arrival, etc. If your organization has one person with all of these skills, it should do its best to keep them happy.). Understand their organization's policies and procedures.

Free Digital Storytelling Online Event

Robert Weiner

Looking for an innovative and compelling way to tell your organization's story? We will help you learn how to maximize the impact of your organization's message with online audio, video, and images. My friends at TechSoup asked me to pass along info about their upcoming digital storytelling event.

Donor Tracking vs. Business Intelligence

Robert Weiner

I've heard countless organizations describe their donor databases as "roach motels" or "data vaults" -- the data goes in but it doesn't come out. The Nonprofit Times recently published an article called Is It Donor Management Software Or Business Intelligence. It discusses what Laura Quinn calls the "movement from merely tracking data to an emphasis on using it strategically to make business decisions." " This vision of donor management software is nothing new.

Transcript: Using Social Networks to Promote Good Causes

Robert Weiner

The discussion featured: Danielle Brigida , the social-media outreach coordinator at the National Wildlife Federation, in Washington, DC where she manages the organization's voice on online networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Care2, Change.org, Digg, and StumbleUpon. If you missed The Chronicle of Philanthropy's June 23 online discussion Using Social Networks to Promote Good Causes , the transcript is now available.

Matching Gifts Best Practices 2009

Robert Weiner

The responses came primarily from academic institutions, but also included significant numbers from healthcare, religious, and social service organizations. SupportingAdvancement.com has published the results of their 2009 survey on how nonprofits are handling corporate matching gifts --their fourth such survey. The findings included: 96% of respondents accept matching gifts (down from 99% in 2008), but only 60% actively ask individual donors to request matching gifts.

Online Discussion on June 23: Using Social Networks to Promote Good Causes

Robert Weiner

The speakers include: Danielle Brigida , the social-media outreach coordinator at the National Wildlife Federation, in Washington, DC where she manages the organization’s voice on online networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Care2, Change.org, Digg, and StumbleUpon. This Tuesday The Chronicle of Philanthropy will host another free online discussion about how nonprofits can use social media.

Transcript: Promoting Causes on Online Social Networks

Robert Weiner

As I mentioned last week , the Chronicle of Philanthropy held a live online discussion about how nonprofits can use social networks to promote their organizations. On the panel, was Danielle Brigida, social-media-outreach coordinator at the National Wildlife Federation; marketing and communications consultant Nancy E. Schwartz; and Felicia Carr, director of online communications for the National Parks Conservation Association.

Advice for Consultants - Part 3

Robert Weiner

Will you tier your fees for different sized organizations? This is the third in a series of posts aimed at new consultants in the nonprofit sector. The previous posts are at Part 1 and Part 2. Make sure you have enough savings, loans, or other income to tide you over while you build your business. Figure out where you will work and what equipment you will need. What kinds of capital investments do you need to make to get started? Do you need a rented office or home office?

Deadline July 1: $100,000 Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation

Robert Weiner

The Drucker Award is given to a social-sector organization that demonstrates “change that creates a new dimension of performance. The Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University has posted the application for the 2009 Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation. In addition, the judges look for programs that are highly effective and that have made a difference in the lives of the people they serve.&#.

Advice for Consultants - Part 2

Robert Weiner

The tech underground model (loose yet organized affiliation of npo techs who share skills and back each other up) is one of the good models out there. be clear who you are and are not supporting (&# not&# might include board members, organizations down the hall who stop by, sponsored projects, employees’ home computers) and ask the client to communicate and hold the line on this. get your files organized: both electronically and paper.

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