Friday, September 30, 2016

Nonprofits, what's your problem?

Do nonprofits have a problem?

You know that selecting, buying, and implementing enterprise software is a complex task requiring detailed technical knowledge rarely part of the “day job” of the people making the decision.  Furthermore, the process could take months to a couple years (or more).

That’s not the problem.

The stereotype of software salespeople as predators is often true. Many, especially those working for large, publicly traded companies or venture-capitalized start-ups, are on quota. They’re not bad people, but if they miss their quota, they risk losing their job; closing the deal, makes them money. It’s easy to see how this zero-sum game might lead one to gloss over complexity and nuance.
Companies design a veil of confusion around their products, contracts, and pricing for a key reason: they are beholden to revenue estimates for which Wall Street and VCs hold them accountable. Failure to meet estimates can mean lower stock prices and loss of shareowner trust.  

That’s not the problem either, because--honestly--who trusts salespeople, anyway?

The key issue is nonprofits themselves. You’re too nice. Organizations deal with punishing sales experiences all the time. Some even wind up happy. How? If your nonprofit wants to make the process of selecting, buying, and implementing enterprise software work, you need to become knowledgeable, demanding, cynical.

You need to be a tough customer. 

Here’s how:

  1. Have staff knowledgeable about the business operations and technology help make the right choice. Free up their time so these people can focus on the process and engage with the details before a decision is made. If you have staff whom can drive the process, you have to make sure that their other responsibilities are reduced so they can give this process their undivided attention. Consider devoting internal staff to the project or working with a consultant familiar with the organization’s needs.
  2. Software can only improve a situation when it aligns to an organization's strategic plan and goals.  How many nonprofits actually get specific goals and expectations from senior leadership before researching and selecting software? The best projects have someone from senior leadership (CEO, COO) as engaged project sponsors, setting direction, removing roadblocks and holding everyone accountable. If the CEO can have an intelligent conversation about what’s going well and what’s not working during the process, her/his level of involvement is about right.
  3. Get staff buy-in. Dictates from on-high rarely survive ground conditions. Project owners or managers should find out if the software will work for staff and give them what they need. The result is that staff will actually use the product when the switch flips on.
  4. Boards usually carry fiduciary responsibility for an enterprise software decision but are rarely involved in selection. If the board has to approve the funds, they might consider appointing a member to get involved and stay involved. You don't want to have to ask the board for money more than once.
  5. Consider the alignment of the vendor with your market and their track record of successful long-term relationships with clients like you. My belief is smaller, privately held firms are most willing to go the extra mile for their clients.
  6. Hold vendors accountable to terms of contracts, statements of work, and deadlines. If something feels wrong, it probably is. The time to address a problem is early. If this makes your salesperson or project manager uncomfortable, that might be an indication you found something that will make your life difficult later. It is okay to push back early–you are the customer, after all.

Friday, April 15, 2016

ClearView CRM comes to Android

iPhone users shouldn't get all the ClearView CRM Mobile benefits, should they? We think not. That's why the mobile app is now available for your Android smartphone.

As with the iOS version, ClearView CRM Mobile for Android is free for ClearView users in the cloud. Just visit the Google Play store for your download. 

If you're an Android device owner and had the chance to view the SofTrek's special webinar on Mobile for iOS, you should know that using the app on Android is a nearly identical process. If you didn't see the webinar, you can view it for free at your convenience.  

If you're a frontline fundraiser, in many respects ClearView CRM Mobile makes your PC or laptop obsolete. Remember, below is a high-level view of everything you can do in Mobile:

  • Work with your prospects. You can create and track opportunities, capture meeting notes with your phone's voice-text tools and prep for meetings.
  • Stay connected with your key donors. You can make calls or email from right in the app, update donor data when you learn new info, and import that info to your device contacts file.
  • Quickly handle tasks like creating and tracking actions to take, sending notifications to colleagues, and capturing and connecting pictures to donor files.
If your nonprofit uses ClearView CRM in the cloud, you can go mobile. Ask your organization's ClearView administrator to configure your system. Once the configuration is complete,  visit Google Play, download, and you're ready for the road.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Go mobile on the go

If you're a frontline fundraiser who's often on the road, you have a powerful new ally in the mobile version of ClearView CRM, available for iPhones and iPads. 

Anyone who spends a lot of time on the go knows that being efficient and effective can be a real challenge. That's why ClearView CRM Mobile helps with the kinds of activities that are keys to fundraising success. With the new mobile app, you can:

  • work with prospects by creating and tracking opportunities, capturing meeting notes with their phones’ voice-text tools and prepping for meetings.
  • stay connected with donors by making calls or emailing directly from the app, updating donor data as soon as they learn new info, and importing donor info to a device contacts file.
  • immediately handle tasks like creating and tracking actions to take, sending notifications to colleagues, and capturing and connecting pictures to donor files.
ClearView CRM Mobile fundraising software The app offers even more support for your out-of-office solicitation efforts. For instance, you can easily plan your strategies for those all-important prospect meetings right from within ClearView CRM Mobile.
If you're already using ClearView CRM in the cloud and have an Apple device, you can go mobile. Your first step is asking your organization's ClearView administrator to configure your system, which is a quick and straightforward process. Once the configuration is complete, simply visit the iTunes app store, and download ClearView CRM.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Soup up your prospect summary screen with simple tweaks

Did you know that, with a few simple tweaks, you can soup up your ClearView CRM prospect summary screen to make your work-life more efficient?

Tweak 1

Pare down tabs. You can easily create new prospect view screens that include only the tabs you want. Consider making a “quick info” screen that has only the Prospect Info, Touches, Memos and Prospect Tags tabs. You can also think about screens that focus on a specific topic. If you often analyze donor giving habits, make a new prospect summary view that includes the Giving Summary, Giving Summary with Soft Credits, Giving Breakdown and Giving Breakdown with Soft Credits tabs.
     To make your changes, go into Settings -> Application -> Manage Prospect Summary Views. Once you create a new view, you see the option to switch views in the Prospect Summary View for any donor. There, you can add the tabs you want. You can also set the default view of your choice in Settings.

Tweak 2

Streamline the Go To menu. The Prospect Summary View Go To menu by default contains so many topics. If you or your organization isn’t using some of those topics, you can quickly delete any of them from the menu. Paring down the number of menu items helps you find the menu item you need more quickly and can clean up the screen considerably. To do this, go into Administration, choose Go To Menu Configurations, and choose the menu items you want to see.

Tweak 3

Customize tables for any Go To menu item. Technically speaking, this tweak isn’t for the Prospect Summary View but for the views of data you get when you click on many Go To menu items. Say you click on Actions in the Go To menu. The table that you see with detailed data by default likely contains more columns than you use regularly. To customize the columns you see, use Settings on the Actions page to eliminate some of the columns or add others. You can also choose the number of rows you can see on each page of results, up to a maximum of 100. You can make similar changes to any of the Go To menu items, giving you exactly the view of data that you prefer to see.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ready for even more integrations?

ClearView CRM connects with even more software that nonprofits use regularly

New accounting software integration is systems 14th

The list keeps growing. ClearView CRM from SofTrek Corporation added three more applications with which the system connects. The integrations, which allow the applications to “talk” to ClearView CRM directly, give SofTrek's nonprofit clients the flexibility to build a fundraising software system that exactly meets their organizations’ needs. 

The applications that newly connect with ClearView CRM include peer-to-peer and online event fundraising, in addition to the system’s 14th accounting software integration. They are:

  • DonorDrive peer-to-peer fundraising software that provides tools for people to raise funds for causes they care about.
  • TeamRaiser online event fundraising software that helps organizations turn event participants into fundraisers.
  • Epicor accounting software, which provides general ledger journals, accounts payable and receivable, cash management and other accounting functions.

ClearView CRM’s core donor database now connects through APIs (application programming interfaces) with nearly 45 applications that nonprofits use regularly, such as accounting, credit-card payment processing, giving analytics, prospect research, email marketing and more.

“These latest integrations with ClearView CRM prove our commitment to helping our nonprofit clients create fundraising software systems that work exactly as they want them to,” said Robert Girardi, SofTrek president and CEO. “We've always believed in playing nicely with others, as the tech industry puts it, and we'll continue to add to the list of applications to which our clients can connect ClearView CRM."

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Before your busy season heats up, create some opportunities

While we’re basking in summer’s warmth, fundraising professionals know that their busiest season is right around the corner.

Why not gear up for your fundraising autumn by creating opportunities in ClearView CRM for the prospects in your portfolio? With ClearView CRM’s Opportunity Management feature, you can more easily and efficiently coordinate the set of fundraising asks and activities that gift officers and others need to execute with their targeted list of prospects.

A key reason to use Opportunity Management? It can actually make much more predictable even the highly individualized process of major gift fundraising.

So, what kinds of opportunities should you create? Think broadly: opportunities refer to anything of value your organization might want from a constituent of any kind. They could be major gifts, board memberships, bequests or something else. With Opportunity Management, you make the most of these opportunities by creating an opportunity linked to a specific prospect, adding information about
the opportunity, tracking constituents as they mature from prospect to donor to major donor, and managing the actions associated with bringing it to completion.

In fact, making an “Action Track” in an opportunity record is the closest you’ll come to automating parts of the high-touch process of donor development. Ultimately, Opportunity Management streamlines your workflow and ensures you take every step necessary toward achieving any opportunity.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Turning Reports into Dashboard Panels

Are you on a quest for the perfect fundraising dashboard? With ClearView CRM, you have a useful option of adding your own report-based, custom panels to the system’s standard list of dashboard panel choices.

ClearView CRM offers a range of panels already built into its Panel Library, from Action Reminders and Gifts by Geography, to Prospects Added in Past Month and numerous others. As luck (or software developers) would have it, you also can add panels that reflect reports you use frequently but that don’t appear on the built-in panel list. Technically, this is called “rendering” a report in a custom panel.

Adding a new custom panel to your available Panel Library list offers a few advantages:
  • Efficiency: Report information that you use frequently is immediately available in the panel when you log in to your ClearView CRM dashboard.
  • Effectiveness: An optimum panel configuration allows you to grasp quickly the import of what you see.
  • Choice: You have more options with which to build exactly the dashboard(s) that supports your and your organization’s work.
Many interactive summary reports in the ClearView Reports Library are good candidates for a custom panel. Great examples are the Active Donor by Geography report and the Solicitor Activity Performance Summary report. Your ClearView CRM administrator will need to configure any new custom panels to display properly and with the right kind of information.  After you select the report you want in the custom panel, you’ll choose an appropriate visual layout. Once the panel is complete, it will show up in the Panel Library, and anyone can choose to include it in a dashboard.

If you don’t have support from an internal ClearView CRM administrator, ask for help to create your report-based custom panel from your account manager or anyone on the Client Services Team. They’ll be happy to help you produce a custom panel that can immediately show up on the fundraising dashboard of your dreams.