Transcript: NGO Connect Webinar

On August 30, Smita Vadakekalam hosted the roundCorner team to present the fourth installment of our CRM Options for Enterprise Nonprofits webinar series, showing the features and benefits of roundCorner’s NGO Connect. This series is designed to help organizations learn more about today’s CRM solution marketplace and develop strategies to overcome common obstacles preventing them from adopting new technology.

Below is the transcript of the webinar. To get the full context and view the demo of NGO Connect, please view the recording here.

NGO Connect: CRM Options for Enterprise Nonprofits

Smita: Good morning. Good afternoon. Welcome to the fourth session of our seven-part series on CRM options for enterprise nonprofits. Today’s session will be focused on roundCorner’s NGO Connect, where we’ll be joined by Dan Lamothe, Founder and President of roundCorner. I’m Smita Vadakekalam, VP of Services at Heller Consulting. I’ll be your moderator for today. Before we get started with Dan, I’m going to talk a little bit about the series and provide some context.

We started this series in May, talking about tips, tricks for software selection. We invite you to look at that webinar which is available on our website. We had salesforce.org then Blackbaud and today is NGO Connect. We also have three upcoming webinars with ClearView, StratusLIVE, ROI Solutions. Our goal is trying to give you a well-rounded view of the options out there for enterprise type nonprofits. Be sure to go to our website to register for upcoming webinars.

About Heller

This is just a little reminder of what we do at Heller. Our core expertise is working with the nonprofit sector. We’ve been working with the sector for over 20 years. We start with CRM strategy and design, which includes vision planning, architecture design and a needs analysis before you implement. We also do a lot of work on the actual technical implementation of your CRM when you’re ready. All of our implementations include change management. Lastly, we also do a lot of work with organizations after they’ve implemented CRM systems, on how to effectively use and optimize the system to achieve your fundraising, engagement, and user adoption goals.

Getting Started With A CRM Initiative

I’m just going to cover some points briefly about the things you should be thinking about before you actually start your technology or CRM implementation. If you would like more details on this, Keith Heller actually goes into the specifics on all of this in part one of our webinar series. The first step in selecting software is to establish the framework by which you will make the decision. These are the really big strategic questions that look at the future of how your organization will do its work and they should be strongly considered before moving forward. Do you see this decision primarily as a tool, solution replacement project or is its primary purpose to generate efficiency and greater access to data? Do you have aspirations around streamlining your organization’s business processes, breaking down silos, sharing data, reporting across organization and working in a more collaborative way? This is really important as determining this is a major factor and I’ll help you prioritize many of the sometimes-difficult choices you’ll have to make. Lastly, it is important you think beyond software features and system functionality that serves your needs on what you want to achieve today. It is really important to consider what you want to be able to do in the future as well. Consider, how does what you do each day serve your mission and how could it be better served. Consider what you could do instead of just what you have done. The choices you’ll make now will be with you for many years so it is imperative to look ahead to where you want to be and plan for a solution that will continue with you on that journey.

What we’ve learned through our work over the years is that every organization has a distinct culture and set of values. Before you embark on your CRM implementation, it is really important to consider the culture of your organization as this will impact the success of your implementation. By thinking this through, you can better manage and prepare for the change a software project implies and it ensures a much smoother implementation and greater use adoption.

On this slide as you can see are some key questions you should ask your organization so you can better plan for this change. If you plan for how you’ll answer these questions, you will save a lot of time, energy and money down the road. I can talk about this topic for hours but I don’t want to take up any more of the valuable time we have for the NGO Connect demo. If you’d like more information on this particular topic, be sure to visit part one of our webinar series.

Resources Available

As you see on this slide, this is just an example of some of the information and researches we have available on our website. There is a lot of additional information on NGO Connect and CRM strategy.

Experience With NGO Connect

Finally, before I hand it off to Dan, we’ve worked with a large number of large organizations that have implemented NGO Connect. As this slide shows, these are just some examples of some of them. If you want to learn about any of these particular case studies, please be sure to contact us and we’ll be happy to share the stories. A few housekeeping items before we start, all audio lines have been muted to ensure high quality and questions can be posted in the question box in your GoToWebinar panel. I’ll be reading out the questions towards the end of the webinar. Now it is my pleasure to hand it off to Dan Lammot, Co-Founder and President of roundCorner. Welcome Dan.

Dan: Hey Smita. Thank you very much for the invitation and for the introduction. Before I get into any of our content for the day, I just want to first thank the Heller team for putting this series together. I believe that this will be a really important asset for the nonprofit community at large in their process of determining which tools will work best to support their mission and fundraising efforts. Thank you to all the Heller participants and co-investors in this process. I also want to just acknowledge the folks that are very busy and hard at work in the southern United States right now dealing with the challenges that the storm is bringing, and know that all of our thoughts are going out to them as well as the rest of the social good sector that is working to make our world a better place.

Thanks everybody for joining today. I’m really excited to have a brief opportunity to talk about some of the work we are doing at roundCorner in an effort to help nonprofit organizations try to make this world a better place. Our goal at roundCorner is to try to wake up every day to help people change the way they change the world. We recognize our humble part in that process is just a small piece of some massive effort that is really required, given the many challenges facing humanity and the planet today. It is something that we take very seriously. We take with great honor, and we very much look forward to continuing the best work of our lives with all of the partners in the ecosystem as well as the customers that we are so privileged to work with.

About roundCorner

A very brief introduction to our company. We are just about to arrive at our eighth anniversary in a couple of days which we are exceedingly proud about. The way we go about trying to help people change the way they change the world is through working with nonprofits by bringing our technology and our people together, so that they can engage their constituents and do something that we call become constituent-centered. There is nothing new about that idea. We’ll talk a lot about it during the course of the day today. We believe that there are new tools and processes and certainly a new social imperative that there has never been a better time to be in the business that we are so honored to be in. We have had the good fortune of working with over a couple hundred organizations over the past eight years since we’ve been in this market sector, having come to it from working with the same technology in the cloud and in the Salesforce and the banking sector for many years prior to that. Our team continues to grow and we continue to make significant investments in our product to try to both learn from the mistakes we’ve made but also look forward to the new opportunities and challenges that present themselves as time goes on.

We have a broad diversity of organizations that we work with. The one tenet that rings true roundCorner is that we believe that all organizations in this sector are working on causes that are well worth the time, effort, treasure and challenge. We make no decisions about who we will or will not work with and believe that our team members have the opportunity to really contribute to the efforts of some of the organizations that they care about most. We are very proud to be part of the Pledge 1% movement that salesforce.org and others have contributed to, to ensure that our philanthropic efforts go far beyond just building technology and bringing people to the sector.

Giving Is Increasing

One thing that we hold true and I think the data certainly supports is that giving is on the move. It is most definitely rising, but it is also changing vehicles and sources. The name of our company is meant to recognize that none of us have a crystal ball to be able to see around the corner to what the future of the nonprofit sector looks like but that through our efforts and combined with those of customers and partners, we believe we can help accelerate the prospects of being able to see around that corner.

In today’s connected world and in the context of our collective desire to solve some of these most pressing challenges, it is really important that we focus on engaging with constituents on a one to one level. There are a large number of nonprofits in the United States and there are, well, a growing number of constituents or prospective constituents. It is becoming an ever-increasing competitive market. Now more than ever, it is important that each of the nonprofits in the sector get very focused on their mission and their message and the stories that they are able to tell. And to be able to gain and retain the support of those that trust them with some of their most precious time and treasures. Some of those that have been able to do that that we admire are folks like the International Rescue Committee, who’ve been able to dramatically increase their online volunteer applications through the use of technology that we’ve been able to take a small part in. People like the League of Women Voters that have been focused on democracy since long before I was born, through improving their giving operations and their campaign success by getting better data analytics and insights into both their processes as well as the outcome, so they can make the best use of the resources. Others like the National Kidney Foundation who are expediting both their fundraising and event processes from what used to take weeks, down to days and sometimes even hours so they have more time to spend on the things that matter most to them and their organizations. Last but certainly not least, the Sierra Club that is focused very much on our planet and our environment and is looking forward to seeing continued growth of our products to help them steward their major donors and their online giving activities. We believe, to wrap up our introduction, that to achieve a greater impact in the world, the constituents have to be placed at the center of the organization and the technology can play a major part in that process.

In the old world, the data has been inaccessible- it has been hidden. It may very well be there but both the people within your organization as well as the constituents themselves don’t necessarily have access to it and that can really inhibit business operations. In this new connected world, we propose that we all accept that it is not your data, it is not our data at roundCorner, but behind each record in your database, there is a story. That story is representative of the identity that the constituent wishes to share with you and that by acknowledging that, we can begin to break down these data silos and leverage technology and new ideas to be able to solve some of humanities most pressing challenges as I said before.

The way we go about accomplishing this is by leveraging some of the world’s most innovative software platforms, most notable Salesforce, which our products are entirely natively built into. Then delivering those platforms in industry specific and purpose-built functionality that spans what we believe are the most important business operations for nonprofits today, which include the core of constituent relationship management or constituent engagement, combining both online and offline fundraising, recognizing where the money is moving as well as where we all hope it can go in the future and become more efficient. At the same time, not ignoring development operations and the need for both high volume and reliable gift processing in a PCI-compliant transactional manner. Then combining that with extendable event and volunteer management capabilities all wrapped in reporting, analytics and dashboards.

Now, I really admire some of the other organizations that have presented prior to us and that they have acknowledged, as well as Keith in the last session, that no one application is either right for all organizations and no one platform or vendor has all the answers for the diversity of nonprofits that are in the space. One of the ways that we accept that and tackle that challenge for some of our largest customers is by bringing our managed services team and a round data solution to bear in combination with NGO Connect and the Salesforce platform. We may be able to cover that further demonstration down the road.

NGO Connect Demonstration

Without further ado, I’d like to spend some time looking at the NGO Connect application. In the time we have today, we’ll touch really just the tip of the iceberg and see how some of the detailed functionality can be brought together to represent those identities and the stories of the constituents that entrust their time and treasure with the nonprofits that used to work with roundCorner, NGO Connect, and the Salesforce platform.

I’m going to take a look at some of the key components that we offer in constituent relationship management including different entity types and contacts and households, their preferences and relationships and how address management and other social and digital connection points can be brought together. We’ll take a brief look at individual donations as well as corporate and foundation through online and offline giving and see how that data is aggregated and summarized in the application for use in segmentation and marketing. We’ll get a brief look at how NGO Connect manages the base functionality of event management and volunteer management. Then, if we have time, we’ll cover a bit of the utilities that come along with our application including a very large number of standard reports, each of which are customizable on the dashboards that provide some visualization on top of that. In F slides, as we love to say at roundCorner and we’re going to jump right in the application.

NGO Connect In The AppExchange

Now, NGO Connect is a platinum application on the Salesforce AppExchange, which is the world’s largest market place for applications in the business environment. This is really important and with a very critical decision in the formation of our organization because, as I mentioned before, we believe that it takes a group of companies and a group of innovators to come together to solve both the diversity of problems, as well as the depth that is required especially in the enterprise nonprofit that the series is focused upon. We made a very deliberate decision, as we organized roundCorner, behind our mission to leverage what we believed then and we still believe is the world’s most innovative software platform in Salesforce. Our application is built entirely in Salesforce capabilities and delivered via the Salesforce AppExchange. The way that it can be found is certainly through searching but Salesforce also offers industry segments within the App Exchange. If you navigate to the nonprofit part of the AppExchange, you’ll see NGO Connect in its lightening ready form available here, where there are a host of other details available in the application. The way that our end-users get to our application is by going to a browser, going to the Salesforce login page, entering their password and username and being able to leverage all of the layers of security and authentication that Salesforce has to offer. Once they click login, they are brought directly into the application. Our application really leverages the best that Salesforce has to offer to both a commercial space, the nonprofit space and all other industry segments.

It is built, as I said before, natively into Salesforce and leverages what we see as the five key components of the platform which include accounts which are entities, contacts which are people, cases which is the service capabilities, giving, which is the Salesforce automation terminology and capability of the Salesforce platform and really what has allowed it to launch to become the world’s most innovative company so many years in a row according to Forbes as well as the campaign capabilities which we leverage for a variety of different group-management functions within the system.

NGO Connect Capabilities

Behind the scenes are a host of development operations and operations focus, maintenance capabilities from source code management to batch gift entering and upload which we’ll get to see in a couple of moments. As you can see when you land inside of NGO Connect in Salesforce, you’re presented with analytics that can help you understand both where you are and where you need to focus your efforts. Your ability to see what is important today like meetings that are upcoming so you know where you need to be and how you need to be prepared to engage with your constituents, as well as the work that is outstanding for you directly linked to the records across the system. Like in this case, I can see that I need to invite Winston Fischer to an event as a VIP and we’ll be talking more about Winston as we get through the rest of the demo.

Other things that I get to see are things like recent records, the top opportunities that are in our giving pipeline, as well as the collaboration that is happening across our organization both between individuals that have access to the system, prospectively constituents that you enable through authentication to engage directly with you, including maintaining their own data and identities, as well as doing all that within the context of the actual data itself. That just shows through the chatter enablement across the NGO Connect application as offered through the Salesforce platform.

Understanding Your Constituents

I want to go back to looking at what is a constituent in NGO Connect? If I presented a hypothesis that it all comes down to becoming constituent centered, then it makes I think good sense to talk about how does that become manifest in our application. If I look for a constituent like Winston Fischer, who shows up in my recent items, now you can see I can navigate very easily directly to that contact. I’m presented with the Winston Fischer contact record. I can see that it is linked to a household where he and Jessica are grouped. I can see aggregate giving information. I can see volunteer hour information summarized and I can see constituent coding and classification like their primary giving level. I can take a look at all of their giving history. I can see all of the multiple addresses as well as manage seasonality of addresses over time for this individual as well as the household. I can define and modify salutations which can be associated with the other entities within the profile itself as well to ensure that we’re addressing Winston appropriately based on the source of the communication.

I can also see a critical feature of NGO Connect that we call preferences, which collapses a broad diversity of categorizations that we’ve seen in many legacy systems, that include things like appeal preferences, benefit preferences, constituent types as well as specific interests in classifications. We’ve aggregated those concepts into a single object in our application to enable for… enable the end-user to much more easily do multivariable searches across a broad span of constituent interest preferences and relationships so that they can get to those data elements and lists of people at their fingertips.

Going down the page, we can also see all of the planned giving details, volunteer time logs, engagement with our constituent service organization, program enrollment and outcomes and all of the campaign history both from a giving as well as outbound marketing engagement perspective. Not to mention the ability to attach and collaborate around media of any file type within the system itself. Interestingly within these types of records, you also can see an aggregation of all the details that may be very simple for a basic constituent or if it is a life time relationship, could be quite this diverse as in the case of Winston. In this case, we can see that he doesn’t want to be called, that he is a volunteer, that he is a sustaining giver and that he has a life time membership with our organization. Lots of expository details and all the data elements we would hope you’ll be able to expect in this context.

We can also see integrations in this context and his profile with some of the applications that we often implement with our partners including folks like KnowWho for advocacy as well as WealthEngine for wealth studies down the page. You’ll also see all of the contact methods that hopefully your heart will desire across telephones, emails and addresses and social handles as well. There should be no challenge in engaging with Winston if you’re able to bring this data to life. We also in the context of these profiles, have the ability to collaborate as a team. When anything changes with Winston, the parties of interest within our organization are notified through the chatter channel. We can also post updates directly to this channel to inform those about information that may be changing with Winston or engagement activities.

When we have an opportunity to do these demos in person, we are able to demonstrate that by Siri capabilities on an iPhone or other voice enabled services, you can call log reports directly to contact records straight within the mobile phone which is a great feature set-offered by both these platforms as well as the Salesforce platform. If we’re able to see everything we can possibly know about Winston including how to contact him and what he likes and what he doesn’t like and how he would like to be engaged, it is also just as important to know how Winston is related to other entities and people within the span of our NGO Connect application. In this case, I can see through the relationships that Winston was educated at Harvard, that his partner is Jessica Eckles, that his sibling is Jill, that his employer is the Fischer Brothers Organization, that he is a member of the Fischer Family Foundation and that he is on the board of Verizon Communications.

Irrespective of which user views these relationships, they will always be able to see the reciprocal people and entity-based relationships in a single place. We think that is critical because it makes it both easy for the end-users to understand how these relationships are interconnected, but it also makes the data maintenance of these relationships very simple from a systems perspective and an end-user perspective which is really key to adoption. When I take a look at Winston and I notice that he is related to Jessica, you can see that I can very easily navigate to the household where they are aggregated. Some of our customers operate the majority of their business at a household level, others do at a contact level. NGO Connect offers the ability to have all of the capabilities I’ve demonstrated thus far engage both at individual contact and or at household levels which is a major differentiator of our technology. In this case you can see if I look at the Winston Fischer and Jessica Eckles household, I have aggregate giving information, I have primary contact details and I can also see all of the other people that are related in this account, not just Jessica who is his partner, but I can also see their children in Jackie and Jamie. If you were to view the entirety of the relationships in this context, you might see people like trustees, attorneys and other affiliate relationships as well. One of the great things about NGO Connect, is that, it allows you to not just put all of this data into lists where it has to be read by end-users but if we go pick up an individual contact like Becky Hornbaum as another example, you can come into the application and be able to visualize those relationships so that you can see in a social graph context how all of the people and entities are related together within the application.

I’ve chosen a deliberately hyper-connected constituent so I can show you some interesting functionality that comes along with this, that is only available with NGO Connect. The first and my favorite is to be able to say, if I would like to get from Becky Hornbaum to Larry Smith as an example, I can trace the connections in our application directly through using trace connections in our manage relationships. If I wanted to take those individuals and invite them to a specific event, all I have to do is drag straight across them and invite them to a celebration dinner. Now, they are immediately added to that campaign and off to our marketing engagement activities within the application. These are a couple of features that are especially loved by folks in major gifts and in prospect management within our customer base. If I know who our contacts are and I’m able to see who the people within the household are, and I can see them according to their preferences, their engagement potential across both traditional direct mail capacity and seasonal addresses, as well as through digital means all the way up through and into social, I can check how they’re all related together.

Then I have been able to understand that within this application, I really can allow both the organization to record and manage these relationships the way they wish to be seen inside of NGO Connect. I can also leverage the capabilities of chatter to be able to have the organization engage around these relationships as well.

Action Plans

One of the really fantastic features that comes along with NGO Connect is something that we call action plans. Because it is one thing to record this data and be able to understand what the relationships are, it is another to be able to act upon it within the context of the constituent relationship. Within the context of any record within NGO Connect, you’re able to both establish as well as engage action plans. Here you can see I can create a new action plan based on a template. In this case I’m going to assume that Winston is a major donor prospect and so I’ll add a major gift prospect action plan. You can see that we’ll create all the detailed records for that specific set of template-based engagement within our application. It will create a series of dependent tasks that will be initiated after the preceding activity is created and those can be assigned both to the owner of the specific record or users or queues within our application as well so that the end-user doesn’t have to think through all of the specific details of those assignments. The final thing that is really interesting about the NGO Connect action plans is that, instead of having to run a major, manual or planning process through a specific portion of the year perhaps at the end of the year fiscal year or your calendar year, these action plans can be auto generated at the periodicity that you see fit. For example, if this action plan will run this year and I set it up to be re-initiated annually, then next year at the prescribed time, that action plan will be re-generated for the specific contact and any other contact that it was associated to. That would allow me to not have to manage that operational process and know that the constituent engagement activities would take place as I saw fit at the time of planning. It is a small feature but one that can take a significant amount of effort out of an organization.

Managed Giving

One of the keys to be able to manage an enterprise nonprofit is to be able to manage giving. NGO Connect imagines giving across four primary capabilities. Those capabilities include online giving; offline giving through batch gift upload, typically managed through some type of data file entry or file upload process; the third method is through batch gift entry through a high velocity interface; and last but not least is what we tongue and check call long division gift entry. I’ll give you a quick tour of each of these capabilities within our application. To give you an example of online giving, with you are able to come to the campaign object, you’ll see that I have an example in here for a web form campaign. We use the campaign capabilities of the platform for this because it allows us to both do aggregation of the outbound efforts as well as capture all of the inbound efforts that are aggregated both in terms of response rates as well as in terms of the revenue that comes in via these channels.

If I navigate through a web form campaign and I go to our design form capabilities, we are presented with three different functions within the NGO Connect form designer. First is the view state, which is essentially what the constituent sees as they navigate to your website and this is the sample for a fictitious nonprofit called the Imagine Workshop. You can see we have gift information that allows for different amounts and one payment or monthly types, donation form or donor information that spans the gamut of the constituent details. Payment information and payment blocks that integrate with any one of the seven PCI compliant, NGO Connect payments integrations and we have visual capabilities like Jumbotron images as well as different capabilities like small images and different text sizes and fonts.

Within this context, you can also create strings of forms like donation forms to thank-you pages, donation forms to volunteer registration forms et cetera. That allows you the capability to build these forms into a flow. In this case I have e a very simple flow that demonstrates upon submission, it will be redirected to a thank-you page. We execute the payment processing and then we refresh the data and save all of that into the NGO Connect application. You can see that you can do this by dragging and dropping and just adding new components. Interestingly, this is all built using mobile responsive capabilities and you can see that I can actually do this from a mobile phone or an iPad during my commute if I see fit. The editing capabilities are also drag and drop where you are able to pull different components around the page and not just drop capabilities but also be able to inject the forms with custom JavaScript and callouts to other applications. That is a quick view of the first capability of NGO Connect for online giving.

Batch Gift Entry

The second capability is through batch gift entry. We’ve leveraged some of the scalable and innovative capabilities that Salesforce offers through their Heroku platform, to be able to deliver a really different interface for batch gift entry as many organizations require to be able to bring giving data and or any constituent inbound data into the application.

Within NGO Connect batch gift entry capabilities, you’re able to have any number of batches, any number of batch templates and you’re able to see those up to 10,000 at a time within any individual page and with pagination. Within these batched templates, you’re able to define the number of items and the expected value and then enter those details on the fly without ever touching the keyboard. Just to do a simple example, if I hit enter on a record that I’ve already entered, you’ll see on the right-hand side I’m presented with Anna Hoey and her information directly from NGO Connect. If I make that search a bit broader, with the name that is a bit more common, we come to a new record. You’ll see that I’m presented with all of the different options and I can continue to refine until I found the records that I expect to find. All these items will aggregate in real-time so that I know that my batch will foot out before I expect it to process. What happens behind the online giving capabilities and the batch gift entry is our first two examples, brings us to the third, which is that, in the vast majority of organizations that we work with, especially with the major enterprises, most of the data is coming in through batch file processing. Often if not in nearly every case, our round data manage services capabilities are utilized to bring that data into the backend of the application, which is what we call batch uploads. Our batch upload capability is effectively a very simple but very broad table that allows for an organization to upload or process all of the information that could come in from essentially nearly any source.

In this case I showed you the online donation pages then I showed you the batch gift entry capabilities, both of those feed our batch upload records within the application which allows you to process these either in near real-time or on a scheduled batchable basis. I’m happy so share, if anybody would like details on a one to one basis about the large data volume and enterprise scalability testing that we do at roundCorner, to determine what the benchmarks are for the application today. That continues to be an area of significant investment for our product team. The batch upload, which can be set through integrations again or through batch gift entry or the online donation forms includes constituent details, preference information, product information, honorarium details, advocacy details, address, contact methods as well as multiple contacts. It can also handle up to 10 soft credits among many other things. Because this is built into an NGO Connect object, this object can also be expanded through customizations and can target the objects that we allow for in our batch gift entry which include the accounts contacts, giving campaigns, payment methods and a couple of others that we could get to in detail if it is of interest for you as well.

Giving Wizard

Those cover the three first methods. Once the giving is in the application or if it is an organization that has a tendency to enter some gifts or some highly complicated gifts by hand, those can be put directly into our giving wizard. If I go back to an account, you’ll see that the way that happens is by navigating to an account or a contact and entering a new giving record. When I enter a new giving record, all I really need to do is put in an amount, put in the date and ensure that it is associated to the appropriate campaign.

In this case, I am going to say that it is a $50 monthly sustaining donation and I’m going to attach this to a membership campaign. Once I’ve done that, I can click save and the application is going to go off and create all of the associated records including the forward-looking transactions that are going to be able to be picked up by charge processing. We can automatically include associations to payment methods that are connected to the account and tokenized with the payment integration. Then I’m presented with details about the transactions, the items, which include the ability to automatically associate specific items or packages, based on giving information. In this case, you can see we’ve created 12 forward looking transactions, each a month ahead of today. If we were to fast forward, three months just to demonstrate how this works, you see that we will actually, take a look at that pipeline amount of $600 which is $50 a month over a 12-month span. We’re able to recalculate what has been closed, what’s in the pipeline as well as what has been committed in real-time within the application. We also have the ability to add new payments, refund all of this gift if we so fit or suspend or complete the transactions as well. We found in the early versions of our products that, many of the customers’ service issues and the constituent service issues that would manifest, were people that had to remember a lot of special circumstances for constituents. Whether it was adding gift information, suspending gifts over time et cetera so we built quite a bit of capability into the application to allow people to do that right at the point of dialogue with a constituent and allow the system to take care of it when the time comes.

Our sustaining gift capabilities are geared towards what we, I think all recognize is a very important and growing aspect of giving within the United States, which is the recurring giving streams that are happening and growing certainly more with the onset and the continued growth of online and digital giving, which is why we focus so much on ensuring that NGO Connect is a PCI-compliant application and has a diversity of payments integrations that are available for people to connect to. That covers really the four major capabilities of gifts within the application. Just to give you a very quick view as well and make sure that you see these capabilities. NGO Connect also handles things like in-time giving, specific membership gifts, outright gifts. We allow for purchases in ecommerce integrations as well as corporate and foundation giving. Each of which has its own flavor of capability within the application and each of which has its own customization capabilities within the application as well.

Events and Volunteers

We’ve been able to cover the overall constituent capabilities and how the application is able to consume gift data across both online as well as batch processing and upload channels. I also want to get a chance to take a look at how the capability around campaigns works within the platform. We believe that aside from the giving engagement channels, that event participation and volunteer participation are the two next best measures of a constituent’s relationship with a nonprofit. We have native event management capabilities and volunteer application capabilities within NGO Connect offered as standard with the product. In this case, we have an event and if I edit this record to give you a sense of some of the detailed functionality just as a quick preview, you really can manage complicated events including multiday conferences or multisession conferences across multiple venues. As well as simple events like dinners at a major donor’s house.

In this case you can see we have got details about a specific venue including registration and waitlist limits. We can track things like tickets and items and allow for those tickets and items to be purchased by our form capabilities within the application. You can even track meal preferences and allow for group registration, which is really key for being able to drive event participation.

Then my two favorite parts of our event management application are first, the mobile and public check-in feature, which is just accessible via a click of a button or a URL. This requires a connected device but you can see its mobile responsive and works on a phone, an iPad or any laptop browser. When a person arrives at an event, they can go in, share their name and all the person has to do is tap out their name. In this case we’ll pick John Wade and you can see there as I type it automatically trims down to person and they just tap check-in and that is it. If they show up unannounced, we can come in and enter a new person. We can even search across the entire database with a couple of clicks and a tap to be able to go pick someone that exists, select that person and register them for the event if it is an open registration. All of this is happening directly on top of the contact records that we have been seeing through the rest of the demonstration. One of my favorite moments has been attending, in an attempt to support some of our customers, attending their gala evenings and seeing rows of laptops at the registration table with their screen up on it. It is been a really proud moment to be able to see that in the past.

My second favorite feature is the seating charts that come with the NGO Connect event application. In this case, we have a large venue and all I have to do is click that layout and I’m taken to a customizable drag and drop seating and visual interface where I can move the podium around and anybody that is registered I can just drag straight to a seat at a table. You’ll see those tables are filling up with just a couple of drag and drop clicks. That information will be saved, shared and executed upon once the event takes place. That is a very quick preview of our NGO Connect events capabilities.

Within campaigns, we also as I mentioned before, have a volunteer management capability. It is one thing to be able to track volunteer and plan for an execute volunteer activities but it is another to be able to use the form and registration capabilities within the application to be able to manage registration and track online entry of hours, which can be a critical measure of overall engagement and a really important metric in seeking and acquiring funding, and reporting outcomes. The application offers those capabilities as native as part of NGO Connect as well. If you spend all this time and effort curating and entering data and leveraging these capabilities, opening it up to your entire team prospectively or even allowing the application to be leveraged by your constituents to manage their own details like logging volunteer hours, you’re going to need to be able to report and analyze that information so you get those insights that you can act upon.

Some of those come through operational capabilities like our batch upload dashboards, which are aimed at making sure that you don’t leave any money on the table for your batch upload processing. In this case, we can see what was processed but failed and what needs to be addressed in the course of development operations. We also ship the product with things like a planned giving dashboard so you can see the planned giving pipeline, how many gifts are expected or realized over a quarterly basis or any period that makes sense for your analysis and great pipeline and moves management dashboard capabilities like this where I’m able to come in and navigate directly through the records themselves, look at performance against goals, understand why things may be at a particular stage and then also drive directly through that dashboard component to a detailed report, that allows me to specifically understand what is happening with that record that may not be in a specific state of operation that I would expect it to.

If you are able to bring these insights and these capabilities together, some of the new features that are on their way out with NGO Connect’s next release under Safe Harbor are some of the lightening-ready capabilities that Salesforce allows us to take advantage of. One of my favorites is, is the ability to come look at the giving pipeline and not just see that in gift form and sort records and act upon it as I would in a normal course of reporting, but also be able to come in and view that in the Kanban mode and drag and drop records from stage to stage instead of going in and entering pick list values as I used to in the old world. Some great new capabilities coming with the lightening ready version of NGO Connect as well.

To summarize, because we are about to run out of time and I want to make sure that there is some time left for questions is, our goal in trying to change the way people change the world is to bring together the constituent management capabilities with online and offline fundraising. The other two major capabilities around event management and volunteer management all wrapped in the reporting and insights and delivered on any platform by leveraging in case the platform-agnostic advantages that Salesforce offers so that our nonprofit customers can hopefully become more constituent centered, raise more resources and have better execution around their mission. With that, I’m going to stop talking, say a very quick thank you and open the floor up for questions.

Question And Answer

Smita: Great. Thank you so much Dan for that great presentation and demo. As you mentioned, we have a few more minutes. We have some time for questions. If you have questions, please post them on the question panel on the GoToWebinar panel and I will read them out. We have one quick question here for you Dan. Is NGO Connect cloud based?

Dan: That is a great question. It is 100% cloud based. The application is built if I jump up a couple of slides, natively using Salesforce capabilities and delivered 100% in the cloud via the Salesforce AppExchange. Short answer is yes and long answer is a longer yes.

Smita: Great. Okay. I have another question that just came in. Both NPSP and NGO Connect are on the Salesforce platform. What is the difference between NGO Connect and NPSP?

Dan: Well that is an excellent question. There are many differences but there are also many similarities. One of the most important similarities is that both applications believe that, by founding themselves in the Salesforce platform capabilities and the consistent stream of innovation that comes from Salesforce proper, we are able to deliver more value to the nonprofits that choose to work with our applications. Most importantly there is that key similarity. One of the major differences is, is that, at roundCorner and with NGO Connect, our primary target market focus is on the mid-market and the large enterprise organizations. Our application as hopefully you’ve gathered today has a significant footprint. It covers a broad array of functional areas all packaged in the same application. When coupled with either our partner’s services or roundCorner’s roundData manage services, really, it is built to serve the needs of the organizations that have a higher degree of complexity and typically a much higher level of revenue across the diversity of online and offline channels. As well as a diversity of engagement strategies that range from traditional direct marketing to high powered and multichannel online marketing and a diversity of other activities like advocacy and the like that we rely on partners to deliver.

Smita: Great. Thank you, Dan., I’d like to also mention along with Dan’s answer to further look into that the differences between the two, we have a paper in our resources list that goes into detail about both. Also, since we are doing these webinar series, we have this obviously, this webinar to reference and also the one on NPSP if you want to further look into this. Let’s see. I think we have time. Give it a few more minutes. Another question has come in here. Follow up question to this is, if NGO Connect is ready to go out of the box or do we need to any preplanning or is it turn on and go?

Dan: That is a great question. I would love for any CRM and fundraising application to be turn on and go. NGO Connect, much like every other enterprise capable application in the market, it is all about the planning and execution. As much innovation as we try to deliver in NGO Connect via Salesforce, the delivery of the project and the movement and transitioning of the data and the user adoption efforts that are required are really the lion’s share of the energy that goes into these prospective enterprise transitions to the cloud and to NGO Connect. While I would love for it to be turn on and go, and there are many organizations that we implement nearly out of the box. One of the key decisions we made with working with Salesforce as our underlying platform, is a general acknowledgement that that is a bit of a myth and everybody has slightly their own way of doing things. We have tried to take some of the very large choices away from the process while we still are open to choices within these areas and can integrate with nearly any application that has an API. The choices we made to deliver native online donation form capabilities, native event management and native volunteer management, are meant to get organizations to that starting line of being live much faster than they might otherwise be if they have to go evaluate all of those capabilities independently and go through independent selection and contracting processes. We don’t intend to nor will we ever cover everything because we don’t think that works and we don’t think that is a possibility. We do try to provide 80% plus of the core of what we see as core and common within the industry as of today.

Smita: Okay. I just want to add, I 100% agree with that answer working with many different platforms if for any of them that served the enterprise nonprofit market none are ready to go out of the box. That is common too many so thank you Dan. We have one more. I think we have time for one more question here. Can automated emails be triggered and sent to constituents by transaction events such as donation or event registration?

Dan: Absolutely. One of the strong suits of a platform that we build with is workflow and automation capabilities. It really is an event-based platform. Any triggering event can result to nearly any outcome. It could be automating outbound communications like acknowledgments, it could be thanking somebody for registering. It can also be a negative like please tell us why you didn’t do something and offer alternatives as well. Salesforce as an underlying platform offers incredibly strong workflow enablement and automation capabilities around processes, including the key area of your question which is automating communication with constituents.

Smita: Great. Thank you so much Dan. I think we are now just about out of time. I am just going to show my screen for a second to show some contact information for Dan. As you can see Dan’s… if you have any questions for Dan, it is located here. If you have any questions for Heller, you’ll see my email. I would like to thank everyone for participating today especially for Dan for a fantastic presentation. I just want to remind everyone that the recording will be sent to you by the end of the week. Once again, if you have any questions, our contact information is up here on the screen. Thank you again and have a wonderful day everyone.

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About the author

Team Heller

Heller Consulting has been helping nonprofits establish and improve their communications, fundraising and mission management systems for 18 years. Our distinctive methodology comes from our hands-on experience with the technology AND strategies utilized by today’s successful nonprofits to build rewarding constituent relationships.

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