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Nonprofit Radio for March 30, 2018: Financial Management Software

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Karen Graham & Andy Wolber: The Donor Journey

Nonprofit Radio is never boring. Even talking about financial management software. Listen as Idealware publicly releases their guide to selecting the right software for your nonprofit. It’s important! Trust me, Karen Graham and Andy Wolber will convince you.

 

 

 

 

 


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Hello and welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent on your aptly named host oh, i’m glad you’re with me, i’d be thrown into assaf ago dahna if you made me speak the words you missed today’s show financial management software don’t leave you do need this non-profit radio is never boring even talking about financial management software. Listen as idealware publicly releases their guide to selecting the right software for your non-profit it’s important, trust me, karen graham and andy wolber will convince you i’m tony steak, too. You will join this club we’re sponsored by pursuant full service fund-raising data driven and technology enabled tony dahna slash pursuant radio by wagner cpas guiding you beyond the numbers wagner, cps dot com bye tell us turning credit card processing into your passive revenue stream. Tony dahna may slash tony tell us i’m excited because we got an announcement here with public announcement, but s so i’m gonna introduce the people we’re going to be making. The announcement first is karen graham. She is a sought after speaker, trainer, writer and consultant with expertise in technology, leadership and innovation non-profit software and digital strategy. As ideal wears executive director she leads a team of researchers, presenters and writers who create technology. Information. Resource is that helped non-profits put their visions into action. She’s at karin t graham idealware is at idealware and idealware dot or ge. Andy wolber he’s, a technology consultant to non-profits. He teaches a course on non-profit and government technology for grand valley state university, and writes about google in the enterprise for tech republic. He’s at a wolber and wolber works. Dotcom welcome count graham and andy wolber. Thanks, tony. Somebody talk, please. Okay, okay, you’re welcome. My pleasure. I’m glad to have you thankyou for, ah, reserving your public announcement. Karen graham of this report for non-profit radio. What is the report? You don’t need to be back on the show and have a chance to talk about something brand new. Awesome, yes, i can hear the excitement in your voice. You might try to kick it up a little level a little notch, but i hear it, i hear it. What is the report, what we publicly announcing? This one is a guide to financial management software for nonprofit organizations, and i would say this is particularly suited for small and medium sized organizations, and i know that your audience, too so that’s great, absolutely and and for anybody who is thinking that maybe their current accounting software or financial management system is not meeting all of their needs, and they want to explore other options. Okay, we’re going to talk about cem ways you might you might know that some symptoms of that and, uh, we’ll go through the report and all let’s see let’s ah, quaint people remind, i love idealware i love the mission of idealware, but you will articulate it better than i i don’t know if you’ll be as enthusiastic as i am. I hope you will be remind people what does idealware all about? Well, i am the executive director, so you would hope that i would have enthusiasm. I am hopeful my fingers across. Yes. You know, tony, i thought it was it was kind of funny to me that you said the show was never boring even when we’re talking about financial management software. Because when you invited me, i was thinking like, i’m excited to be on the show, but you probably picked me to be on the most boring show of the whole year, so let’s, try not to make it that way. I’m excited about all of the work that idealware does even when we’re talking about a topic like this, which is maybe not the most sexy topic, i guess hyre i’m excited about all of our work because it helps people solve real problems and helps them operate there non-profit organization better and make good decisions without as much stress and uncertainty. We exist to help those people who work in non-profits who are responsible for technology decisions, but they don’t necessarily have a technology background, and so they need resource is they’re smart people, they need knowledge resource is to help them think through their decisions and help them understand trends and best practices. And so we do impartial research on technology topics, and then we publish guides and workbooks software reviews, and we also do a lot of online training and in person workshop to help people to make those kinds of decisions with confidence. Now i have ah first became aware of idealware years ago, before i knew there was a karen t graham affiliated with it because people used to recommend what the the the fund-raising data but was fund-raising database report was it was the c r m or was it? Fund-raising nancy now, with so many years ago, i can’t remember, but but it had to be good. Do you remember the official title of the one i think you’re talking about? The official title is the consumer’s guide to low cost donor-centric sustainers okay. And it’s now in a fourth edition, i believe, and that’s been one of our most downloaded publications ever. We used to yeah, people would refer it to refer me to it. Oh, and andy wolber don’t worry, we’re gonna get to you. I don’t want you not forgotten, andy, you’re there. I just want to get through some important info about idealware yeah, people used to just mention it to me. Like i said before, i even knew what idealware was, and so i went and looked at this report, and this is an analogy i make sometimes sometimes you don’t seem thrilled with this analogy that i make to consumers union, but to me, you’re the consumers union, their consumer reports that consumers union is the non-profit that creates consume reports of non-profit technology, you did these unbiased reports, we’re going to talk about how you make sure they’re unbiased and you now in that one, you had the that’s colorful side by side chart with features and, you know, dots for which features existed in different ones, and to me it was the consumer reports of non-profit software, i loved it, and we were i’ve been talking about idealware on non-profit radio on and off, and even before i like i said before, i knew there was a guarantee. Graham so, um, i don’t know how do you feel about that? Consumer reports analogy, i some people have compared us to consumers union, others have compared idealware to gartner or forest are sabat that doesn’t really bother me on a good okay. What? Okay, yeah, i think that all of those organisations are well respected and trusted. No resource is. And in a way, i’m proud that idealware would be in that same category. Yeah. Okay. Excellent. I that’s why i put you there an objective objective research. Okay, we have just like a minute and a half before break. Oh, andy, we’re going to bring you in after this first break. Karen, how do you assure us in a minute and a half that this report is unbiased? Objective, not sponsor driven, etcetera. I’m glad you asked about that. We have a very strict firewall between our editorial process and our funding process. And so on this report, i actually worked on securing funding through sponsorships. And the student reader might notice that the sponsors have products that are covered in this guide. But let me ask andy. Andy, did you know who the sponsors were? While you were working on the research? I had no clue. Better say no. Good. Okay, now, karen did karen, did he have an important thing? Did he ever ask? Did he ask? No. Okay, i want make sure he’s honestly could have one of our partners on the report. And important partner was fm a, and they contributed a lot of expertise to this report. And at one point there executive director asked me who the sponsors were and i said, you know ill that i can’t tell you who they are because i don’t want to buy us the research. So that’s something that we take very seriously. We we don’t let any of the people involved in the research team know who the sponsors were until the report is ready to publish. And it’s it’s, not a pay to play situation. Our sponsors are all very dedicated, teo. Advance. Acknowledge in the sector to helping people make better software choices, whether they choose their software or somebody else’s, they want to get fit. And so they committed teo funding this and letting us publish something that they got no approval over. All right. And he got to say two words before this break. He said no and know so thank you for that big contribution, andy. You’re done now know that’s not true, but we do have to take the next. Okay. Yes, we got to take a break. Pursuant. The current paper is demystifying the donor journey. You heard me last week talking to taylor shanklin about this. You heard it. So why do you need this thinking paper? You don’t. But for someone who did not hear the show, their life is incomplete. I might i would go. So far as to say, even inadequate without it, send them to the paper, then send them to last week’s show for more detail. Their life will be complete. You will be a hero. It’s demystifying the donor journey it’s at tony dot m a slash pursuant radio. Now back to financial management software guide. Okay, andy wolber let’s bring you in your research around this thing. What what was the research process? How’d you go about creating this guide for us? Well, we looked at the start of the existing i’ve worked with la non-profits so i brought a lot of personal expertise to talk to some folks, various organizations that i’ve worked with over the years that deal with various financial packages and also spoke a little with some of the effort make insulting who are working with of wide variety non-profits and systems as well. So we looked at the landscape. What is this fm a karen mentioned it also does that stand for something anymore? Or are they like aarp? That doesn’t want to be the association american, retired persons or nail that doesn’t no longer wants to be the national abortion rights action league, are they? Just an fm a or do they stand for something? Yeah, karen, i’ll defer the u n if that’s an acronym or not, do they stand for anything? I mean, i know the stand for things, but what do their letters stand for anything or now? Yeah, i think it started as a financial management, so see it? I don’t want to say the wrong big radio, though, but they just go buy fm now and it’s an organization, a nonprofit organization that provides consulting and outsource services for accounting and financial management for other non-profit okay. And what was their role in this guide? Andy, do you want to talk about that? Sure. Well, what was interesting is so they don’t have had initial ideas and an initial list. Sorry. Hey, hear the systems we see and use a lot. I looked at that and said, well, you know, what about these? And so we widen that search and scope a little bit. Andi also did some tweaking updating of some of the so our features and focus. So we brought into the look a little, uh, based on just serve other packages that are also used in the field there’s a wide variety of solutions, there’s several things that vendors have moved systems from, you know, being client server only to cloud. And so that there’s been a lot of movement in this in this sector in this industry, so we started with some of their their ideas and their list way expanded added to it, andy i well, since, since karen says she doesn’t exactly mind my analogy to consumers, union consumers report which not exactly overwhelming endorsement, but i’ll take it from her. I analogize this to their toe a buyer’s guide. It looks like a buyer’s reads like a buyer’s guide to me. Um, now, um, let’s, let’s define a little deeper. What what it is we’re buying. What? What characterizes a financial management system? What, what? What pieces doesn’t have that that we’re thinking about possibly changing if we’re reading this buyer’s guide? Sure. Well, at the core of this is a system that helps you, you know, understand helps a non-profit major, typically an executive director and other leadership, both staff in volunteer understand where the organization is financially and so in a small organization, that sort of thing typically sits at a no it’s core it’s the, you know, accounting system. So you’re just you’re really trying to understand what you’re where your financial position is, okay in the twenty, thirty years ago term aarp enterprise resource planning no, sir. Came in tow scope. Um, and those sorts of systems started to heimans allow an organisation to track financial for on the financial implications ations of both products and people activities throughout the organization. So as you get bigger, your financial system starts saying compass mohr system and i saw a sort of a spectrum of you may even mention this in the report. Maybe that’s that’s where i got the idea from spectrum. So there was simple. And then there was a little more sophisticated in the middle. And then there was the aarp. These enterprise resource planning systems eyes that affair. Is that a fair assessment of what the spectrum looks like? Yeah. And and what that is and what’s interesting about it is that unlike in some organizations where you start and delineate by the size of an organization, you know, a small organization has a small system in the financial management world. It’s a little different. It’s more. Related to how complex or how many things you need to track. So a small organisation with a large number of funders and a large number of programs actually has a pretty complex accounting and financial management, so they may actually need amore complex system than a organization has a very large budget but really has only two or three programs and two or three funders, okay, makes a lot of sense. All right. Um, uh, charity graham let’s bring you back. We were going to say this several times throughout the show, but where can people get this report? Oh, great question if you if you’re listening to the show live, if you go teo idealware dot or ge it’s right on our home page, it won’t stay there forever. So if you’re somebody listening to the podcast later in time, you could just go on idealware dot or ge and there’s a search box on the home page. If you just type in the word financial, you’ll get right to it. And then you can enter your name and email it just to register and then it’s a free download. You’ll get a pdf document. Okay, thank you. For not asking. Name, address, organization, title budget size, annual revenue, zip code. You know, etcetera. Thank you, it’s. Very. You know, i bristle at those things. So it’s. Well, we personally asked a few of those things, but they’re optional. And that just helps us to make sure that what we’re sending two people is relevant in the future. If they option to receive our e mails. But that’s also optional. Okay, i guess when i saw the form, i realized they were optional. Okay, very good. Thank you for that. Um okay, let’s. Stay with you. Karen, how might we know? What is some symptoms now? The report goes through, like six or six things or something. That’s not just touch on what some symptoms might be for needing a new financial system like, you know, just two or three. And these people are gonna get the reporter. I mean, it’s free for god’s sake. So they’re going to get it so that’s, just touch on a couple, right? I’ll try not to overwhelm me with too much detail here. One thing that stood out to me here is when people are manually entering data into two different systems that could be a sign that maybe their current accounting system is not really meeting their needs, or maybe maybe it actually could meet their needs if they invested in some kind of integration. Now what’s an example of that together, like what kind of what kind of data would you be putting in two different systems? Give me a concrete example, the thing that i see most often, and maybe andy wants to chime in on this, too, but i think i see most often is donordigital so it used to be that before there were good donor-centric was tracked in the organization’s accounting system, and so they would enter individual donors and the date that they gave and the amount that they gave, and it was any kind of restricted gift, you know, they’d have information about that, and so that have it has stuck with a lot of organizations, and now they’re entering it both in their donor-centric and there financial management system. Now you could argue that that’s not actually necessary at all tohave the data in both places, at least that level of detail but but if you do want to still have that data in both places. Now, there are ways, depending on what system you choose and what kind of integration you have to automate that a little bit more, so that you’re not manually king in all those details in two different places. Ok, ok, give us another common symptom. You see, um, and if you want to chime in on that sure. Well, i mean just it. And answer a little of what you said. The payrolls, another area that you people manually receiving data. But another symptom is things like a lot of spreadsheets. It’s, an organization is using a spreadsheet to track the status of all their different grant. That is often a sign that they could benefit potentially from a different financial management system is actually designed toe help them, uh, track their spending. And for all of those distinct grant that’s one of things that the organizations really struggle with when they work with a system that can only handle a couple of coding fields that really can’t scale teo do sort of comprehensive fund accounting to track the the grand program number of grant programs that they actually have. So that’s another for the another sign that the symptom is, you see lots of spread sheets on the side being used to say, ok, and program a we’ve spent this much program would be sametz spent this much in that has it can be hard to tease out from actual financial statement s oh, man that’s good indicator. So you mean so for each different program? Or fund? They have a different spreadsheet. Is that what you’re describing? Yep. Yeah. Okay. Okay. We used to hear about that from from one of our sponsors. Um, which is mentioned in aa? It’s just mentioned you mentioned apple o’s in aa a sidebar. They used to make that point about that being not so that they’re not being efficient. Okay, the guide also talks about access from from certain devices. Like if you have to go to a dedicated computer thio dua certain task right? To say a little more about that, andy sure, that that’s really the root of a lot of organizations that used to see they’re still working with insults or a client server or single system software? Um, yeah, that that’s still out there still widely used, but that can be difficult for folks to actually get access to information. They have to be on site on the local network to get information. Or they have to do the shenanigans of a remote log in or remote desktop and looking at a screen through ah, some sort of ritual display system or in their face so that many systems have transitions from needing to. Be on site thai there being hosted or being in the clouds. Some of the newer systems are sort of cloud natives and work really well and some older systems to our club native. But work really well, either within in a browser and also some of them support apse on mobile devices. So that’s, another sign is if you really do need more multiple people to access data easily from different locations. You start toe look in a new system, karen. A few years ago, it ntcdinosaur i captured an excellent panel interview. That was, in fact, it had someone who i think is an advisor to robert winer. Is he c an advisor for you on some? Yes, he has. He has been a subject matter expert for some of our research in this. Okay. And he’s also been a speaker on some of our webinars. Okay, excellent. Yeah. I thought i remembered an affiliation, so he was one of three or four on the panel and the this is what i love about ntc. I mean, the panel was devoted to this niche topic of maybe you’re blaming technology when people and or processes are the problem. So with that leading, you know, there might be a problem other than your financial management system in your non-profit can you can you talk about that? Yeah, absolutely. But i might rephrase that to say almost certainly you’re blaming technology when people in processes are at least part of the problem. So yeah, let’s not overlook that. One thing that i know we found in the research was that option. Somebody will think that she needs a new financial management after a package when really, what she needs is to revise her chart of account. And so what? The chart of accounts is for people who thank you for keeping him. Thank you for keeping yourself out of jargon. Jail. Yeah, yeah. That’s, that’s just the kind of the master list of categories of revenue and expenses. So you use that in financial reporting, you use that to connect every transaction that you enter in your accounting system, teo, to the overall categories. And so is you. Find yourself explaining coding to your board of directors when you’re presenting the financial reports to them. If you find dafs miscoding things when they’re you know, writing down what something should be charged, too on their expense report or their recedes, then that’s probably a sign that you need to review your chart of accounts and think about revising that first before you start looking dafs software change, okay, can you give us another example? I know that could be hundreds of things, but another there’s another example, come to mind of where the person or the processes that there were people there, the processes are the are the trouble anything else? Well, another example that i see all the time, which is not limited financial management software, there are all sorts of technology is user adoption issues, and, you know, sometimes people aren’t really getting the full value out of the software because they haven’t done the training, they haven’t customised the settings to fit their needs, things like that so that’s important, too. Okay, and you work with a lot of non-profits and karen didn’t ask you to chime in this time. By the way, karen, if you say the word chime again, i’m cutting off your mic. So you got to find another word. You said it twice, china’s twice. Now that’s enough! So if you you have to find another word, you have to find another word to invite andy, i’ll goto with the saurus or something while i’m talking. Andy, another word to invite andi, teo contribute, but you can’t use that either, because i just did to something that you may have said or add on, you can’t use that either a andy, you work with a lot of non-profits do you see? What were some symptoms? You see where people, about your you’re in a difficult position of having to say it’s, not really technology it’s you. But you know what are some other symptoms? You see where people are blaming technology erroneously? Well, i think i found the sea. It was people were repeating a process that air doing a process in a way that is no longer optimal it’s sort of a habit that folks have gotten into that can be done more efficiently. So i think of things way report we mentioned something like expensive fi, which helps people track expenses, and so the you were tools. Now, it’s an app on your phone to take a photo of an expense report you can start to capture data that way the older way, you know, taking the stuffing the receipt into a folder or into your bag, and then digging it out once a month and going through the grueling process of no king in the details is a process that doesn’t have to happen. So for my perspective, i see people missing that chance to take advantage of some of the newer tools that left the more differently. And since many folks they’re carrying around, you know a phone that has a camera on it. Let’s, let’s, use that camera in a useful way to save the taiping time. Yeah, people just don’t know. So that’s. Why this buyer’s guide, my phrase, is it’s my show so that’s it that’s, the explanation that’s. Why this buyer’s guide is so valuable because it opens you up to things, you know, you see things that you’re doing manually, that you don’t need to anymore, you can be questioned, your processes that that’s important, right? Yeah, i did, and i think that’s actually hoping way. Think, yeah, has folks get a new system and explore what system will work for them? That’s a prime time to look, look at your processes, do some process mapping, which i find a fun exercise of, you know, working on a a dry erase board with lots of markers and post it notes and things to sort of figure out who’s doing what win in this process. How can we redesign this so that we’re doing less work, and we’re getting the information we need quicker. Okay, that’s, an excellent leading to what i actually want to talk about next, which was how to get into selecting a new system. Um, who’s, uh, because because workflows, you know, mapping your workflows is a part of that. Who wants to speak to that? Most eloquently, i’ll let you decide amongst yourself. Okay. That’s. That’s. Good. So i’m gonna point. Parenti graham okay. Congratulations. With democracy of two eyes is frozen. Frances. No wonder we have trouble united states. Fifty million. Okay, that gets it in the report that there may be drilled down on one or two that i think are important way. Ok? Yeah, we’ll stay. We’re not goingto yeah, we’re not gonna talk about all the way can’t do that. I tell you what, i’ll let you let you think about thea the couple i’ll walk through the first one or two and then you can mention one or two that are important to you. And you can give some thought to that while we take this break bradunas cps, they’ve got an archive webinar that may pique your interest. Prepare your nine ninety for success. If you are one of the fortunate organizations that delights in completing the full nine ninety. Not that sissy easy or the end postcard, but the full then you want to listen to wagner’s advice? The webinar includes common mistakes and most damaging mistakes. Obviously the ones you mostly want to avoid. It’s all at wagner cpas dot com click resource is than webinars now time for tony’s. Take two. You will join this club. I joined about six months ago. It’s the, uh, it’s the dead parents club. And i have found that people who have lost parents, i know it. This is there’s a bond there’s an empathy and an understanding that i did not have before i lost my mom last october. And now when i talk to people who are in the club, um, i feel it, you know, and i realized that i just never really understood the magnitude of it. Of course, you know, you heal over time and you learn to accommodate and accept over time. But i just it’s become apparent to me over these five months. So november, december, jerry fremery much, five, six months that the people who have lost a parent, they just get it at a level that all the rest don’t. And yeah, i just became very clear to me while i was having a chat with a friend who had lost a father three years ago. So you’ll join the club and i hope it’s many years before you do my video on this. Is that tony martignetti dot? Com now let us return teo karen graham and andy wolber for idealware is release of when i called buyer’s guide selecting financial management software for your for your non-profit karin t graham is executive director of idealware and andy wolber is a technology consultant to non-profits ok, karen, you did your homework for ah, for that time. Okay, cool. Thank you. So talk about all this. We’re not doing all that now. I told you, we’re not doing what we’re not doing, all these people going to get the report and it’s important to put this in context. So we have thirty steps that happened before you even start looking at potential solutions. Okay, that is step for the first three are about getting the right people at the table and making sure that you understand your current situation you needs and requirements before you start looking at software options. Okay? And then there was the work of a mistake that i think a lot of people make they jump right into looking at the products, and then they become very oriented toward which product has the coolest bells and whistles. And they’re not thinking about which product is. The best fit for our needs? Yes, they’re not aligning, right, right. That is critical. So you’ve got to do your research up front before you start looking at packages and getting demos and, you know, being wooed by sales people. Um, andy, that was a very good overview. Thank you, karen. Okay, and you’re gonna get people are gonna get the report for god’s sake. They’re gonna goto idealware dot or ge it’s either gonna be on the home page or they’re going to go to go the search box and search the word financial it’s free for pizza. Just get it, andy let’s, go back to the workflows how does how does mapping workflows relate to your your search for a new financial management system? Well, i think it really is about that time both the folks who need operational data and the folks needs or decision making data and looking at how information’s getting into your system and then coming out on a recording size. So on the input side, things like you’re tracking expenses, you know, if we can simplify that process that’s fantastic if we can simplify payroll so we’re not recoding that each time. I go in and be properly allocated. That’s. Fantastic. If we can pull donordigital into the system in appropriate ways appropriate permission that’s useful. And then on the reporting side can the program majors the staff get the information they need? The board have the ability to look at information. How rapidly does that cycle time occurred? You are bored still dealing with princessa reports air they logging in and looking how our systems, howard decisions about financial matters being tracked and recorded or discuss um that’s where process mapping comes into play and that’s why it’s so important to get all the people who touched the different aspects of that process involved in the selection. And then? And then, as you’re mapping what happens, you see gaps where technology can fill in or what? How does it contribute to the the well with the report identifies as the next step which is starting to look at software solutions. How does mapping relate to the software you identify? Pain point. Okay. Okay. So process mapping is is what are we spending a ton of time on that? Yeah. It’s really painful. So things like we’re spending x amount of time. You know, every month, every year, doing program allocations were spending way too much time trying to understand or put together a report for a donor, our thunder, in order to appropriately say, here’s, how we spent your dollars sort, that sort of fiduciary responsibility grant recipient has so it’s it’s that piece where you’re saying, you know, we’re burning a lot of staff time and effort on this. How do we start to fix that? And looking at then what? You know, what does that make? What if we were to alleviate that peace? If we automate payroll, if we automate expense tracking, if we automate or streamline different processes? Um what? What benefit have what does that free up that let’s? Just start to think about other things. Aunt checker, tackle other challenges. You okay? So i i understand now. Thank you. You see, this workflows on the on the board and you nine people are involved in it, and it takes weeks to produce. And you know that that kind of a pain point. Exactly. Okay. Okay. Cool. Alright, now. Something interesting? No, no. Shutter mike off. No, you cannot. I said you cannot use that word. Again, i don’t want to hear it. Yes, you can. You can you can mention something related. Please, please do i will another way. That process mapping can be helpful is to prevent you from replicating a bad process in a new system. So as an example, let’s say you map out this process and you get to a step where mary makes a photocopy of the expense report and filed it in a certain place in the basement, right? And when you’re doing the process mapping, you can ask the question, why did she do that? Why is that necessary? And you might find out that there’s really no reason to do that anymore. Maybe there was five years ago, but now it’s not anymore necessary. So then you won’t look for software package that makes that process easier. You’re just goingto eliminate that. Ok, ok, i’m giving you a time out because you use the word chime when i admonished you. Not too. So i’m going to andy. I was going to ask you this question i was going to, but now i’m not you’re in time out. Um okay, andy a cz you’re considering these systems and something new and how it relates to what you were existing systems are. The report makes clear that they don’t always all play well together. And yeah, and you’re not going to talk to me because i put karen in time out, so you’re not going to speak to me. Is that what is that? What i’m hearing? You know, you can hear me. All right? I hear you. Fine. Yeah. Ok. You’re not punishing me because i will just shut the show down. It’s, over it’s over. Okay, i’ll just start reading. I’ll just read. I’ll just read the guy that people don’t have to download. I’ll just start reading. We’ll put people to sleep. Okay, theo audiobook that’s, right? Ah, produced your notebook. Yeah. Then i’ll have. Then i’ve licensing troubles with either way. I don’t get involved with those people on illegal and in a legal battle anyway. All right, so you need to think about compatibility, right? Yeah. You need to look at what? What other system needs to speak to? So there’s a couple things that when you’re looking for a new system that may naturally walk you down a particular path, and sometimes it is simplest to stick with with with a vendor that makes him the adjacent product. So something that already is designed to track your donor? Management, maybe they also make a financial package, right? Like blackbaud damn well blackbaud sounds force is one of the classics are examples of this with things like razor’s edge, which is the donor management system covered in the other guide you mentioned, and then financial edge next-gen which is designed to work well with its other tools. So if you’re in a circumstance where you have ah, don’t particular donorsearch system it naturally lends itself to work well with another that’s that’s a particular case, thie other is some systems that you may be dealing with, where you’re dealing with a system installed on server many vendors that used to offer those now offer a posted or cloudy alternative, so it may be that you can stick with the system from the same the same similar software you’re familiar with, but a different package or solution from that vendor that gives you a little more flexibility and ability to access data. But you i think that the report says you just want this to be one factor, right? You don’t want to go, okay? We have sales force for constituent relationship management, so we’re going to do sales force. For financial management, and we’re not going to look at anything else. You don’t want that to you. I want to go that way either, right, right. It should be a just simply be a factor that as a system for consideration to your list, okay, you really have to consider a much broader range of things, okay, i understand. All right, i just, you know, you don’t just automatically go now. What about help with financial enough, with the transition once we’ve selected, ah, vendor, can we reasonably ask for help with the data migration? Is that a fair game? That will depend to some extent on the coolest the system you’re moving toward most of the as you basically is. You get larger in scale and the price point the ladder. Um, you do have the ability to get vendors. They are familiar and can help you move data from one system to another. In other cases that you know what you’re you’re a very small sort of grassroots agency, and you’re just using your going from track and stuff and excel or just your bank account statements to something, you’re less likely to be able to get that help. But often you can turn to a you know, turning your accountant turn to a professional firm that can help you with that transition is you get a little larger. Okay. Okay, karen, you’re you’re aah! All right, you’re out. Um, let’s, talk about the so the this transition, the when is the good time to make the transition? What this this whole transition process is going to look like from from our existing to our new financial management system. Most of the people that we talk to as experts for this report suggested that it’s best to do it at the beginning of a new fiscal year. And but that also might mean that you will be running the new system in the old system and parallel for a little while as a way of testing to make sure that everything’s working correctly. And they also suggested that an organization should plan maybe three to six months lead time before they’re cut over date for the transition time period. So it’s going to take awhile to train the users, make sure that everything is configured correctly and test everything running parallel. That that sounds like that’s. A pretty time intensive deal is running two systems parallel. Well, it is, but your financial data is pretty important that it’s accurate. So many organizations will decide that it’s worthwhile to do the extra effort of double entry to have the confidence that it’s absolutely accurate. Okay, okay, i see, and how long would you do that? I think that varies. You’d have to evaluate, you know, how important is it to do a really thorough test? How much work is it for me? You know, if i was to do this, that idealware i would probably do it for a couple of days. Honestly, they’re pretty simple. And the stakes are fairly low for us. But if i were, say, the humane society of the united states, i might plan a little more than a few days. Okay. Yeah, you were alright. So all right, just gonna value on complexity. Which andy is a point that andy made earlier too. Okay, we have ah, fair amount of time left. I feel like we should get to the gate to the landscape of of systems, can you? Karen, can you? Ah found now i’m feeling bad that i put in time out. I never i don’t think i’ve done that before. I get to first, but so i’m now i’m feeling bad about it. So i’m sorry i made i made do it may do it again. I’m not sorry enough to not never do it again but so don’t transgress. But are you can you talk? About sort of an overview of the of the marketplace before we get to a couple of specifics. Sure, there are a number of systems that we covered that have all of the core functionality that you would expect in a financial management system, including the general ledger like, which is just tracking all the transactions in and out expenses, and, um, and income and things like that. It will also generate the three most important standard report that people use for financial management, the balance sheets, the income statements and the cash flow statement of cash flow or cash flow projection. And so you know, those all those systems that are in the first section of system listings in the guide i’ll have that basic functionality. Some of them also have some additional features that are a little more advanced, like payroll management, yeah, budget planning, more advanced reporting and coding and allocations. And and then there also is a group of tools that we thought was worth covering, even though they’re not specifically for nonprofit organizations and those are either low cost or even free services that are fairly simple, and they’re designed more for like freelancers entrepreneurs. Small businesses, but some non-profits have actually found them to be a good fit for their needs, too. We’re going, we’re going to move to a break, andy, while while we take this short break, i’m going to ask you, teo, reflect upon what karen just said and see if there’s anything additional you’d like to add. Gotta take a break, tell us credit card payment processing this’s, a long tale of passive revenue for you, you encourage local businesses that are already supporting you. Most likely they take credit cards. Will they move their payment processing over? To tell those tell us, of course, will look at their existing payment structure and give them a proposal with most likely lower fees. When they make the change to tell us you the non-profit earned fifty percent of telesis revenue for every single transaction indefinitely. Check out the video it’s at tony dot m a slash tony. Tell us for this long tale of passive revenue. Now let’s, go back to financial management software, the financial management software show with cannon andy, andy, anything that your reflection leads you to want teo add into what karen said. Sure, the thing that most notable for me in that first category of of system is that there’s a whole set of things that have moved from being client server to now hosted or or clouds those very clear distinctions answer how their systems are being offered. The he think in all of the systems to also keep an eye out for is the cloud. They are more advanced, incapable of supporting any sort of eyes, eyes. Something to look for. An fbi application programming interface for flandez programme and solution exchange information with programs and applications from other vendors. Okay, so a key thing to look for it, you know, what is this the vendor list that the system’s integrate with? Some of them have taken the step of having things like a sore. Where you concerned? Browsing looked for all the integration. So i’m looking for a payroll system. Hey, guess what? It works with the payroll vendor we used so that’s that so that sort of thing is, this is a first big step in that in that larger service system solution category. Ok. Thank you. Um, so let’s in our in our closing several minutes or so, let’s, let’s, talk about some of the individual ones. Now, karen, i do want to ask you how come in this report, uh, buyer’s guide. There isn’t. There isn’t one of those colorful charts like i was describing for the c r m that first brought me to idealware four, five years ago. How come, how come not not in this report? This is the first time that idealware has really covered this topic in death, and so we wanted to start by just looking at the landscape and helping people understand what their choices are and what the major points of differentiation might be that’s not to say that we won’t do something more in depth at some point. If there turns out to be a demand for that, then we well could. But this actually does use a little different methodology than a consumer report where we’re doing demonstrations of all the tools were working with the vendors to verify that all the information we write about them is factually accurate. That sort of thing is a little more involved process that we didn’t undertake at this first past looking at financial management system. So so the argast so this is the inaugural financial management system report, and you chose to publicly release it on non-profit radio. This is this is a double a double big deal. It’s your first one. No. Yeah. Listen to that enthusiasm, boy. Oh, knocking me over. Oh, my god. All right. Um ok. I get enough enthusiasm for all three of us. So that’s all right? I’m amusing myself. Um, okay. Eso are we comfortable naming a couple of these? You got you got abila financial edge. And you mentioned that one financial force fundez easy. How should we what’s the best way? I mean, i didn’t. I guess i didn’t really want to go. I item by item one of the features of this feature that you know, but how should we, uh, andy, i’ll defer to you, you’re you deal with a lot of zsystems what’s the best way to get people acquainted with the, uh, the landscape across these that we haven’t already done. Yeah, well, you know, actually using approach it took when it first started trying to sort some of this out. Okay, i think there’s some logical appearing now say that they can’t be used with other systems. Um, i think the system i’m most likely to see organizations use is some variant of quickbooks, right, that’s, that’s widely used. So i think you set that aside, start to look at them. You zsystems probably naturally lend themselves working well with partner systems. So things like financial force, which would pair very well with sales force because built on the same core platform, microsoft dynamics, which would be very strong if you’re working in that saying microsoft, cr, m, world and zsystems and then in financial edge obviously pairs well with blackbaud so those those sorts of solutions, you know, and then you start to move more towards a range of other things, you know, things like sage intact, which is many people will be familiar with because of it. That’s one of the solutions that epa dot com has endorsed on dh support so things like like that’s, our cloud solution would be familiar to many accountants across the country that would be likely helping organization. And then you move to the smaller set of all the smaller, more start up sorry they’re beyond start up in a blanket, but they’re still in there not not as wide market traction necessarily as those others and what gets interesting. They’re sort of the small business models pricing model, very significantly pricing it’s, less expensive. Well, it’s, just it gets interesting. So you look at things like freshbooks which is structured in charging by the number of clients you were tracking in the system. Kiss you, which is adding bundling for a fee of software plus access to a bookkeeper on a monthly basis. Uh, wave which is free, but charges based on a percentage of your financial transaction xero which is cloud native and really focused on building out a lot of connection. Tow hundred, the different system. So those types of zoho books which is more of a part of a bundle there, wanting to sell your old bundle of things that make your needs what’s interesting to meet is how the larger, more established, typical systems are embracing cloud and starting trying to evolve to add connections. And the smaller one are tryingto rapidly iterated in order to serve, to provide more robust services and more built out systems. So that’s for me that’s. What makes this landscape interesting? Yeah. Okay, so the bigger ones are trying to collaborate more. And the smaller ones are trying to get be more robust in and more comprehensive. Exactly. And the rate at which each does does those things is really fascinating. There’s a there’s. A sidebar. I think it is on on pricing. Some. Some are very upfront. And the prices are clear on the on their site. And you can get started immediately with a credit card and then others. They’re not transparent about pricing. Yeah, this is something i find very interesting, i think. It’s symptomatic of a little bit of serve. What? I reference just just now, the traditional vendors have been able to do the survey, you know, call us, you know, sort of the please inquire if you’re interested. If you have to ask about price, you’re not really, you know, it’s, you know, you need to be large enough to be able to have that conversation. Um, the more forward thinking cloud native systems and some are evolving rapidly are more transparent about providing price. There is a bit of irony and some of this i find that some of these vendors will you look at their sight and you say, oh, you know, buy-in pricing financial information is very important, and then you look for pricing and you can’t find it, which seems to be a very critical piece of priceless information to me. Yeah, all right. So some just they want to have a conference. They want to have a conversation with a sales person, in some cases in others it’s also about making sure the system system and really meet your needs so it can be for useful and constructive purposes. Not completely unreasonable, but but absolutely but it’s, very interesting, metoo to the vendors. They’re cheating the public pricing and that’s that, well, they still need to have that conversation right. We just have about two minutes left. Karen, how do you feel about systems that are specifically designed for non-profits versus systems that are not like a quick books? You have an opinion on those on that one versus the other. If i were just to be randomly assigned it non-profit and i had to advise them on which three products they should take a look at, um, i might say without knowing anything about them, i made say, let’s, look at three that are built for nonprofit organizations, but but that’s not to say that the ones that are built for kind of general purpose can’t be a good fit. So in some cases, especially where they need, they’re pretty simple. Those can actually be a very affordable and practical option. Okay, okay. Um, let’s see, we just have, like, a minute or so left. Andy, you want to you want to give me a closing thought, andy in ah, in about thirty seconds. We’re lucky to have a lot of options. Understand your need. Oh, and, uh, be open, tio, rethinking how you work and making sure that your financial system is working for you and that you’re not just putting data into the system to create reports. Yes, thank you. I love especially be be willing to rethink that’s. Andy wolber, technology consultant to non-profits he’s at a wolber and wolber works dotcom guarantee. Graham, would you like tio wrap up in about twenty seconds since andy covered that i want to go in a little different direction and say that, you know, every non-profit leader is expected to understand the basics of financial management, like they need to know how to interpret a balance sheet. Um, but there’s not as much of an expectation that they know how to select software and how to get the most out of their software investment, i think that’s something that needs to change, and i hope that by reading this guide that non-profit leaders will be able to acquire some of those skills. All right, get the report for god’s sake idealware dot or ge on the home page or search for the word financial and those closing words from karin t graham, executive director of idealware she’s at guarantee graham idealware is at idealware dot or ge, thanks to you both. Thank you, my pleasure. Next week, a conversation with adam braun, founder of pencils of promise. If you missed any part of today’s show, i beseech you, find it on tony martignetti dot com were supported by pursuant online tools for small and midsize non-profits data driven and technology enabled tony dahna, slash pursuant to radio weinger cpas, guiding you beyond the numbers when you’re cps, dot com and tell those credit card payment processing your passive revenue stream. Tony dahna slash tony tell us. Ah, creative producers claire meyerhoff, sam liebowitz is here is the line producer shows social media is by susan chavez. On our music is by scott stein of brooklyn. With me next week for non-profit radio. Big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. Go out and be great. You’re listening to the talking alternative network to get into thinking. Dahna good duitz are you stuck in a rut? Negative thoughts, feelings and conversations got you down. Hi. I’m nor ing. Sometimes the potentially ater tune in every tuesday line to ten eastern time and listen for new ideas on my show. Beyond potential live life your way on talk radio dot n y c. Are you feeling unhappy with your body, shape or size? Ever feel out of control with food? I’m elizabeth from nourish the soul, and on the show, you’ll uncover the route to these imbalances and discover a permanent solution. Latto having a healthy relationship to food and your body. Join us every thursday morning at eleven a, m eastern time on talk radio dot. Hey, all you crazy listeners looking to boost your business? Why not advertise on talking alternative with very reasonable rates? Interested simply email at info at talking alternative dot com are you into comics, movies and pop culture at large? What about music and tv, then you’re in for a treat. This is michael dole. Check your host on talking alternative dot com. I’ve been professionally writing comic books, screenplays and music articles from fifteen years. Catch my show secrets of the sire at its new prime time slot. Wednesdays, eight p m eastern time, and get the inside scoop on the pop culture universe you love to talk about. For more info, go to secrets of the sire dot com. You’re listening to talking alt-right network at www. Dot talking alt-right dot com now broadcasting twenty four hours a day. Are you a conscious co creator? Are you on a quest to raise your vibration and your consciousness? Um, sam liebowitz, your conscious consultant, and on my show, that conscious consultant, our awakening humanity, we will touch upon all these topics and more. Listen, live at our new time on thursdays at twelve noon eastern time. That’s, the conscious consultant, our awakening humanity, thursday’s twelve, noon on talk radio dunaj n y c. You’re listening to the talking alternative network. Oh, hyre!

Nonprofit Radio for August 22, 2014: Integrate Social And CRM & Technology And Organizing

Big Nonprofit Ideas for the Other 95%

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Sponsored by Generosity Series, a nationwide series of multi-charity 5K events that provide a proven peer-to-peer fundraising platform to charities and an amazing experience for their participants.

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Bryan Giese & Jenn Smith: Integrate Social And CRM 

With Bryan Giese and Jenn Smith at NTC
With Bryan Giese and Jenn Smith at NTC

How do you integrate social media data into your CRM database? What social media data should you preserve? I talked to Bryan Giese, Heller Consulting’s director of marketing, and Jenn Smith, Heller’s vice president of digital agency, at the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC).

 

 

 

 Austen Levihn-Coon & Rachel Butler: Technology And Organizing

With Austen Levihn-Coon and Rachel Butler at NTC
With Austen Levihn-Coon and Rachel Butler at NTC

Technology has created opportunities for organizing, but also challenges. Austen Levihn-Coon and Rachel Butler identify the challenges and how to overcome them. They share strategies to deepen engagement beyond petition signing and identify leaders in your community. Austen is chief innovation officer at Fission Strategy and Rachel is campaign representative for the Beyond Oil campaign at Sierra Club. We talked at NTC.

 

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You’re on the air and on target as I delve into the big issues facing your nonprofit—and your career.

If you have big dreams but an average budget, tune in to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.

I interview the best in the business on every topic from board relations, fundraising, social media and compliance, to technology, accounting, volunteer management, finance, marketing and beyond. Always with you in mind.

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Nonprofit Radio for May 16, 2014: Choosing And Living With Your CRM & What Makes A Strong Proposal

Big Nonprofit Ideas for the Other 95%

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Sponsored by Generosity Series, a nationwide series of multi-charity 5K events that provide a proven peer-to-peer fundraising platform to charities and an amazing experience for their participants.

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Listen Live or Archive:

My Guests:

Lisa Rau & Tim Sarrantonio: Choosing And Living With Your CRM

Me with Tim Sarrantonio & Lisa Rau at 14NTC
Me with Tim Sarrantonio & Lisa Rau at 14NTC

From the Nonprofit Technology Network’s (NTEN) Nonprofit Technology Conference, Lisa Rau and Tim Sarrantonio advise how to choose the right CRM system. Should you RFP? Who to get involved in the decision and how do you come to consensus? What do you ask for in writing? And a lot more. df

 

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Cindy Gibson: What Makes A Strong Proposal

Cindy Gibson
Cindy Gibson

Cindy Gibson is our grants fundraising contributor and principal of Cynthesis Consulting. She’s been on the funding side, and tells how to jack-up your odds of getting the grants you’re after. Including, what do program officers hate to see?

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Top Trends. Sound Advice. Lively Conversation.

You’re on the air and on target as I delve into the big issues facing your nonprofit—and your career.

If you have big dreams but an average budget, tune in to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.

I interview the best in the business on every topic from board relations, fundraising, social media and compliance, to technology, accounting, volunteer management, finance, marketing and beyond. Always with you in mind.

Sign-up for show alerts!

Sponsored by:

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Skip Wealth Screening For Planned Giving

Torn window screen

photo credit: quinn.anya via photopin cc

I consistently preach this to clients and audiences: small-and mid-size nonprofits need not spend money on wealth screening to find potential Planned Giving donors. You have all the data you need in your fundraising or CRM database.

Query your data for age and giving consistency and you’ll find your best Planned Giving prospects.

If you don’t have age info, consistency alone will work if you’ve been around for many years. Lots of my clients go back many decades, sometimes into the late 1800’s. But 20th century roots will be fine for you to rely on giving consistency as a proxy for age.

If a donor has been giving for 30 years, for instance, they’re probably in the age range you’re after.

If you don’t have giving data going back far enough to extrapolate age, then before you pay for an age overlay from a screening service consider this. Can you survey your donors with a reply card in your next mailing? If you don’t want to ask for date of birth, ask for age. It’s worth considering before you make the plunge into age screening.

An important word about giving consistency. Ignore gift size.

I literally mean if a donor has given you just $5 a year, and they’ve done it for 18 years out of the past 20, or 25 years out of the past 30, then they are an outstanding prospect for a charitable bequest, which is a gift to you in their will. (I said a lot about starting your PG program with bequests in this series for GuideStar.)

The students at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Center for Excellence heard me say this just last week.

Age and giving consistency. That’s all you need to get started in Planned Giving.

Large shops will want to move beyond bequests, so they may wisely invest in wealth screening further down the road. But it’s not needed at the outset.

Small- and mid-size nonprofits can have very respectable PG programs that start and stop with gifts by will.

To launch any program–big or small–you can skip wealth screening.

A Smart CRM Survey

A free and valuable comparative survey of software for nonprofits was introduced to me by Maria Semple on Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio when she and I were talking about constituent relationship management (CRM) and its importance for prospect research.

Our segment together was “See The Right CRM System.”

My listeners know Maria. She’s “The Prospect Finder,” a smart and incredibly resourceful prospect research consultant–and a monthly contributor to my show. (If you don’t have in-house research, or your research staff is stretched, you should talk to Maria.)

On the August 10 show, she explained why you need to have the right software managing relationships with your employees, those you serve, donors, volunteers, vendors, community supporters, related charities in your community and all your other constituents. (I do hope you recognize donors are not your sole constituency.)

A Consumer’s Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems” compares 29 offerings and provides detailed analysis of 10 of the most popular, including eTapestry and DonorPerfect. Each system costs $4,000 or less. That’s ideal for my listeners in small- and mid-size charities.

The guide is objective, written by Idealware and NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network (whose membership director, Amy Sample Ward, will be Nonprofit Radio‘s social media contributor starting next month). All they ask is your name and email. That’s perfectly reasonable and appropriate. (I’ve seen free stuff where a phone number was required. No thanks.)

Consult this really helpful, free survey if you’re looking at CRM systems.