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Jared Schwartz: UX Secrets Revealed
User Experience (UX) is all the stuff visitors see on your site and how they navigate through it. What are the secrets to strategy and design so people enjoy engaging with your site and find the content they want? Jared Schwartz is senior consultant at Beaconfire Consulting. (Recorded at the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) 2014.)
Peter Campbell: Better Tech RFPs
Peter Campbell has strategies to make your software and service requests for proposals smarter, so you build better relationships with vendors and get what you need at the right price. Peter is chief information officer of Legal Services Corporation. (Also recorded at NTC.)
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Hello and welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. I’m your aptly named host and i’m glad you’re with me. I’d bear the pain of relapsing polly con dryness if i learned that you had missed today’s show you ex secrets revealed you ex user experience is all the stuff that visitors see on your site and how they navigate through it. What are the secrets to strategy and design so people enjoy engaging with your sight and find the content they want. Jared schwartz is senior consultant at beaconfire consulting and better r f p’s. Peter campbell has strategies to make your software and service requests for proposals or, if he’s smarter, so you build better relationships with vendors and get what you need at the right price. Peter’s, chief information officer for legal services corporation both of those interviews are from auntie si non-profit technology conference on tony’s take two something to tuck away for twenty fifteen, responsive by generosity, siri’s hosting multi charity five k runs and walks here’s. The first ntcdinosaur view with jared schwartz on user experience. Welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of ntc fourteen. The non-profit technology conference we’re outside, we’re in washington, d c at the marriott wardman park hotel. And with me is jared schwartz he’s, senior consultant at beaconfire consulting, and his workshop topic with the other some other panelists is top five u x rated secrets revealed. Jerry swartz welcome to the show. Thanks that’s. A pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me. My pleasure. Thank you for taking time on a busy conference day. You ex let’s make sure everybody starts at the at the same level. What is you, x or user experience? What? Music’s? So you exes user experience. So that’s all i’m sorry, i already i already revealed you gave the cat. Yeah. That’s, that’s that’s number one of five. You’ve gotta come with four more secrets. Yes. Oh, you exit is the user experience. And a lot of what that is is a lot of the front and pieces of these web applications. It’s the when the user interacts with the computer. Whether it’s with the website, whether they’re the product of an application, it is the experience that they’re having that is guiding them to achieve a certain goal. Um, and so the goals of you, except to make sure that that is optimized for the user so that they can achieve their goals as quickly and efficiently as possible. And then so there is a lot of what falls under the u ex umbrella, such as user testing, focus groups that there’s a lot of like pieces of u ex butler. The heart of it is making sure that when you want someone to do a thing, they get that done as official as they can. So first thing we need to know is, what do we want people to do? And that could change by a week to week, right? Month to month? Yeah, i mean, so a lot of what you ex starts with this sort of one of the goals and the goals for your application for you is the organization of the company. But then also the users goals were they coming here to accomplish, and that also ties into audiences. So a big part of user experience is who are your users? And so we’re talking about demographic data, but also, you know, a lot about what are they trying to accomplish? What other internet habits? So ah lot of our session, one of the other panelists is talking a lot about users and audience and having empathy for who they are and what they want to do. I’m trying to put yourself sort of in their shoes, they are coming here to do a certain thing. It may not be exactly what you want them to accomplish, but you need to think about what they would do and lead them down, that pathway, what they want to do, but it also has to be coordinated with what you want them to do. Absolutely if you’re in the midst of ah campaign for for gathering emails or a campaign for fund-raising or, you know, whatever, yes, i’m so ah lot of what we do it beaconfire and some of our initial work with our clients is to sort of figure out these audiences and then their goals and your goals and how that thai house that matches up to each other, it doesn’t always jive oneto one sometimes it’s close, sometimes related, but you know, if the goal is is email conversion, you don’t just want it’s not just simple, to put an email sign a page. On your on your home page because they may not be there yet, and they’re not coming to your website yet to give you an e mail address. They’re coming for another reason you wantto figure out what they’re trying to accomplish. I think of what is the pathway that would lead them down the road to okay, they’ve gotten what they’ve wanted the next step would be now how do we lead them to where we want them to go? And so it’s zoho trying a lot of what we always start with his understand your audience, and they’re prioritized them and then understand try to match up your goals with their goals and that’s that’s a really key to making sure that you’re gonna have successful application if you just put your goals first there, you’re not going to get there don’t care. Yeah, so start with them and then try to lead them to where you want them to go. And i think the email conversion is a very good example. Putting on a light box on your home page may not be appropriate because your point people haven’t come for that purpose on lex out of the light box, maybe they’ll stay for what they wanted to achieve, or maybe they won’t. But either way, at least one of you is unsatisfied and that’s you because you bombarded them with the email purpose before they were ready. Essentially, absolutely. And i think you have anything you haven’t sold them. Why also you’ve got to make the case for someone to give it their email address. It means you’re going to be invading their personal space potentially several times a day. You need to make the case for why they want that space invaded. And so, you know, a lot of work just by putting a female sign a box and say join our list great isn’t really going to actually convince somebody that i should do that. I should get more email from you, so it’s make the case with content that you have made the case that the organization who you are, that they see themselves and your community, your community is them, and then when they feel that connection there, then say, join our email list to get daily updates during our email list to get job postings that that is a much telling. Them what they’re going to get that is the benefit to them is much better than just opening up with join our list because that’s just that’s just serving your own purposes and not theirs and our audience is small and midsize non-profit so ninety percent of cases we’re going to talk about the organization’s website you had mentioned aps ahs a possibility, but we’re probably talking about their their their website and that’s most of our clients as well, you know, it’s, a u x there’s a it breeds into, you know, the applications you carry around with you, i mean that the cars you drive, i mean there’s there’s user experience toe actual physical products that chairs you sit in this user experience by but really the most most of our clients are also medium to large non-profits and so they’re mostly it’s mostly, you know, web sites as well some web specific applications, so not just like organizational website by the website that does a thing and then occasionally in tow, like abs or things like that. Okay, now you’re part of the panel was the psychology of users correct and what’s going on literally what’s going on physically in their brains as their coursing through your site. Yes. So, i mean that this is sort of, you know, i do a lot of us work, and then my hobby miree of interest is a lot of this pop psychology and okay, you know what is making the web sites are the most successful. So successful. Why are people going there? You know, tens twenties, hundreds of times a day? What are they tapping into the underlying human psychology? You know what? What is firing off the dopamine? And you’re their brain that says, i need to go here. I’m getting a pleasure, but results. I’m gonna go there again and again and again and again. How do you hook them? How do you keep them coming back? What are the triggers that are being fired off on them now? Some of my my pat, my peace talks about there’s. An external internal triggers there’s. Probably a lot at this conference about external triggers. So that’s getting an email, that’s getting a text message, something saying go to my website internal trigger is instinctively on their own. They make a decision to do that. So an example. Would be facebook photo sharing when you take when you see, you know this amazing celebrity walking down the street, you take a picture of it. No one said facebook doesn’t say to you, go share that photo here. They don’t remind you you instinctively know to do that. The goal is to form a habit isto have the minimal amount of neurological activity required to get there and so it’s to try to find, you know organisms are not going to be facebook, but what is what is the thing that when someone wants to do something or find something they instinctively know to go to you and so try to identify what those internal triggers are because that’s mean that that’s what drives massive amounts of traffic? And how did you get get interesting that you said that you said it’s a hobby? I get into the psychology of it. So i mean, i’ve been doing, you know, sort of web application development for the older than i look from the beginning, the beginning of the internet and he looks about for listening. She looks about thirty a lot to be forty and northern. Thirty. Okay, so and i’ve been doing this for about twenty years, and i just, you know, it always sort of fascinated me, you know? Why does someone do what they do? Why are these things so successful? There’s millions and millions of web site, you know, i think i heard that the top thirty websites account falik ninety some ninety five percent of traffic and it’s insane, the food that that dominate the space. And so what are they doing differently? And you could start to see the patterns of the understanding of their words and it’s, not reward wasn’t giving you a t shirt or a sticker it’s the rewards of, like, stroking your ego, making you recognize the community. This, like, the sense of the hunt is when i talk about so, like reddit and countries that you want to keep looking for, what may be that you know, that next great things going to be on the next page, i can’t leave, i got five more things, and so they’re all tapping into this, like, you know, that this hundreds and fifty tens of thousands of years of human psychology and leveraging that, you know, make their website successful interesting. Okay, so you you mentioned dopamine, there are there are physical changes happening in our brain as we’re going through. Ah, website? Yeah, and then this actually was just that south by southwest. And i saw a really fascinating panel on don’t know the name i can’t without my head. Unfortunately, it was fantastic. I love to give him credit, but it was on the neural, the neurological effects that happened on the successful websites on so they were actually, like, scanning people’s brains they were interacting with. And it was really fascinating to see that, like, its firing off the same, like pleasure centers. When you, for example, what would you do? Something good. And you want to share that? And then people like it. And so having someone like that, you did something good. Just fires off the same pleasure center as anna’s. Mother sex? Yeah, i mean, it’s, that sense of you know you. Yes. You want to do good things that you wanna be altruistic? Yes. You want to have an interesting life but it’s even more exciting when somebody you know acknowledges that likes it back to you. And so that’s include that’s. Why, facebook? Tapped into that very early and so that’s why the like button is so ubiquitous tower, what part of what it actually does that that reward is, you know, is this it is a super powerful thing in your brain that you don’t even know is happening, but it’s, you know, it keeps coming back because you want more, but you want more of it. You want more of it? I’ve read research that takes the talk about the first step that about how pleasure centers are activated when you do something positive and what i was reading about was making donation when you, uh, you know, the science was someone who makes it makes it a donation versus someone who doesn’t, and the pleasure centers are activated, but you’re going a step further and research that shows that when someone likes yes and and acknowledges and approves of your having done something beneficial, it is even more activity. And i think that greater pleasure and i think you see, a lot of that was like the peer-to-peer fund-raising stuff it’s spreading now because you can give ten dollars organization, you feel good about it, but once you do that, now you’re invested and it feels even better to get someone else to give arms, it feels even better toe, like have them know you care enough that you’re going to get them roped in. So i think that’s why a lot of peer-to-peer stuff that’s, why they’re trying to know share when you make this donation because they know that, like, you know, that’s, that’s a human ego thing that people want, they want to feel like they’re part of the cause and bigger than just a donor. I feel it, i think, just dahna simpler level when i find an article that i’ve read that i think someone else is going to like that. So i just forwarded to them from the time sight or send them the u r l n e mail and then i get something back says oh, yes, thanks. That was pretty cool, you know? Yeah, i was right. The person did like i liked it and they like to to feel good and is the opposite feeling that that sense when you send it out and nothing happens, you know, like that they think is that sense of like what i thought? For sure, you’d validate my my mind knowledge of who you are, my mother. I least deserve acknowledgment. At least say thank you, even if you didn’t think, well, just something okay? You’re listening to the talking alternative network. This’s. The same way we’re hosting part of my french new york city guests come from all over the world, from mali to new caledonia, from paris to keep back french is that common language? Yes, they all come from different cultures, background or countries, and it comes desires to make new york they’re home. Listen to them. Share this story. Join us, part of my french new york city. Every monday from one to two p, m. Are you stuck in your business or career trying to take your business to the next level, and it keeps hitting a wall? This is sam liebowitz, the conscious consultant. I will help you get to the root cause of your abundance issues and help move you forward in your life. Call me now and let’s. Create the future you dream of. Two, one, two, seven, two, one, eight, one, eight, three, that’s to one to seven to one, eight one eight three. The conscious consultant helping countries. People be better business people. Dahna talking. Hyre dahna okay, so let’s, let’s, look on the flip side, what happens when we’re in a site and we’re not finding what we want. You made the point that we come with with with our own goals in our own purpose, to go to a site, what what do we feel when when that frustration of cars and we’re not getting what we want, what were therefore, i think the first thing you’ll see is you’ll see luke users leave. I mean, you know, the internet loads so fast, there’s so many other options out there, you know, data analytics is a piece of you x as well, and i’m looking at like, the simplest thing is bounce rates, that is an example of you think they care because you’re in that organization, you deal with this every day, but if what they’re saying they don’t care about they’re going to bounce rate is how fast how many users leave the first pay, but about bounce rate is the percentage of people who, like, come to a page and then lead it, they don’t go anywhere else on so that so that, you know, they think that you’re gonna have the answer for them. They go there. You don’t have what they want. Boom! There were only one page deep there, one hand, even after one, too. Yeah, and that that is a really easy way to identify. Are you giving users pathways? Are they seeing themselves in your sight? Are they connecting with your brand at all? If your bouncers every high ah, what’s jai, is it possible to generalize what i hate putting numbers on things that are because it always depends, like in a one organizations bounce cerini complete different than another it’s i would you know, i would say, look at trends. So if you’re seeing that you know you’re going worse, they’re getting better. A lot of us is testing and so it’s to keep trying to you always want to try and try and try and then look at what the data’s telling you. And so if you’re making adjustments and the bouncer is going down, you’re doing good things. If you’ve if you’ve taken something off of your home page, if you redesigned it in a way that’s what you think it works and you see that change, i would look at trends trying. To always say, like, this is good, this is bad, you know, it is i find that sometimes unfairly for example, like open rate supplies. That’s what a good open percentage it depends on, you know, if you’re talking about a list it’s a small list of highly cultivated people or one hundred thousand like random strangers you just bought, you know, so it’s really hard to say what affair basically, okay, trends trends are valuable, too, and and now bounce treyz something that users confined in google analytics. It’s, one of the top analytics applied to your your your page, your sight, your sight and there there’s that’s when, like the first top things you can see, it’s very easy to find google analytics is very rich, very deep. They just come out with universal analytics, which takes it even richer and deeper. I’m very fortunate that i understand that at an emotional level i can kind of interpret with the number someone’s telling me the numbers say, and i work with people who understand this stuff in a very strong, deep technical levels, you know, i’m fortunate that this that i consent, that we have people who look at the data, you know, process that data because their data analysts and then it’s my job. Treyz okay, now that they’ve process that for me, like what’s the driving reasons of these, okay, but even though, you know, people were sort of amateur, google analytics bounced rates, the ones that know google smart, the ones they put upon that first page view that summary page, they know what they’re doing, but we’ll give you good answers. Okay, well, let’s, let’s see if there’s some advice that we can leave non-profits with we have ten minutes to stop, we got plenty time. Um, based on from your perspective, from the cycle of psychological perspective, what would you like to see? Non-profits maybe doing better? Smarter? I think one of the things that they tend to forget is that their users and themselves are different, that it’s very hard, you know, i worked non-profit space for a long, long time, it’s very hard not to step back from that bubble, right? I mean, you’re causes your there, you work for these organizations because you’re insanely passionate for them, that is your job. Everybody you work with is interested in it when you have this great idea for a campaign, of course, everybody would want to do it because you’re in that. And so i think the hardest thing to do is kind of step back and say, not me, but somebody who is a squishy middle, someone who not the converted, not the staff, somebody who we want to make the case for they’re not there yet, and a cz much as possible when you’re designing your sights. When you’re thinking of your imagery and what your imagery is saying, i think i see all the time. So taking advice, i see a lot of organization websites have large, beautiful imagery now, but they will put in that image whatever the latest news is and don’t realize that image is connecting your brand more than anything else. And so did you really think about what your imagery is saying thing with your confidence saying not to the converted, but to that people who you want to get to your so you have to take that that perspective of the person who’s? Not, as you said, not yet converted. Step outside your day today dafs site excitement of your work how do you get somebody as excited as you are because i have been part of lots of campaigns when i’ve been working non-profit space where we’re like this is going to explode, of course, who wouldn’t want to, like, share this on with all their social media friends i personally do, and then it doesn’t really explode, and i think a lot of that is because we just have you just not well, you’re not coming from their perspective, and so you need to think, okay, they’re not here yet. What do they want? How can i lead them to the point when then they’re fourth, fifth, sixth views visit now? They really care. But those first few visits or the is that making break time and they’re they’re not where you are. You need to really remind remember remember that? Okay. Is it important to know what sights are? Ah, referring to your to your own site? Yeah, i mean, where people are coming from there. I mean, i think that’s that’s always important to look at that. The number one thing to remember is google’s. Probably number one, bob. A lot of organizations spend time trying to put everything. Possible onto their home page because they think that’s how people are getting to their content because maybe that’s how they are, but truthfully, most people are coming to your content as an internal visitor. If you go to look up, you know, blue cheese, you’re going go to google type blue cheese, you’re not going to go to the cheese foundation and see if they have a navigation. It takes you to cheese colored block. Yeah, so i’m looking away. Other organizations where people come from is important. I think the most number one to remember is it’s probably google people on your home page come in because they want to know who you are so that’s probably a brand thing, but that most uses air hitting you first at an internal page and so that that email sign up just shouldn’t be on the home page. If there’s, that pathway should be accessible anywhere. People get to your content because they’re not going home page first, they’re not going to your navigation likely they’re doing a google search and coming into an internal piece of content, and so you still need to make that conversion case even three. Four levels down your cs. Okay. Excellent. Yeah, very good point people. Not they’re not doing it the way top down. They’re coming in the middle somewhere. That doesn’t know there’s a lot of what we have. Several u ex folks. There’s always big debates about navigation, the value of navigation. I’m on the stage. So i get to like you say my opinion versus the person i work with who tend to disagree. I think navigation is least second third tier navigation is this is somewhat overvalued. You know, i think taxonomy, i think having smart tags. I think having your content search engine optimize is really the best way to get content. And not just necessarily, like, do you have to think about things and strict categories of first level, second level, third level? Because people just don’t navigate the web that way anymore. That it’s it’s not that hub and spoke structure. Yes, or did they just jump around from from thing to thing? What more? What more can we say about the psychology? Other advice? Mom it’s. The other advice about the psychology. So, you know, understanding the rewards is a huge one. The other is that there’s a person and bj fog who i’ve read a fair amount of honest what’s called bogey bogey has the fog model and the but you can find online type in five model the core of it is that when the trigger goes off another internal external, the reward has to outweigh the effort to get there very right simple idea, but that’s that’s the core of successful websites, and so that rewarded, whether it’s a internal reward, whether it’s a hyre you know, i want to find things wherever that might be the level of effort they have to take to meet that reward. They’re going to make, like internal mental calibration essentially a cost benefit analysis essentially cost benefit analysis, and so that that level of effort has to be usually fairly frictionless because that reward is probably not as high as you think it is. So too, you know, to to keep that you try to make that as frequent as possible try to get people invested a lot of times. Why, you’ll see, you know, the most people don’t leave facebook for google plus was because they were heavily invested, their data was there their friends were there. So if you get people invested, it makes it easier for them to just to re engage because they’ve been through experience. They have already signed up. They have your data. So i think trying to kind of always balance that reward effort is really that’s. That’s that’s the challenge. What if we have to justify spending time and money on on our user experience? If we feel it’s lackluster and, uh, but we have to go to an executive director, maybe even to a board to justify this. We were sort of talking around the benefits, but let’s, i think that would make them explicit. Yeah, man, that that’s a fantastic question. Because one of the things that that comes up a lot, that is my best, you know, you’re great at it. We’re twenty minutes in and it’s the first good question. Okay. Ah, one of things that gets cut from a lot of our clients budgets is testing and user experience and things like that and it’s. Not because they don’t value it. It’s. Because it’s not as tangible, right? You have to have a design. The site has to be developed. It has. To function and so when they’re you know, non-profits have about budget restraint constraints, and so they do tend to say, okay, we’re not gonna have those audience focus groups, we’re not going to bring in users to test our wireframes to valley that we’ve done is right because we can still build it, it’ll still maybe be pretty little still, but we think it’s going to be and i can get by on less money, and so that is always a challenge. I think you will never regret spending money tohave a actual audience, our users actually interacting with your sight structure, interacting with your of the wireframes you set ups interacting with your prototype, giving you information ahead of time, you will never regret that information. I’ve never been a time when someone said that was useless like you always lie learned something when you actually get out of your own space and put in the hands of users back-up so it’s super super important and it often gets cut and it’s a challenge. I think one of the things is to try to make the case for, you know, when you’re inside under an organization that this way. We want this to be successful, that with with our users we need to hear from them. It also sometimes helps sell with the internal politics one why did you design it this way? Why did you put it here? If you have users informing that it gives you a little bit of protection, you can say we put it there because users are finding told us that’s where it goes were designed in this way because users test said that when we did the blue button, it didn’t perform as well as the red button. So back-up it’s not only hugely successful tow the product being a success. It’s hugely important that provoc buy-in success. It’s also can help with when it comes time to defend the decisions that you’ve made. It’s not because it’s just the three of you in a room who’s on the core team deciding this it’s because this is what our users have told us. So i it’s it’s a it’s. A big challenge because you see it, it does all it’s. One of the first things to go. Well, you know, we could probably get away without this user tests. We probably don’t have to bring in user focus groups. We know the answers ourselves and it’s, always surprising, there’s, a really interesting study where they asked people to sort of guess how many jelly beans are in a jar and, like a hundred people guessed, and no one got any closer than the average of everybody’s guesses. All right, nobody got any closer than the average ok, even though there was wildly low gas isn’t some wildly high guesses. The hearing from the larger community actually gave the smartest answer than even the expert jellybean kapin guests, so nobody did better than the average. So as much as you try to think like that, we could just get this exactly right on our own idea. It’s, you’re always going to do better to hear from a larger perspective, to hear from thoughts outside of your own it’s super valuable, okay, dahna. I want to ah admonish you live it on the show. We have jargon jail okay now, just for people who may not know what a wireframe is. Yeah, it was a few minutes ago, but i didn’t want interrupt you. Although used a lot of times i do it threw up, but you were i didn’t feel like interrupting you, but what’s a wireframe just eso a wireframe is in a nutshell, a website design without a design it’s the functional captures the general layout. It captures the functional specifications of what that piece of the website will do and how people do wireframe is very, quite a bit. But i guess you could think of it as if you were going to design a home page you would have at the top that there is a big maybe hero space, and there’ll be a couple sentences that would annotate, saying it is going to do this, it will rotate this way. It’s not designed it’s not actually drawn. It just sort of implies what it’s going to do. And so then then those wireframes go to designers who then design around that aunt? I don’t know we often. Tell our designers that design is not a coloring book, they’re meant to kind of interpret this, but it’s just sort of say, this is what the thing is supposed to do in generally how it’s supposed to look, and then it also feeds over to the developers. You, seo when i see this email sign up thing here that the wireframe tells them well, it means that when they sign up it’s going to put them into this also database, for example, so it’s the wireframe is these step before you start designing and before you developing is just a way to capture those requirements. Okay, put me in jail. That’s okay? You’re out to make prohibition comes easily. That’s okay, um, or parole should say welcomes you were in jail on parole comes after, um, let’s say, all right, so one, one final thing we can leave people with just throw to you, uh, about about user experience, you know? So i guess i’m one final thing about user experience. I would say, you know, we’re doing an exercise at the end of our session and it’s an audience exercise and the reason i want to do that. Is with a hammer home that think about who you’re trying to do this for. So the exercise that we’re going to do, i think it is a good example where we’re taking a really bad donation page so that, you know, we have one of our folks in our teams like this on the worst possible nation page, and then we’re going to tell the team, break up in small groups and say one of you is the audience the rest of you take five minutes interview that audience member about when they’ve had a good donation experience and who they are and what they’re trying to accomplish and then take notes on that, and then they’re going to be asked to then redesigned this with that audience member in mind takes five, ten minutes to do you know, i think it’s a really good, easy exercise, so when you’re saying, like, wow, this we want to do this thing, do it, and then think of an audience person have somebody played that role for five minutes and then redo it for that person you’ll make, you know, some nice improvement. So it’s a really low hanging way to kind of like just keep tweaking things for for different your audience and a way to see that adopt that outside perspective that we talked about earlier on we do that’s no, we’re consulting firm, we do that. We helped lead clients through that, but you can certainly do-it-yourself think any any organization can say, you know what? We were built this thing. Now we’re going to think of who’s going to visit there. John, you can play the role that person tell us about this from your perspective, and now we’ll tweak it and it’ll get a little bit better. Excellent. Thanks very much. Pleasure to be here. Thanks for having my pleasure. Jarod schwartz is a senior consultant with beaconfire consultant. And thank you for being with tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of non-profit technology conference generosity. Siri’s you know them? They host five k runs and walks. You probably. I’m guessing can’t generate enough runners to host your own event. And then, if you did, you’d have to deal with the permitting and the medals and the sound system and the starting finish line and the porta potties. That’s what generosity siri’s does they do? Porta potties? And all the other things that are involved in multi charity runs and walks where there are hundreds of people because each charity brings the participants that they can, and together they have hundreds talk to dave lind he’s the ceo, about becoming one of their charity partners. They have events in new jersey, miami, new york city and philadelphia coming up. Tell dave you’re from non-profit radio, please let him know that he’s a seven one, eight, five o six, nine triple seven or generosity siri’s dot com can you start planned e-giving in twenty fifteen? I know you’re in fourth quarter fund-raising right now, it’s not any more detailed then just something to tuck away in the back of your mind for next year. Planned giving is not complicated. You do not need special expertise. I’ll have more to say about it later, but that’s all for now. Just tuck it away for next year and that is tony’s. Take two for friday, seventeenth of october forty first show of this year here’s my interview with peter campbell from non-profit technology conference on better requests for proposals. Welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of the non-profit technology. Conference ntc two thousand fourteen the hashtag is fourteen and tc we’re at the marriott hotel and wardman park washington d c my guest now is peter campbell. He is chief information officer for legal services corporation. Peter welcome, good to be here. It’s a pleasure. Thank you on your ah workshop topic is requests for proposals making our of piecework for non-profits and vendors. Peter campbell, what is the problem with our f p’s that non-profits do no, my take is so rps request proposals um, commonly used by organizations to gouge whether a vendor is going to be able to do their projects for them or whether the software they’re buying is going to meet their needs. But i don’t think it’s something that’s well understood non-profits i don’t think there are a lot of resource is for understanding how to write our appease, how to do that well, and as a result of that, a lot of the vendors in the sector really hate them to the point where i’ve sent our if he’s out to vendors who have refused to even open them, much less response. So part of the problem is non-profits i’m not going. To be getting the the quality and volume of of replies that they could be getting to their art piece because they’re writing them in a bad way. Well, he let me see how i see the issue say you need a new website, your non-profit you need your website um, how much that cost you so it cost fifteen thousand should it cost seventy five thousand? It cost one hundred fifty and if you spend one hundred fifty, are you getting a much better website than you would for fifteen or seventy five? And i think today the answer is you have no idea you could pay one hundred fifty and get a much worse website than me when you could get from somebody who’s very smart and doesn’t charge a lot. Um, so the non-profits goal is to gouge who should i hired to do this job for me, who will give me the most value for my money? And if you’re buying, say, a software system something that’s really well defined before you buy it, you can ask very tactical questions, get them answered that’s fine you khun do a request proposal has a list of i need this feature? I need this functionality i need to integrate with this. Get a good answer, but if you’re doing a website or you’re doing a sales force implementation or you’re doing a project that is much more open ended, um, using the form of our a p that you would use to buy a product doesn’t work very well. And i think what happens often this people use that form and send it to a consultant say beaconfire you were talking to earlier? Yeah, and the chances going into a web project that you know exactly how many hours it’s going to take to do that project and what type of effort’s going to be needed are very, very slim, right? So my argument is that our of peas are unimportant thing because when you go into a relationship with a vendor to do an expensive project, we’re talking one hundred thousand for an organ, it maybe makes three million, you know, bilich revenue. Um, you want to make a good investment in that relationship, you know, you don’t as someone to marry you on the first date, you get to know them first, you got to know. What? You’re compatible. You get to know if your needs are going to be mutually met, that type of thing. So we need to be more creative about how we do our fees in order to ensure that, and i think one of the problems is the non-profit i want the rp to tell them exactly how much they’re going to have to pay that’s what they’re focused on. Yeah, cause we need a new website, we need fifteen thousand pages. We need this color scheme. How much will you charge us to do that? And i think that that’s a question you really can’t ask and shouldn’t be asking. So when i do an r p for something like that, i recently won recently did one for a sales force ghisolf the r p est a few basic things i want to know if the vendors i was sending it to had the expertise i needed for my project, i had some particular aspects of my project that one vendor might do better than another say, integrating with databases in my organization, so i ask questions about that and asked him to give examples case studies when they done before, if they can send me pictures, website links and then i also have section, what are your standard rates for each role of consultant that would work? What i didn’t ask is how much will this project cost? I didn’t it’s a multi year project, i have no idea, and i just didn’t think that was fair question what i i was looking for and what i think i got was a vendor that had the expertise needed do my project that i felt my staff and i had a good report with that we’d be able to work well with, um and a good relationship and through the reference checks, assurances that they were very sensitive to non-profit budget needs that they could stretch the project out longer if the money wasn’t coming in to pay the bills, that type of thing. Do i know what the project’s gonna cost when it’s all done? I don’t do i know that this vendor is going to work with me? I’m not going to get in financial trouble on this project. I’m pretty reassured, you’re confident so my pushes the ar fi sessions say r f peace can be good. But we’re kind of being cruel to the vendors and frustrating the life out of andrews by sending them questions that can’t be answered. Ok, all right, so do we need to spend more time in planning on r f p? I think a lot of non-profits that’s sort of the mind set is, well, we need a vendor, and this is going to be a sizable project for us. Let’s, do an r f p, right and then and okay, it’s going to fall within your department. So you put together the questions we need to do more than we need better planning around the rof pieces that were part of the problem. So the r p is a piece of the process of evaluating purchasing a system. If you’re talking about software that needs to be in consultants and that type of project, the web sales for us, who are the, you know, fund-raising database of things that highly customized. Project that you’re going to need that help on there are few is a piece of it. Any organization going into a project like that should understand their business needs. Our sales were surprising. For example, before we’re doing the sales worse project, we’ve hired business process consultant’s help us fully understand what we’re doing today before we start trying to do it better. So so it is a piece of that process, and again, the rp we think about the rv is being the session a bunch of questions that we weren’t asked avenger, but just as important as part of the therapy that explains to the vendor what we’re trying to accomplish so that we’re helping the vendor understand the depth of the project and the scope of the project. You’re going to get better answers back. Yeah, it’s zoho learning process both ways. It’s a two way into yeah, okay, i think, yeah, i think that perspective is not really seen. Basically we ask questions, you come back and answer, and and the questions are not really that informative about what we’re trying to do. Yeah, this is really very timely, actually, for may i do play. Into giving fund-raising consulting. And just last night, when i got back to my room at the hotel, i had an email from someone who had been referred to me, and she asked me to give her a price quote for creating a plant giving program for our organization and i and i don’t really know about your organization. She said that, you know, a small number should get to give a number of donors, but i have no idea how they break down in terms of age. I don’t know whether they’ve ever attempted plans giving in the past and maybe it’s been unsuccessful or this is the first venture. What are their goals were planned e-giving of how deep do they want to go? Is this gonna have the most sophisticated programs? And or is it just gonna be maybe charitable bequests? Is that all we’re going to start? Stop there. So what i sent back was, can we plan a call before i give you a range and that’s actually what you said i need i need a range of costs. Teo, give to my board. I said, well, it’s kind of premature. I don’t don’t know. Enough about the organization, and so i need to learn more as the vendor and that’s what you’re suggesting? Yes. So i will say as the client and, you know, i work for a quasi government organization, and we have very appropriately bureaucratic process follow-up just explained legal services corporation plays what? Rolling? Oh, yes, i have a legal service corporation. We are the federally created five a onesie three non-profit that allocates federal funding to legal aid programs across the country. Ok, our tagline is america’s partner fecal justice, and i think people know legal aid, you know, legal aid in their community and in their cities. People know exactly what people get confused about is because we have so many cop shows telling us that everybody has the right to an attorney. They forget that that’s only in criminal cases. So if the bank is foreclosing on your home or you’re in a domestic abuse situation or children or being threatened, take it away and you can’t afford an attorney we’re trying to address that. Those are all civil. Yes is criminal and illegal. That’s what legal aid provides? Yes, legal aid gives the attorney to the people. Who are too poor to afford one? Our funding program has requirements on coffeecake income. Yeah, of course. Yeah. Alright. So legal services corporation is the primary funder of legal aid services throughout the country. Yes. Okay. Absolutely. Okay, please. Okay, so on our way to talk about, oh, learning and how i was giving you my example of how i need to learn more about the organization before i could. Yeah, there was a change of prices, but i want to add to that from my if i’m doing an rp process, i want to be very fair process. I don’t want to give one vendor advances another one might not have so i might agree to have a five minute phone call just outlying a little more of our situation, and i’ll have that same conversation with every vendor that i’m including in the process of but i generally don’t want to do the full pledged interview with the vendor until after the r p e r a p is determined which of these people who have responded to the therapy are the ones who really look like they might be a match? Narrow it down and then from there, go to the interviews. Usually, when i’m doing our fee for a large project, all in, you know, include a deadline to ask questions, preferably send those questions by email, and then i’ll send out the questions and answers to every participant in the r p so, again, everybody’s getting the same answer is getting old questions. Asked even nothing worth questions, they particularly asked. Okay, e-giving didn’t think dick tooting getting ding, ding, ding ding. You’re listening to the talking alternative network e-giving. E-giving cubine have you ever decided to reinvent yourself? Are you navigating a new life’s journey? Are you an aspiring artist that’s looking for direction? This is kevin, barbara, ll and my new show, coffee talk three point, always your new best friend. Tune in live to hear successful professional artists and their inspiring real life adventures. Mondays at two p m eastern, right here at talking alternative dot com stand. Wait, no this’s, the same way we’re hosting part of my french dinner city guests come from all over the world, from mali to new caledonia, from paris to keep back french is that common language. Yes, they all come from different cultures, background or countries, and it comes desires to make new york they’re home. Listen to them. Share this story. Join us, a part of my french new york city. Every monday from one to two p, m. Are you suffering from aches and pains? Has traditional medicine let you down? Are you tired of taking toxic medications, then come to the double diamond wellness center and learn how our natural methods can help you to hell? Call us now at to one to seven to one eight, one eight three that’s to one to seven to one eight one eight three or find us on the web at www dot double diamond wellness dot com way. Look forward to serving you. Hey, 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. Hi, this is claire meyerhoff from the plan giving agency. If you have big dreams but a small budget, you have a home at tony martignetti non-profit radio. Oppcoll what? What? What specifics can we leave? Give the non-profits around our f p planning. So creation so very important. Assess whether the rv is necessary or not. My take their two things that in general there’s a dollar amount relative to your total revenue that’s going to justify doing the rpg? Determine what? That is really another thing that’s kind of abusive to the vendors is you have a twenty thousand dollar project and the vendor is used to doing fifty one hundred hundred fifty thousand dollar project it’s not worth their time to answer the our feet that’s work they’re doing without getting paid for it. So you want to make sure that there is some value to vendor in taking the risk of the answers are api. They’ll put the hours putting the time means yes. Okay. Okay, so, so being part of this is be respectful to the vendors. And you know, if this is a simply project and not that high dollar, then just go straight to the vendor interviews. Don’t do the rp process. Don’t make him look that hard. Okay, value to it. Okay. Other other advice? What else? What else could we be doing better the when you do have the valid or if he makes sure that you’ve got the right questions and they’re not the ones there, you know, and just the right ones. I think there is if you go look for examples of our apiece on the web, you get one’s written by very large companies that are sixty pages long. I think in a lot of our cases with the work that we’re doing this non-profits we don’t have to write sixty page long are appease, we can keep the questionnaire is shortened just what they need to be. I’ve done our peace for large dollar projects, but they’ve really only been one or two page question because because that told me what i needed to know to move forward well, let’s, explore this a little more what other advice to have around questions that don’t really belong that you think, are there often that you see often? Well, again, i think comes too. You wantto ask what you know, not ask what you don’t know so again in that kind of web, our fee, you know? All right? Or let me even back off again with myself feeling example, i didn’t ask every vendor if their sails for certified i didn’t ask if they, you know, do you know how to do this? That or the other detailed thing in sales for us? I asked broader questions for hyre level skills and ask for examples again because, you know, i didn’t want just putting questions for the sake of having questions if the vendor is on the sale, i found all these vendors through sales force af exchange, they’re certified yeah, okay, yeah, anything that i didn’t need to ask. I didn’t ask so again, focus the questions generally you could assume if you’re picking the vendors were going to send the rp two, is supposed to just posting rp publicly and both are valid ways to go. But, you know, you really could make some assumptions that they’re going to have this that or the other thing and not necessarily make them answer questions on necessary. I do like to ask questions like particularly if i’m going for some kind of there’s a sport contract following its avenger than to rely on past the initial install what? The rate of turnover is the questions like that. So you, khun gouge the stability of the company. There are different types of r f peace. Yes. Okay, let’s, talk about some of different types. What are they, um how do you categorize? Ok, so i work in technology, and i see two general types. One is for product ones for services to a very different and, you know, again with the products i think you want to ask. Actually ask a lot of questions on day one of the reasons you want to do that. You’re looking for a new phone system. It’s very important to you. They’d have certain types of conference calling functionality. Or maybe it does calls center. You know, there are things that your particular looking for for your organization. So you ask every one of those questions. Do it in a way that simple. The answer that they can check a box or, you know, just say yes. No, um, you know, again that’s the way you be nice with a lot of questions, everything they demolish, everything doesn’t have to be a narrow exactly. And then once you decide on the vendor include the r f p response as an amendment to the contract so they’re accountable for what they said their system could do in the ar fi. O interesting. Okay, that sounds like that’s very good advice. Other other something else and different tight around different types is just product versus services bilich anything else that you want to leave people with around labbate i’m kind of okay, okay, um, what if? Well, i guess let’s get to what the ultimate benefit of all of this is if you have smarter or f p’s, we’re going toe is going to be hiring the better the better providers. Well, i mean that, you know, the goal is for the non-profit to get the return on investment on, you know, we’re spending a lot of money on this project that’s why we’re doing the therapy in the first place. We want to make sure that when it’s all said and done, we haven’t wasted that money, the two risks icy or one that you make a big investment in my case in technology, and then that technology is rolled out in such a way that it’s not useful to people it’s not used you’ve made the big investment. You haven’t gotten the functionary that you were seeking that’s one problem the other night where we see is that we haven’t really picked the right vendor. The project has become a money pit that we’re now thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds thousands over what we wanted to pay software evaluation for major systems for your new fund-raising system for, you know, your new website something that is a big investment for the organization in a very important project provoc can’t can’t be decided on by one or two people in a room somewhere e i mean project’s go much better if more people are involved at the start of them in the evaluation in determining the needs and entering what’s important product demos are great opportunities to educate staff about what the software could do for them because most people go into a software project thinking, i know what i like in my current product. Does the new product do the same things? But the question really should be, how could this new product give me more capabilities? Mohr strategic possibilities and my existing software did and going to the demos and seeing you know what the president is going to show, you can spark the imagination. Okay, having this many people in that room as possible. Okay, now your program is an hour and a half, so i know we haven’t exhausted this. What more can we? I mean, your your workshop is going to be so what more can you can you share? I’m leaving it open to you. What more can you tell us that we haven’t talked about my pushed any anti seizure shin is to do about food four, five minutes worth of presentation, so you’re right. I have more than this, okay? And then open up for a good discussion and in this case, because we’ve got vendors versus staff and it’s a controversial topic, i’m hoping for some violence. You are? Yeah, we’ll see. Last year i did one on project planning. I’m agile versus waterfall, too. Computing project management philosophy’s i was hoping that we’d have some, you know, excitement in the room. But no, everybody agreed with me that there’s time for one in time for a male. We’ll see. It wasn’t it wasn’t. It didn’t turn out to be his. Provocative as he would have liked. So maybe, well, maybe start out by moving all the consultants to one side of the room in the staff to the other. Okay. And then looking throw things or something. Okay, well, let’s, leave it there then. Peter campbell is chief information officer for legal services corporation on dh. You’re listening to tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of ntc the non-profit technology conference. Thanks so much for being with us, thanks to everybody at the non-profit technology conference and there hosts the non-profit technology network and ten next week, an interview or two from fund-raising day that’s the one day conference in new york city in june, where i got a whole bunch of speaker interviews, i have one or two of those. If you missed any part of today’s show, find it on tony martignetti dot com generosity. Siri’s they sponsor non-profit radio generosity siri’s dot com or seven one eight five o six. Nine triple seven our creative producer is clear miree off. Sam liebowitz is our line producer shows social media is by julia campbell of jake campbell, social marketing and the road producer of tony martignetti non-profit radio is john federico of the new rules. Our music. This music is by scott stein. Be with me next week for non-profit radio. Big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. Go out and be great. Talking alternative radio twenty four hours a day. Are you stuck in your business or career trying to take your business to the next level, and it keeps hitting a wall? This is sam liebowitz, the conscious consultant. I will help you get to the root cause of your abundance issues and help move you forward in your life. Call me now and let’s. Create the future you dream of. 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