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

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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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Duitz 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 very glad you’re with me because i’d suffer the effects of sarcoidosis if i was forced to endure the knowledge that you had missed today’s show choosing and living with your c r m from the non-profit technology networks non-profit technology conference, lisa row and tim sarrantonio advise how to choose the right cr m system should you r f p 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? Also, what makes a strong proposal? Cindy gibson is our grants fund-raising contributor and principle of synthesis consulting she’s been on the funding side and tells how to jack up your odds of getting the grants your after including what do program officers hate to see in proposals on tony’s take two my thank you. Here is my interview from non-profit technology conference around choosing the right cr m system. Welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of ntc twenty fourteen the my voice just cracked the non-profit technology conference. We’re at the marriott hotel boardman park in washington, d c we’re going to talk about in sickness and in health, choosing and living with your cr m with me. Teo, talk about that. Our lisa row she is ceo of confluence and tim sarrantonio tim is an account consultant with z two systems. Lisa. Tim, welcome. Thank you. Thank you. You’re cr m you’re a constituent relationship management software isan this just choosing a tool? It is. Yeah, but and go a little deeper than that. I thought i thought this was a pretty simple thing. You pick one and you and you pick one and you’ve done the hard part is, how do you think? How do you pick? Okay, there’s there’s a lot of choices out there. There certainly are. And you know what i like about the approach of this? Because my backgrounds ten years of fund-raising so on the side of the the chooser, basically, and what i like is that we’ve all pledged to be agnostic in our approach. This is not a vendor pitch session. You and andi, i think that’s that’s going to make it really, really exciting. Okay, so how ah lisa, you you clean it up for me. How how do you start that? Where the first steps of of making this very important could be very costly but doesn’t have to be a decision? Well, like a lot of things in our technology consulting practice, the answers are fairly straightforward in that it all depends on knowing what you want the system to dio, and you’d be very surprised at how many non-profits go to choose a piece of software without having actually thought about the specifics of what they wanted to do. Okay, well, we have about twenty five minutes together, so i’m not gonna let you off that easy. We’re not wrapping up now two minutes, and we’re coming up on ten seconds. Not that i’m counting, but i don’t have a choice it’s in front of me s o we’re not letting you have that easy. We’re gonna get considerably more detail. So how do we figure out i’ll stay with you? Lisa, how do we start figuring out what we want this system to do? Who should be in that conversation? How do we make that make those choices? Well, sierra constituent relationship management, everyone. In your non-profit really is interacting with constituents and so that’s a fundamental part of the decision making process is getting input from across the organization because the serum is really most effective if it is being used by everybody in the organization it’s an enterprise class piece of software. So you need to include really all of the all of the people in your organization, one form or another, which you agree with that i would definitely agree the most interesting thing that i found is that there is a disconnect between development and finance, sometimes where they don’t speak the same language, and so getting him in that conversation early is vitally important. You know, the correlation between accounts receivable and even something basic, like language fund-raising language like fund campaign? What does that mean when it comes to actual finance, reconciliation, accounting, things like that. So all the stakeholders? Absolutely, though, when it comes the program side volunteers, board members, please get them in there. Boardmember sze wai boardmember why boardmember is because they hold the keys to the castle. Basically, i’m on two boards, actually, yeah, and you’ll be just amazed at how disconnected some board members khun b but isn’t this ah, this something that’s going to be on a day to day basis that the organization’s going to use? Sure. And why should aboard be be spending time on such a thing? Because at the end of the day, at least in my opinion, your c r m is directly tied to your mission. It’s it’s about the people that you’re trying to help and it’s not just a tool, it’s something that’s going to help you reach your goals. And so, because it is something that overall helps dictate the direction you’re going and the success that you’ll have that’s why the board needs to be involved. Okay, lisa, you want to say anything more about the board? On my experience with board involvement? It’s mostly they need to approve the purchase. If it’s going to be over a certain amount that’s really the bulk of their involvement. They are also actually in the serum because their constituents so but that’s just data in the serum. Yeah, they don’t need to attend demos or things like that. It’s it’s. Ah, but they need to know what is going on. Okay. Well, tim, it sounded like you were suggesting that they should be involved a little soon earlier than its okay toe mean youtube from people you have differences of opinions. Fine, but it sounds like you were suggesting they be more involved than lisa was suggesting more. Just, like, sort of approving approving payment and towards the end, i yeah, i do think they should be okay for directly involved. So you’re not offended. Are you? It’s hard? You don’t. And you don’t look offended. Okay, well, now you set up a challenge. Okay? Thank you. Look, ok, but, tim, you’d like to see them involved involved throughout the process. Yeah, but maybe not to the detriment. You know, the whole too many cooks in the kitchen type of thing to you’ve got to balance it. But my approach, maybe it’s, because i’m on the board to where i don’t want to just be a rubber stamp. You know, i live in chicago. We have enough of that. So okay, you’d like to actually have legitimate oversight. Absolutely. And some transparency. Okay. Let’s, grow cloudgood. Um, lisa what’s, our what’s. Our. You host these meetings for clients. When? When these early conversations? Absolutely. Facilitate that. We’ll interact with the vendors and try to make sure that all the right questions are being asked and that they’re getting the information that they need. Now, earlier today, i re interviewed peter campbell, who was doing a session. You know, peter de beer, apartment and tcb ear. It was, is he was a twenty year, i think. He’s, one of the main guys that coordinates really okay. And tcb ear listeners is ah, it was a thursday was thursday night. Friday night? No, when when’s the overflow capacity when he was the one counting how many people they were taking that’s on how many people show up? I didn’t even know that he had that role. I would have asked him all about it. Okay, well, it was a wednesday night reception before the formal opening of of ntc on thursday morning on dh there was at a bar. Okay, so his topic is r f p c s o he said, does this does this requiring our f b i you know, i did talk to peter about that cause i give presentations on our peace and we’ve looked at me. Connecting people is amazing. No, i even tell you the universe. I feel like i i volunteered to come to be part of his talk. We we’re not big fans of our peace nowadays we’re much more fans of doing a lot of upfront research and finding a few really good candidates and then having in depth conversations with them because more and more with the technology it’s made to be customizable and so in the past, you have an rp where you’d check up check off. Yes, yes. No, no. And then the one with the most checks, winds and big requirements matrices and now, it’s, because the systems are made to be customizable it’s. Not a question of if they can do any particular thing. It’s a question of fit. Does it make sense for them to to be customized, to do any given requirement and that’s where you need to engage with the vendor and really have a conversation rather than an over the transom? R f p with a long bunch of requirements? Ok, tim is doing a lot of nodding. Yes. Yeah, our fees are very interesting from the vendor side it’s something that when i first started my job i never thought that i see as many and what’s what’s fascinating is they’re all different, but they all are at the core. The same thing that basically leaves it was just talking about in regards to just ask questions that that’s that’s really, at the end of the day, that’s all you need to do. I don’t have this big check list because when my approach personally is that i’m not just hitting. Yes, i’m actually linking to support guides for features and so that’s my personal approach. I know some vendors that they outright just say we’re not going to do any arm piece if we see in our p we’re not gonna answer it and ours is mawr case by case. Is it a good fit? It’s more consultation in terms of the approach, but every time i see it, i go. I’m going to be hitting wire and a bunch of times and make cell spreadsheet, and they’re all different and it could be easily covered in a half an hour conversation. Okay, you didn’t think that shooting getting dink, dink dink you’re listening to the talking alternative network to get you thinking. Nothing. Good, do you need a business plan that can guide your company’s growth seven and seven will help bring the changes you need. Wear small business consultants and we pay attention to the details. You may miss our culture and consultant services a guaranteed to lead toe right groat. For your business, call us at nine one seven eight three three four eight six zero foreign, no obligation free consultation. Check out our website of ww dot covenant seven dot com. 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 conscious people be better business people. You’re listening to the talking alternative network. Hyre oppcoll and i like conversations. I prefer conversation’s over over documents since and please describe, you know, in an email or something or or a proposal, i’d rather i’d rather talk myself. That’s metoo how about you, lisa? I’d like to talk sometimes, okay, not so much right now, you little but a mike in front of your eyes that’s why they’re still i’m still back on that. Some of the vendors don’t respond to our fees. I’d never understand that. I mean, if you’re in here to be bill business, you do have to respond to our peace and frankly, there’s important things that you need to ask vendors to write down and document project plans, pricing sometimes technical approach it’s important, you can’t just get rid of the requirement to write things down or respond to very specific things of interest, but i do think the over the transom approach doesn’t work well with serums because you’re really you should be able to really quickly xero in on three, two, six serums that are really good candidates, and you do that by triangulation is what i like to call it, which is a process of asking pierre’s doing your own internet research, accessing guides like idealware air’s kind of consumer lorts for software posting on listservs. So you get a variety of different sources of information and that triangulation will lead you pretty quickly to some really good options that you’re going to then go into more detailed and it’s just a better approach to choosing a cr m then than just sending an r f p that you probably don’t fully understand that you got off the internet somewhere to thirty different companies and wasting twenty seven of their time. It’s not a good process way could be considerate of the vendors. Exactly. I think we can extract. I’d like that. Yeah, person a czar’s metoo system representative you mentioned idealware lisa, which i have heard and i’ve read their survey, and i think i covered it on this show. They don’t, they do, and they do an annual survey of serums. Or maybe it was just a one time, two years every two years, every two years, and it was a very comprehensive short. It wasn’t a chart format of features, and i’m remembering correctly. Yeah, they have felt one of those nice bullet charts with you. Know yes, no kind of stuff, but they do all kinds of other cell for comparisons this well, but that that does have a really good place to start if you’re looking at serums, okay, because it’s free idealware dot com is that where we find that dahna work dot or god? Or ah non-profit i’d forgotten that it’s it’s, i think it’s dot org’s we google idealware idealware yeah it’s a a cz the lisa rolling your eyes, right where’s that for i’m not going to call you out for the working google. Can you form a good folk? Are alright? I actually did the demonstrations for the idealware report for work, okay? And i can attest, it is utterly comprehensive and agnostic it is it is probably the best starting point for someone who wants just a general overview of well, where do i start that go to that? Go to that report? Absolutely. And it’s unranked it’s just it’s just saying this is what it does, this is what it doesn’t d’oh, and and they basically that the process is very interesting. There’s there’s a syriza questions it’s, it’s almost like an rmp innocence that they ask you and then they follow-up with a demonstration a half an hour demonstration to get into the report, and then they follow-up with a full hour demonstration of the system itself to really drill down for each of the systems that every single system oh, i don’t remember everything every single one, the people who get into the top, like ten or something that there the duitz they’re the ones doing the long form demonstration, but every single potential isn’t at least doing a half an hour and that’s split between a relatively small staff way love idea where they’re absolutely fantastic people over there. And, you know, i love maine too, which is where they’re based on outstanding resource latto okay, all right, so what’s, our what’s, our next step on we’re tryingto do this chronologically, i think ueno everybody should be in the in the party and we of our triangulation research that we’re doing what’s our what’s, our next step, you need to get them in there for demonstrations and to kind of assess the fit because it’s not just about the product it’s about the company and there understanding of what you’re trying to do with the implementation and so you really need to engage in a personal level. I think it’s gives the best results block off a half day haven’t come in, do some demonstrations, have some conversations and assess again the fit. Not a half a day for each one the whole day. You know, half a day is about all most people can take before their brains are full. Right? That’s for all of our three to six now for each one i each one having so many hours? Yeah, you know, i think don’t try to talk you out of it. I know it takes that long because he’s serums most of the time they’re they have a lot of features and it’s very important. That staff e-giving come to see in the different areas whether it be development, event, management, project management or grants management so on and so forth. And they all need to see that their needs are being adequately represented in the product. I see. Okay, so there’s different time slots, i guess, for different constituents within the organization in tow. Let’s have the finance team for forty five minutes and let’s have development, et cetera. Okay. Yeah, okay. I’ve been in situations where there’s been. Excuse me. Twelve people on the call. And the one thing i would stress, though, is try to keep internal discussion like philosophical talking to a minimum. You know, we should already been passed that you’d be surprised where people like erupt into arguments about like, well, no, this is how we do membership. And it was like, what? Wait, i’m sorry. Do you need to know about if there’s an end date on this form? Because we have that but it’s so yeah, i would say a minimum an hour, the definite thing that you need to ask for his references arika hoos hoos are you using a current system? Do you have any clients that have converted from that? Can i talk to them? Converted from from your using like cr m a and you’re looking at sea rmb ask? Has anyone come from sierra? Okay. And if not that, you know that’s fine. Don’t concentrate so much on geographic area. A lot of people say, well, i would like something on, you know, in new york on dh that i get that to a certain extent. But i would mork concentrate? Kind of like what lisa was talking about in terms of the fit? Ah, what do i want to use this for? I want to talk to somebody similar size are you volunteer or based like my non-profit where it’s all volunteer? Or do you have staff? How many staff? How many constituents? So that that’s my general recommendation to now we’re starting, teo now the narrow the field. But if we started with three to six that you had suggested, lisa, we’ve had our product demos we’ve checked references actually checked the references right? Don’t actually call, but don’t ask for them. I guess that that’s an important second part of the reference process, is actually speaking to them. You’d be surprised how many non-profits i work with it? Never check references. I am shocked, actually, i i’ve i’ve heard that too. I mean, we’re not around siara, but even employment decisions, right? And they ask where or what you know, they ask for references for whatever purpose and then they don’t get checked. It’s a capacity in your capacity building issue? I agree, i think it’s good dismaying. Ok. Even a quick email, you know. You don’t have to outright call them. Just drop him a line if they don’t get back to you. It’s people are busy, but at least try. Okay? All right, we’re narrowing the process. What’s. So, what’s, our next step is we’re down down to a field of let’s say we’re down to a field of two, all right? From our three to six where we’ve got to, well, i like to go down to one. I mean, hopefully i think that’s our goal you talk teo gonna run two parallel exactly after the three to six you’ve had these sessions would be ideally, you really would have one that you’re feeling is the one that you want to pursue and that’s the one that you’re going to check the references for and do all the other due diligence, which is kind of the last stage of the process. You’re negotiating a contract, you’re finalized, pricing. You’re getting really detailed on schedule, we’ll we’ll get to those, but we’ve glossed over consensus. What if finance and development and program? Oh, and the ceo don’t come to a consensus, you know, i haven’t seen that much, and i i’ve done this. For a lot of organizations, help them tio come to consensus and usually it’s pretty pretty. Clich really that’s been my experience. Everybody seems to coalesce around one. I had one where where they did go back and forth. It was a very, very big ticket purchase. And the choice was between something conservative that was thie. Everyone else is using this system like no one gets fired for buying ibm versus a very, very high tech, relatively obviously more risky, high tech, newer thing where they would be leading the way. And that was really ah, a big decision for them. And they did have to involve a lot of board committee input to see which direction they wanted to go to in which one did they put him on the team? I was wondering the same thing. I was disappointed they actually went for the conservative approach, but the but they ended by saying, you know what? We’re coming from the dark ages, so this is just bringing us up for today. We’re going to implement this and live with it for a few years, and then maybe then we’ll be ready to to go to the high. Tech thing, so that was actually a very good philosophy. They weren’t seeing it as something they were goingto have forever. They were seeing. It is just a step up from where they were starting, which was excel spreadsheets and index cards or something like that. They had spaghetti custom code that had been developed twelve years ago that had just taken on a life of its. And they had long out out ground long ago. Alright, so usually tim, do you usually see a coalescing around around one? I do, um, it’s ah, you know typically it’s going to come down to one or two and a lot of people, and i’d actually don’t discourage this. Go with your gut. What instinct is that i think is important lots of things in life, but that’s a topic it’s just it’s just very interesting to see, because i also think corporate culture is important too. And i know that’s harder to quantify. But if you just get a feeling that like you’re being pitched all the time yeah, uh then that you’re going tohave that almost throughout the entire usage of your systems then support it’s going to go from sails all the way down, teo say support implementation so i think that it’s an important thing tio to kind of take into account, too, but obviously you’ve got to make sure you’ll like it and it’s going to work for your mission on an everyday basis. Okay? You know, from the data entry person all the way to the e d who needs the reports? Okay, we’ve made our choice. Now, lisa, you were said earlier with flesh. Just a little bit about what needs to be documented. Wave made our selection. What do we need to get in writing? Commitment’s, etcetera. What are we thinking about? Their yeah. It’s. Another area that i see non-profits habitually not doing as much as they should in the area of negotiations. I’m always so surprised when i send over our contracts and they come back without any markup. It all they just signed him. And i’m not even sure they read. Hm? Yeah, and this i they don’t necessarily understand that software is negotiable, that the price that is quoted is negotiable and there’s a lot of terms and conditions in those contracts that also should be negotiated. And so that’s something that a consultant actually can really help you with. But you want to make sure that you’re not paying for that your payment is tied to deliver balls, not just will work for ten hours, and you pay us for the hours independent of what we do and that there’s a schedule that there’s remedies if things go wrong, that they’ve really thought through the project plan, you also want to look at the personnel because you don’t want to get the most junior people on the team who they just hired, who doesn’t know the product themselves thatyou wantto, you know, review resumes and approve project interests, so on and so forth, there’s a lot of things that you can do to ensure or at least increase the chances that your project will be a success because these types of projects can go wrong many, many, many ways that’s a whole nother talk the hundred ways that you can screw up your serum implementation and at the contract time is where you really want to try toe put all those things, i think through all those things, and i have a contract that tries to prevent them from happening. You go ahead. I was just going to say the biggest stress, uh, that i’d love to piggyback on because that’s a fantastic point is data conversion. Well, we’re going to get there, ok? So we’re going to get there now. We’re now going to import or we’re gonna convert. We’re going to make our change. What do we need to be? Well, okay, anything more you want to add about being at the contract stage? Absolutely. And conversion. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Figure out what is in the terms specific to data conversion. Is the vendor going to help you have duplicate merging if everything in your spreadsheet is in all caps, are they going to help with that? Are they going, teo assist in any sort of, you know, clean up our, you know, reconciliation and things like that. And you know, how many hours is it going to take for them to do that? What do you specifically paying for? And if you’re opting for kind of a stripped down version like what help are you getting with that as well? Ah! Latto non-profits and i’ve seen vendors and this horrifies me that they just give this like blanket quote, and it doesn’t take into account. Oh, this is seven access databases that we need to convert and combined and just get a specific number that you’ve drilled down and understand off all the things. The absolute details on what data conversion actually includes. Okay, i thought, okay, now we’re into conversion. What kind of support you would be expected? Well, it’s, everything well, it’s, everything you just mentioned. What? What? Uh, i don’t know what else could go wrong and conversion. Mrs issue, this is a huge process tonight you’re going. The main thing is to have people doing the conversion. You have done it hundreds of times before. It’s not actually technically risky. It’s just can be a variable amount of effort on dh that’s. What? What messes up projects? Okay. All right. Let’s, move. Too bad mapping, by the way. Mapping watch. Jorgen joe, i know this show now have drug trail on this show. Youjust transgressed. Okay. Wow, i’ll roll it back. Role may be available. How does how does this field translate into the new systems field? Basically his first name equal to first name, you know? And then it gets progressively. Much work complicated it’s. Okay, that’s all how do we know when we’ve outgrown now? We’ve had our system for several years, and how do we know when its not working? What are signs that well, people are complaining what’s happening? How do we know? I don’t know if you don’t know, then you probably haven’t. It should be obvious, i think i mean, you can always do more and do better. I haven’t been in any non-profit where there weren’t opportunities to do more with their enterprise software that they were not exploiting, but that doesn’t mean they should ditch it and again, with all that non-profits have to focus on if there aren’t clear and obvious issues with their existing systems, i wouldn’t be focused on don’t mess with it. You probably have other things to work out. If it feels like you’re hurting cats with your data, then maybe it’s. Time to look. But if it’s not coming up on a day to day basis, then yeah, probably you’re fine because we could get training. Sure you revisit anything that the vendor might have released, you know, check their release schedule. Check the release notes, see what’s. New all right, maybe it’s covered and you just didn’t know it were going to leave it there. Lisa row is ceo of confluence. And tim sarrantonio is account consultant for z two systems. Thank you very much. Lisa. Tim, thanks for being the guests. Thank you. My pleasure. You’re listening to tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of and t c the non-profit technology conference. Thanks so much for being with us. I am grateful to everybody at non-profit technology conference and and ten the non-profit technology network for setting us up at the at the conference. Got lots of great interviews, many more to come generosity, siri’s sponsors non-profit radio. And that makes it possible for me to travel to cool conferences like and to get amazing interviews to share with you generosity. Siri’s hosts multi charity peer-to-peer runs and walks. They do all the behind the scenes stuff that you’ve heard me mention, the licensing, the permits, the portable bathrooms. Ah, the emcees, the announcers, all the tech equipment for the timing. They take care of all that. And they have that charity support team that helps you get participants and then helps you with the fund-raising by participants, the statistic that they share is that first year generosity, siri’s fund-raising exceeds the average third year fund-raising where charities have hosted their own events so you can get the you can skip the first two years and jump right to the third year in fund-raising if you join with generosity siri’s as one of their charity partners, and they have events coming up in new jersey, florida, atlanta, new york city, philadelphia and toronto. Talk talk to dave lynn he’s, the ceo, pick up the phone seven one eight five o six, nine triple seven you can talk to him, see what they’re about and see if this makes sense for you. Of course, you can always go to the web, they are at generosity siri’s dot com and i am grateful for your listening and your support. I don’t want to take this moment to just thank you as i do from time to time. I’m very grateful that you listened to the show week in week out if you’re getting email alerts from me, you welcome me to your inbox every thursday, it’s only once a week, but i’m grateful for that also we’ve been doing this show for very close to four years, the fourth anniversary is coming up in july. The two hundredth show will be in july. That’s that’s really something, um, and i’m grateful that the audience has built up to over nine thousand listeners, and i thank you very much for being part of that. Thank you for listening. Thanks for your support. You know i’m always interested in your feedback. You can get me on twitter through my site. Tony martignetti dot com through the facebook page always interested in your feedback and i’m glad you’re with me. Thank you that is tony’s take two for friday sixteenth of may twentieth show of the year with me now is cindy gibson. She is our practice temic she has a phd and over twenty six years of experience with non-profits, she has had leadership roles for several national foundations and non-profits she was a non-profit times top fifty power and influence, sir she’s principle of synthesis consulting, c y n th e s i s and you’ll find her on twitter as at caen gib si n g i b cindy gibson welcome back. Hi, tony. Sorry you can’t be in the studio all the time. It was nice to have you first, but you live in boston, but we’ll work at another time. Um, so we want to talk about what makes, uh, what makes a strong proposal you have? Ahh. You have some wisdom around this? Yeah, i think i’ve written about a thousand proposals, and i think i read about ten thousand of them. Oh, ok. Yeah. And it’s amazing how much the same issues keep coming up. So should we presume that your last five hundred that you wrote were stronger than your first five hundred ways there? You used to read them. And what? What? What’s what’s, one of the first things that comes up often, um, one of the first things that comes up there’s actually, three things that really stand out everybody knows i think pretty much the basic, you know, components of a proposal. But though there’s a couple things that i think that people don’t always get and the biggest one i think is it’s very, very often people won’t include a strong mark it analysis or sort of where they fit in the larger field or in an issue area. Um it’s sort of what’s your value proposition, if you will. How how? How is this organization? How is your organization unique? What is your value added? What makes you distinctive? In other words, why should we fund you and not some other organization that you work with? On the flip side of that is how do you compliment other organizations in the field that maybe doing similar work? So it’s both sides of that coin and i it’s very rare that you see that explicitly stated, ok, how do we define the market to prepare the our market analysis? Well, that’s a good that’s a good question, i think that it just depends. I mean, i don’t want, you know you don’t want to get to granular about it. I mean, certainly in the private sector, it’s a little bit clear what your market is, but for example, if i’m talking about i’ll talk about an area i know well, you’ve civic engagement. How do you get young people involved in civic life? It’s, a fairly defined field and people in that field? No, the other organizations, they all go to conferences together, they said the same tables and coalitions. It’s that kind of when i say market, i mean, that loosely defined it’s really looking at who are you working with? Who’s working on these issues and the field and indicating even that, you know, who’s working on these issues in the field, sometimes you’ll read proposals and it’s really amazing how people will come in with a proposal like it’s the first time she’s anybody’s ever thought about doing a particular strategy, and it just shows the program officer right off the bat that you’re not knowledgeable about the field in which you’re working or that you’re presuming the program officer doesn’t know and that you’re you’re what you’re purporting to be a unique idea has actually been seen lots of times from other other other organizations. Yeah, and there i have to say there’s nothing that makes program officers matter for more irritated as when grantmaker say, we are the only organization that does fill in the blank very rarely healthfully one organization that does anything those it’s really presumption list and it’s just it’s a red flag right away. Yeah, okay, well, i know you have a bunch of things that funders hate to see we’ll get we’ll get two more of those. So would you in your proposal, would you just caption this as as a market analysis? It depends. I mean, if sometimes you know as we know and as all grantmaker now this’s, what makes grand seekers annoyed is that every foundation many foundations tend to have very different proposal application guidelines. Some as we know, do come by who do come together and do what’s called a common application like particular states. Some foundations world say here you can fill out the same application for all of us but that’s still relatively rare. Unfortunately. So how you fit that value proposition is going to depend on you know what the thunders asking for, but somewhere in there should be some kind of intimation whether it’s, you know, usually there’s a there’s a section called you know, the qualifications of the organization are the capacity of the organization to carry this out. And, you know you might want to include it in there. You might want included in the summary about your project. I don’t think it takes five pages to say what your value at it is a lot of times. Ah! So really, is it really depends. Okay, all right. But you it belongs it because you said a lot of times this is not included. So this is, well advice to make your make you stand out. Yeah. I mean, i think otherwise see again. And this gets to another thing. People forget sometimes when they write proposals that the program officers usually not the only person that looks at this document and the proposed the program oster has to turn around and sell it to the either the board or the senior. You know, administrative staff for the president, who’s never making the final decision about what gets funded, which is often not the problem. Officer, um, that it’s very helpful for that person to be able to go into those meetings and say right off the bat. This is why this organization that’s really different. And this is why it’s really important that we supported on dh not you know again. But a lot of grand seekers will just not understand that it is a selling job for the program. Officer. Yeah, this goes tio what? You and i said, i think the first time you were on you’re you’re helping your job is to help the program officer sell your proposal and your program to the people you mentioned, whether it’s, the board or a senior program officer who makes but you’re helping them become your sort of sales team in the foundation right there, your advocate, and so give them out. But again, it’s important to remember that about where it stops sometimes, and that gets sort of backing into that jargon and proposals it’s always amazing to me because i’ve done a lot of reading of proposals in evaluating them out as a consultant for other organizations. I’m not particularly steeped in an issue sometimes, and i will get completely stymied by some proposals where there’s all kinds of acronyms that are not spelled out there’s it seems so basic, but it is so easy for organizations to get caught up in their own, um, work and their own spaces that they don’t think about somebody else reading this thing. This is something that i tell people all the time, and i i think it’s so important is that organizations give their proposals or their draft to somebody who knows nothing about their field, who does nothing about their work. You know, if you can find somebody your neighbour, i don’t care who it is, somebody to really eyeball. What you send in is really helpful, because that will tell you whether you’re what you’re writing is compelling on its own, and whether it’s going to sell on its own, regardless of who’s reading it. Ok, there is a bigger world out there, aside from your program and your work. Let’s, go back to something that you just you still touchdown was talking about. How you compliment similar organizations doing similar work. Right? Is that? Is that part of the market analysis? Yeah, i think it is. I think it shows that, you know, once you say, you know where this is, how we’re distinctive, this is, you know, why you need this organization to do this work when you say it also compliments a lot of other work going on the field, it actually sends a message that you’re collaborative because in the nonprofit sector, you know, most of the results that we get are going to come out of the collaborative and collective efforts of a number of organizations, not usually just one. And, you know, there is this ethos of collaboration in the sector is opposed to competition in the private sector, so the more you can say that we are collaborating with these other organizations and here’s how we’re complimenting their work. For example, a local non-profit or state non-profit or coalition might say, you know, we are regional or a local, so we’re able to bring the lessons were learning on the ground to the national groups that are working on this issue may be at the federal level on, and that gives them the national group. Some data, you know, about how things are working on the ground and what we’re seeing so it’s sort of conveys that you’re not only providing value to these other groups that ditch you’re actually intentional about it, okay? And you’re informed and you’re doing this collaborative work. Yeah, and you also have your eye on larger impact and it’s not, you know, we’re just going to keep doing this on our bubble in our little town or state, we’re actually doing something that has that’s that’s looking towards longer term impact, whether it’s policy change at the federal level, whether it’s regulations, whatever you’re doing okay, what else do you recommend to set proposals apart? Well, so another thing that i see a lot is that and every proposal guidelines will ask for this, um, they ask you usually for describe the need for the problem that you’re trying to dress on that your opportunity to say, you know what the problem is and to talk about the statistics in the data that support the need for, you know, for what’s going on, for example, you know, if you’re doing high school dropout trying to stave off dropout rates he would talk about you know, what the rates are and why it’s such an important issue. Um, and then they ask you, you know what you’re going to do about it, which is where you described your program or your project, and when i find sometimes is that a lot of times is that groups tend to fall in one of the categories of their either really good at talking about the issue, talking about the problem, why it’s so important? Um, and great analysis of the causes of it, um, but they’re not so great at saying what they’re going to do about it. On the flip of that is that some organizations will will launch sort of more into the what they’re doing and the work and they’re excellent describing all sort of the elements of their program or when they’re doing, but they don’t really say how it’s addressing the need it’s really important to make that connection and it sounds obvious, but this is where, again, having somebody look at your proposal and we’ll assess it and say, wait, i’m not understanding you just described a huge problem, but i’m not seeing how your program actually, is addressing this really important. Okay, we’re gonna take a take a break. And when we come back, cindy and i will continue talking about what makes your proposals strong. And also mohr, that program officers hate to see you stay with us. You’re listening to the talking alternative network. Have you ever considered consulting a road map when you feel you need help getting to your destination when the normal path seems blocked? A little help can come in handy when choosing an alternate route. Your natal chart is a map of your potentials. It addresses relationships, finance, business, health and, above all, creativity. Current planetary cycles can either support or challenge your objectives. I’m montgomery taylor. If you would like to explore the help of a private astrological reading, please contact me at monte at monty taylor dot. Com let’s monte m o nt y at monty taylor dot com. 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. We look forward to serving you. Talking alternative radio twenty four hours a day. I’m dana ostomel, ceo of deposit, a gift. And you’re listening to tony martignetti non-profit radio. Big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. And welcome back, cindy, have we covered all the suggestions that you had for for making a proposal strong before we get teo that the don’ts? Well, i have a couple just a couple quick things, you know, a lot of this overlaps with don’t but that we’ve talked about, but i would say that a lot of proposal writers and grand seekers know that an inevitable question on any guideline application is how are you going to sustain this work, which is what is your fund-raising plan or your business plan and it’s really surprising how many people will say? Well, we’re going to approach corporations and foundations and individual donors, and then they don’t say it in more detail. What do you have a plan for that what’s your strategy? Are you going to focus on one segment more than others? And why is that that’s really important? Another thing that goes along with that is when i worked at a foundation, we actually had a separate section asking about what’s your communications plan. Um and again, ah lot of grant seekers will say, well, we’re going to do some op ends, we’re going todo, you know, we’re going to go on twitter and social media and say, you know what we did if they’re doing, for example, a research study or report that doesn’t really say anything, it doesn’t say what you and what you’re trying to do with the social media coverage is trying to tell people about it, and what impact is that gonna have is going to make any difference? Neither how will you know whether it’s made a difference? And this is the testament, i think all grantmaker zee hate is, you know, the evaluation. How do you know if you have achieved success and again, the answer to that is not well, we’re going to assess our work through ah survey, you know, or we’re going toe ask grant asked participants in our meetings for feedback, you know, all of that is great, but it’s not really telling the investor ah, what difference it made overall, just because people had a great experience at a meeting you put together about a particular issue doesn’t mean that you’ve really had an impact on the problem. Yeah, neither of the three of those whether it’s fund-raising communications or assessment is a plan the way you described it, it’s just it’s sort of aspirational. This is what we plan to do, but but is not a detailed plan. It’s not none of those were a plan. Really? Yeah, i think that’s a good point. And and i would say a plan and then the and the crowd is although that is plan for what, you know, sort of it’s always before what question or to what end? All right, so a couple of things that you said specifically that hyre people reading and program managers officers don’t want to see a cz jargon. And of course, on tony martignetti non-profit radio, we have jargon jail. So we’re very sympathetic with that, um, and also that you’re the only ones doing it. You’re unique. What else? What else did they do? These people hate to see. Ah, well, not answering the questions separately, but it was not a common. I just made that. You know the answers air vague or their elusive, or they ignore them all together. Um, one of the i just did a eh stepped in for a program director who had left a foundation. And so i did a number of proposal. Reviews on site visits and one of the questions that they have on their proposal guidelines, which they’ve just revamped, is what outcomes do you expect to see? Um and i know and i understand why and how non-profits are reluctant to distill what they do down to numbers, but that’s, what the thunder was asking and what i found was that people either talked around the question by describing vaguely what they were going to do their goals, um, or you know what their strategies were, but they weren’t telling me what’s going to come out of this? And can you be very specific about what you’re going to do? Are you going to serve four hundred people, then say that, um, that’s not particular, but that’s i understand that’s not impact, necessarily, but it is an output that can lead to an outcome which might be something like we start four hundred people and people were healthier, you know, that kind of thing, so but but the thunder asked for that specifically, and i was really surprised how many people were confused by that. On the other hand, i did go back to the thunder and say, you know you might wantto put on your website or in the application guidelines somewhere a clear definition of what you want and what’s that what? What you mean by outcome? So that would help grantspace occurs to give you more of what you want, so it works both ways, i think, is a very common that questions get ignored or talked around with explicit questions in applications. Oh, yeah, yeah on i have to say, i’ve been guilty of this myself when i wrote proposals because, you know, that was your first five hundred in the first five hundred days, you know? Well, you wouldn’t get argue that good marketing is sometimes, you know, the best market and goes a little around the truth, but, um, it is true that people i would say less ignore the questions than they do, um, sort of try to talk around them or compensate if they don’t really have an answer by the reiterating something or again talking about larger goals or strategies rather than impact on influence on results. And why you and really making a case for why you you should be invested in running through a lot of what we’re talking about is making these connections, whether it’s between the need and your work or the your work and the outcomes and the impacts. It’s making this yeah, making covering the full spectrum. Yeah. I mean, it’s strategy. It really comes down to are you being strategic? Um, and i know again people hate generally the whole logic model idea. Andi, i understand that, but it is, and it can be really helpful exercise for non-profits to work through because it really separates all these pieces, um, that we’re talking about that then puts them together in a cohesive model and frame. And so doing that exercise in my experience really helps organizations put together stronger. A more cohesive kate. Okay, we have to. We have to wrap up. But the logic model that that sounds like is that that sounds like something that we might talk about in another show. Teacher. The logic model. Yeah. There’s. Lots of resource. Is that out there about that? Go help. They’re still some of the fear that people have about it. Okay, well, we can use that. We can use that. Maybe for next time. Okay. Thanks very much, cindy. Thank you. My pleasure. You’ll find her on twitter at caen, gibbs si n g i b and her practices synthesis consulting, c y en th e s i s next week an archive show i will, i will pick a winner. I don’t know which one it will be, but i will. I will pick a winner and if you have one that you really want to hear again, let me know. You can email me from my sight. Tony martignetti dot com. You can always get me on facebook and twitter. Also, our creative producer is claire meyerhoff lorts our line producer. The show’s social media is by julia campbell of jake campbell. Social marketing and the remote producer of tony martignetti non-profit radio is john federico of the new rules. Our music is by scott stein came in a little loud, but that’s because we love scott be with me next week for non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent go out and be great e-giving didn’t think dick tooting getting thinking thing. You’re listening to the talking alternate network. Get in. Duitz e-giving cubine. 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 conscious people. Be better business people. Buy-in hi, i’m ostomel role, and i’m sloan wainwright, where the host of the new thursday morning show the music power hour. Eleven a m. We’re gonna have fun shine the light on all aspects of music and its limitless healing possibilities. We’re going invite artists to share their songs and play live will be listening and talking about great music from yesterday to today, so you’re invited to share in our musical conversation. Your ears will be delighted with the sound of music and our voices. Join austin and sloan live thursdays at eleven a. M on talking alternative dot com duitz you’re listening to talking alternative network at www dot talking alternative dot com, now broadcasting twenty four hours a day. Have you ever considered consulting a road map when you feel you need help getting to your destination when the normal path seems blocked? A little help can come in handy when choosing an alternate route. Your natal chart is a map of your potentials. It addresses relationships, finance, business, health and, above all, creativity. Current planetary cycles can either support or challenge your objectives. I’m montgomery taylor. If you would like to explore the help of a private astrological reading, please contact me at monte at monty taylor dot. Com let’s, monte, m o nt y monty taylor. Dot com. 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, too? He’ll call us now at to one to seven to one eight, one eight, three that’s two one two, seven to one eight, one eight, three or find us on the web at www dot double diamond wellness dot com. We look forward to serving you. Talking all calm. Hyre

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.