Big Nonprofit Ideas for the Other 95%
Opportunity Collaboration: This working meeting on poverty reduction is unlike any other event you have attended. No plenary speeches, no panels, no PowerPoints. I was there last year and I’m going this year. It will ruin you for every other conference! October 11-16, Ixtapa, Mexico.
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Rich Dietz: Smart Donor Engagement
Compare what you’re doing with takeaways from Abila‘s study of how donors want to be engaged and how nonprofits engage them. Some methods are on target; others miss. Rich Dietz is Abila’s director of fundraising strategy.
Michelle Chaplin: The Right Database
What are the steps to select the right database for your organization? Michelle Chaplin is senior manager of online fundraising at PBS. We talked at NTC, the Nonprofit Technology Conference hosted by NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network.
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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. Oh, we have a grand to affiliate. Welcome katie artie ninety five point seven fm davis, california while non-profit radio was on the road past two and a half weeks, i stopped by davis. I’m a program director. Jeff executive director autumn i toured the studio and i thank you very much for hosting me. Jeff in autumn and this is the california announcement that i’ve been teasing you about, and there will be another california affiliate coming but for today. Welcome, katie. Artie davis so very glad you’re with us, our newest affiliate. Oh, i’m glad you’re with me. I’d bear the pain of encephalomyelitis ridiculous if i had to think about the mere idea of you missing today’s show smart donorsearch gauge mint compare what you’re doing with takeaways from a bill, a study of how donors want to be engaged and how non-profits actually engaged them. Some methods are on target. Others miss rich dietz isabella’s, director of fund-raising strategy also the right database. What are the steps to select the right database for your organization michelle chaplain is senior manager of online fund-raising at pbs, we talked at ntcdinosaur non-profit technology conference, hosted by intend the non-profit technology network on tony’s take two, a tribute to rochelle shoretz responsive by opportunity collaboration, that working meeting that unconference on poverty reduction that will ruin you for every other conference. I’m very glad to welcome rich dietz he’s, director of fund-raising strategy at abila he began his non-profit career as director of a youth mentoring program in college. For twenty years, he’s been working in and with a wide variety of non-profit political and government organizations, as well as tech companies, focused on the nonprofit sector. The company is at abila dot com, and he is at rich deets on twitter. Rich, welcome to the show. Thanks a lot, tony. Glad to hear you’re. I’m very glad that you are. Where you calling from college? You’re in austin. All right. Austin is awesome. We just had and to see their non-profit technology conference where you were you there? I was definitely there. It was right in our backyard and actually found it harder to go to the conference when it was in my own backyard than when traveling, decide to drive in every day in austin traffic with us a month. I’m so yeah, i’m sorry. We didn’t meet there, though, but i met a bilich there, but i didn’t see you personally, but next year, you’re going to be there. You think in twenty sixteen? Most definitely okay. That’s san jose, i believe, isn’t it? Yes. I’m very excited because california from california originally lived in the bay area for quite a few years. I’m very excited that i just spent ah, weekend half moon bay. Beautiful. Yes. Very nice round the coast. Very, very nice community. Okay, rich, this donor engagement study. Why? Why do we need such a study? Well, we we did the study for a couple reasons. One we were looking at the industry and we seen way saw a bunch of other studies out there that talk to donors or maybe talked organizations and was trying to get this whole idea of why donors give you know what? What motivates them to give what makes them feel engaged? And we found that there was a lot of studies that looked at one or the other. But there weren’t studies that looked at both groups as a whole and then compared them to see if there was any differences, overlap, commonalities or actually holes in that and some of our concerns around that was, you know, fifty seven percent of donors each year are leaving organizations, you know, donor attrition, you know, we also see seventy four percent of non-profits admits that they don’t use donordigital to make program decisions on dh, that sort of, you know, concerns us a little bit, so we wanted to dig a little bit deeper into that. So we created the study, the donor engagement study, it was a survey of both donors, a cz well, as non-profit organizations we ask them a number of questions to find out preferences on engagement, so we asked the non-profit how do you think not, you know, donors want to be engaged with, and then we asked the donor’s, how do you actually want to be engaged with and then compared those and found some really interesting commonalities and some very, very interesting differences that attrition rate that you mentioned that we’ve had the other guest mentioned that seventy four, seventy five percent of donors leave an organization. Each year that’s, that’s startling it is startling in striking and and the way i usually tell people how startling it is. Let’s say you had one hundred, donors donate today in five years on ly one of those donors is still donating the organization that should scare you. And that should keep you up at night. Ninety nine percent over five years. Well, no, no, i’m saying it is the year over year, seventy four percent every year you’re leaving? Yes, yes. So after five years on ly one of those hundred still still don’t. Okay, so we could call that ninety nine percent attrition over five years over, but yeah, my gosh, yeah, alright, neverthought about it longer than okay on dh. How did you select the non-profits and donors to survey? We actually went to a research firm called ed research stuff just to make sure that we weren’t biased and how we we don’t want to just select our clients or just not our client. So we went to aa research company called research on and they did it all using, you know, the highest statistical standards. Ninety five percent plus confidence all of that fancy. Stuff that i don’t understand everything about. But, you know, i i leave that for smarter people, okay? Confidence intervals. I remember those confident from college statistics, like if you had ninety six percent confidence that’s, actually not very good, as i recall from i don’t know what i’m saying if no, no, i didn’t mean if this study had ninety six percent. I mean, in general, if one has ninety six percent confidence, as i recall from college statistics that’s not even very high, you want to be like ninety eight or ninety nine percent? I’m not imputing the abila study way haven’t gotten into yet there’s nothing to impute. All right, so you have some excellent takeaways, which we want to leave listeners with remember our our audience is small and midsize non-profits and they are certainly struggling with that kind of attrition, and we’re interested in the the commonalities, but also the misalignments in the disconnects between what donors are saying they would like or believe they’ve got and what non-profits believe they are doing or believe they ought to do so that that’s where we want to, we want to focus on these your your your first takeaway is that basics and fundamentals are very, very important most definitely in this is this was one of just one of the findings i was very excited about because i’ve been preaching the fundamentals and getting back to the basics for many, many years, as i’ve been consulting and teaching and training across the way, in fact, i have a master’s in social work, so i’m a social worker by trade and something we learnt about social work school is mathos hierarchy of needs, which which i’m sure most people on the caller are very familiar with and massive marchenese says, you know, you have to have your basic needs met before you can move up into higher level things, you have to have food and water before you even care about friendship or, you know, confidence or or anything like that. And when i found working with non-profits is it was very similar in that they need to focus on the basics first and then move up the ladder there and see what i mean by that is you need to focus on your website, email marketing your donor process. You know how you move a donor? From an email all the way through the donation process, actually becoming a donor, and you need to focus on that first before you get into things like peer-to-peer fund-raising and social media and and all of that stuff on so we found in the study is going back and really focusing on those fundamentals and what do we mean by those fundamentals? The number one thing is thinking through that donor flow, thinking through what it is like to be a donor to go through your entire process of a fundraising campaign, and that is from that email they receive to the length they click on to the page, they land on to the donation form and and all the way through the thank you. And then, of course, the follow-up follow-up is so is so important. And so the way we’ve been trying to talking about now, instead of thinking of a holistic donorsearch experience where we’re calling it a holistic donorsearch donor experience because you not only need to think about the entire process, but also the actual individual that is going through that process, i’m going to get much deeper into this when we get into the segmentation, but thinking about who’s doing it is it a major donor is in a major donor who likes polar bears, and that gives you a very different process that you may want to do than a fifty dollar donor-centric frogs it, and we’ll get much more into that as well as a cz we go through another really important thing on the on the fundamentals is showing impact you’ve probably heard other people talk about how important it is to show impact and that the work that you’re doing is meaningful and making a difference will in our survey, we found that the number one thing donors wanted to know about was is the money being used wisely? They also wanted to know if their support is making a difference was another top three concern of theirs on dso. By showing the impact you can do that, the best way to show that impact, of course, is stories story is going to be the best way to show that impact on and that’s again going back to the basics, really crafting some beautiful stories and if you can bring in that visual storytelling on dh, what we mean? By that is, using video using pictures to really tell a great story. Okay, which study done by cloudgood yes, i wanted to point out that the going back a little bit you your premise was that people started that pipeline through an email, but they’re actually maybe multiple ways. They may have found you first on one of the social networks, or they may have found you first through hearing about you from a friend. So even just that entry into the pipeline is going to vary across people. Definitely definitely andi and channel preference is something that would be talking about some of the later findings as well. But that’s that’s, a great point is actually tailoring how they found you in that messaging and in those stories and how you communicate with them is also very important. Yes, okay, thanks, rich. We need to take a break on when we come back. Of course, you and i’ll keep talking about a billa’s donorsearch exgagement study. Stay with us. You’re listening to the talking alternative network. What are the latest travel trains? How khun travel. Be a part of your overall health and wellness plans. This’s william paris, lifestyle travel consultant and your host foreign travel and wellness today. Join me on thursdays at twelve noon eastern time. For travel chat, travel tips and travel news. Update that’s on thursdays at twelve noon eastern time on talk radio dot n y c. 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 backs to one to seven to one eight one eight three. The conscious consultant helping huntress people be better business people. Talking dot com. Hyre welcome back to big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. I can’t send live listener love, spy city and state today because we’re pre recorded by a day it’s a it’s a day before the live show. But of course, live listener love to each person who is, in fact listening live podcast pleasantries so there’s over ten thousand listening and the time shift, wherever it is, whatever device, whatever you’re doing, maybe washing dishes. That was the latest i’ve heard podcast pleasantries to everybody in the park in the podcast and listening that way and our affiliate affections love our affiliates, those am and fm and online stations throughout the country, whatever day, whatever time they they play it and their schedule affections to all our affiliate listeners. And, of course, katy art being our newest affiliate in davis. Richard you from davis or davis area, by any chance you said you said i am not out from from her down the beach, california, down south. But i lived in san francisco for about seven years, okay? Yeah, you did mention bay area. Okay. All right. So moving on, we have we have some disconnect, but between donors and non-profits around frequency of communication. Yeah, and this was one of more controversial aspects of the study. We had a couple people come up to this on this, we actually had somebody accused of malpractice, quote unquote, talking about communication frequency and think they read it slightly wrong, so what we found is non-profit professionals were ten times more likely than donors to feel that they were not communicating enough, so the organization’s felt they should be communicating more donors were saying, you’re doing it just about right? So there’s a disconnect there so some folks thought were saying, don’t communicate as much. Don’t email as much don’t do as many facebook post and that’s, not really what we’re saying, what we’re saying is actually bringing in the next key finding with this one is critical content is more important than frequency or channel, so what we’re saying is it’s not how much you communicate it, how you’re communicating, one is communicating with really good content, so that is giving them the stories the thank you’s showing the impact, the accomplishments that you’ve made that’s, the content that they want, that’s, the content that they don’t mind if. You email mohr of it. The other thing is to customize your content, you’re now non-profits are now being compared to amazon and zappos and these for-profit who are really customizing and tailoring their content and donors air at home going well, if amazon knows that i like books about weaving, why can’t my non-profit know what i’m interested in about the organization wanted? They know that i’m interested in the girls after school program, how come they can’t taylor that content? So we’re saying better content and a little more taylor to the organs to the individual donor, you have some findings on different channels that donors would like to see frequency manage differently on? Yes, definitely, and that was some of the interesting fundez while there was some surprises in there and some things that we have come to expect as any particular ones you’re interested in tony yeah, well, let’s start with email. What, what, what, what? What donors feel about the email channel? What i found about email, what i was actually very happy to see and something i’ve been preaching for a while is that email is actually pretty solid across all groups, andi also way also had at abila we also slice the, uh, the the data by generation, so we slice it out by millennials, gen xers, boomers and matures on, and we found something like email was actually solid across all of those generations, in fact, that matures, which air, you know, sixty five over sixty nine percent of them said that email was a fine way to communicate with them. So when people say that the older folks aren’t on e mail or they don’t like getting their email, we’re definitely seeing a shift change there. Yeah, i don’t agree with that matures or olders how boomers boomers matures don’t like email. I think in a lot of cases you would have the individual would have given their email address to the to the organization. So you’re you’re expressing your preference for that channel that way. Ok. What about direct mail? Us paper mail? What? Your findings on that? Yeah. There’s. Actually. Interesting finding on that. And i definitely want to dig deeper. But we found that, of course. You know, you would expect boomers and matures. About eighty percent of them are saying direct mail’s fine. Ah, funny. That was a little surprising as millennials, eighty four percent of them said direct mail’s fine and my my running theory right now, i don’t have any evidence to back this up yet, but that millennials aren’t getting a lot of mail, so getting something in the mail is kind of a cool thing to them, you know, maybe direct mail might work with millennials. Okay, it’s gonna be something that we looked at a little deeper. I see why you were chuckling when when i ask you about that. All right? They’re not getting enough. Those j crew catalogues on the american apparel catalogs. Just not sufficient. Exactly. Okay, um, all right? Interesting. And then all right, so then, sort of related to that is that people do want content that they believe that that is relevant to them most definitely most definitely, and it really gets into the segmentation. Yes. Okay. And we’re going, we’re going to get teo. We’re gonna get the segmentation. Well, i guess we could, you know, means it doesn’t have to be in the sequence that you and i have been thinking about since we’ve teased it a couple times. Now what? What do we know about segmentation well, other than it’s not really being done quite as well as it ought to be. Yeah, yeah, definitely. And i think if if if you talk to non-profits their pride pretty honest about this in fact, fifty two percent of non-profits felt like they really weren’t using, you know, segmentation as well as they could, and we found surprising. Well, not surprisingly, fifty two percent of donors felt like organizations weren’t taking their preferences into account. And so when i talk about segmentation, that’s what i’m really talking about his donor preferences, how can you build an experience that the donor feels that you have taken their preferences in account that you have taken their interests into account? Remember, like i said earlier, you are being non-profit are being compared to amazon and zappos and all of that now, so they’re getting highly segmented in some of their emails and some of their communications that they’re getting on, and they’re not being segmented and talked to in a very specific way from the non-profits so we really need to do a better job at that that when we found his most non-profits felt that they were using donation amounts as a source of segmentation, but it really dropped off drastically when we started looking at other ways to teo segment. And so what i’d like to suggest to my non-profits is to start with donation amount because, you know, you’re already doing that and then try to add in one or two more other data point, andi, you know, a really easy one to do would be interested. Um, what are they interested in? What have they shown any sort of interest in and a lot of non-profits have this data already on hand, and they might not even know about it. You can go to your email marketing software and look at what links did they click on that they click on a link for the girls after school program? Then they’re probably interested in women’s issues, girls issues, or maybe they even have girls, you know, did they click on red eyed tree frog? And they did click on polar bears so you can actually pull out some of that interest data. So they’re telling you in many ways, on dh, then you can segment further down from there, okay, so we we’ve talked. About age and interest communications channels. What else? Ah well, we mentioned giving him out that’s that’s very standards. That seems very, very standard method of segmenting what else? What else can you recommend? Another interesting one to think about his location on? And i think this one is particularly good for national organisations, organisations that are that are fund-raising or doing things across the country. And the best example that i’ve seen of this in recent years has been the obama campaign. During the last obama campaign, there was a window. There was a new york times reporter. I believe they did it interesting study where he went, and he signed up for all the candidates emails, but he signed up from different parts of the country. And so for the obama campaign, when he signed up in portland, oregon, he got very different emails than when he signed up in south carolina. Portland, oregon. He got emails about forestry, about labor issues down in south carolina. He got very different communications, so just buy the location that somebody’s ass that they signed up for. You can actually start segmenting based on that and making educated guesses on what? Their interest might be, and then you look to your email statistics that they continue to click on those things that you think they’re interested in. Then yes, they are. If not, then you, then you can try something else. Signing up from portland, i would add, thai food should be added to that interest because i had i had the most delicious thing in cycles are really big in portland. Oh, are they? I didn’t see that, but i didn’t see i didn’t see any use cyclists miss that, but i had the most delicious us thai food that i’ve had since i’ve been to thailand and i live in new york city and supposedly we have good restaurants here. But, uh, i have to shout since you mentioned portland pock pocket pook, pook, best thai food i’ve had. It was in portland best us tie i’ve ever had, so i would add thai food to the forestry to the forestry interests in portland. Okay, yeah. What? What about agent? Which, if we don’t have a gin our database wait, how do we get out that that that that is an interest one and that one’s going to be a little bit of a challenge? But i have some ideas that i think might might help broke down, so it is an important one, and we really do want to highlight the age since we did look at this data and we did, you know, at abila we slice it up into the different age groups, you know, millennials gen xers matures, baby what’s up, we found that only three percent of non-profits said that they’re really looking at age on a frequent basis in order to segment, and we saw, as you saw in the channel preference and all that there are some big differences in there. So when you’re looking at age, i think there’s some ways you can get this data, some of this data non-profits may already have if a non-profit has done a walk or a ride or a run or any sort of event like that, they probably asked for a gin order to put them into their age brackets and so that can help get that data right there. Look at any of your past registration on and see if you have that that age data on do you know it could already be there? The other thing is to do a donorsearch on and there’s a lot of good reasons to do. It donorsearch not just for ages, but to actually get into your preferences. I say all the time that you know, when we talk about best practices, a best practice is really just a starting point. You still need to test it and try it out within the organization because you might have very different donorsearch mints than what we’re talking about here. And so by doing a donorsearch way, you can dig deeper into what their bread, you can ask them their channels reference, you can have them. You know how they want to be communicated with how frequently they want to be, commute whatever you want to do in there now. The big problem is surveys of getting people to turn them in. You’ve got to come up with some incentives for them to turn in those surveys, you know you can obviously, give away some chock keys, a t shirt or a bumper sticker or, you know, a discount to your gala, something like that. But in a new idea that i’m seeing a few started to experiment with now is doing some sort of matching grants or matching gift with service. So get of one of your major donors to say anyone who turns in the donorsearch ve i’m going to donate one dollars, two to the organization and letting the donor’s know why you’re asking for this data. The reason you’re asking for the data is so you can communicate with them in the way that they want to be communicated with, you know, letting them know that you know, that they’re overwhelmed with emails and overwhelmed with with direct mail and all that stuff, and you only want to be sending him the communications that they actually wanted, that would be their incentive for filling it out as well. I love that donor dahna contribution match for ah, for each survey we have a donor who will donate a certain dollar amount. That’s outstanding that’s it that’s it gets a cool idea. Haven’t heard that. Excellent. Excellent. Um all right, well, any other, any other suggestion about getting at age for an organization that doesn’t have it? It’s not well, we can. We can move on anything else you got? Yeah, you know that. I mean that i think something is going to develop over over the next six to ten months if any listeners out there come up with some good ideas, please send him in, send amar away because i’m looking for new things to test and try on defy could find new ones. I will let you know as well. Okay. And i’ll remind listeners ah, that you are at rich dietz d i e t z at ridge detail on twitter um, okay, let’s, let’s, move, move on then some other takeaways people love giving right makes them feel very good. It actually makes them feel very good on. And this is one of the interesting ones is the number one way that they felt engaged and connected to an organization was through the act of giving. Volunteering came in a fairly close second on attending events, and doing things like that really had started fell off dramatically. From there people people felt like attending an event wasn’t as engaging as, you know, volunteering or actually donate and on the surface you’re like, okay, that is totally obvious, right? But there’s a couple of key points, you’re one, i try to use this to help non-profits feel more comfortable and asking for money people want to donate, and when they do, they feel really, really good, so you’re actually helping people to feel good, so you’re doing a service for them, you’re not taking their money, you’re giving them good feelings is the way i like to tell us, why not? Provoc dahna very good, very good love that. Okay on you have now there’s a difference among millennials? The number one and two are swapped. Yes, it is, and that was really interesting for us. So millennials number one is volunteering and number two is donating and what’s interesting is this aligns really well with some other research and other discussions i’ve had with folks that air that air looking at millennials is millennials have a very different process, one on how they evaluate an organization and how they engaged with an organization. What they’ll do is they’ll go teo and organizations social. Media profiles to learn a little bit more about them they want to see that you’re really people, they want to see that you’re human. If you have the same sort of corporate speak that you have on your website, they’re they’re they’re probably gone. They’re not even going to engage with me any longer, but if they like what you’re saying on social media, then they’re going to come in and volunteer. If the volunteering goes well, then they will make that donation decision, so it is a very different way on dh really, organizations should be looking at getting millennials volunteering well before they even asked them for for a money which which makes sense if you think about it, our wonder of millennials are telling us that they have they have more money than the rest of us, and their time is scarcer, which would well, i don’t mind their time being scarcer, but if they have more money than the rest of us that’s annoying the hell out of me, that’s what they’re saying way have just like a minute and a half before we have teo to wrap up so let’s uh, let’s just flush. Out a little bit more. We’ve already very touched on this a fair amount, but the differences in engagement around age and generation. Yeah, so that you know what i would recommend for folks to a download the study. And they could do that at abila dot com a b o l a dot com forward slash donorsearch gauge mint study on dh there they conceal the charts and dig deeper into the data. But we did find those very interesting differences and, you know, like i said, you know, you’ve got to take everything like this, aziz, a starting point on, and then you need to test it and try it within your own organisation. Weii brought up a lot of the ones earlier about direct mail and all that. But another one i found really interesting on the differences was on, uh, gifts where’s that i’m looking at my date right here. Rich, we have two that’s. Okay, we have to wrap it up. But you’ve told people where the where the study is and if they want more through, they could get you on twitter at rich dietz which, thank you very, very much. Thank you so much. All right, thanks. My pleasure. Thank you for joining us. Tony steak to and the right database air coming up. First opportunity collaboration. It was a terrific experience. It really kicked us up to the next level. We built out a fund on site, and we have raised two and a half million dollars toward a target first close of five million dollars from delegates at the twenty thirteen collaboration that’s from russ baird, executive director of village capital yusa. There are funders at opportunity, collaboration and the rolls and impact investors, as well as lots of smart people from non-profits opportunity collaboration, a weeklong unconference in x top of mexico for everyone who is working in or around poverty alleviation, lots of people who can help you get your work done. And there’s plenty of free time built in to meet those people, make friends and figure out how you’re able to help each other. I was there last year. I’m going this year. Every session is in a circle. It’s very collaborative. No power points, no plenary speakers. Three hundred fifty people from around the world collaborating. If your work is related to poverty, check it out. Opportunity collaboration, dot net. We had a death in the non-profit radio family. Rochelle shoretz the first guest on non-profit radio to die deshele founded sharks share it, a support network for breast cancer survivors and very sadly, she’s no longer a survivor. It was june first when she died. She was on the august thirty first, two thousand twelve show, and we talked about storytelling and deshele very generously shared her story and story of lots of people that share share. It has helped and worked with my thoughts go out to her family and shark share it and those tens of thousands of women and men that her work has touched. Oh, and i have a tribute video with a link to the show on also the new york times obituaries at tony martignetti dot com and that’s tony’s take two for friday, nineteenth of june twenty fifth show of twenty fifteen here is the next segment, which is also from well from ntcdinosaur as many have been lately. Excellent stuff from the non-profit technology conference here is the right database. Welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of the non-profit technology conference twenty fifteen were hosted by intend the non-profit technology network in austin, texas, at the convention center. My guest is michelle chaplain, she is senior manager for online fund-raising at pbs and her workshop topic is how to choose the right database for your organization. Deshele welcome to the show. Thank you. Great to be here. It’s a pleasure to have you thank you for taking time on a busy conference day. Let’s uh, let’s, start with a threshold question how do we know if our existing database needs to be changed? Yeah, absolutely that’s a great question, and i think the first thing is you have to sort of go through the process as if you’re looking to change your database. So first you wantto look att all your current users and what their needs are, what they’re trying to get out of the database and what it is doesn’t do that they wanted to dio, and then you need to bring all of those questions to your current vendor and asked them like, is this something that database really can’t do? Or is this an add on feature that we can pay for? Or is this you know, a custom ization that we can get or do we actually have access to this all along? And we just didn’t realize it. And then you went away like the costs of adding those features to your current database to the cost of switching and implementing a brand new database, which is substantial when you taken implementation, cost training cause and just the time it’s going to take for your staff to learn a new system. How do we filter out when we’re asking these questions in our organization between people just complaining about the database and really having a genuine need that isn’t being fulfilled because lots of people have complaints absolutely way filter out the yeah, the mere complaints on dh sort them out from the woods. Isa really write well and i think it’s really helpful to build requirements document, which is just a family non-technical word for need tohave list and a nice hot list. So you take all of the various rants and complaints and things they want, the database tohave and you divided into things that are real deal breakers like your database is not gonna work. Your users are not going to get what they want without these. Things. And then the nice to have things which, you know, might help you increase adoption. It might make a few people happier, but it’s not going to make or break your database and that’s going to help you kind of narrow down your options. Okay, so people will become more rational if we asked them to categorize between needs and needs and desires. Exactly. Okay, we’re trying to insert some rationality into this whole process, right? Be a lot more strategic and sophisticated. Okay. So then, if we have our we have our requirements document, uh, most vendors are going to be willing to review this with us. Yeah. And generally, when you ask a vendor to present there their database or their system to you, they probably have, like, a put together power point presentation. And i would say, just send them your requirements. Ask them point blank, like, does your system me all of these requirements? If not, then they don’t need to waste their time presenting or your time, you know, giving you this presentation. And when they present to you, ask them tio just do open up a kn example of their database and go through the steps that you, your users, will go through. So you can see what your user experience is. Rather than just getting kind of their standard sales pitch. That’ll save you both a lot of time. Let’s. Take a step backward when you’re talking to your existing provider. How do you sort of position it so that they don’t feel like they’re being threatened, not threatened, but so that they don’t just become defensive and you know, but you, you know, you didn’t identify that is a need years ago, we didn’t understand that that was a requirement of yours, you know, he’s trying to cut through that stuff and just can we get our can we get our needs met, right? Yeah, and i think it’s it’s a matter of, you know, acknowledging the fact that this process you’re going through is a process that you’ve just started and you’re looking at a database and you’re looking what people didn’t need to get out of it, and you’re asking them, like, is this something i could do with the database? You know, because this is a new, like me that has come up or this is a new requirement that we’ve identified that’s goingto be necessary in the future and, you know, most vendors will work very hard and if it’s at all possible to keep your business going your way, you’re asking exactly and understand, and, you know, if they can’t do it, then it’s sort of, you know, it’s self explanatory, why? Why you need to move on? And i think they understand that, like most vendors aren’t going to throw a fit over, you know, you making a reasonable, logical choice that this isn’t the right fit free. Okay, okay, um, so let’s, let’s jump back to dark metoo new potential vendors, are you ah, fan of r f piece for this process or some people are, and some people think they’re overblown and don’t really accomplish very much. I’m i’m a fan of a super simple r f k and what i do is my request for proposal are here my requirements? This is my requirements document the list of need tohave nice toe have stuff. And if your database could do all of my need to have in some of my nice to have that i want to hear from you, okay before exactly pretty simple or yes, compared to many that we’ve all seen exactly. Yeah, because most vendors, they already have their standard product. They’re not going to take the timeto, you know, answer. Accustom are for every single line. Okay, that’s, the that’s, the other side of one of one of the other disadvantages is you’re going not here from a lot of potential vendors who just won’t spend the time answering a lengthy are exactly okay. All right, so what’s, our next step? Well, how do we proceed in this in this process? Yes. So once you kind of have your short list of vendors and you’ve seen their presentation, then you really want to dig in and evaluate those, you know, top three or four vendors. Teo really ascertain whether or not they meet your needs and if if they all meet your needs. Like what nice tohave requirements do they also meat that will help you further narrow your list down. Andi, i for this part, i recommend, like, actually doing trials of everything. And if a vendor won’t let you try out their product and go in and mess around, i would be a little bit wary of that, because then you’re like buying. You know, you’re buying a car without giving it a test drive. So what do you migrate? Just a part of your database into the into each platform that you want to test. Yeah, you can just create some sample data. Are a lot of databases ifyou’re doing their trial portion? They even would come with sample data so you can just play around with the way it exists and just go through a few of your processes, you know, there doesn’t have to be, you know, huge reports generated or anything useful, it’s just you need to be able to see if your users were going to be able to get what they need to get out of it. All right? Dahna no, please, no more. Oh, so then after that, you can just sort of rate the different the different options based on your criteria. So your needs to have obviously, if they don’t meet any of the needs to have that’s a deal breaker, you can stop right there, throw him out and take him off your list. They wasted your time because you’re you asked him that originally exactly hyre they more points they lose right for squandering time? Alright, who’s involved in this process from the organization now that we’re out to the outside potential vendors. So i mean, i think there needs to be like a point person or a project manager who’s doing the implementation. And really, that depends, like, if it’s a small organisation, it could be just somebody with the title of project manager or executive assistant or you, you know, it might be the ceo doing all of this by themselves and then buy-in bigger organizations, they probably have, like, a database implementation manager or an administrator who’s in charge of all the databases who can kind of oversee. So it depends on the size of the organization, but really, one person should take ownership of it, and then they can lease and manage all the relationships with the key decision makers like the cfo, the ceo were actually, you know, signing the checks and then all of the different types of users, the power users who are going in and, you know, stretching the database to its limits every day, the people who maybe, like volunteers using it every so often and then all of the managers and and other people of the organizations who may not ever use the database but need information from it. So, like, your finance officers might need financial reports out of your database, but they don’t actually go in and generate the reports, so we need to talk to them. Tio, do you think the board has a role here or not? Really, i think it really depends on the board and the scope of the project that you’re working on. So if it’s a large like, if it’s your like a financial management database and the board, you know, is looking at the finances of recorder, hopefully and is generating the reports that i think including them in, you know what they want to see in terms of those reports and make making sure that the database meets their needs in that respect on dh then on the other hand, if they’re key decision makers in terms of this, this could be a very large purchase, and they’re, you know, key decision makers in terms of purchase decisions, then you need to be able to show them like this is the best option for organization and why and having that, having that documentation of like this so these air need tohave nice to have criteria and how every single option rates and you’ll get sort of like a clear picture of this is the winner and it’s something that’s easy for them to. Digest and easy for you to sell that yes on dh in large part because you’re showing that you’ve done your due diligence when you can document the process that you’ve been through. Exactly. Okay, thank you for that aggression we were at the stage where we’re testing, we’ve got we’ve got sample data yet, and we’re testing a few alternatives exactly, and then it’s just about going down your requirements document and checking off like every every process you go through everything that it khun dio, you know, all the little nice to have stuff that you’re users may want, but it’s not necessary and, you know, grading those and using those two just rate, you’re different options and again, that’s going to give you a clear winner in fact, there’s a really cool excel spreadsheet, which allows you to do like waiting of your different options, and you’re different criteria, and it gives you a new miracle score for each of the vendors. So you can say whoever has the highest score wins and has the advantage of waiting, so everything is not equal. Exactly because in reality, it’s not all right, what’s our next step now we’ve we’ve selected one, i presume we have a stage where we’ve we’ve chosen one, the chosen one, you’ve hopefully chosen wisely and everyone’s on board because you can straight that you did your own work and and then it’s time to make a plan like this isn’t the end really it’s the beginning of what goes in our plan? S o i like transition plan exactly the implementation plan on dh. I like to start with kind of the end date. So when we want all the users to be able teo, log onto the database and use it that’s the kind of what i start with, and then i work backwards from that until they get to today. So maybe, you know, three to four weeks before the end will be, like the soft launch where our power your users can go in and play with stuff and look at it and maybe, like a month or two before we’ll do that data migration on dh, you know, you just map it out and going backwards until you have today. We’re it’s like that. Everything you have to do right now. Okay. Okay. Let’s. Spend a little time on migration, because that could be very, very messy. We should expect a lot of support from the new vendor in migrating data. So that’s going to be something that you have to consider in your requirements document is how much support do you need to migrate your data? Do you have a lot of in house expertise or you’re going to need full support? And is this new database something that you know your i t team are your in house database experts can figure out and migrate your data into. Or is it a proprietary software that the vendor has to do themselves so that’s definitely something you want to consider while you’re looking at different vendors, what your need is in that respect, another option would be hiring a third party or an external consultant to come and look at your current data, clean up your database and migrated over for you. Yeah, this could be an opportunity to clean up your data. Exactly. Okay, up. Maybe you can include cleanup in the migration support that you get from the from the new vendor. Absolutely. Build that in. Yeah. I mean, just like every time you move your house. You kind of clean out your closet. Every time you migrate your data, you want to think about cleaning it up. Like what you’re hearing a non-profit radio tony’s got more on youtube, you’ll find clips from stand up comedy tv spots and exclusive interviews catch guests like seth gordon. 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And most vendors will build that in usually it’s in like a number of hours that they’ll offer in certain packages to work on dahna migration on training, on support on dh, they’re all you know, most vendors will negotiate that with you depending on your organization’s needs. Okay, what’s, our next step now we we’re past the time line. Where are we now? We’ll hopefully you do everything on time, right? If your implementation over schedule, of course it doesn’t. But it’s a it’s an aspiration exactly off the goal. We’re talking in hypotheticals waken weakened dream. But even if not, you know and plan for that in your timeline to, like plan for what happens if everything falls apart and we don’t launch, you know the database on october first if we do it november first. Like how much of a catastrophe is that? What about december first? You know if it’s a cr m and you’re doing your in giving do you really want? Your database to launch on december first so, you know, planning for contingencies like that. But once you’ve gone through the timeline, once you’ve migrated your data over, you’ve gotten your staff trained on it, you know, your users air doing it, you’re getting good user adoption and really including them in the entire process, asking them what they want is going to be a big help to you and getting user adoption. Then you know it’s about just maintaining your database and keeping the support going and keeping your users engaged in using it and making sure it’s still doing what you’re doing is there much of a difference? And you’re free to tell me that it’s obviously the way whether the new vendor train’s just the power users like train the trainers, or whether they should be training all the users does that matter? I think, and and then the trainers would train the lower level users, right? Your internal trainer, i think there’s something to be said with training the trainers. You just want to make sure that you have enough to support your kind of lower level users so they can all get training quickly and also, one of one of your trainers leaves. Do you have another trainer? Do you have a program for keeping that knowledge and house, or will the vendor continue to train people on an ad hoc basis afterwards? So, you know, it’s, just the benefits and risks of having some stuff done in house versus everything done by the vendor, okay? And then, of course, ongoing support critical. Well, it really depends on again your in house expertise and how complicated the databases that i always think of smaller and mid size non-profit because that’s, what our audience is right, they they’re they’re less likely, and certainly they could, but less likely that they’ll have a lot of in house expertise around. Yeah, third base administration and day to day issues. So support is important. Yes, definitely. We still have a couple minutes left. What do you want to share that i haven’t asked you about? Goodness? Or more detail on something immediately, even if we talked about it. But any more detail? Yeah, i mean, i think one thing that we didn’t really have a chance to go into in depth is the idea of hiring a consultant to do all this with you, especially if you are a small organization or even a medium sized organization. You might not have a staff person with the time to do all of this research and, you know, talked all the vendors and go through all the trial periods, and you know, the advantages if you do it with the consultant, you have them come in, they assess all your needs one time, you know, they talked to all your respective users bundle that they already have a really good knowledge of all the different you know, database is out there and how they would fit so they’ll know which vendors to go to, which are the best options, probably in the first in the first place, and be able to pull it in and it’s assess it so you can kind of skip over the decision making their research part and go right into your short list. Where? You know you work with a consultant, teo, analyze the, you know, the top three best fits and they can make, like, a spreadsheet and analyze it and make it so you can, you know, defend it to your board and show that, like there’s, you know, research and due diligence was done on that, you know, it’s more expensive, but it’s off your plate and it’s off your staff’s plate. You could also be value in the consultant evaluating the state of your data. Someone objective who’s not likely to say. Oh, well, you know, there’s this problem in the data, but yeah, we figured out how to work around that. So it’s not a big deal when really, it is a big deal because you have faulty data. You’ve just developed a workaround. Exactly. Yeah, and then they can also come up with strategies for cleaning the data or people you may cos you may want to engage to help you clean your dad up. So it works for you the way you needed tio what’s been the pbs experience. Have have you done database change? We actually went through thiss process about a year ago. We were looking at changing our email marketing system and way kind of went through the first update our needs assessment talked to all the users, went back to our vendor, and they actually made a lot of changes in custom is asians to our existing system so it would meet our needs and, you know, and now there are just a really strong partner, and they’re consistently checking in with us to make sure that databases still meeting their needs. So it it is it really, you know, we didn’t end up changing databases, which saved me a lot of headache personally, and it gave us, like a really strong relationship with our current vendor. Have you had your session yet? No it’s tomorrow at three, ok? Because i was going to ask if you heard of any disaster stories that do you know of any migrations that went badly? Conversions went badly. We know of so many so many. I mean it’s. One of the reasons that i proposed this session is because migrations often happen too fast without enough thought and they end up just blowing up in people’s faces nobody’s happy with the end result and they end up, you know, a year later, after hobbling along with their new database, either switching back-up watching something different into a completely s o i am looking forward to hearing a lot of horse stories tomorrow you expect you expect to hear a good bit, but we could do this all much more strategically and smartly if we have this plan and process that we just talked about? Absolutely. And avoid the heart. Avoid being the next horror story of ntc twenty sixteen. Exactly. All right. Thank you very much. Michelle. Thank you. Michelle chapman, chaplain. Pardon me. Michelle chaplain is senior manager for online fund-raising at pbs. And this is tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of the non-profit technology conference. Twenty fifteen. Thanks so much for being with us. Thanks to everybody at antenna non-profit technology network loved being at ntc this year. Next week get your emails delivered and did you know that there’s a job called emailed deliver ability specialist also the open movement. If you missed any part of today’s show, find it on tony martignetti dot com opportunity collaboration. The world convenes for poverty alleviation. That outstanding unconference that’ll ruin you for every other. Conference opportunity collaboration. Dot net. Our creative producer is claire meyerhoff. Janice taylor is today’s line producer shows. Social media is by susan chavez, susan chavez, dot com and our 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. 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