CLOUD COMPUTING IS A HOT TOPIC FOR NON-PROFITS… HERE’S WHY. Plus, THE LATEST TIPS ON SELECTING A VENDOR.
(This blog post is part of the “Apps for Good” series where awesome AppExchange providers guest post about their applications.)
Cloud computing is a hot topic these days, and the smart nonprofits are taking advantage of it.
Never has more powerful and inexpensive technology been available to nonprofits. Think FREE. The advent of Cloud computing and the Salesforce Foundation have made it possible.
Nonprofits are transitioning in droves from expensive, closed, legacy-based donor management software to the free, open, feature-rich cloud platform available from Salesforce. They have discovered its easy integration, its far-reaching applications and its performance features that benefit the entire organization. No more silos of data; everyone works from the same database.
Plus, you will join a network of common cloud-based users in the nonprofit space working together in an open, thriving global community of ideas and products; not limited to the closed niche of a single company’s products.
At Click & Pledge we design custom software integrated with Salesforce to manage donor information and to increase the financial performance of nonprofits. Our products are tuned to enhance giving and engage donors, all managed in a cloud environment.
We have a close collaborative arrangement with Cloud for Good to tailor custom Salesforce integrations. In our experience, Cloud for Good has proven to be exceptional and has taken a leading role in cloud-based applications for nonprofits.
The power of the Salesforce cloud is hard to ignore. It’s a better way to manage your information technology, improve online giving, coordinate volunteers and leverage donor information. It’s all about more efficiency, increased capability, lower costs and improved overall business practices.
Our recent integration of Salesforce.com and its Cloud-based donor management capability is the result of the Salesforce Foundation gifting a custom version of its CRM platform to registered nonprofits. Today, Click & Pledge is fully integrated with Salesforce to deliver donor and event management coupled with a payment system, a mobile “smart phone” solution and a comprehensive suite of more than 30 online fundraising tools.
What’s more, Click & Pledge and Cloud for Good have enhanced the Salesforce application. We have made it easier to use and have deployed robust applications like event management, payments and mobile integration. The software is free to nonprofits, it’s managed in the cloud, it delivers big data capability and it’s smart computing
As a fundraiser, you know that it’s a never-ending search for new and better ways to increase dollars to your cause, while at the same time, trying to manage spending.
This brings to mind the lesson Professor Emeritus Theodore Levitt notably told his students at Harvard Business School, “People don’t want a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” If we equate this to the non-profit world, “We want increased giving!” Yet, we still need the tools to achieve this goal.
But first, we must select the proper vendor to deliver the proper tools.
So as Dr. Levitt suggests, instead of focusing on the attributes of the products, focus on the outcome and what these tools will do for you.
At Click & Pledge we build FREE online fundraising tools loaded with features and benefits. Even so, we want you to focus on how our products will deliver what you ultimately want: Increased giving.
What I painfully experience with a number of prospects is that they focus on cost…and worse yet, they focus only on the cost of credit card processing! It’s not about credit card processing!
It’s about the software and the support that will help you achieve increased giving without a never-ending drain on resources.
Selection of a vendor has evolved…please consider a few of these tips:
- Select vendors offering simple yet effective solutions. Remember, making things simple is hard.
- Know what you need and what you want and what your budget is.
- Explore Free. We do online banking, purchase tickets, register for a class, manage a database and accept donations. We communicate worldwide with friends and we network for business — all for FREE…do you want to explain why you did not select free?
- Seek vendors offering the latest technology … in with more HTML 5 and out with Flash…in with Cloud-based platforms and near field communication where the smart phone replaces the wallet.
- Seek a vendor that can deliver the best total solution under one roof: payments, donor management, forms, events, mobile and so on.
- Look for vendor applications outside the traditional “keyboard/mouse input” to deliver rich, simple experiences across the board. Make it easy for your patrons to communicate, volunteer, participate and give. See this: (link to QR PayCard)
- Vendors must provide “mobile” capability as “First Screen” experiences…they are replacing the age-old desktop fast! Look for those who think mobile first. In the past, television was “first screen”, computer was second and mobile third. Now, mobile is fast becoming first. Plan and design accordingly.
- Social networking & Facebook experience extensions are now “must haves” but with limited sharing of information. Login to participate is a bad social experience. Vendors must make social more integrated, considerate and thoughtful about how information is shared.
- Require an online demonstration of the software and how it works. It’s time well spent and you get peace of mind.
The takeaway: In five years, expect the computer, as we know it, to no longer be around. Your tools will be tablets, mobile phones or a computer-on-a-stick. All you will need is a browser-powered monitor and your office will be omnipresent. As a matter of fact, you can do most of this today on the cloud. Ask Cloud for Good.
Guest post by Jim Barney from Click and Pledge. You can contact Jim at Jim.Barney (at) clickandpledge (dot) com.