Our team at Tackle has worked with so many fundraising systems over the years, that it is rare we find one we get so excited about. Fundraise Up is has become this unicorn with our team.

Larry Cardarelli, Partnership Success Manager
Fundraise Up

Fundraise Up is always learning from user data on ways to improve the user experience, and they do this automatically. So not only are they getting people to complete the donation process, their system is constantly working to do things like optimizing donation amounts and upgrading donors to become monthly givers. There is also potentially a ton of actionable data that could be learned and utilized in a CRM.

Plus, their staff is awesome and attentive, and they truly care about nonprofits beyond just trying to make a bunch of money.

I recently had the privilege to connect with Larry Cardarelli, Fundraise Up’s new Partnership Success Manager. Larry comes from the content creation space working with agencies large and small, and we know he will be a great asset to Fundraise Up’s team. We were able to chat a bit about Fundraise Up and platform integrations and trends, and I am excited to share my interview below on this topic with Larry.


Shannon: You mentioned previously that a major initiative for Fundraise Up this year is to develop new integrations with other platforms. What trends contributed to making this a priority?

Larry: Fundraise Up is hyper-focused on the online donation experience—we’re not trying to be a CRM. So to ensure that the greatest number of nonprofits can take advantage of the platform, we’re invested in rapidly deploying new native CRM integrations. Today, we have six such integrations, including API-based solutions for Salesforce and Raiser’s Edge NXT, and most recently, Neon CRM.

S: Are there any unique ways nonprofits are using integrations with Fundraise Up?

L: Yes. One of the key features of our integration suite is custom mapping rules. Mapping rules in Fundraise Up allow a nonprofit to route data to its CRM in an incredibly sophisticated and granular way. This means that tracking campaign, appeal, and fund properties is painless and straightforward, and we can even push UTM tags to the nonprofit’s CRM for enhanced marketing tracking. The practical outcome of our approach to data mapping is that our customers can engage in advanced fundraising. And they know that any data they collect in Fundraise Up (including data from custom properties) can be routed to their CRM.

I’ll also add that through our Zapier integration, the sky’s the limit in terms of what a nonprofit can do with its data. There are great stewardship tools like Thankview that can be connected to Fundraise Up for sending video messages in email, and of course, marketing staples like MailChimp for growing email lists.

S: In addition to integrations, what platform trends is your team seeing recently?

L: Recurring giving is a powerful component of any fundraising strategy, and we’ve seen a lot of demand in the nonprofit sector for better offerings from software vendors. Strategically, we built robust recurring giving functionality into the Fundraise Up platform on day one, and it’s helped nonprofits double their recurring donor acquisition rates and boost overall online donation revenue by 2x. So instead of going back to the drawing board like some vendors will have to do, we’re able to focus on conversion enhancements for our recurring donation features and iterate on components like our one-time to recurring donation upsell tools.

S: How is Fundraise Up solving issues that come up with compatibility integrating your product with other platforms? For example, when a platform like Salesforce makes a change to their API or data structure.

L: This is a really important question because, while native integrations help automate things, they don’t always meet the advanced needs of enterprise nonprofits. To make sure we can service even the most complex data structures, we’ve created a custom export tool that lets a nonprofit have complete control over the data that is pulled from Fundraise Up and how that data is formatted. This is super important because not all CRMs format data the same way, and it can be a frustrating to have to manipulate your data in Excel before uploading it to a CRM. Our custom export tool also features a scheduling feature which lets you export data on a recurring basis. That export can either be emailed to one or more users or uploaded to an FTP location. So with our custom export tool, it doesn’t matter if a platform’s API or data structure changes. A nonprofit can update their export from Fundraise Up to meet the requirements of their CRM.

S: How are partners, like Tackle, stepping in to fill the gap?

L: I mentioned earlier that we’re hyper focused on the online giving experience, but that doesn’t mean we’re not interested in ensuring that customers succeed in other areas. We partner with companies like Tackle to ensure that our customers are fully supported as they scale their fundraising efforts. Since Tackle is really an extension of a nonprofit’s team, they can be relied upon for Help Desk services, best practices-based CRM management and of course, seamless integration of Fundraise Up into the nonprofit’s fundraising tech stack.

If you might be scratching your head about recent emails from Salesforce about implementing a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) requirement for your organization, you are not alone.

The key challenges we see with product announcements from Salesforce like this one are that they:

  • focus on the needs of their medium- to large-scale B2B sales customers, not smallish nonprofits,
  • are written for the use of at least moderately experienced in-house Salesforce admins, who can easily identify which parts of the announcement (if any) are relevant for that particular organization.

Many nonprofits don’t fall into these categories. In fact, we have had a few Help Desk clients check in with our team about this email so we thought we would share some information about it so your team can be on top of this Salesforce update.

Our goal with this post is to help nonprofit organizations of various sizes to be able to navigate this change to their MFA with the least amount of headaches.

What is the new MFA requirement in Salesforce?

Beginning February 1, 2022, all Salesforce users will now be required to enable MFA for access to their Salesforce products.

Yep, you have almost an entire year to make sure this change happens.

However, even though this is still a ways out, we don’t want to underplay this update because this changes the way your users login to Salesforce. And you can’t just ignore it until the February 2022 deadline. But don’t panic, because that’s way more time than most nonprofits will need.

What is MFA?

Before we dive into the how, we thought we would actually address what multifactor authentication, or MFA, actually means for your Salesforce users. Read more

When your nonprofit started using email to reach your donors and other contacts, your team most likely signed up for one of the many basic email marketing tools out there like Constant Contact or Mailchimp (among many, many others). And while I am sure there have been a few hiccups along the way, this system has mostly served you well.

But now your organization is growing and your donor base is getting bigger (yay!) and you find yourself in a technology dilemma — is it time to upgrade my email marketing tool?

There are many benefits to using basic email marketing tools like Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor. Things like easy set up and access, design templates, and general ease of list management.

There is also generally less of a learning curve to use these products so more people are able to manage it on their own without the help of a specialist.

Marketing automation platforms like Salesforce Pardot, ClickDimensions or Active Campaign are typically the next step up from these basic tools. These platforms come with direct connections with your CRM which allows for flexible, powerful, and fully-automated lists and processes.

Another key feature of these platforms is data. Marketing and fundraising data can be analyzed together in the same system. This means fundraising staff have more insight into what their donors have received and opened, and gives them tools how to move forward with their campaigns.

So when should you upgrade your marketing platform?

The biggest indicator that you need to upgrade is when your email marketing strategy and analysis needs become more nuanced and sophisticated than the platform (and your staff!) can handle. Do you need more automation? What about list size? How well is your email tool working with your CRM?

Moving to one of these marketing automation platforms is a substantial undertaking for both the organization and the implementer, so of course this change doesn’t come lightly. There are list rules and other automations to configure. There are also templates to design and set. However once all this is complete, the data and lists can manage themselves—even with highly complex, multi-branch timed or action-dependent email flows.

There is also a cost involved in this upgrade. For many organizations, this is definitely a huge factor to consider and can be a decision breaker. However, many times the benefits of upgrading can actually provide a decent return on investment by growing your online donations and outreach efforts.

If you are still on the fence about whether or not your nonprofit is ready to make this big switch, our team at Tackle would be happy to share our insights. We have worked with a lot of marketing automation systems, especially using these specifically for nonprofits, and would be more than willing to help guide you to this next phase.

Tackle is excited to present our newest service offering, Help Desk!

In a nutshell, Help Desk is perfect for those small or inconsistent CRM and online fundraising projects that pop up from time to time. For a small monthly administrative fee, you’ll gain access to our team of technology experts and only pay for the time we actively spend helping you.

We wanted to provide a service that truly helps nonprofit teams overcome technical roadblocks so they can focus on what is really important—growing your organization.

Our team has been working hard at launching this new program and we know many nonprofits will benefit from this on-call format, especially as we navigate this “new normal” we have found ourselves in.

What sparked the Help Desk idea?

We encounter a lot of organizations that often need occasional technical help, but cannot commit to a large support retainer. Often these nonprofits are on the smaller scale or have some sort of in-house technical support already.

On our side, it is challenging to write proposals for projects that only require a handful of hours. But our team has a passion to help nonprofits, no matter their project size, so we decided it was time to brainstorm a new way to serve these organizations. And thus, Help Desk was born.

With Help Desk, we set up an umbrella agreement that allows us to promptly answer questions and easily scope out work for approval via email. That allows our team to focus less on selling you something and more on helping you quickly. It truly is a win-win for both of us.

What are the top benefits of Help Desk?

Tech Team Access – You have a full CRM and fundraising technology team ready to help you on demand when you need it.

No Retainer Fees – There are no large retainer fees you have to commit to. You will be set up with a small monthly administrative fee to have access to our Help Desk platform and then you will just be billed for the work we do.

Ongoing Relationship – Over time we become very familiar with your systems and needs, so when a major project like a migration comes up, we can often skip a lot of discovery steps. This saves you time and money.

What kind of organizations are the best fit for Help Desk?

We specifically designed this for nonprofits with platforms like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, online marketing software, and/or digital fundraising systems. We serve both smaller organizations without full time technology staff, and larger organizations with technology staff who are too busy to provide front-line user support or need occasional help with larger projects.

Universally, you want to get the most out of your technology and we want to help you achieve that.

What are examples of situations that Help Desk addresses?

Every organization has a unique set of technical or strategic circumstances and struggles. Our team can address them all, from day-to-day issues to long-term technology tactics.

Here are just a few scenarios our team is equipped to handle.

  • Major Platform Change – Our CRM or Online Fundraising platform has an upcoming change (upgrade, release, feature retirement, security warning, etc.). Will our organization be impacted? Or maybe it already happened a while ago, and you’ve been ignoring it. And it DEFINITELY impacted you. How difficult will it be to fix it now?
  • Data Detective WorkHow the heck did THIS person’s information get changed in this way?
  • Input on Technology Strategy – We’re about to launch a new campaign that uses our platforms in a somewhat different way. And we’re also interested in exploring some things in the future in a kinda-related somewhat different way. Is there anything else we should be thinking about here?

We know one of these questions has come up for you in the past. Folks at all levels of an organization have all kinds of good ideas about how to make their jobs easier and better. But without the kind of broad nonprofit tech experience Tackle brings, it can be challenging to know where to begin.

With Help Desk, you can turn to us to help you navigate any technology issues, big or small. We have experience working with all sizes of nonprofits and can help you navigate best practices and talk about red flags we might see down the road.

What does the small monthly fee cover and how many billable hours do you typically spend per client?

The monthly administrative fee covers your team setup in our online help desk system. This includes progress monitoring 24/7 and access to our team.

Help Desk’s pay-as-you-go billing provides you with flexibility to adjust your spending. Every client has different and various technology needs. We will work with you to set up boundaries for pre-approved hours per month, and will communicate with you when you are nearing that boundary. For work that will take longer than those pre-approved hours, we will work with you on getting approval to move forward so you don’t have any surprises. You also have the ability to limit how many people on your team have access to Help Desk so you have control over what is a priority for that month.

How do you sign up?

Great question! We’d love to set up a time to chat with you and take the next steps to getting your team signed up for Help Desk. Simply contact us through the website or send a note to Ryan directly.

Learn more about Help Desk here.

When deciding on a technology consultant firm for your nonprofit, there are many things to consider. One of them is whether or not the consultant firm is focused on one particular system, like Salesforce, or one that has knowledge working with multiple systems.

Being an expert in one system means the consultant has spent an extraordinary amount of time learning about all the technical features of the system and how business processes can be set up. This can be extremely beneficial if your organization needs help with that particular system, especially for a short term issue.

However, there are setbacks to this specific system expertise. This can mean the consultant has fewer tools in their toolbox for fixing problems, as the consultant most often sees problems and solutions within that one system’s lens.

At Tackle we take pride in being efficient in multiple digital systems. So why is this important?

Most organizations use multiple systems and will likely change to new systems in the future. When a consultant has experience with multiple systems, they can very effectively create solutions using the best tool available.

Similarly, you can create solutions tailored by system depending on who in an organization uses which system. That can be invaluable for minimizing learning curves.

Read more

Tackle is excited to announce the launch of our new podcast!

In our podcast series we plan to explore all things nonprofits and technology, two topics we are very passionate about. We hope to bring insights from our years of experience from technology consulting and our backgrounds in working for nonprofits. From our favorite software recommendations to tips for working remotely, we would love to have you tune in.

For our first podcast, our team discusses working from home. This is a hot topic right now since many people have found themselves in this position the past few months, whether planned or not.

Our team at Tackle has always been remote, in fact we have employees from the east coast to the west coast and in between. And many of us have worked remotely in past positions as well. So we have a lot to say about that work from home life.

We talk about what our office space looks like, how to stay productive and how the current COVID-19 pandemic has made an impact in our work from home status.

Read more

With news of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading into even more communities, talk of the need to work from home is high on everyone’s minds.

While some offices are easily set up with the flexibility to work from home, there are many organizations that are not. Can your organization continue with “business as usual” if everyone is working from home?

In cases where closing an office altogether isn’t possible or practical, maybe consider reducing the in-office headcount. This could mean maintaining the minimal amount of in-house staff while allowing others to work from home. Or rotating work from home days or staggered 4-day work weeks. There are definitely options for reducing social contact.

Now for any organization facing the possibility of transitioning your employees to remote work, there are many things your organization should be doing NOW to prepare.

Start with a clear communication plan with your employees about what your plan is if they are not able to come into the office, and check out our guidelines below on where to get started.

Hardware & Software

What is your organization’s existing policy for staff working from home and/or using personal equipment? Start there. And note that you might have to make some updates or temporary exemptions for this situatiton.

If possible, try to avoid having your staff attempt to work using their personal equipment. Besides being a data and security risk, this is also likely to lead to support challenges for your IT team.

This means you will need to figure out how to provide the necessary hardware and needed software for your employees, especially if you do not have enough laptops for every employee. Now is the time to look into purchasing some more laptops. Or, at the very least, figure out how to help your employee set up their office desktop computer at their house. Although if that is the case, please keep in mind that not everyone is tech savvy so you will need to have a technical person on staff prepared to help with this—before the need to work from home is necessary.

It is also important to make sure the software your employees use are up-to-date and ready to go. Is Microsoft Office loaded on their laptop? What about any design programs? Email accounts?

Read more

Did you know the Tackle team is spread out across the country? That means we do a lot of remote work, so we are basically experts at working from home.

I personally have been working from home in various roles now for over eight years, and I absolutely love it. In fact, my husband also works from home so we are like the ultimate work-from-home power couple. It took a little bit of trial and error to figure out how to productively do this, especially adding a couple kids to the mix, but I truly think it’s a great option that employers should genuinely explore (but more on that in another post).

If you find yourself new to the work from home club or struggling to get your work done at home, I thought I would share some tips on how to be as productive as possible while working from home.

Have a designated work space

Make a desk space in your house, whether it’s a small table tucked in a corner of your living room or an actual office in your basement, make sure you have a space that is designated to get stuff done.

And no, your bed doesn’t count.

I would probably also take it one step further and say to designate this space ONLY for work. When you know your desk is set aside for working time instead of say, watching movies or posting on social media, you will less likely find yourself doing those things in this space during working hours. Besides, I think only using this space for work helps with tax write offs, although I am no tax expert.

Read more

Conferences are a great way to immerse yourself in new ideas, hear top notch speakers, and network. There are many events that focus on nonprofit technology and below we put together a list of some great conferences that are upcoming for 2020, and one that is just a couple weeks away (good news–tickets are still available!).

Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization (NIO) Summit

September 24-25, 2019 – Denver, CO

Presented by NextAfter, the NIO Summit focuses on online fundraising strategies that promotes marketing innovation to help you achieve better results with your fundraising efforts. Speakers include Ross Simmonds, Founder at Hustle & Grind, Tim Kachuriak, Chief Innovation & Optimization Officer at NextAfter, and Amy Harrison from Write With Influence. Some discussion topics are email marketing, copywriting, analytics, social media marketing, marketing automation, and testing and optimization.

Nonprofit Technology Conference (20NTC)

March 24-26, 2020 – Baltimore, MD

With a huge focus on using technology to spark change, “the 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference is designed to help you reinvigorate your work and bring that renewed passion back to your community.” The keynote speaker is Erricka Bridgeford Director of Training, Community Mediation Maryland Co-Founder, Baltimore Ceasefire 365 who has some insights you won’t want to miss. Hosted by NTEN, some topics covered are technology management, operations, and digital communications and marketing.

Read more

With end-of-year planning in full swing, don’t forget to add data cleaning to your checklist.

You want your technology systems to be in their best shape before your “busy” season begins, so making sure you start putting some processes into play now by practicing good data hygiene so you can guarantee your campaign will run as smoothly as possible.

Jeff Miller, our in-house data management guru, gives three recommendations for maintaining good data hygiene that you can start doing today.

1) Keep addresses up-to-date and in a consistent format.

Make use of address standardization and validation services offered as part of your CRM or online fundraising system, including CASS certification and NCOA address updates.

Consider adding a front-end address validator, like SmartyStreets, to donation forms and other web forms where addresses are collected.

2) Stop ALL bad data at the source.

It’s not just bad/incomplete addresses that can be stopped at the source. Consider all the sources of incoming data—web forms, data entry forms, system integrations, import/exports—and make sure that they’re consistent with each other and capturing the information that’s really needed.

Read more