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At Tackle, what our services are and how we provide them is crucial for nonprofits to be successful. Your customer resource management (CRM) platform is the backbone of digital fundraising efforts. From implementing a new software platform to launching a new software, we know how to make an impact at every stage!

Services

We define our offerings based on three tiers: implementation, usability, and strategy. As your nonprofit grows, your long-term goals are likely to change. Within the transitional period, things like client and donor information become harder to manage, so you’ll need the right CRM tools to save you time and keep your organization afloat! We at Tackle will ensure you can introduce new technology while also integrating your systems with compatible software. Through integration, we’ll provide you with a new software selection as well as optimizing your current software for the best performance.

Implementation

Implementing a new CRM software can be a hassle. Let’s face it, how you use your current data can conflict with your organizational needs overall. That’s where we come in! We’ll help you launch new technology that can integrate with your present organization’s systems. Compatibility matters when you’re managing client information. So we understand that as your organization launches a new system, knowing how to migrate data from an old system needs to be taken into consideration. A successful launch requires a commitment to establish a proactive implementation plan and an energetic execution of that plan. No need to panic because we have the best experts that’ll make the implementation process run smoothly!

Usability

To maximize your CRM’s performance, it’s important to actually know what you’re doing. The significance of software usability is to develop good practices because you want to increase your productivity. With our help, we’ll establish the best tactics of how to re-deploy software utilizations, user software training, and business process design. Our goal with this service is to ensure you have the knowledge on how to identify tasks, metrics, and key performance indicators to make your technology work for you!

Strategy

What’s your plan when making decisions based upon your fundraising efforts? Or do you need help figuring out a plan? These are the questions we here at Tackle can help you discover! Selecting a new CRM takes into account the software’s mobility, flexibility, user experience, and your goals! Some CRMs are designed for certain industries and market segments, while others have a “one size fits all” approach for any organization. And that’s what we’ll analyze when we work with you. We start by performing a needs analysis to help you identify which metrics to focus on and how to build a strategy around that. After it’s complete, we’ll select the most compatible software choice for you!.

Case Study Examples

When CureSMA decided to move away from their current CRM and fundraising platform to something that better suited their expanding needs, they turned to Tackle to help them navigate the best plan for their growing technical needs. Take a further look here!

StandUpToCancer needed to implement a new software platform. Moving from Luminate CRM to the Nonprofit Success Pack on Salesforce was the goal! Since Tackle has established a long-term standing relationship with them, they looked to us on implementing Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Pack and migrating their information to the new CRM. Check it out!

Importance

A successful CRM provides you with a value proposition that’s hard to replicate. The more interactions your CRM can monitor, the more opportunities you get with donors to create a personalized experience. On the organizational side, perks such as better collaboration across marketing and development teams leads to clear understandings of your donor and gifts processing data. Through your CRM process, a donor’s journey can be shared among your teams to create cohesiveness and cross-functionality.


Having data problems? Training not moving fast enough? Whether you are looking to select a new CRM or you need an extra hand getting your current CRM up to speed, Tackle can help! Contact us today!

You just wrapped up your big end-of-year campaign and after many curse words and much hair pulling, you have decided you are done with your current software. It sucks, it’s not working like you need it to, your staff complains about the platform on a regular basis.

You are officially ready to move on to a new technology system.

Making a software change can be a huge endeavor. While some platforms are easy to use right out of the box, there is still the getting started process, system integration setups, training your staff on the new systems, and the dreaded unforeseen complications.

So before you dive into a system switch, make sure you are accurately setting your expectations by asking yourself these two questions.

1. Why are you looking to make a change?

Every organization brings its own backgrounds and challenges as to why they are ready for a software switch. Generally it comes down to the fact that you are not able to accomplish your goals with the software you are currently using.

From our experience, the reasons you want a change generally fall into one or more of the following categories.

You have outgrown your current software. When your team got started with your current platform(s), your needs were much more narrow. But now you have way more donors or a new website or your services have changed (or maybe even all three) and it is just not working for you anymore. The good news is many digital systems are constantly expanding and updating, but if you found you maxed out all of their offerings that definitely could be a convincing reason you need to move on.

Staff changes. Maybe the person who set up the software has left your organization and it is a good time to reassess how you use your software. Or maybe you hired a new staff person with experience using another system that they absolutely love and think your organization would benefit from it. Regardless, staff transitions are a common, and, honestly, an excellent time to consider new technology.

It is overwhelming to use. This is a common issue with systems with a vast feature offering. Salesforce is a great example of this. There are many features and options and if your system was not set up well in the first place, it can make using it one big headache. Lack of training can also put a hindrance on using your technology to its full potential.

Your systems don’t work together. You have one platform for your email, another for your CRM, an online donation processing system and none of them actually work together. You have set up lots of work arounds and manual inputs, but if they could just automatically update between systems it would make your job so much easier. So you are considering a new more diverse technology option or possibly some better system integration options.

The bottom line is there are many reasons why you might not be happy with your current technology systems. A new platform is appealing, but there is one more question to consider before you actually make that jump.

2. Is a new system worth it?

Sure, implementing new technology sounds like it would magically solve all of your problems like a digital fairy godmother. And while it very well could, you have to think through the process to get there, because unfortunately it’s not as easy as waving a wand.

Budget

Obviously, price is probably your top factor when considering a switch. It is usually the first thing I look at when exploring new software and it is probably your first stop as well.

There is the cost of the actual software, but are there extra start up costs or will you need to hire someone to help you implement this new software? Is it a monthly cost or is it just a standard one-time flat rate? What about training? Will your staff need extra help getting started and is that included in the cost?

All of these things go into making sure this new technology fits into your budget. But you should also examine the extra income this new system has the potential to bring in that could offset costs. Also will this new platform reduce the time your staff has to manage the software? I am guessing their time, and thus hourly rate, would probably be more beneficial spent on something else besides cursing at managing a software system.

Time

You know that saying, “time is money?” Yeah, this definitely applies here.

How long will this take to get started? How much staff time will need to be dedicated to implementing this? What about training?

While some systems are easy to use from the start, systems like CRMs can take from a few days for a very small organization to over a year for larger nonprofits to get your new database in working order. Can you put some things on hold to make this work? Is this something your team can manage?

Staff Involvement

It only takes one person to derail your team’s journey with your new software. That is why it is especially important to make sure everyone is on board before you onboard.

Reviewing the software with anyone who might use the technology (think marketing, development, finance teams and others) before you hit the sign up button will go a long way. Considering your co-worker’s input will go even further. This is where a consultant can go a long way in vetting your technology options and making sure it will actually work for your team(s).

Also, having a point person to lead the technology project is important as well. That person should also keep in mind that they should stay on top of the latest updates and feature releases your new software has to offer after it is implemented. Is there someone on your team that is willing to take this on?

Training

So you got the green light and your new system is set up, in fact, you even hired a consultant to customize it to fit your needs. It is perfect. But now no one on your team actually knows how to use it.

The effort and time it takes to train your employees on your new software, well, depends on your employees. Are they tech savvy? Good with details? Eager to learn this new system?

Training is a necessary part of implementing a new technology system. Make sure you have a willing staff and the time set aside for learning and troubleshooting.

Inconvenience

All of the factors above can work together to make a perfectly inconvenient storm. Is this something you can power through?

The money, time, and effort new software requires can put projects on hold, affect your fundraising, and can make things like reporting especially challenging in the interim.

Before you jump ship on your technology, it is important to examine your current software a little closer. Maybe there are new features you are not aware of, maybe your business processes need to adjust, maybe you just need to do some system integrations with a tool like Zapier? Or maybe your staff just needs a little bit of training or say in what their needs are? This is where I hands down recommend starting.

And after all that you still answer, “Yes! Switching to a new system is 100% worth the inconvenience,” then I would probably say you are ready to make a technology change.

Need a little help selecting a new system that will be a good fit for your team, helping implement a new platform, or any training or troubleshooting? The Tackle team is standing by to jump in and give you a hand, just reach out to us today.

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.

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.

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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.

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As someone working in a technical role at your organization, it can sometimes feel like you are a foreigner in your own country. With all the different languages, processes, and acronyms, it can quickly get confusing to someone not familiar with your world.

At Tackle, we get it. We speak “tech” every day to people who don’t live and breathe this stuff like we do. In fact, many times organizations hire us to help with this specific issue and to help bridge the gap between the tech staff and the non-tech staff.

So we put together a few tips we’ve learned along the way that we hope you find useful when navigating how to better work with non-tech staff and make it a pleasant experience for everyone.

Tip #1

Avoid the trap of assuming that everyone has a base-level understanding of what you’re talking about. It pays to set the stage, even adding an extra few words of explanation. Also, giving room for people to ask questions, by slowing down and pausing or just asking for confirmation that people are following.

Tip #2

Avoid acronyms and jargon. Try to always say the full term. It can also be helpful at the start of a meeting, to spend a few minutes defining terms/systems so everyone is on the same page.

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We’ve all been there. You jump on your website and something is broken and not working. You get an email from a colleague asking if your account has been hacked. You have a donor call and say they keep getting an error when they try to make a donation.

It’s all so… alarming.

Sometimes it’s a simple issue, like user error. But sometimes it’s more than you can handle yourself, and then the dreaded wave of anxiety starts crashing in.

So what should you do? We’ve put together some steps to help you deal with your urgent technology needs so if you find yourself in a pressing situation you can use these tools to address the issue and get on with your day (or week or month).

Don’t panic.

Easier said than done, right? But take a deep breath. Like right now. Emailing 20 people about the issue and hiding under your desk probably isn’t going to actually help the situation.

Many times these issues that seem catastrophic are pretty minor. Or maybe they are widespread, like a server outage, and many other people are experiencing similar issues. Regardless, taking a step back for a minute can help clear your mind and help you to start taking the right steps to actually fix the problem.

Troubleshoot.

You know when you call the cable company because your internet isn’t working and the first thing they ask is if you restarted the modem. It’s like that.

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