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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?

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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.

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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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There is a good chance you’ve utilized multi-factor authentication recently. When you sign into a new account and have to receive something like a code via text message to proceed. While it might seem like this extra step is an inconvenience, multi-factor authentication might actually protect you from some serious security inconveniences down the road.

Multi-factor authentication is becoming the industry norm these days, and for good reason. Our team weighs in on why we always recommend this to our clients on all of the digital systems they use.

Significantly increases security.

Generally, when you, or someone, want to sign in to your account your username and password are needed. When you add multi-factor authentication, another special code is required to be able to sign in. This code is usually sent via text message or accessed through an authentication app like Google Authenticator, and needs to be used immediately as it will quickly time out.

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Top 3 Best Practices for a Successful Donation Form | Tackle Nonprofit Technology Consulting

Donation forms are a necessary part of online fundraising. But is your donation form discouraging people from giving online?

Whether you are building a donation form from scratch or utilizing an already built online system to help you, make sure you are setting yourself up for success with these three best practices.

1) Less is more. Make it as simple as possible to fill out.

Have you ever started filling out a form, only to abandon it because it was going to take you way longer than you expected to fill out? Your donors do this too.

If possible, only include the necessary information you need to process your donor’s payment on your donation form. This will depend on your payment provider, but keep it simple and stick to these basics–donation amount, name, email, credit card information.

Keep your design clean and simple without unnecessary graphics. You should have minimal donation amounts (no more than five, but even less is better). Don’t include all the information to fill out for in honor/memory gifts unless selected, or maybe don’t even include this information at all since it is mostly unused for the majority of organizations.

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