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  • Major Fundraising Application Canned, What’s Next for Nonprofit Databases Blackbaud's big news is surprising to some, but not to many. Nonprofit techies weigh in. UPDATED: Now includes comments from Blackbaud.UPDATED as of 9/10/2012: Now includes comments from Blackbaud at the end of the post.


    Blackbaud shook the nonprofit tech world last week with its announcement that they were canceling Common Ground, a popular fundraising application built on and used by small to mid-sized nonprofits.

    Common Ground was the brainchild of Convio, an Austin-based public software company acquired by Blackbaud in spring 2012 to the tune of $325 million. The application was a fee-based, customizable online database for capturing donations and engaging donors. It could work with a website’s front end, like forms and web profiles, and route form inputs to a database that any lay person could manage. It ran on, a cloud-based online database site relatively free to nonprofits.

    The news received a wide range of response, with bloggers and the Twittersphere describing Common Ground as “killed off” and speculations that Luminate, another Blackbaud fundraising application, may be next on the chopping block. There's even a petition asking Blackbaud to extend Common Ground licenses indefinitely and allow users to migrate on their own time.

    “The move is ultimately good for nonprofit customers,” speculates Dan Lammot, co-founder of roundCause, a fundraising suite for large, enterprise level nonprofits. “Blackbaud and Convio were not favored in the field and this move takes an application out of play that wasn't sustainable, wasn’t being invested in, and didn't belong in the marketplace.”

    Migration will be a big cost and burden for the 700 orphans of Common Ground, who have until March 2014 to move to another database. Blackbaud is promoting Raiser’s Edge and eTapestry as replacements, but neither fit. Raiser’s Edge costs considerably more than Common Ground’s already expensive $100+ per seat monthly license model. eTapestry, while more affordable, is watered down; for example, it doesn’t have functionalities like Chatter,’s social networking feature that allows real time chat and a group socializing platform similar to Facebook.

    What’s next for nonprofit databases? Fundraising applications built on are still the most popular choice for small to mid-size nonprofits. Cloud-based solutions are perfect for nonprofits with limited resources because it allows them to grow in scale at their own pace. Small to mid-size nonprofits paying for IT support and server infrastructure to host data on-site will find it costly, unreliable, and at risk to theft, natural disaster and fire. Also,’s user community is supported by boutique tech shops adept at customizing Salesforce (we’re one of them). is not without its own strings. The biggest draw – being nearly free – is also “free in the way one might win keys to a jet,” comments Robert L. Weiner, the first blogger to weigh in on the Blackbaud announcement. “Would you just climb in the cockpit and start flying?”

    Weiner stresses the importance of nonprofits partnering up with consultants who can get a Salesforce database off the ground and provide thorough training. Foundation released a public statement of the same vein, directing Common Ground migrants to utilize one of 76 certified consulting partners (we are also is on that list). A consulting partner that can customize a fundraising template may be a better road for nonprofits whose needs don’t fit any products on the market.

    While nonprofit techies wave “fare thee well” to Common Ground as it’s buried among the other formerly innovative products in Blackbaud’s acquisitions graveyard, I wonder: will nonprofit decision makers still be lured to work with the database provider/goliath? I asked William Nourse, a former Raiser’s Edge user and Chief Information Officer for Citizens Schools, an enterprise nonprofit with over 500 employees. Nourse left Raiser’s Edge with the impression that Blackbaud was “mired in an older view of how one deploys technology” and signed up with Convio’s Common Ground before the Blackbaud acquisition. "I have no interest in working with Blackbaud if I can possibly avoid it," shares Nourse.

    “Can I quote you on that?” I ask him.

    Without hesitation: “Absolutely.”


    UPDATE as of 9/10/2012:

    This morning, I got the chance to speak with Blackbaud's Sr. Public Relations Manager, Melanie Mathos, about her thoughts about this blog post and the Common Ground cancellation.

    Mathos requested a correction: the number of Common Ground clients is 400, not 700. She says 300 of the 400 were already on a conversion path to Luminate, an enterprise-level solution offered at Blackbaud.

    In response to the phrase "acquisition graveyard", Mathos says that in Blackbaud's 30 year history of acquisitions, cancellations of acquired products are rare and that Blackbaud has "a long history of supporting products" that they've acquired.

    I asked her what was next for small to mid-sized nonprofits that were well served by Common Ground, and she said she was not the right person to comment, and would recommend seeking answers at the Blackbaud/Common Ground townhall tomorrow.

    Please feel free to weigh in below with your thoughts on Blackbaud's comments.

    No publisherSuphatra LavioletteDatabase2012-09-06T19:30:00ZBlog Entry
    Are you dreaming of Dreamforce? Dreamforce 2008 was a watershed event in my professional career. Look for more articles in the coming months with our session recommendations, and developing a game plan for this massive conference. Four years ago, I took a job as a CRM Consultant at Groundwire Consulting, then known as ONE/Northwest, and thus began the process of learning all I could about the platform.  I consumed scores of training videos and help documentation and worked with a variety of clients in the nonprofit space.  I got it, or so I thought... and then came Dreamforce and I realized what I knew was just the tip of the iceberg.

    Dreamforce 2008 was a watershed event in my professional career. First and foremost, I discovered how much the platform had to offer, and the sheer pace of innovation and investment.  I was heartened to find out how dedicated this multinational company is to corporate philanthropy and amazed by the nonprofit turnout. A little known fact is that Dreamforce is one of the largest nonprofit tech conferences in the country, with 2,000 nonprofit attendees among 46,000 total attendees expected this year.  

    Dreamforce offers dozens of sessions geared specifically for nonprofits, and literally hundreds more for people looking to polish their admin skills, learn to code, of find out about the latest and greatest third party integrations. Three days are chock full of interesting keynotes, hands-on sessions, networking parties, and the feature band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

    Look for more articles in the coming months with our session recommendations, and developing a game plan for this massive conference. In the meantime, register here with the discount code: NPRCST300 to secure the $300 Foundation rate. This pricing is limited so register soon.  We hope to see you there!

    No publisherDave ManelskiConferenceSalesforceMeetingDatabase2012-06-29T18:45:37ZBlog Entry
    Salesforce Engagement Deep Dive with Dogwood Initiative The Salesforce Foundation is doing a very cool series on civic engagement. This month, British Columbia-based Dogwood Initiative shared their engagement efforts using the Salesforce constituent management system. The Salesforce Foundation is doing a very cool series on civic engagement. This month, British Columbia-based Dogwood Initiative shared their engagement efforts using the Salesforce constituent management system.

    With just ten staff members, Dogwood Initiative has implemented a very successful model for deeply engaging their community in environmental protection. Groundwire has partnered with Dogwood over the past few years providing online tools and strategies.

    From Clicktivists to Real-World Action Takers.

    In this one-hour presentation, Dogwood’s Karl Hardin (Digital Strategy and Communications Coordinator) and Matt Takach (Operations Director) deep dive into their engagement strategy for the 2011 Federal Election in Canada.


    1. Their Engagement Story. Most of their concentrated engagement work started in 2007. They are advocates of our Engagement Pyramid strategy—creating a wide base of engaged supporters at the bottom and then moving dedicated volunteers up the pyramid into meaningful roles in the organization for greater mission impact. (To see the Engagement Pyramid we created for Dogwood Initiate, skip to 44:19)
    2. All staff members are on board. They know how to use Salesforce. They believe in engagement strategy as being a key component to supporting Dogwood’s Theory of Change. Engagement is not a fad. It’s built into the program year after year.
    3. Dogwood had grown their supporter base from 2700 people in '07 to about 120,000 people in 2012. They did this through person to person contact on the front-end, and a powerful, centralized system (Salesforce) on the back end. All contacts are in one place. They can see they history of each supporter, and segment by action, region, etc.
    4. The work is centered on the No Tankers campaign. This campaign is to get a federal legislative ban on oil tankers along the North Coast of BC. They started in 2007 by building a network through person to person conversation (hittin’ the doorstep and wearing out the shoe leather), creating a “No Tankers” coin campaign to build awareness, and have used their website and social media to bring people into the organization. The Plone website we built for Dogwood integrates seamlessly with their database.
    5. In the lead up to the 2011 Federal Election, Dogwood Staff were joined by a committed team of hard-core supporters who helped with phone-banking, doorbelling, a telephone town hall, direct mailing, brochures, canvassing, automated messages and other organizing activities. Directly and indirectly, Dogwood staff and volunteers talked to 20,000 people in the Esquimalt Juan De Fuca district about where candidates stood on the No Tankers ban. They got out the vote on election day and the candidate who was a champion for No Tankers ended up winning the Esquimalt Juan De Fuca district by a slim margin.
    6. Karl walks through the process from when a person signs a petition to the entering of that contact information in Salesforce to the automated email drip campaign they set up through Predictive Response. Good stuff – Salesforce screenshots start at 21:19.
    7. Dogwood used to just put new petition signers in the bulk email list. Now, they have a special intro pack of emails designed specifically for brand new supporters who are excited and ready to take action.
    8. Joining the No Tankers Action Team is next – our Plone CMS and Megaphone tool supports this higher level of engagement. When you join the No Tankers Action Team, you are asked to attend to a training meeting and be a part of the election team. Team members are kept in the communications loop all the way until the end of the campaign.
    9. Depending on a supporter’s level of engagement and geographical region, Dogwood had about five different streams of communication going. Salesforce is essential to helping them organize their engagement communications.
    10. Be ready for anything. When Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver called regular, everyday Canadians who are interested in protecting one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world “radicals against Canada”, Dogwood got a huge spike in new supporters. They had the technology infrastructure ready and could easily move 30,000 new supporters into the correct section of their engagement pyramid—getting them started with intro emails and moving them up the pyramid into the No Tankers Action Team. Those are fighting words, man.

    Thanks to The Salesforce Foundation for this awesome engagement series. Special thanks to Karl Hardin and Matt Takach of Dogwood Initiative for this excellent deep dive. PS: We're not *that* geeky.

    Register for the next webinar in The Salesforce Foundation's engagement series.

    No publisherSara FreedmanSalesforceEngagement StrategyEngagement TechnologiesDatabase2012-03-19T22:50:00ZBlog Entry
    Achieving Engagement Goals with Email Automation Learn some techniques and theory for how to harness email automation to help you achieve your engagement goals.You know you've heard the rhetoric before: right message, right time. It turns out that it can be a lot of work figuring out when, what and to whom to send the right follow up email after that supporter has taken an engagement action (i.e. donation, contact a representative or even just signing up for your newsletter.) If you've struggled with this before or simply want to take your email messaging to the next level it might be time to think about using automation.

    So what is email automation?

    Automation covers a wide spectrum of possible activities. Everything from a simple thank you email after a donation all the way up to a multi-step drip campaign for your online action takers and beyond. The idea is that you have a pre-written email message (or messages) ready to deliver to your supporters after they have taken some sort of action. In practice it means leveraging the automation tools available in your mass email platform or in combination with your integrated database. Many vendors offer automation as part of their platform: SalesforceSilverpop, MakesBridge, PredictiveResponse and ExactTarget to name a few.

    Why Automate?

    Here at Groundwire, we believe in a pyramid of engagement which is a model for ranking the level of engagement you have with different segments of your supporters. Arguably one of the hardest segments to fill is the middle of the pyramid. Most organizations are good at list building and donation solicitation activities (the bottom of the pyramid) and close contact with their most valuable supporters (the top) but the middle is trickier. Read this blog post on Beefing-Up the Middle for more on why this is the case.
    One of the main ways organizations struggle with moving supporters into deeper engagement is that they simply fail to contact them in a timely and compelling manner. Building your email list is fundamental but ultimately fruitless if you cannot keep the attention of those people who signed your petition or donated for the first time. Automation can help here. Let's look at some specific examples:
    • Your new members get a series of five emails, one per week, telling them about your program work
    • Automatically send a follow up email to those who did and did not open your email
    • Populate the content of your email dynamically based on where your supporters live, or their previous campaign engagement
    • Send a follow up email with more specific information on the action issues to those supporters who used your "contact your legislator" web form
    • Send a higher level call to action (such as asking someone to appear at a legislative hearing and testify) to those who have just moved into a higher engagement level in your pyramid
    Also, for more information on how to track engagement with your supporters read our latest post on DIY Engagement Benchmarking.

    Content Is Still King

    It is important to remember in this discussion that it doesn't matter how sophisticated your automation mechanics are if your content is no good. Once you have a rough idea of what sort of automation you'd like to build, start writing the content. In fact it's much better to have fully realized content ready to plug in even before you have your system for delivering it built. Delivery is a technical problem and there are always solutions available to pull it off. However, no amount of time and money can solve a lack of compelling, actionable content for your supporters. Be sure to leave ample time and consider hiring a professional writer if you really want to excel.
    No publisherSam KnoxSalesforceEmail & Social MediaEngagement TechnologiesDatabase2012-03-19T00:15:00ZBlog Entry
    Salesforce MVP in the (Groundwire) House! Groundwire's Dave Manelski has been named Salesforce MVP.

    We're pretty sure we have the best Salesforce team around, but it was nice to hear it from the big guys. Salesforce recently released its list of Salesforce MVPs and Groundwire's CRM Program Manager Dave Manelski made this select team.

    A Salesforce MVP is exactly what you think it is - that special person who goes above and beyond in the Salesforce community, demonstrating leadership, expertise, responsiveness and advocacy.

    If you have ever worked with Dave on a project, you know he is the best at what he does. If you have ever worked with Dave at work, you know he's one of the best guys out there. We couldn't be more proud.

    No publisherSara FreedmanRockstarDatabase2012-01-28T02:45:00ZBlog Entry
    Green Biz Challenge The Eastside Green Business Challenge, organized by the Eastside Sustainable Business Alliance, is a friendly competition in the Puget Sound regionCommercial and industrial facilities are responsible for nearly half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Cities all across the nation are creating resource-reducing challenges for local businesses and organizations to participate in.
    The Eastside Green Business Challenge, organized by the Eastside Sustainable Business Alliance, is a friendly competition in the Puget Sound region. Those participating include Microsoft, Renton and Lake Washington School Districts, Quadrant Homes, Orca Bay Seafoods, Allied Waste, City of Bellevue City Hall, The Woodmark Hotel, Office Depot Corporate, IKEA and many more.
    Building on his previous work with ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), Groundwire CRM Developer Evan Callahan developed the Salesforce tool that will be used by businesses and organizations to monitor their resource use.

    Property owners and tenants go online to fill out baseline surveys that describe their sustainability profile and energy use. After participating in group activities and training provided by energy-use experts, they return to their web browser to update the numbers and track their progress. Most importantly, the software is designed so that new cities can join the program easily, customizing the surveys and online resources to meet the unique sustainability goals of their community. ]]>
    No publisherSara FreedmanListen to Your Mother (Earth)Database2012-01-27T22:15:00ZBlog Entry
    Even better volunteer management We're on a roll! After less than two months since our last major release we're at it again. We're on a roll! After less than two months since our last major release we're at it again. Now available for install is version 2.0 of Volunteers for Salesforce, the best volunteer management app available for Salesforce. We've listened to our user's requests and thanks to generous support from Foundation we are able to put some awesome new features in this version.

    Highlight features in this version include:

    • Volunteer CalendarShift Calendar
      See all of your volunteer shifts on a single easy to use calendar. This feature addresses the challenge of seeing in one place all the shifts you have created. With the Shift Calendar you can have a month, week and day view of all shifts with additional filtering based on Campaigns and Jobs.
    • Volunteer ReplicationRepeating Shift Replication
      For organizations running lots of regular repeating volunteer jobs this feature will help. Now in Volunteer Wizard the "Clone Existing Campaign" feature supports replication of shifts with a specific date offset. This allows you to completely clone a weekly or monthly volunteer campaign (including volunteers!) and have all the shifts assigned to the correct days of the week or month.
    • Volunteer RosterVolunteer Roster
      This new custom button can be added to the Volunteer Campaign Layout, Volunteer Job Layout, and Volunteer Shift Layout. It will load a new dynamic report that shows the volunteers for a given campaign, job or shift. You could print this report and use it as a check-in sheet!


    For a complete list of what's new, please  check out the release notes. Or better yet watch the video below for a detailed walk through of the app.


    The latest version is 2.x and you can get it now on Appexchange. The Install Guide and User's Guide are also updated so you can get help on working with these new features.

    No publisherEric MagnusonGroundwire LabsEngagement TechnologiesDatabase2011-12-19T16:00:00ZBlog Entry
    Client Profile: Net Impact We were thrilled when Net Impact came to us for a full-scale redesign of their site including an integrated database.There are plenty of stereotypes about Generation Millennial -- those born in the 80s and 90s and raised with access to personal technology and the internet for most of their lives. “Entitled” is a word that often pops up, but we prefer to use the word “confident” – a very savvy generation who has the ideology and potential to change the world.

    Many leaders in this new generation are entering the workforce and have their eyes wide open to the social and environmental devastation that has resulted from living the plastic disposable, credit-card-carbon-heavy, KFC chicken bowl high life. Party is over. Hangover has set in.

    So we were thrilled when Net Impact, a nonprofit headquartered in San Francisco, came to us for a full-scale redesign of their site including an integrated database. Net Impact is a network of thousands of college-aged students and professionals interested in bringing sustainable and socially responsible practices to all sectors. This network doesn’t just talk about solutions -- it creates and implements solutions with the help of its large membership. This is the only way to turn this ship around -- by bringing all sectors into the mission of a healthy planet. This is part of Groundwire’s Theory of Change and we jumped at the chance to get to work with this nonprofit.

    Net Impact needed a new website and an integrated, complex database to support their community of 200+ local Net Impact chapters all around the world. Many members of Net Impact's university chapters were not connected to the national organization and graduates were getting lost when they left college and joined the workforce. There was no central online community connecting the large, national network made up of local chapters.

    Our strategy, web and database teams worked with Net Impact staff to create a centralized website tailored to both Net Impact’s emerging and current audiences. Brand new visitors can download resources, connect with local chapters, and quickly become new, free members of the community. Premium members can also sign up for "Issues in Depth" webinars featuring experts on everything from Corporate Social Responsibility to careers. All members are connected to a global community of 20,000+ people using their business smarts to change the world. All member data is collected in Salesforce so Net Impact staffers have an accurate picture of their constituents, chapters, funders and programs.

    The database also needed to be customized around the complex business process of their annual conference. With varying levels of membership, discount codes, international attendees, multiple day attendance and more, our crack database team built a system that would allow for each individual requirement and seamlessly collect the mission-critical data for the Net Impact team.

    Looking to align profit with social good and a sustainable planet? Become a member of Net Impact and also check out their annual conference this weekend in Portland, Oregon.

    No publisherSara FreedmanWebsiteEngagement StrategyDatabase2011-10-26T17:55:00ZBlog Entry
    Volunteers of the World Rejoice! Our leading volunteer management app, Volunteers for Salesforce, now supports language localization.We are proud to announce the world's best volunteer management app for Salesforce is now available to the world! With the version of Volunteers for Salesforce just released we've added the ability to localize the language your volunteers and volunteer managers see. In this version you will also find useful new features like easy emailing to your volunteers and robust support for custom fields. This free and useful app keeps getting better.

    "Being able to easily post and manage volunteer opportunities in both of Canada's official languages is a huge win."  
    - Elijah van der Glessen, David Suzuki Foundation

    Highlight features in this version include:

    • Language localization support including full French translation;
    • Mass Email Volunteers for communicating to all the volunteers on a specific job or shift;
    • Support for displaying custom fields using Field Sets on Volunteers Sign Up, Volunteers Job Listing, Volunteers Wizard and Mass Edit Volunteer Hours pages.

    For a complete list of what's new, please refer to the release notes.

    The latest version is 1.54 and you can get it now on Appexchange.

    No publisherEric MagnusonGroundwire LabsDatabase2011-10-12T16:30:00ZBlog Entry
    Advocacy in the Cloud Learn how The DC Project and the Idaho Conservation League are using Salesforce to organize and manage supporter engagement. The Dream of the 90s

    In the 1990s, as program director of a youth-oriented nonprofit, I often had this thought: if only we could find a better way to reach out to our alumni we could surely get a lot more done.

    Alas, this was the 90s – we still did most of our work using paper (applications, direct mail, brochures, etc.), email for the masses was just picking up (AOL, Hotmail), and databases were primarily used for money stuff and not for managing the involvement of constituents. Social media consisted of chat rooms and bulletin boards that people were scared of. Sure—we knew our core group of volunteers, but to engage the hundreds of thousands of former participants and staff is not something we could have feasibly done on our budget.

    But it would have been awesome if we could have. Alum still tell me, more than ten years later, that they wished someone would have followed up with them after this particular fundraising event, or that week at outdoor education, or this season of basketball. We had no central system for tracking engagement and it saddens me when I think back on all the folks who would have been even more engaged had an opportunity presented itself. And how much more we could have done.

    Tracking engagement activities in Salesforce

    DING DING DING! Hello database! Hello Engagement Tracker and Engagement Pyramid! Surely this extreme uptick in cloud, web and social technology over the past few years can benefit the nonprofit sector, right? Right. Here at Groundwire our developers have been working with the Salesforce platform to create the Groundwire Engagement Platform -- technology for managing and tracking volunteers, events, fundraising, and participation so program staff can quickly and easily scale their number of engaged supporters and call on these supporters at the right time to support mission.

    At the Salesforce annual conference last month, Foundation VP of Technology and Innovation Steve Andersen led a session called Advocacy in the Cloud: Engaging People to Bring About Change. This session featured two nonprofits, The DC Project and Idaho Conservation League, who put engagement -- defined here as the process of building relationships with people and putting those relationships to work toward a shared vision -- at the center of their organization including investing in the technology to support it.

    The DC Project (Matthew Dunn, presenter)

    What they do:

    The mission of The DC Project is to advance economic and environmental justice by creating clean energy careers for people who need them most. Engagement is at the heart of their program strategy.

    Their engagement model:

    The organizers found that while there were plenty of people interested in working a green job, the demand for the services was not there. So, they centered their engagement on creating the demand – specifically getting homeowners to invest $5,000 in energy-efficient home projects. Tactics to get people involved include knocking on the doors of homeowners, phone-banking, and follow-up events on home efficiency and weatherization.

    If a homeowner decides to invest in energy efficiency projects, it’s a triple win: lower utility costs and a more efficient home for the homeowner, less carbon emissions for mother earth, and work for these newly-trained green jobsters.

    And finally, one of the key elements to the DC project strategy is deep engagement with the homeowners from door bell through to home weatherization – with the idea that the homeowners will then become volunteers with the project and the community will become one of large-scale involvement and engagement in the project.

    The technology they use:

    When they first started, The DC project was using a number of technology platforms to manage their work. The result was data in silos that not everyone in the organization could access. So, they made the decision to use a centralized database, Salesforce, to hold all of the data important to their program. That meant getting everyone trained in Salesforce, and also customizing the database to work for their program areas.

    The DC Project built very cool Phone Bank and Canvass applications in Salesforce to help them with their work. Click here and fast forward to 00:32:00 for a quick look at these tools that allow The DC Project to scale their effectiveness with their supporters by bringing important data back into Salesforce to leverage in future activities.

    Idaho Conservation League (Sara Arkle, presenter. ICL is a Groundwire client.)

    What they do:
    ICL works to protect the air, water and wild places that Idahoans love. Since 1973 they have built a credible, professional voice for conservation in Idaho. Now, as their core membership ages, they are looking to engage a new generation of voices in their mission.

    Their engagement model:

    ICL developed an engagement pyramid that includes non-members (people who don’t give money). They used Salesforce to define what it means to be a “supporter” at a variety of levels in the organization. Go to 00:39:00 to watch Sara describe the different levels of engagement ICL supporters can be rated in Salesforce and how ICL staff use these levels to leverage their work for targeting campaigns, talking to donors, offering opportunities for increasing engagement and more. Having the campaign history is great, but having the algorithm that rolls it up to a number and then allows you to quickly run a report showing who in Twin Falls is “Level 4” or greater in one report is even better.

    The technology they use:

    They needed new tools to engage a younger audience. They made the switch from a membership-focused communications strategy to a “supporter at different levels” strategy. In 2009 they launched a new website, new database, new email and social media tools, all with an engagement strategy behind it.

    This is not your 1990s engagement. My old self is quite jealous.

    No publisherSara Freedmansuccess-storiesEngagement StrategyDatabase2011-09-22T00:35:00ZBlog Entry
    Groundwire Labs receives support from Foundation Today Foundation announced the winners of their 2011 Force for Change grant and we are proud to be included!Today Foundation announced the winners of their 2011 Force for Change grant and we are proud to be included!

    Groundwire was one of five recipients of the grant and in our case we plan to keep doing what we do, building innovative technology that helps nonprofits build relationships and change the world. We pack up all this innovative technology in a box we call the Engagement Platform and rather than write about it we'll let this short video tell you more.

    We thank the Foundation for their support and look forward to the work ahead.

    No publisherEric MagnusonGroundwire LabsDatabase2011-09-21T07:00:00ZBlog Entry
    Go to Dreamforce we will Our CRM staff is heading down to Dreamforce this week, the annual pilgrimage for Salesforce-lovers, to hang out with Metallica and obviously, but also to talk with the best of the best about the new web: cloud-centered, open, social and mobile. Our CRM staff is heading down to Dreamforce this week, the annual pilgrimage for Salesforce-lovers, to hang out with Metallica and obviously, but also to talk with the best of the best about the new web: cloud-centered, open, social and mobile.

    We will be attending the Foundation kickoff at 10:30am on Tuesday, and will be at the Foundation Networking Reception that evening. There is a Groundwire Chatter group in the Dreamforce portal, all are welcome to join the conversation. You can find us milling about the Foundation Booth most days, please come by and say hi!

    Groundwire staff and clients are also presenting:
    Evan Callahan, GW CRM: for Sustainability Success: Tips, Tricks and Best Practices, 8/30 at 5pm

    Eric Magnuson, GW Labs: Paa S and Open Source, The New Frontier, 8/31 at 3:15pm

    Sara Arkle, Idaho Conservation League: Advocacy in the Cloud: Engaging People to Bring About Change, 8/31 at 2pm

    Colleen McCarthy, Net Impact: Taking Fundraising Out of the Silo, 8/31 from 3:30-4:30pm ]]>
    No publisherSara FreedmanConferenceDatabase2011-08-29T17:45:00ZBlog Entry
    FoodCorps: Getting Kids Healthy Last week, we launched a website and database for FoodCorps, a new national service program on a mission to get kids off their over-processed, sugar-laden diets and into healthy food – an intervention that will hopefully extend into adulthood.Chicken nuggets, deep-friend burritos, pizza, cheez-n-crackers, lunchables, yogurt in a tube—whether it’s hot or cold lunch—the poor diet of the American kid has resulted in the number of obese children tripling in the last 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    But with the help of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, the replacement of the Food Pyramid with MyPlate, a renewed interest in local fresh food and more—getting good food into the mouths of babes is permeating the larger consciousness.

    Last week, we launched a website and database for FoodCorps, a new national service program on a mission to get kids off their over-processed, sugar-laden diets and into healthy food—an intervention that will hopefully extend into adulthood.

    More than 1200 people applied to be members of the first class of FoodCorps and 50 people were chosen from that group to be 2011-2012 FoodCorps Service Members. They will work in schools around the country to address childhood obesity and diet-related disease by building school gardens, educating children about healthy food options, and developing Farm to School programs.

    “These young leaders are dedicating a year of their lives to help give kids a relationship with healthy food that we hope will last a lifetime,” said Curt Ellis, co-founder and executive director of FoodCorps, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, “King Corn.”

    Like similar AmeriCorps programs, they will receive a monthly stipend and money for higher education. The vision is that Service Members will then go on to become farmers, chefs, educators and public health leaders.

    If you are a child of the 70s, you probably witnessed an elder in your life throw an entire bag of fast-food trash out of the window like it was no big deal. At school, we learned this was wrong, and we taught our parents to give a hoot, don’t pollute and to reduce, reuse and recycle. FoodCorps can help kids start the healthy food conversation at home, where cooking good food is often less expensive than fast food.

    People can learn about the Service Member application process, community leaders can learn more about becoming a FoodCorps site, and you can learn more about supporting this program. The Plone website we built integrates with a customized database.

    FoodCorps is an independent nonprofit organization. It has received early funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and other foundation and individual donors.

    FoodCorps in the New York Times

    FoodCorps in USA Today

    FoodCorps in Time Magazine

    No publisherSara FreedmanWebsiteListen to Your Mother (Earth)Database2011-08-25T17:55:00ZBlog Entry
    One Organization. One System for Donor Information. Keeping all your donor information in one place is essential to good relationship building and good fundraising.I recently listened in on a webinar about blending offline and online fundraising. The webinar was led by some really smart people in the field and for almost the whole hour I listened carefully and nodded along at the great advice. But then came the final question about how to best integrate information about online and offline donors.

    The answer? “Ideally you have a single CRM system that lets you keep track of one donor as one donor—regardless of how they came to your organization or how they give. But that’s not often possible. So just be really meticulous in keeping track of your data in your different systems.”

    It was a listen-only webinar so the bellowing “Nooooooo!” that escaped me was heard only by my coworkers, and not by other webinar participants.

    As far as I’m concerned, keeping all your donor information in one place is essential to good relationship building and good fundraising. If the donor management system you have doesn’t allow you to do that, get a new system. Period.

    If the email provider you use doesn’t integrate with your donor management system, get one that does. Period.

    With the array of email providers out there (check out our latest report if you don’t know your options), most of which integrate with at least one of the major CRM systems in use for nonprofits, there’s no reason to maintain two or three separate data sources.

    Your donors are the people who make your work possible—never mind paying your salary—and to keep your relationship with them healthy, you need to know who they are and keep good records about their relationship with your organization. To do this you need to:
    • Have a good tool for tracking all the information about all of your constituents (at Groundwire we are partial to Salesforce)
    • Use that tool—and only that tool—consistently
    • Commit staff time to keeping that information accurate and up to date
    • Make sure you know how to get information out of the database as well as put it in—I find that a lot of the resistance to using a new system is that people don’t understand how to easily access the lists and reports they need. So they start keeping a separate list that they do understand.

    Your event planner may balk at giving up her table captain spreadsheet and your volunteer coordinator may not want to mix his volunteers (kept in his Outlook contact list) in with your donors (usually because of mistaken ideas about asking volunteers to give donations. But that’s a different subject). Your major gifts officer may want to build a wall between his donors and the rest of the database.

    Don’t let them do it.

    It’s painful, but not as painful as explaining to Mrs. Major Donor Former Board Member why your major gifts officer called to update her on a campaign for which she was a key volunteer, or why she got three invitations to one event and two of them were addressed to her and one was addressed to her and that guy she divorced 18 months ago.

    No publisherTiffany DevoyEmail & Social MediaFundraisingDatabase2011-08-17T21:55:00ZBlog Entry
    Powerful, flexible tools for Alaska's Cook Inletkeeper How we helped Cook Inletkeeper do a more-than-skin-deep makeover on its website and CRM database.Alaska's Cook Inlet stretches 180 miles from the Gulf of Alaska up to Anchorage. Cook Inletkeeper, based in Homer, Alaska, works to protect Cook Inlet, its watershed and all of the life it sustains. There's a lot of life worth protecting: huge salmon runs, beluga whales, a vibrant fishing industry, hundreds of thousands of acres of unspoiled wilderness and communities of hardworking Alaskans. And, as you might expect, there are a lot of threats to Cook Inlet: reckless coal strip mining, the impacts of climate change, toxic waste from oil and gas drilling, and more.

    Cook Inletkeeper has been working hard to keep Cook Inlet safe and sustainable since 1995, and while we've known the Inletkeeper team for a long while, only recently have we had the opportunity to really dive in deep with them. But it was worth the wait. In the space of a few short months, we helped Cook Inletkeeper:

    • Design and build a gorgeous new website with a fantastic "Weather and Tides" engagement superpower.
    • Deploy a brand new Salesforce relationship management database to replace their aging homebrewed Access member database.
    • Streamline their membership and donor management processes to fit the new world of combined online and offline fundraising.
    • Launch a new online donation feature that seamlessly integrates between Cook Inletkeeper's website, a new credit card merchant account and Salesforce.
    • Start a new email newsletter/broadcasting program, seamlessly integrated with their Salesforce CRM.

    The net result: systems transformation. By helping Cook Inletkeeper think about its website, database, credit card processing and membership processes as connected elements in an integrated system, we were able to give them as set of powerful, flexible, fits-like-a-glove tools that meet all of their needs with headroom to grow.

    Here's a quick screencast of Cook Inletkeeper's innovative "Weather and Tides" feature.

    No publisherJon StahlWebsitesuccess-storiesEmail & Social MediaDatabase2011-06-12T23:20:00ZBlog Entry