CRM Database and Accounting Platform Integration

CRM Database and Accounting Platform Integration

Having worked with a number of not for profit organisations who have struggled to streamline their data processing and input, who often have to perform duplicated manual processing tasks in order to maintain the CRM and accounting systems, we have looked to provide a solution which seamlessly integrated the two systems.

This duplication can often include having to agree a large volume of donations received between the bank accounts within the accounting platform and the pledges recorded in the CRM.

In developing this integration, we anticipate that a number of data entry tasks will now become either redundant or much more efficient, creating more time for fundraising activity.

ShoNet have worked in partnership with Kreston Reeves, an accounting and financial services firm based in London, Sussex and Kent, and Astrea IT in order to develop the integration which effortlessly synchronises donations, contacts, invoices and products between Salesforce and Xero meaning information can be automatically available across the two platforms.

If you would like any further detail in relation to the above or would like a discussion around how this solution might benefit you, please call 0208 017 1688 or email info@shonet.co.uk

Monitoring & Evaluation for Charities: How to measure what matters

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Monitoring & Evaluation for Charities: How to measure what matters

 

'Value for Money', Return on Investment', 'Social Value', 'Impact Measurement'.  We are surrounded by buzz words and new fads for proving that what we do really is for the social good and really can make a measurable difference.  Understanding how to measure impact and then putting in place a cost effective system to do this can seem daunting.  There is a useful saying to keep in mind though that provides a great starting point, "What gets measured, matters.  So make sure you measure what matters."

 

Many charities and civil society organisations baulk at having to make more funds available to measure and prove what they already know: that they are making a difference.  Yet, measuring impact is a valuable source of management information.  Done well, monitoring and evaluation can provide a rich source of beneficiary feedback and programme performance that can also be used to improve your interventions and projects, making them more relevant and likely to deliver lasting change.  Building a monitoring and evaluation system is not necessarily a complicated or expensive process, but navigating the various tools and processes sometimes does need a little help. 

 

A good place to start is your current management information system.  You already know about the benefits of Salesforce for running your organisation efficiently and collecting fundraising and general management information that helps you to keep an eye on the bottom line.  Salesforce can however be more than that.  It can help you to make sense of monitoring data, so that you can keep track of the different projects you're running: how many people are being reached, what they think of the projects that they participate in, which projects are on track, which need further attention. 

 

Of course to make this happen for you, two things will need to be in place: an overall monitoring and evaluation plan, including a policy approach to monitoring and evaluation that your organisation is signed up to, secondly a set of relevant data collection tools that capture project performance in both a qualitative and quantitative manner, and which can be linked to Salesforce. 

 

It is important to understand exactly what you want to measure, why you want to measure it and who will use the data in order to design an effective system for data collection and analysis.  Understanding this 'what', 'why' and 'who' will start you on the road to effective and efficient monitoring and evaluation, which will make a valuable difference to your organisation.

 

Developing systems and processes that make charities more effective is a driving focus for us at Shonet and we know that developing and improving your management information systems to include meaningful monitoring and evaluation data, will making proving impact easier and lead to better interventions that can deliver lasting change.

 

Do you want to improve the data that you are collecting and using?  Contact us for a free consultation to find out how we can help you to develop your monitoring and evaluation plan and tools.

This article was written in partnership with Robin Brady

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ShoNet goes to Salesforce World Tour London 2016

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ShoNet goes to Salesforce World Tour London 2016

In May, ShoNet attended Salesforce World Tour London at ExCeL. With over 15,000 registrants and 100 cloud partners, it was the biggest Salesforce event held outside of the US and one of the largest software events held in the UK.

Salesforce World Tour events provide an occasion for those in the Salesforce community to get together, share knowledge and learn. The event provided attendees with the opportunity to gain insight into the future of the customer experience and the rapid growth of cloud computing.

Here are some of our highlights!:

“How you deal with change determines success.” – Sir Chris Hoy, six-time Olympic gold medallist
In our fast-changing and increasingly digital world, how can organisations deal with change and create success? With Salesforce! On the day, the live demonstrations of Salesforce products like the Marketing Cloud showed how Salesforce is a powerful tool for enhancing the customer experience in the digital age. During the
Product Keynotes, we learned how organisations have risen to the challenges of the digital age by using Salesforce.

“Opportunities are out there for you to take, it’s just about seizing them really!” – Rosemary Russell, STEMettes
Only 14% of people working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) are female. But
STEMettes are trying to change that – and during the Keynote, Anne-Marie Imafidon of STEMettes spoke about how Salesforce have helped STEMettes to tackle gender imbalance in STEM careers in the UK.

“Cloud is the new normal.” – Peter Coffee, VP Strategic Research, Salesforce
Did you know that
85 of the world’s 100 most valuable brands use Salesforce to run their businesses and reach customers? That said, it’s no surprise that “cloud is the new normal”! Throughout the day, we visited the Customer Success Expo to check out some of the latest innovations from cloud partners. The number of attendees and cloud partners at the event showed that cloud computing is growing at a rapid rate, with many opportunities for ShoNet to work and support others to join a fast-growing industry.

Want to read more about Salesforce World Tour London? You can catch up here or check out the Salesforce World Tour London two minute recap infographic.

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New Recruitment Initiative

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New Recruitment Initiative

Clyde Williams at ShoNet reveals an inner passion to support inner-city young people to gain entry into the IT industry. Clyde adds: "For a long time I have harboured the ambition of enabling inner-city young people to gain entry to the computer industry.  At long last I have found a partner who can make this dream a reality.  In September 2016, ShoNet in partnership with Digital Skills Solution - http://digitalskillsuk.com – will launch a Salesforce training programme to deliver this dream.

The computer industry offers a wide range of job opportunities, but the barriers to entry are high.  Together we aim to provide access to that first step on the ladder for young people to explore these career opportunities.

As a Salesforce Accredited Partner, we will work with Digital Skills Solutions to create a path for young adults to become Salesforce accredited professionals. This will be through Traineeship and Apprenticeship programmes.

A critical part of this initiative will be work experience.  Our students will gain sufficient Salesforce knowledge in the classroom to be of value to organisations who offer them work experience places.

This is the first step along the road of giving back.  I trust that you will be able to support this initiative by offering work experiencing place to our pilot group of students.  I will keep you updated on the progress of this initiative".

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ECIS - Managing Membership

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ECIS - Managing Membership

Overview

Key challenges: Managing membership, collaboration between departments, import data, integration with third party applications

Why Salesforce?: Data in a central place, accessible, secure, requires little day-to-day support

Why ShoNet?: Qualified, supportive, professional, ability to perform to a high standard

Impact: Collaboration between teams, complex progresses made easier, time efficient, membership cycle automated

 

ECIS was originally established 50 years ago as the European Council of International Schools, but has expanded to have a global reach. It is now simply referred to as ECIS.

 

ECIS managing membership

ECIS needed to have better visibility on how they were engaging their members. Margaret Banjo, Membership Engagement Lead says “More importantly, as an organisation we sought to be more agile by reducing the time between member feedback and the subsequent implementation of changes. We needed a system that would not only facilitate collaboration across departments, but also empower the organisation as a whole”. 

Initially ECIS decided to triangulate with other sources to validate their data. However, this had limited success due to the lack of resources in-house to have the data verified at a pace which would serve the demands of the organisation.

 

 ECIS explore possible solutions

As a next step, the ECIS team decided to identify the key issues which would create the list of their requirements. Margaret noted “…the time it took to export data was slow and impeded the time taken to make an informed decision. This was further exacerbated by our limited ability to amend data individually or to import data from third parties. Although we had access to third party data we were unable to leverage this as we didn’t have the support to build a system to “talk” to third party software”.  

ECIS contacted the ShoNet team and were impressed by their responsiveness. ShoNet provided a thorough analysis of ECIS processes and dependencies. This allowed them to look at the root cause of the challenges they were facing, and address the assumptions they were making about their data management.

 

Benefits of partnering with a good partner

One of the benefits of having an experienced Salesforce partner is highlighted by Margaret: “Having a Salesforce partner come in and give an objective assessment of our system has allowed us to look at our database from the point of view of our client. By walking us through the very minute details of the Salesforce system, we are now able to use Salesforce to do more than we desired; and ShoNet is always on hand to offer support.

Margaret notes one of ShoNet’s differentiators is that “There are a lot of qualified people and organisations, of which ShoNet is one. ShoNet’s USP lies in being able to perform to a high standard whilst being personable”.

 

ECIS’s impact and success

After a year of using Salesforce, ECIS are now able to track their member’s engagement through emails and calls. They also have visibility of all their invoicing pipeline from potential members to aged debtors.  Margaret adds, “This puts us in a position to make evidence-based decisions. Although ShoNet were initially brought in to work on the Salesforce and CRM components, we engaged them further on linking our website to speak directly to Salesforce. This has significantly brought down the transaction costs associated with processing membership and professional development applications. The impact can be measured across a number of departments”.

ECIS has seen many positive and lasting changes from using Salesforce, including:

·         Data is more accessible, with departments collaborating more. As an organisation that champions collaboration amongst educators, a database that can facilitate collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders speaks to their core value.

·         Changes can be made to their database in house and require little day-to-day support.

·         The ability to contact ShoNet to deal with the more complex issues. ECIS are planning on engaging ShoNet in a campaign which sees ECIS use automated data cleansing.

·         With a better understanding of Salesforce’s scope, they have extended their system to meet other previously unanticipated needs. 

·         Through their work with Salesforce they have enhanced their institutional capacity making the impact of ShoNet’s work sustainable.

Margaret leaves this as her closing remark, “We will be engaging ShoNet in our upcoming data project which will see various components of our membership cycle automated. I could not speak highly enough of ShoNet. Steve, who is our main contact with ShoNet, is now an integral part of our team”. 

Contact the ShoNet team to realise the benefits you can experience for you and your organisation.

For more information on ECIS please visit: www.ecis.org

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SRI's Salesforce Success

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SRI's Salesforce Success

Overview

Key challenges: Legacy database, not user friendly, not flexible

Why Salesforce?: Donated licenses, flexible due to API, cost effective, integrates with website, manage GiftAid, cloud storage and accessibility

Why ShoNet?: Competitive pricing, experience in the charity sector, Salesforce experts, easy to work with

Impact: SRI have seen a positive return on investment, a more efficient team, increase in donations

 

Save the Rhino International (SRI) is a UK registered charity.  Their vision is for a world where all five rhino species can thrive in the wild for future generations. SRI collaborates with partners to support endangered rhinos in Africa and Asia.

 

Make a change

In 2014 the SRI team embarked on updating their organisation’s technical architecture in line with their plans to continue to be an innovative charity.

SRI had a 7 year old database which did not give them the flexibility they needed. Susie Offord-Woolley, Deputy Director said “our teams were affected by the legacy database which was time consuming to use and not user friendly. We considered improving the existing system, however after assessing the cost and understanding the limitations, we decided to seek an alternative solution.”

 

Choosing a solution/ choosing a partner

SRI ran an open competition to find a database that would meet their carefully considered current and future needs. 

Susie said “we needed an end-to-end solution which integrated our website and email system with our database”.

After a rigorous process SRI selected ShoNet to partner them on this journey. Susie said “we ran a tender process and selected ShoNet based on several factors including their competitive price.  ShoNet proved to be an excellent partner. They have knowledge and expertise in developing efficient business processes and integrating technology, but they have so much more which differentiates them from other companies”. 

ShoNet recommended Salesforce as a CRM solution for the SRI team due to its flexibility, security and fundraising capability.  Another attractive Salesforce CRM capability was the integration with applications such as Sage and MailChimp.

 

Small change, big impact

The SRI CRM implementation was delivered with the aid of a 5 stage process from Discovery through to Benefit Realisation. An aspect which Susie found helpful was mapping SRI’s existing process and comparing it to the process they wished to use in future. 

Since implementing Salesforce, Susie and the SRI team have seen “…a positive return on our investment. We are three times as efficient as we were previously; we have seen an increase in donations, more collaborations between the teams and better reporting which has helped us plan ahead”.  In a short space of time Salesforce has proved to be useful and central to SRI’s success.

Susie concludes “ShoNet really cared that the solution we were getting was the best for the charity, even if this meant more work than expected for them; they never cut corners, and they kept a high level of focus and dedication throughout the whole project.  If Salesforce didn't have an obvious solution for how our charity wanted a process to work, ShoNet would investigate new technologies, speak to third parties in order to present the best option for the charity to be able to choose what worked best for us”.

Contact the ShoNet team to realise the benefits you can experience for you and your organisation.

For more information on Save the Rhino international please visit: www.savetherhino.org

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Case Study: BioRegional - "Improve Fundraising Bids"

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Case Study: BioRegional - "Improve Fundraising Bids"

"It became apparent as BioRegional grew that the lack of a central database was  having an adverse effect resulting in; time consuming process when completing bids, unable to provide appropriate information for management team, lack of a seamless process and at times various persons working on the same bid. “At that point we knew that we needed a better way of working”, recalls Catherine

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