As many of you know, we’ve been using Salesforce.com for a long time and we are also sharing the status of our operational guts
with the public. The good and the bad.
So needless to say, I almost couldn’t believe I was reading in the feature article of Forbes Magazine: Social Power and the Coming Corporate Revolution. The article interviewed over 20 leaders at world-class companies that are re-defining how information is shared within an organization and how this power shift will up-end dozens of industries. While there were many compelling quotes from leaders, the following excerpt from Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce is the one that resonated most:
“In 2005 we had reliability problems with one of our servers. We weren’t talking about it, and customers were upset. It turned into a p.r. problem. And my marketing leader Bruce Francis came in and said, ‘Marc, you need to expose everything. You need to have a website that is directly connected to the computers. If they are running, they website should be green, and when they’re not it should be red'."
Nearly a year ago, we wrote a white paper, Beyond Compliance
arguing the non-profit community should develop its own version of red/green reporting of its own internal management and external programs. But most importantly the report should be shared with the whole world in real-time; not just with senior staff or board members - not with only certain funders or stakeholders; everyone. And we started sharing our own scorecard (our reds/greens/yellows) publicly.
In the 12 months since, we’ve experienced the gamut of critiques: either laughed out of the room for sharing too much or lauded for taking such risks. Most people think for a moment about how applicable this is to their organization. Large non-profits tell us that they are too big and complex to do something similar and small non-profits tell us they don’t have the capacity to implement a similar system.
The non-profit sector must pay heed to what leaders in the Forbes article are saying: the new management normal is here and its about democratizing information. Governance models that traditionally hoard ‘goals and game plans’ will be upended. Goodwill for organizations that stick with the status quo will only go so far in a time when resources are becoming scarcer and problems are becoming larger. Either we build an effective eco-system or we go bust.
Framework is excited to be prototyping our Imagine Canada Standard’s Initiative Score Card
. We have converted the Standard’s Initiative Score Card from a static PDF document into an interactive Google Docs spreadsheet which can be updated and embedded on our website. This document will allow us to share our achievements and challenges and help us define our organizational goals publicly.
At the end of the month, we will officially launch our Standards status report. It may not be pretty, but its honest.
At the moment we have a long way to go to become compliant but as we do with all our operational documents, this information will continue to be shared and updated in real-time. The good news is that it provides focus so that we get compliant fast. And the faster we move on this, the faster we can move on raising high quality volunteer hours and invest in more artists.
We can live with that.
Yesterday was the first day of Mashable’s Social Good Summit (#SocialGood). The Summit is presented in conjunction with the United Nations Foundation and brings together organizations working to resolve world issues using innovative ideas.
One of my favourite presentations today was by Scott Harrison
the founder of Charity: Water a non-profit that brings drinkable water to people living in developing countries. Charity: Water is one of the few charities that operates on a 100% donation to project mandate which means that every dollar raised goes directly to funding clean water projects.
What I loved about this presentation was Scott’s approach to funding transparency. Since all funds raised go directly to projects, they are able to connect actual dollars raised to physical projects in the field and give donors a direct look into the projects they are funding.
Today they announced the ‘Dollars to Project’ initiative which brings a new level of transparency to the way they communicate with donors. This new website provides donors with a comprehensive online report that tracks every dollar raised.
Once the money is raised and the project is completed, fundraisers will receive an individualized report
that lets them know what countries their funds supported, how many were served, and how their funds were used. Each project is assigned a unique GPS code which is included in the report and pinpoints the exact location on a Google map. In addition, each reports comes with a series of images of the project site and is completely sharable with embedded sharing features.
This is exactly the type of transparency that needs to be promoted within our sector. We are already doing this at Framework when we sharing all our budgets
, and expe_
nses online. Seeing more and more charities move towards this method of giving is very important to maintaining a strong degree of transparency and trust with donors.
Another announcement which had me very excited was Howard Buffet’s announcement of LearningbyGivingFoundation.org
. A new fund investing in teaching philanthropy in post-secondary institutions. The foundation is funded by a $5 million dollar gift (or ‘investment’) by Doris Buffet. McMaster University was listed as one of the schools involved with the project. Partner schools teaching these classes will $10,000 grants to distribute to local non-profits within their community.
These are only two of the very exciting projects announced today (as I jokingly put it on Twitter #socialgood is the charitable sector’s #techcrunchdisrupt) and there are still two more days of announcements and inspirations. I am really looking forward to seeing how the rest of the conference unfolds.
- Amanda Grainger Munday
I attended a great webinar today. Social Innovation Generation
hosted a discussion on Open Innovation - From the Cloud to Policy and Beyond
with special guests Charles Leadbeater
and David Eaves.
The discussion was filled with valuable real-world examples of how open innovation is solving (or attempting to address) community issues. I particularly appreciated the opening discussion on engagement strategies - as Charles explains, the key differences between, say, social media tools which are low volume (many fragmented users) but result in high engagement, versus the high investment and low impact models (using the example of traditional corporate IT infrastructure).
It was fascinating to hear David and Charles discuss corporate IT systems as an example of high investment that result small impact, and noted that the willingness for experimentation in high investment models is very low. We, understandably, aren’t willing to take risks when millions of dollars are at stake. Though, when the investment and barriers to entry are lower, there is an opportunity to try and fail frequently until the right (possibly game-changing) tool or strategy emerges. Charles notes that in the "many contributors/many benefit" space lies the open-source community.
I was thinking a lot about Framework’s approach to low-cost web tools during this discussion. Part of our reasoning behind selecting cloud tools are because they are affordable and highly scalable, but that isn’t necessarily the driving factor. For us, using these web tools
allow us to fall into the low-investment, high impact category - using cloud tools to share information that we know the sector (and our stakeholders) need. We are using tools like Smartsheet
and Google Docs
to enable others to find the most important and relevant data; while the technology enables us to escape multiple versions of the truth.
Then David asked Charles a very important question: Does Open Matter
His response is directly in line with why Framework has decided to share so much of our internal data
. That being, “Openness on its own isn't the solution, but when openness is the basis for community, openness becomes the solution to problems". Charles provided a few civic engagement examples, explaining that when it comes to an open-data movement in government, the answer isn’t it being more open and transparent, but instead using that transparency to solve important challenges. “Most people are interested in safer neighbourhoods, cleaner environment, better transit etc... The case for open data matters when you can show that the method (open-data) leads to the solutions (cleaner environment).” I love the quote “People don’t get excited about data - they get excited that their needs can be met”.
I’ll be thinking a lot about this talk throughout my busy week - as half our team is in Vancouver
for the Timeraiser while the other half continue to expand our programs
and promote our other upcoming cities
. It’s not sharing for sharing’s sake, but instead just finding smarter solutions to existing problems. Thanks SiG
for the great talk!
Bookkeeping, Accounting and Financial Reporting used to be very cumbersome & ineffective. Legacy software applications make it difficult to process information and share it amongst team members. Framework was looking for ways to improve our Financial Governance as we scaled. Additionally, to provide skilled volunteers (e.g. Treasurer/Accountants) with timely information about our finances was a constant challenge. So we were seeking to find a suite of software to take the pain out of Bookkeeping in the Cloud. In this example, we are trying to:
The following illustration summarizes the workflow & software applications that are involved with managing bookkeeping and reporting in the cloud.
- Digitize all physical documents we receive in an effective manner such as cheques, letters from funders
- Better administer and build workflow into our two main online payment gateways (e.g. CanadaHelps and EventBrite) with our bank account?
As Framework has also adopted our 'Share-By-Default' mandate, we also wanted to ensure that we could easily create reports that could be published online or shared with the right people, at the right time. Therefore we chose to deepen our integration with Box, SmartSheet, Google Apps and Salesforce.com WITH our CanadaHelps, EventBrite and RBC Bank account.
It now takes just a few minutes to download reports and store the files where they are easily accessible. Additionally, digitizing our entire financial documents ensure that everything is searchable and indexed. In the future, audits should take a fraction of the time even while Framework scales our activities.
What do you think of our approach? How do you manage your online donation and
Reposted from www.platformation.ca
Exactly one week ago Google announced
offline access to Gmail using a free Google Chrome app
. The app is based on Google’s release of Gmail for tablets which was built with the same objective of providing online and offline access to Gmail. According to their post, the Gmail offline feature is the first step they are taking to bringing offline access to web applications.
Although offline access is hardly a new feature (remember, Google Gears?) this new feature seems to be an easy-to-use lightweight solution to the age-old issue of checking email when you have limited access to wifi. Although not announced in the blog post Google does seem to have rolled out this feature
for Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer users.
According to Google users we should have also had access to their calendars and documents within the week however this feature does not seem to have rolled out as of yet. Apparently the bloggers at the Google Operating System blog (an unofficial Google blog) faced similar issues
. However they seem to have uncovered another app
on the market that provides Google Docs offline access that can be downloaded here
Setting up the offline isn't too complicated however there are some issues to be aware of. I was able to download the link easily enough however it wasn't until I deleted all my stored cookies that it actually started to work. Luckily, Google had an automated link that provided me with the details needed to resolve the issue.
The only thing I do not love is that I seem to have lost all the page launches I set-up for every time I launch Chrome. I take advantage of Chrome's ability to pin tabs making it easy to quickly check my email, launch my twitter client, and read my tech blogs each morning. This saves me the time of visiting each site and logging in each morning. Luckily Firefox has the same feature and I will probably re-set up these pages in Firefox so I can mirror my Chrome set-up in a different browser.
I look forward to playing around with this feature!
By Anil Patel
While no one can replace Emily Hazell, a valued team member for the past three years, we are in the midst of seeking someone to take-on her roles & responsibilities. In under two weeks, we received nearly 150 applications for the role of Resource Development Coordinator. You can view the job description at http://www.frameworkorg.org/jobs.html
The purpose of providing the specifics of this story is threefold:
- to share the process of writing, updating, and publishing position descriptions for staff and volunteers online.
- Share a model of participant engagement so volunteers & other staff can be involved with the vetting/evaluation/interviewing process.
- Show how cloud-based low cost and scalable tools make hiring staff and engaging skilled volunteers a transparent and inclusive process
In speaking with my colleagues who also must manage a small staff and largish volunteer core, one of the biggest points of pain is keeping position descriptions up-to-date. Best practices would suggest all position descriptions are updated once per year, which will become part of a national Standards Initiative across Canada. (Please view section D and E of Imagine Canada’s Standards Initiative. Framework falls into Level II - an organization with between 1 to 50 staff and under $5 million in revenue.
Prior to our cloud deployment, which I’ll describe shortly, it was challenging to share the position descriptions, signed contracts and other HR related files & documents with my board and certain HR volunteers who helped manage the process. It was also tricky to engage my staff in the past to help write new job descriptions - like the one currently posted - in a collaborative manner. This time around, it was easy to get input and consensus for the final version.
It was then dead simple to post the description, broadcast through Charity Village and LinkedIn Jobs, and collect applications. The online form publishes entries directly into our SmartSheet environment. Within the SmartSheet, we’ve used a series of check-boxes, green-yellow-red dropdown and stars to denote who we want to interview. Using SmartSheets sharing features, it can be shared externally to our HR volunteers who can also assist in the vetting process. This is critical because other HR recruitment software applications are either robust (but expensive) or expensive (and siloed).
While I’ve been in San Francisco, my colleagues have been scheduling meetings using our Salesforce.com calendar and chatter environment. There are 10 people that we’ll be speaking with in the next two weeks, with the goal of extending an offer for mid-fall.
We will be using EchoSign to turn an offer into a contract in minutes/hours, and then I can report back to my board with incredible metrics about the candidate and the process. As you can see on our Sharesies page, Framework provides transparency on the nuts-and-bolts of HR management (click here
Then, once the candidate-in-waiting officially joins our team - where ever he or she lives (it does not have to be in Toronto), we’ll have them ready to roll in our cloud Infrastructure - Salesforce.com, GoogleApps, Box.Net, & SmartSheet.
The illustration below pulls this together:
- All position descriptions stored in Box.net (analytics & HTML embed is key)
- SmartSheet Form wizard to accept applications online (URL sharing & HTML embed is key)
- Current staff & skilled HR volunteers can vet & rank applicants (SmartSheet sharing permissions)
- Efficient scheduling of meetings in Salesforce.com (permanent record of interviews & schedule)
- Turn around signed contract effectively using EchoSign
All of this to say, we hope that this process is scalable internally and shareable externally with other NGOs who face similar situations. Our goal is grow Framework & Team Timeraiser to live the values that we are promoting. We think this prototype - our 5th People Lens experiment
- get us closer than ever. And while at first glance this might look complicated, we can promise you that in the long run the integrations are in fact simple and intuitive.
What your thoughts? Is there something that we’ve missed? Can you recommend any way to improve this?
LinkedIn recently announced some very cool new features including a Salesforce connector and a visualization tool called LinkedIn Maps. I made my way over to the LinkedIn booth at the Dreamforce cloud expo. I met a Sales guy Brian who gave me a quick run through the new features and how LinkedIn Maps works. The visualization tool is a fun way to see how your network is connected.
I created a short video on the mapping tool:
If you think it is cool and want to create your own, follow these steps
- Go to http://www.linkedinlabs.com/inmaps
- Use your LinkedIn credentials to log in
- Sit back and watch the magic happen
- Add labels to your network clusters (optional)
- Share your illustration with your friends & colleagues
It was timely meeting Brian. Framework volunteer Uma Venkataramaiah
and I have been trying to get a meeting schedule with his Toronto colleagues. LinkedIn has a relatively new Canadian HQ. Uma and I have been discussing how to build a partnership with LinkedIn to promote skilled volunteerism amongst young, tech savvy professionals in Canada. A type of meeting to bring programs such as United Way Gennext and other leadership programs to the forefront using a social platform such as LinkedIn. Another for instance is that the Ontario Trillium Foundation staff is very plugged into LinkedIn. Some of the features could be used to augment OTFs volunteer recruitment and recognition strategies (disclosure: I am on the Board, Governance/Policy & Communication committees).
What do you think? Are you using LinkedIn? Do you think Framework should pursue this partnership? Who beyond United Way Gennext, OTF, ArtScene, Emerging Leaders Network should we reach out to prior to contacting LinkedIn?