To read the full post, click the photo below. You'll be directed to Sharesies.org. But a quick recap: Over 3,500 professional fundraisers from around the world gathered in Vancouver April 1st to 3rd to learn and talk about the future of Philanthropy. Anil and Aine (pictured below) has a booth set-up to listen to and share with attends interested in the Future of Philanthropy and how technology can play a role.
By Anil Patel
We are pleased to share a major announcement. Framework and Team Timeraiser have been able to develop a kick-butt, bottom-up budget build forecasting and reporting process (click here to view the schema). This process allows us to do several things:
Here are three links that walk you through the bottom-up build:
As you will see from the photo below, we did a lot of white boarding and quick prototyping to determine what fields we needed in the city budgets (including naming convention) and which information would syndicate to the summary budget. This included approches to capture in-kind support plus purchases from social enterprises.
This might be one of our biggest breakthroughs to date because we've also been very frustrated with traditional book-keeping and accounting processes. A number of our colleagues are in the same boat: key financial information does not flow as quickly and accurately using traditional techniques and software.
Like so many small to medium sized nonprofits (our budget is under $1 million), we only have budget/need for a bookkeeper a few hours per month. But that time is doing the basics of processing cheques, reconciling the bank statements and preparing basic reports such as monthly balance sheet and general ledger. But often the software used is a closed garden. It is tricky with so much going on in our office to have program related financial data shared amongst the staff and key volunteers.
In the past, this has lead to lots of confusion about what has been paid, what has not, which invoices where processed, which ones are outstanding. This new process should clear up a lot of this. Our estimates is that this will help us become 10x more effective in 2012. And we look forward to keeping you posted.
What do you think? Does your nonprofit struggle with providing key financial data to the right people at the right time? Would like to collaborate with us on testing new methods for modern budgeting & book-keeping?
We heard about this stellar initiative earlier this year. However, it has been a few months since we’ve checked out the details. If you haven’t come across the, Get Your Business Online initiative, it's an innovative collaboration between Google, Rogers, RBC and several other private sector firms.
The goal: make is easy and cost effective for Canadian Business to build and maintain a web presence at a low cost. You can check out the video that features:
You can also check out some of GYBO resources such as their free How To Guide for Getting Your Business Online.
Taking the time today to revisit the site and initiative is very timely. We’ve been chatting with Google, RBC and a few other technology capacity builders such as TechSoup Canada and CanadaHelps about better eco-systems supporting Canada’s nonprofit community.
Imagine if we could bring something similar for Canada’s 88,000 charities! What do you think of the material? Could we pull something off similar (note: the event was at the Distillery District, the same place we host the Timeraiser)?
By Noorin and Amanda
Something magical happened on Monday at the Framework office. As you've seen, we are always on the lookout for ways to partner with organizations and individuals who share our passions for sharing, transparency, and of course, technology. We believe that it is far more effective to work with like-minded organizations who do similar work rather than trying to compete for attention and resources. In the sector, you have likely heard organizations say the need to collaborate and discuss more is important; that sharing with organizations isn't happening, but should be.
So this past Monday, we brought together the several organizations who many might say are doing "similar" work; technology and planning non-profit organizations who have a vested interest in expanding the internal capacity of Canadian NGOs. The goal of the meeting was to find ways to transition our informal supportive relationships into a formal collaborative partnership. The group that came together includes:
From Framework's perspective, we were thrilled to hear about each organization's short and long term programming goals. We're all working on some exciting new technology capacity-building approaches that vary by organization, and we agreed that there isn't one technology focused organization who can build programming for all of Canada's 88,000 charities; this is a dynamic space with lots of different needs.
To illustrate this point, the diagram before highlights each organization's programming by geographic location.
A meeting has been scheduled for two months from now so we can continue to share our work. These semi-regular meetings are just the beginning of what is sure to be a larger community of organizations working in the not-for-profit technology space.
We certainly see how this type of open communication between our organizations and the community will provide us with a sustainable way to expand our reach and support each other's mission. A great meeting day overall.
What do you think of our map: who are we missing ?
Who are the other organizations doing similar work?
What collaboration opportunities would you like to see amoungst technology NGOs?
BY ANIL PATEL
After we ran a budgeting simulation using Google Docs “ImportRange” function on Thursday July 28th, I had to lay down on the floor. My head hurt. My adrenaline was pumping. My mind was racing about the implications. This is our biggest technology breakthrough to date; our most succinct and simple deployment of “information once/distributed widely/accessible multiple places.” You can view the live rendering of the demo here.
It allows for data from one Google Doc to be pulled into another Google Doc and vice versa. The method is simple to do, intuitive and secure. It maintains all the sharing settings in one document to the next. It is a window into the next generation of planning, administration and reporting for nonprofits. Here is what we tested:
The implications? It is significant in a few ways:
What is next?
As Framework has written about in the past, we’ve been prototyping new forms of information sharing. We have drafted and submitted over 100 different budgets detailing certain aspects of our goals and game plans. In a majority of the instances, we are required to fill out a template that has the following headers:
It makes complete sense. Funders want to know that their is some sustainability to the project and/or see that there are other funders at the table. But for anyone who has tried to re-write these for different funders and then report against it, know the challenges. Hours of duplicated work and complicated budget reconciliation.
We’ve also talked about how to make things such as budgeting revenue against procuring products from Social Enterprise more proactive scalable because it is aligned with our values. The process we prototyped above now becomes a super low cost, and straight forward way to surface this amongst other like-minded organizations.
All of that to say, we are going to re-working, for the 8th time in eight years, how our budget planning and program reporting will be shared with our network and amongst our funders. Imagine the implications if just 1,000 charities started broadcasting their print, courier, catering, venue, supply needs in a deliberate fashion? Using HTML code, Doc Keys and URLs can speed up the development and sustainability of the ecosystem. More social enterprises can easily search out business which creates less work for the charities procuring services.
As always, we’d love your feedback. What do you think of this innovation? Do you have a different approach that can lead to the same result? What concerns you about this approach? Do you want to work with us on scaling this?
BY ANIL PATEL, EDITED BY TEAM FRAMEWORK
On June 27th/2011, the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration announced a $3 million round of funding available to eligible non-profit organizations. You can read about the funding criteria here. The primary applicant has to engage two other official collaborators on the project and submissions are due July 29th/2011. You can see the entire proposal, budget and research online here. (Essentially, we were seeking up to $280K to hire a shared service in Information Communication Technology (ICT) Systems Administration plus related costs for 10 organizations over three years.)
In early July, a number of organizations contacted Framework stating interest in working alongside our team as collaborators (and vice versa). Being summer, many people were on holidays, making it a tricky time to pull something together quickly and more importantly, well.
As of yesterday, we were 97% done. The logic model is amazing. The ‘need’ well documented. A significant amount of pre-work was complete on the ICT planning amongst the organizations that we were collaborating with us (via our Open Architecture model).
Sadly, there was one small technical glitch that brought the submission to a halt, one of little significance, not worth commenting on. As a result, we’ve dropped out of this proposal. #fail.
What is important is what we learned from this process. I spoke to nearly 30 organizations, most of which were leading or sponsoring a submission, making this a very competitive round. The submission required technology planning as part of the application, so there was a strong possibility that many of the applications would be applying for funding to support very similar ideas. Finally, the one-month submission window left little time to develop innovative ideas and identify partnership/collaboration opportunities.
So here is how we are moving forward:
What do you think? This proposal sharing is in beta: what do you like about our plan? What concerns you? would you be willing to share proposals, ready or not? Why, or why not? Feedback is most welcome. In our next post, we will discuss the above with respect to Canada’s Grants Economy1.
Note #1: The Grants Economy is the number of fundraising professionals who help raise money or act as consultants to foundations and corporations about where donations should go.
BY TEAM FRAMEWORK (Anil, Amanda, Emily, Nicole, Noorin)
We've been cooped up at a cottage for most of the week at our annual staff retreat. As a team we set an ambitious agenda. One of our goals was to re-vamp Timeraiser.ca so it was easier for our team to make changes to the site as we added more Timeraiser events.
Another aspect was revisiting our online volunteer opportunity platform. Back in 2007, we built a very elegant submission-voting-posting system. This was back when social media was still relatively new and 'aggregation' software seemed like a good idea.
A lot has changed since then. We received a lot of feedback about the process of applying to the Timeraiser, especially for non-profit organizations. The first challenge was that continually going back to update organizational profiles and out-dated volunteer opportunities throughout the year is problematic for a number of participating charities.
Staff/volunteer turnover was one problem we faced with applicants, since the admin panel only allowed one user-name/password combination. There were also a few bugs in the system; we only had so much money for Q/A and ongoing development. A third issue relates to all the places that charities can post engagement opportunities; resulting in duplicated data (e.g. Volunteer Centres, LinkedIn, Facebook, IdeaList, GetInvolved, GoVolunteer, etc). The duplicated data ultimately makes it harder for coordinators of volunteers to manage their inventory of opportunities.
The illustration below is our answer to these compounding problems. Now we will be directing all inquires about an organization who attends the Timeraiser directly to that organization's website. For instance, if Meal Exchange* wishes to attend the Timeraiser, they just need to submit a much simpler application to participate (powered by SmartSheet). Once selected, Framework staff can now quickly add the organization's logo and brief description to Timeraiser.ca. The 'view opportunities' link now direct's users directly to Meal Exchanges 'Get Involved' section - instead of publishing the opportunities on our site when it already exists elsewhere. Our rough math is that this simplified process will be about 5x faster and 10x cheaper to maintain and scale.
We're also upping the value to organization's who join the Timeraiser program. Once the agencies have been published on Timeraiser.ca, we'll build our marketing/social media strategy to promote all of Meal Exchange's programming over the year, beyond what what was promoted at the Timeraiser.
What do you think of our new process? Is it harder for you to maintain volunteer opportunities across multiple platforms and social media channels? How do you deal with so many user names & passwords?
Posted by Noorin Ladhani
We updated our ICT planning tips with the help of our friend Andrew Simpson take a look and let us know what you think!
Posted by Noorin Ladhani
Salesforce released a new feature in their calendar which enables users to propose meeting times eliminating the email back-and-forth that is often associated with meeting planning. Check out our screenshots and short summary here.
August 30th to September 2nd is the 2011 Dreamforce Conference at the Moscone Centre, San Franciso. Over 30,000 people are predicted to attend this year, making it one of the largest cloud computing conferences in the world. Salesforce.com has done a lot to promote the value of the cloud. Faster. Safer. Cheaper.
Our team has been using Salesforce.com since 2005, shortly after the Salesforce.com Foundation was established. We have spent some time to understand their strategy, especially the Salesforce.com App Exchange. Following the Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who building complementary software has been on the most interesting aspects of following the cloud computing ecosystem development.
My team and I will be presenting again this year. While the syllabus is still being finalized, here is how it currently reads:
“Looking to expand your reach, automate processes, or beef up your analytics? Join us to learn how nonprofit organizations everywhere are using the AppExchange to expand their use and adoption of Salesforce. Find out what apps are most popular and how they can best benefit you.”
Here is an example of a demo that we did recent at the Business and Community Partnership Forum (click here). It is a @prezi.
he illustration sums up our approach to using low-cost and highly-scalable software. It is part of our Create Information Once/Distribute Widely/Accessible Multiple Places methodology.
Are you going to Dreamforce? What are you hoping to learn? Who are you hoping to met? We’d like to hear more about what sessions you’ll be attending or what you hope to get out of the conference.