Any amount can help us transform nonprofits' work --allowing shelters to help more people, advocacy and arts organizations to reach a wider audience, and environmental groups to make more of a difference.
Ask most any developer what's the worst part of a software project and mostly likely you'll hear, “data conversion.” And what's most magical when working a project spec? “We're going to start fresh with new data.”
Reflecting back on the year gone by, clean or messy data migration definitely has a huge impact project success as a whole.
What makes the data migration part of a project so hard?
You look at old data on screen, in reports, or with tech specs. That's often all you get to look at before starting, and that's not enough to judge its true quality. You can't fully judge how well its going to work until you do real trials into the new system. And you can't really do that until you have that new system ready.
So here are painfully accumulated tips about data conversion. I'm writing this from the point of view of the “joint planning team”--lessons to both client and consultant/developer. And I'm not going to say which ones I have the most success sticking to. I'm doing this partly as therapy and partly as New Year's resolution. I promise to reread this myself on every new 2010 project.
Data conversion and the project plan
Do as much clean up as possible in the old system. The data will look familiar there, and staff who have to do it will be faster on the old.
Don't wait until the end. Put time in the schedule to for clean-up straight through the planning and configuration of the new. Reflect each decision about the new back to the old. Understand how you will get there and when the route can be opened.
It's often hard to reserve enough time for clean-up. Explore whether you can effectively use volunteers, interns, or temp staff to do routine clean up work instead of taking consultant project time to do it or burdening organizational staff beyond what is reasonable or essential for each side to do.
Data conversion and the budget
Here's a tough one: See if you take data conversion outside of the rest of the project estimate and work it as time and materials. That protects the consultant and focuses program manager attention on only doing as much as is necessary.
The fall-back choice is to allocate a specific, reasonable number of hours, say as a percent of the whole project, and agree that the consultant will do much and as best they can within that block of time, and no more.
Data conversion and "letting go"
A corollary to the last: Consider converting the essential top level stuff—the primary contact lists—and not all the historical details (all donation or membership history, services rendered, etc). The top level lists are often cleaner, easier to check, more essential, and less encumbered with old-to-new data structure changes.
For historical data you really do need, consider adding special new fields to summarize the old. For example, instead of importing an entire “trainings” history, can you live with aggregating “total workshops attended” for each contact? And remembering preferred training topics, how about just tagging the contact with “attended series A workshops” or “workshop B series”? You might be surprised how much headache this saves where the old data turns out not as clean as it now appears on screen.
Data conversion in stages
It frequently makes sense to plan on a data migration way station--a temporary clean-up and check-me database. It could be Excel, Access or something else that has strong query and reporting tools. Maybe all the status categories need to be remapped, or collected from three different current places. Maybe the notes field holds way more than notes and needs analysis
On the other hand, the new system may have fantastic clean up tools available, such as address correction and verification, or deduping. Maybe it specifically has importers for the old donor database you are moving form. Check them on sample data and use them where you can.
What about all the rest of the details of the old? If keeping the old system around does not incur licensing or hosting costs, why not just leave it up, frozen as an archive for historical data. Again, only convert what is really needed.
Data conversion and testing
Count on doing at least one trial conversion for staff to test before the day you go live. Once you have worked that into the plan, it makes sense to do it as soon as a trial version of the new software is up. Let folks test the new software with some real, existing data. It improves the testing and improves the data migration. And make sure you have put time on the calendar for that checking. Discovering gaps six months into a new system, say when quarterly or annual reports first have to run for real, really will mess things up.
Do have a series of benchmark queries to run on old and new system to quickly check results. For example, maybe the count of contacts by status group has to match exactly. Maybe the total dollar value of donations by year will not match 100% for this, that and the other reason. Make an agreement in advance, the new system will vary by as much as 3% earlier than the last two years.
Conversely, agree on a couple representative accounts you will use as a standard base line for checking the conversion. I remember one large scale donor management system with a huge master contact list mostly sparsely populated and just a handful with tons of details. Running overall lists just wouldn't cut it. Every step in the development process had to be run against one particular wealthy donor with a 28-page single spaced personal profile. Each new iteration of the software had to pass muster on him or it was back to the cubicles for us.
Data conversion documentation
Data conversions usually involve a lot of steps. List them out in a shared document and explain what each does. When you have a series of scripts that have to run, number them in order, like “step100_clear main contact table,” “step 200_import from spreadsheet xyz,” “step310_relink contacts table to database X_manual step,” step 315 _import from database x,” “step 400_run dedup query,” “step510_extract priority A people to excel and give to ED to check personally.” By putting that first step in there, you have already set things up for running the conversion process as a whole more than once. Get every step, manual or automated, in there. Consider counting by 10s at least so you insert more steps as you fine tune the overall process.
Use a shared Google doc or some other collaboratively editable document to hold the conversion steps. Even if your steps lean toward the technical, take the time to go through them collaboratively, understand what they mean, and sign off that this is the plan.
Data conversion therapy
Accept that data conversion has a therapeutic component. You can count on the staff person who is most impatient with the old system to miss data and procedures that don't show up exactly the same in the new. Hmm. My Tai Chi sensibility says maybe the framework is more meditation than therapy: it's all about grasping the essence firmly, remaining calm to find the path from the old to the new, and letting go of what you can.
And through it all, be reasonable and patient with each other. This means the organizational lead needs to look at the raw underbelly of the data and appreciate whatever is giving he consultant the most trouble. The consultant needs to sit with users and understand the consequences, workarounds, new ways of doing things if new data doesn't 100% line up with the old.
Data conversion sounds like such a mine field that you might ask, why would anyone ever agree to do it? Well, you often have to, to get the project at all. In addition, I have to say, data conversion does have a creative appeal. Its almost always unique. Unlocking old data is like unraveling a mystery. It requires real detective work. It requires knowledge of multiple systems, which takes time and experience to accumulate. If both sides agree to a reasonable plan, it is possible for all to find satisfaction and joy when the new reports line up with the old.
And speaking of the therapeutic and the meditative, just writing this has been both therapeutic and meditative for me. hope it helps you as well, and best wishes for the New Year.
...or you might. I find that, in a 25 year IT career that has always included a percentage of tech support, human nature is to use the features of an application that we know about, and only go looking for new features when a clearly defined need for one arises. In that scenario, some great functionality might be hiding in plain sight. Here are a few of my favorite "not very well-hidden" secrets. Share yours in the comments.
Google Search Filtering
Have you ever clicked the "Show Options" link on your results page? Do a search for whatever interests you and try it (it's located right under the Google logo). This will add a left navigation bar with some very useful filtering options. Of note, you can narrow to a trendy real-time search buy clicking on "Latest" under "Any Time"; choose a date range,filter out the pages that you've seen, or haven't seen yet - how useful is that for finding that page that you googled last week but didn't save? The funny thing is that Google has an "Advanced Search" screen, which, of course, can do many things that this bar can't (such as searching for public domain media).
Microsoft Outlook Shortcuts
If you use Outlook, you know how simple it is to find your mail and calendar. Other common folders are conveniently placed in your default view. But if you're the slightest bit of a power user, or you work in an environment where users share mailbox folders or use Exchange's Public Folders, than keeping track of all of those folders can get a bit tedious. That's what the Shortcut view is for. Buried below the Mail, Calendar and Task buttons, you can move it up to the visible button list by right-clicking on the bar area (in the lower-left hand corner of Outlook 2003 or 2007's screen) and choosing "Navigation Pane Options". Highlight "Shortcuts" and then click "Move up" enough times to get it in one of the first four positions. Click OK, then click on the "Shortcuts" bar. From here, you can add new shortcuts and, optionally, arrange them in shortcut groups. You can rename the shortcuts with more meaningful titles, so that, if, say, you're monitoring a norther user's inbox, you can give it their name instead of having two folders named "Inbox". One tip: to add shortcuts to a group, right-click on the group title and add from there.
Facebook Friend Lists
Nothing makes Facebook more manageable than Friends Lists, and, with the new security changes, this is more true than ever. If you're like me, your connections on Facebook span every facet of your life, from family to childhood friends to co-workers. Wouldn't it be useful to be able to send links and messages to all of your co-workers but not your friends, or vice-versa? Click on "Friends" from the Facebook menu, then all connections. If you've become a fan of a page or two, you'll see that Facebook has already created two lists for you: Friends and Pages. To make more, scroll through your connection list and click to "Add to List" option to the right. You can create new lists from there, and add friends to multiple lists.
When you share a link, note, video or whatever, you can choose which list to send it to by clicking on the lock icon next to the "Share" button and choosing "Customize".
There Are More
Did you know about these features? Are there other ones that you use that make your use of popular applications and web sites much more manageable? Leave a comment and let us know.
Why would this happen? Simple. Because metrics are numbers: ratios, averages, totals. It's easy to make metrics from financial data. It's very difficult to make them out of less quantifiable things, such as measuring how successfully one organization changed the world; protected the planet; or stopped the spread of a deadly disease.
I used to work for an org whose mission was to end poverty in the San Francisco Bay Area. And, sure enough, at the time, poverty was becoming far less prevalent in San Francisco. So could we be judged as successful? Could we grab the 2005 versus 2000 poverty statistics and claim the advances as our outcomes? Of course not. The reduction in poverty had far more to do with gentrification during the dotcom and real estate booms than our efforts. Poverty wasn't reduced at all; it was just displaced. And our mission wasn't to move all of the urban poor to the suburbs; it was to bring them out of poverty.
So the announcement that our ratings will now factor in mission effectiveness and outcomes could herald something worse than we have today. The dangerous scenario goes like this:
Charity Navigator, Guidestar, et al, determine what additional info they need to request from nonprofits in order to measure outcomes.
They make that a requirement; nonprofits now have to jump through those hoops.
The data they collect is far too generalized and subjective to mean much; they draw conclusions anyway, based more on how easy it is to call something a metric than how accurate or valuable that metric is.
NPOs now have more reporting requirements and no better representation.
So, my amended title: "We Need A Sea Change In The Way That Our Organizations Are Assessed".
I'm harping on this topic because I consider it a call to action; a chance to make sure that this self-assessment by the assessors is an opportunity for us, not a threat. We have to get the right people at the table to develop standardized outcome measurements that the assessing organizations can use. They can't develop these by themselves. And we need to use our influence in the nonprofit software development community to make sure that NPOs have software that can generate these reports.
The good news? Holly Ross of NTEN got right back to me with some ideas on how to get both of these actions going. That's a powerful start. We'll need the whole community in on this.
People seem to be pretty nervous about the new Facebook Privacy Settings, which are explained here on the Facebook blog and here on a Facebook-created video. This post, "10 New Pivacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know" from All Facebook does a great job detailing the changes. Kaliya Hamlin wrote a post on ReadWriteWeb outlining how she believes that Facebook broke their contract with users (Thank you to @peterscampbell for pointing me in the direction of Kaliya's post).
Although people seem to be reacting strongly to this new move, I think most of the reaction is more to the fact that people are nervous they will accidentally leave things open to the public that they only want seen by their friends. It is more of a, "what of my personal life should I allow my extended network to see" question than a, "what should my privacy settings be" question. And, it is not a question that should be taken lightly.
While this debate over public/private information is being played out over Facebook, it is a concept that reaches over all of social media. The social part of social media is most important, but how much should you share about yourself when representing your organization?
Facebook Fan Pages purposefully don't list administrators, so that the Page can be a reflection of an organization/company/brand and not of a single person. On Twitter, organizations are trying to figure out whether they have staff tweet from their own account, from an account that indicates they are with the organization (Holly Ross, executive director of NTEN tweets from @ntenhross), or from an organization account (Laura and I both tweet from @Idealware).
There are many options and considerations, but here is what I know about how people should think about privacy and how they portray themselves on social media channels:
Social media needs to have a more human touch than traditional media (see Idealware's Laura Quinn's post on social media tone).Therefore, people need to feel that a human is behind the words, even if they don't know exactly who it is. But, they should know who that person is whenever possible.
Some people's business and/or organization is their personal brand. Those people need to be most careful about how they portray themselves. Yet, is also more important that those people are true to themselves when presenting their public face/brand. (See this must-read post on hotel mogel Chip Conley's struggle with maintaining a presence on Facebook, and Mashable's post on How to Build Your Personal Brand on Facebook).
As the world becomes more and more networked, its is difficult to delineated "work Kaitlin" from "personal Kaitlin." And, people will still see you as representing the organization you work for when they are looking at your personal profiles. I've had people friend me after giving seminars. This is good for connections and meeting new people, but not as good for keeping personal interests or activities private. For some people this works in their favor, for some not.
If you don't want your funders, clients, boss, or mother seeing something, it shouldn't be on the internet, and it definitely shouldn't be viewable by the general public. It probably shouldn't exist, but it is too late for that. This is a little more difficult for those of us who started Facebook pages before we were in the workforce, when we thought only our friends with .edu email addresses would be able to see our profiles. This has changed, and the way we portray ourselves needs to as well.
You, and your organization, need to give as much information as you feel comfortable giving, but no more than that. If you don't feel comfortable having information public, no matter how harmless that information might be, don't make it public (seems like common sense, right?).
In sum, we need to find the thin line between protecting our privacy, and how we are representing our organizations, and allowing people to better know us and understand us.
In my efforts, most of my Information tab on Facebook is public (except for some personal contact information). My friends list is also public, but my wall and photos are closed to only my friends. That is what I feel comfortable with, and it seems like a good compromise between public/private information.
What do you think? How does how you portray yourself in your personal profiles affect your organization? What information are you leaving private/public? Please leave your comments and thoughts in the comments.
Easily Overlooked Opportunities to Polish your Brand Online
You've probably heard the adage that your brand isn't just your logo or tagline, its every experience people have with your organization. And its true that having a consistent message in everything you do, from the words your staff uses answer the phone to exactly matching your colors on print materials, does pay off in terms of presenting your organization as professional and clear about your mission.
I have been thinking lately about small ways you can extend your organization's brand and personality online that are often overlooked. As always, I get the most excited about those that are fairly inexpensive, not too difficult to execute and that provide a lot of bang for your buck. I've decided to do a small series of these over the next few weeks. Here's the first - a friendly 404 can say a lot about who you are and how much you care about your web site visitors.
404 pages When visitors can't find what they are looking for on your site it can put them off, even though it might be in no way your fault. Its not just good usability to customize your "page not found" page it's also an opportunity to reinforce your messaging and brand.
An Error 404 page is what your web server will display when the URL in the browser can't be found. Instead of the boring or unfriendly default "Not Found The requested URL /oops was not found on this server. This document cannot be retrieved" you can help your visitors find what they are looking for on your site.
First you'll need to find out how you access that page (this might be via the hosting company control panel or in your content management system) and then add helpful tips to reorient the user and provide paths to your most popular, important or interesting content. Not only is this more friendly but its a good opportunity to reinforce your messages for the visitor and show them what's available.
What should your 404 include? A friendly message and a search form are good ideas, as is a list of links to major site sections or popular content. At minimum you want to be sure that your site navigation is available on this page or a link to the site home page to help retain and orient visitors on your site.
And if you can add your sitemap, it will help your visitors find what they are looking for and show off all the great stuff on your site.
Ideally you would also include a link to email the webmaster or a form to submit broken links in case it's a bad link on your site that landed them on this page.
Alertbox: http://www.useit.com/oops Jakob Nielsen's is all business with a slant towards self-promotion, just as you would expect from this minimalist usability guru.
Whether you go simple with just a nice message and link back home, or get really fancy and try to guess what they were looking for, its a vast improvement over the default error page that can send the wrong message about your organization.
In my opinion, a short statement and bulleted list is most helpful to guide users to their intended information and its best to avoid being too cutesy or clever on these pages. Visitors are already frustrated so reminding them they may have made a mistake or forcing them to read a lot of text probably isn't going to improve their mood or associations with your organization.
This is very good news. That overhead metric has hamstrung serious efforts to do bold things and have higher impact. An assessment that is based solely on annualized budgetary efficiency precludes many options to make long-term investments in major strategies. For most nonprofits, taking a year to staff up and prepare for a major initiative would generate a poor Charity Navigator score. A poor score that is prominently displayed to potential donors.
Assuming that these new metrics will be more tolerant of varying operational approaches and philosophies, justified by the outcomes, this will give organizations a chance to be recognized for their work, as opposed to their cost-cutting talents. But it puts a burden on those same organizations to effectively represent that work. I've blogged before (and will blog again) on our need to improve our outcome reporting and benchmark with our peers. Now, there's a very real danger that neglecting to represent your success stories with proper data will threaten your ability to muster financial support. You don't want to be great at what you do, but have no way to show it.
More to the point, the metrics that value social organizational effectiveness need to be developed by a broad community, not a small group or segment of that community. The move by Charity Navigator and their peers is bold, but it's also complicated. Nonprofit effectiveness is a subjective thing. When I worked for a workforce development agency, we had big questions about whether our mission was served by placing a client in a job, or if that wasn't an outcome as much as an output, and the real metric was tied to the individual's long-term sustainability and recovery from the conditions that had put them in poverty.
Certainly, a donor, a watchdog, a funder a, nonprofit executive and a nonprofit client are all going to value the work of a nonprofit differently. Whose interests will be represented in these valuations?
So here's what's clear to me:
- Developing standardized metrics, with broad input from the entire community, will benefit everyone.
- Determining what those metrics are and should be will require improvements in data management and reporting systems. It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem, as collecting the data wis a precedent to determining how to assess it, but standardizing the data will assist in developing the data systems.
- We have to share our outcomes and compare them in order to develop actual standards. And there are real opportunities available to us if we do compare our methodologies and results.
This isn't easy. This will require that NPO's who have have never had the wherewith-all to invest in technology systems to assess performance do so. But, I maintain, if the world is going to start rating your effectiveness on more than the 990, that's a threat that you need to turn into an opportunity. You can't afford not to.
And I look to my nptech community, including Idealware, NTEN, Techsoup, Aspiration and many others -- the associations, formal, informal, incorporated or not, who advocate for and support technology in the nonprofit sector -- to lead this effort. We have the data systems expertise and the aligned missions to lead the project of defining shared outcome metrics. We're looking into having initial sessions on this topic at the 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference.
As the world starts holding nonprofits up to higher standards, we need a common language that describes those standards. It hasn't been written yet. Without it, we'll escape the limited, Form 990 assessments to something that might equally fail to reflect our best efforts and outcomes.
I just met with Brian Clark, the Program Manager for an organization called STRONG Fathers. STRONG Fathers' tagline aptly explains the organization, "Supporting men in Maine in their efforts to become skilled, active, and strong parents." I asked Brian to chat with me because I knew he had been using MySpace to reach his audience, and I was curious as to how that was going. During several online seminars I've conducted, there are always participants who quickly dismissed MySpace, as more and more people are moving towards more popular sites like Facebook. This dismal of using MySpace seemed to increase after the Causes application left nonprofit MySpace users high and dry, and only gave them notice a couple of days before (See Beth Kanter's post and Amy Sample Ward's post for more information on that).
With Causes ditching MySpace, and growth in the social network slowing down, many nonprofits seem hesitant to consider using it. Preliminary results of Idealware's Social Media Benefits Survey show that MySpace was the tool least likely to be used by respondents compared to the other tools we asked about (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, photo-sharing sites, video-sharing sites, and blogs). (Please note, analysis is not yet complete and the full report on findings will be released in early 2010). It is in this context that I asked Brian to discuss his MySpace experience.
Brian decided to have a MySpace page with the goal of increasing attendance at his live events. Based on demographic data available, MySpace seemed to be the appropriate place to go for his target audience. Although the organization reaches out broadly to all fathers, the emphasis is placed on younger dads (teens and early 20s) who may be struggling with the challenges of fatherhood. (A recent report from The Pew Research Center says that the median age of MySpace users is 26, while the median age of Facebook users has increased to 33).
While MySpace hasn't yet proven to work for Brian's intended goal, it has worked surprisingly well for understanding his audience better.
"I intellectually understood the importance of listening and understanding our audience, but I completely underestimated the value that MySpace could bring in this regard," Brian explained.
This is not the listening that we often hear in the nonprofit world (as in, listen to what people are already saying about your organization and your issue before jumping into the conversation), this is listening in the market research sense. Through his audience's MySpace profiles, updates, and conversations, Brian has been able to much better understand the needs of his group, and can therefore offer up more relevant and effective services and create relationships different to those on Facebook and Twitter.
For example, Brian connected with a soon-to-be father who is in highschool, started a conversation, and recruited that student to reach out to other student Dads to figure out how STRONG Fathers could best meet their needs - all through MySpace.
I asked Brian why he thought MySpace was a better venue for these types of conversations and introductions than Facebook and he had two pretty compelling reasons.
1. It is easier to search for a narrow audience on MySpace than Facebook. Brian showed me how he can search within a certain radius of a zipcode, for men ages 18-24, who list "Proud Parent" under their family status. This means he can better-target the group he is listening to, which is important when you have limited time and resources.
2. The people he connects with on MySpace have less of a filter than the people he has been able to connect with on Facebook. Brian relayed stories of how the men he is reaching out to speak openly (often via status updates) about things such as court appearances, fights with the mother, and the like. He explains that there is a struggle for practically all fathers between how they view, and portray, themselves as "guys" and how they want to be good fathers. MySpace has proven to be a window into that disconnect.
All in all I left our morning coffee meeting with the idea that we are (read: "I am") missing a great opportunity: using social networks for market research. Brian has redefined the way he interacts with this portion his audience because he was able to learn more about them. We should all learn from his experience. I know some larger organizations have created networks specifically for market research (Groundswell gives some good examples), but a lot of nonprofits probably don't have the resources for that. So instead, why don't we take 15 minutes each day to really listen. Not about what our audience is saying about us or our issue, but what they are letting us know about themselves, their lives, and what is most important to them. I think I just found my News Years resolution!
Here at Idealware, an organization that's all about nonprofit-focused software, we understand that the success or failure of a software project often has far more to do with the implementation than the application. So, in addition to discussing software, we talk a lot about project management. To many of us, it seems like the only thing worse than devoting our scant resources to the task of building and maintaining a complex project plan is living with the result of a project that wasn't planned. While I'm a big a fan as the next guy of PMP-certified, MS Project Ninja masters, and will argue that you need one if your project is to build a new campus or a bridge, I think there are alternate methodologies that can cover us as we roll out our CRMs and web sites, even though I know that these projects that will fail expensively without proper oversight.
The traditional project planning method starts with a Project Manager, who plays a role that fluctuates between implementation guru, data entry clerk and your nagging Mom when you're late for school. The PM, as we'll call her or him, gathers all of the projected dates, people, budget, and materials, then builds the house of cards that we call the plan. The plan will detail how the HR Director will spend 15% of her time on a series of scheduled tasks that, if they slip, will impact the Marketing Coordinator and the Database Manager's tasks and timelines. So the PM has to be able to quickly, intelligently, rewrite the plan when the HR Director is pulled away for a personnel matter, skewering those assumptions.
My take is that this methodology doesn't work in environments like ours, where reduced overhead, high turnover and unanticipated priorities are the norm. We need a less granular methodology; one that will bend easily with our flexible work conditions. Mind you, when you give up the detailed plan, you give up the certainty that every "i" will be dotted, every "t" crossed, and every outcome accomplished on schedule. But it's possible to still keep sight of the important things while sacrificing some of the structural integrity.
First, keep what is critical: clear goals, communication, engagement and feedback. The biggest risk in any project no matter how well planned, is that you'll end up with something that has little relation to what you were trying to get. You need clearly understood goals, shared by all internal and external parties. Each step taken must factor in those goals and be made in light of them. All parties who have a stake in the project should have a role and a voice in the plan, from the CEO to the data entry clerk. And everyone's opinion matters.
Read up on agile project management, a collaborative approach that is more focused on the outcomes than the steps and timeline to get there. Offload the project management by focusing on expectation management. The clearer the participants are about their roles and accountability for their contributions, the less they need to be managed. Take a look at the Cult of Done (their manifesto is at the top of this article). Sound insane? Maybe. More insane than spending thousands of dollars and hours on an over-planned project that never yields results? For some perspective, read The Mythical Man Month (or, at least, this Wikipedia article on it), a book that clearly illustrates how the best laid plans can go horribly wrong.
Finally, my advocacy for less stringent forms of project management should not be read as permission to do it haphazardly. Engagement in and attention to the project can't be minimized. I'm suggesting that we can take a more creative, less traditional approach in environments where the traditional approach might be a bad fit, and for projects that don't require it. There are a lot of judgment calls involved, and the real challenge, as always, is keeping your eye on the goals and the team accountable for delivering them.
We've just launched a campaign I'm really excited about: The Idealware Research Fund.
Almost all nonprofits struggle to keep up effectively with new software tools and tactics. Many have no one with technology experience on staff, and no one to ask for reliable software information. That's where Idealware comes in!
By helping us to seed the Idealware Research Fund, you can provide them with information about the software choices that can transform their work—increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of vast numbers of nonprofits working on critical issues, from decreasing illiteracy rates, helping abused animals, fighting global warming, and so much more.
The Idealware Research Fund will give us the flexibility to create the new, high-quality research that will most help nonprofits. By supporting the Fund, you will allow us to build on our base of more than four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of software research to provide the new resources that nonprofits need most, like on social media tools, mobile text messaging, constituent databases, and more.