Not convinced? Here are 10 examples of when you or your colleagues might need to that data now, and when waiting until you go back in on Monday morning is not an option.
- Charity offices are not open 24/7 and there are always times, for instance, when a funding application nears completion, when it’s essential to have the most up-to-date facts and figures. It’s also important that the board of trustees and directors can be kept fully in the picture to show the charity has good governance.
- If you’re working on reports at home you can use your smartphone to drill down into old data, making sure your information is as current as possible. Spreadsheets are a thing of the past if all your data is stored in a cloud. You can tweak the workflow and make sure important fundraising tasks don’t get superceded by newer, less important ones added by colleagues.
- Prospective volunteers and supporters are most likely to approach you at an event or anywhere they see you with a stand or other publicity material. Strike while the iron’s hot and instantly upload their contact details so that office-based staff can access them immediately. The potential supporter could even receive an email thanking them for their interest by the time they get home. This saves supporters the need to log-on to their PC, visit a website, complete a form and then wait for a response.
- You can find out in real time when donors are donating so that you can get emails and texts of thanks sent to them automatically. This is particularly useful if you are out at an event or when publicity brings in a sudden influx of donations and you don’t want to wait for your charity colleagues to do it. Tabs can be kept on gift aid declarations so you can double check that HMRC claims are made regularly.
- Prospective major donors may ask awkward questions, like how much unrestricted funding is still unspent in the charity’s coffers? Don’t be caught out, know where you can find this data at the touch of a button. Queries can be answered immediately without needing a call to the office or having to download spreadsheets.
- Keep a list of funders’ contact details together with information about when they last contacted you. It’s always useful to set-up email alerts to remind you when you need to complete forms at the end of a funding contract.
- Use Google search to check a contact whom a major donor has just mentioned or recommended, and send a quick email to introduce yourself. It’s also good practice to have all your major contacts in your mobile phone so that when they ring you can answer them by name.
- If you get a direct mail complaint from a donor while out at an event you can immediately connect with the database and remove their details. Likewise, if someone shows an interest in the charity you can sign them up immediately.
- You could get a call from the national media, asking for data to back up a story they’re running. For instance, has the charity found it needs to spend more on a particular project because of social or economic factors? Your charity is more likely to gain repeat publicity if you can provide accurate information quickly to meet a media deadline.
- Those midnight eureka moments when you need to check that someone else really did send vital documents to everyone. Log-in and see for yourself whether there has been any feedback you need to deal with immediately.
If you and your colleagues already have instant access to data in all of the cases above, then you are well prepared. For the many that don’t, you might be surprised at how straightforward it can be to achieve. At CloudSymphony we have found that SalesForce can enable you to access all the data you need to fundraise and to run a charity, whenever and wherever you need it.
Richard Ferriman is CEO of CloudSymphony – a thriving, sustainable and coveted Salesforce.com practice in the UK working with some of the largest UK charities. CloudSymphony continues to drive innovation on the Salesforce.com platform, finding new ways to reduce cost, drive efficiency, reduced silo’ed working and offer new and exciting ways to collaborate with Staff, Service Users, Volunteers, Supporters and Members. To receive a complimentary charity health check, call 0845 468 1800 or visit www.cloudsymphony.co.uk
Photo: Reach for the cloud by grasycho on Shutterstock.com
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