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Congregation Connect Signs 17 New Synagogues and Goes Live with Temple Israel in Boston

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. Asheville, NC, April 19, 2016 – Congregation Connect (www.congregationconnect.com), a Salesforce AppExchange application developed by Cloud for Good, helps faith based organizations manage their congregations. It leverages the Salesforce platform to manage all of their constituent data. The application helps strengthen relationships and better engage with members, raise more funds, and communicate more effectively, while delivering better programs and services. It’s based on a unified data model that offers a 360-degree view of a community. Congregation Connect provides a robust account receivable sub-ledger, Hebrew calendar integration, event management and powerful reporting capabilities. It is built for the social and mobile era, so faith based organizations can reach their constituents wherever they may be located. The UK Federation of Synagogues recently selected to move forward with implementing Congregation Connect for their 17 affiliated synagogues. “After looking into a range of synagogue membership systems it quickly became clear to us that Congregation Connect is the one package that can meet all of our needs in terms of recording membership and accounting data for our synagogues. We are very excited to roll out Congregation Connect to all our member synagogues; it will ensure that our organization runs as efficiently as possible and enable us to build up a full picture of our core membership that we have not been able to do in the past,” stated Judy Silkoff, Communications and Project Manager, UK Federation of Synagogues. Additionally, Temple Israel Boston, has gone live with Congregation Connect and the Salesforce platform. “We recently went live with Congregation Connect and it has already made a huge impact...

Keeping it Clean: The Data Import Basics

Data is a four letter word, but it doesn’t have to be a dirty one. Clean and complete data means trustworthy data, and trustworthy data is what will ensure user adoption at your organization. Importing and maintaining clean data can feel like a daunting chore, especially when you’re just getting up and running in Salesforce, but there are a number of tools to lighten your load. These range from the basic import wizards and merge tools that are built into Salesforce, to a number of more powerful applications. And the really good news is, all of it, even the third-party programs, are free to Nonprofits, so there’s no added cost to making sure you avoid the heavy price of dirty data. Best Practices: Start by Improving the quality of your data files Whether you need to load data records into Salesforce for the first time, or you want to improve the quality of the data that’s already in your system, or you need to augment that data with new information, there are some best practices you should follow before running any imports. No tool will perform its functions well if the file you’re importing with it contains sloppy or incomplete data. Your first step should always be to do some basic level of cleanup on the data files you plan to import. This can include: Put First Names and Last Names in separate fields. Unless your constituents are pop singers and Brazilian soccer players, they probably have at least two names, and you should load them that way. Last Name should be 100% populated. Keep the data in your...

Preparing Data for Import: Sticking Stuff Together

There are times, in the life of a database administrator, when you just have to go back to good ol’ Excel. We use it for taking data apart, for finding duplicates and flagging them, for sorting up and down to find anomalies and errors. We use it to replace whole columns of one number with another. Francis Scudellari from the Cloud for Good team started this discussion with this excellent post, Keeping it Clean: The Data Import Basics. Check that out to get started thinking about your data importing. One of the most common uses, however is for putting cells TOGETHER. Usually this happens when I have a FirstName column and a LastName column and we need a Full Name column also. Sometimes we need to put one line of the address together with the second line. Excel calls this function “concatenation,” but I always think of it as “sticking things together.” Let’s see just how easy this is. We start with a name issue. Here we have a list of names. Some are husbands and wives, but for the first example, all we want to do is get full names for everybody. Say I’m addressing envelopes for an invitation and I want to invite each individual. I’ve exported my contacts pages, and I’m looking at split names. I need to find a way to get them all into one cell. Click the formula button above your table. It looks like fx. Notice that I’ve already created the “destination” column. Your concatenation needs someplace to go! Insert function comes up and CONCATENATE is at the top of the list!...

Preparing Data for Import: Separating Couples’ Names

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. As Francis wrote a few weeks ago, it’s important to import clean data into your Salesforce system. Gaining & keeping users’ trust is especially critical at the beginning of a project. When we work on a QuickStart project, the client is always tasked with preparing their data in a spreadsheet file with all the columns named and set-up. Even if you’re paying a consultant to manage your data import, you can save money by making sure you’re giving them the best data possible for import. And consultants won’t be able to catch anomalies in your data the way someone who’s more familiar with it can. Whether you’re migrating from another database, or finally moving away from multiple spreadsheets to manage your data, there are a few principles you want to keep in mind, and some tools you can use in Excel or another spreadsheet program to achieve them. SEPARATING COUPLES’ NAMES Many organizations have data where both members of the couple are listed in one field. If your data has a separate Last Name column, and you have a single column in which couples’ names are together, you’ll want to separate them (unlike Trish’s post from last week about sticking them together). You’ll have a lot more flexibility going forward with Salesforce if we use the 1 Contact = 1 Person concept consistently. What you can do for data import, that will make your data preparation much easier, is to just separate the column with the two first names together into two columns: If there is a mix of “Chris &...

Change Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -” ― Heraclitus Change can be hard. So hard, in fact, that there are whole sections of bookstores dedicated to managing change.  When we work with clients to implement Salesforce, there is often a system we’re replacing.  Clients are used to that old system.  We sometimes hear, “But we’ve always done it this way!” So how can you make sure that this change to a new system (Salesforce) sticks?  Here are some tips: Have an executive sponsor for the project. An executive sponsor should provide clear vision as to the reasons for the change, and should be involved in the process. The executive sponsor should embrace the new processes and should work to incorporate the new toolset into their management toolkit. This could include new reports, new workflows, or new ways of gathering information. Organizations don’t change, individuals change. Just because it is software that is being implemented doesn’t mean that the people don’t have to change.  Often, it is the staff member who creates the mailings, reports or call lists, whose job is about to be automated.  That’s not a bad thing as it frees them up to do other mission critical tasks, but it can be scary.  Acknowledge that fear. The ADKAR model (http://www.change-management.com/adkar-book.htm) says that in order to be successful with change individuals have to have the following 5 characteristics: Awareness – I know why the change is needed. Desire – I’ve made the personal decision to participate and support the change. Knowledge – I know how to...