(800) 242-8371 info@Chaverware.com

Preparing for Your Data Import: Some Useful Excel Tips and Tricks

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. Filters are kinda sorta great… What’s the first thing I do whenever I open a new spreadsheet? I filter it. Why? Because filtering is a great way to quickly analyze your data. Need to see which columns are and aren’t populated? Filtering is for you. Have users who don’t like to enter the same value, the same way twice? Use a filter to locate the inconsistencies. You may have used Sorts to handle similar scenarios, but filters give you more control. Using them, you can also avoid having to constantly rearrange the rows of your data, lowering the odds of making a mistake. What cool things can you do with filters? Say Goodbye to Empty Columns – A column with no data in it is a column you don’t need to import. I like a lean import file, and that means removing the clutter of blank columns. Spot a Bad Date or Phone – Filtering is a great way to quickly spot bad or missing dates, which can cause those pesky import errors. It can also clue you in to phone numbers that are inconsistently formatted. Make Sure It’s the Right List You’re Picking – Picklists in Salesforce are not very forgiving. It may be a small dot, but “Jr” and “Jr.” are not the same suffix. Filters can help you see those data vagaries. Then, a Find and Replace will equal a sparkly clean picklist. Work the Combinations – Filters are also a great way to check consistency across columns, for example, to check the data integrity...

5 Ways to Make it Easy for People to Fill Out Your Form (And Decrease the Dropout Rate)

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. So, you’ve set up an online form. Now you’re ready to rake in the data! But maybe the responses (i.e., the filled-out forms) aren’t pouring in as quickly as you thought they would. When you check what’s going on through the analytics, you notice that the completion rate is low, and the dropout rate is high. Which means most of the people who open your form don’t fill it out — they just close the tab and leave. Why? Your visitors might be confused and frustrated. There could be obstacles in the form that you’re not aware of. Picture this: You’re driving somewhere. You’re the only car on the road. The drive is smooth and effortless. But the road gets rocky and uneven, so your drive becomes more and more unpleasant. Then you approach a cluster of giant potholes in the road. You stop. They’re so deep that you might actually get stuck if you try to cross. Are you going to risk it? Or are you going to make a U-turn and try another road? Yep, you can see where this is going. It might be silly to compare a form to a road, but most visitors will take the easy route. If your form presents any sort of obstacle, you’re going to lose respondents. On the other hand, if you make it easy to fill out a form, your respondents will be happier — and more likely to keep going. The main thing you should keep in mind is that a form should be easy to...

Congregation Connect Spring 2015 Release Highlights

We could not be more excited about to talk about the Spring 2015 release of Congregation Connect.  When we start planning a release we give our releases an internal code name and the name this release was “Listening.”  This highlights our focus for this release, which was to take the feedback we have been hearing from you, our clients, and really listen to what you were telling us.  We then used that information to determine what improvements we should prioritize.  You may not have known it, but you helped define what made it into this release. Thank you for being fantastic customers! We have heard that some areas of the product are not as easy to use or as robust in functionality as you want.  We have also heard some areas are not easy to maintain without assistance from us.  We focused on those 3 areas for this release and are thrilled to highlight now just a few of the over 75 changes made to Congregation Connect.  You can look forward to our release announcement in just a few weeks.  The announcement will include information on how to install the Spring 2015 release and where to find the full release notes.   Ease of Use   Virtual Terminal: Refund Processing Having to leave Congregation Connect to go over to Authorize.net to process a refund was not the user experience we wanted our clients to have.  That is why we have added in the functionality to process a refund directly from within the Virtual Terminal in Congregation Connect.   Tax Calculation Having only one way to calculate the split between tax deductible...

Understanding the Total Cost of Ownership

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. As part of our ongoing series on strategic planning for technology, this post focuses on the different costs that should be assessed as part of any project planning exercise.  Understanding the true cost of an initiative can help you determine when (or whether) you should take on a new system initiative, usually in combination with some sense of the potential benefits to be realized from the implementation.  We’ll discuss different ways to evaluate the Return from a project in a future post. Cost constraints are often one of the first things that people think of when talking about technology, in large part because technology investments generally involve purchasing or building something tangible, such as servers, laptops, or software to install. While the outright cost to purchase technology is usually pretty apparent, it’s not the whole story, as it doesn’t take into account the the hidden costs of maintenance and support and the less-tangible costs of training, user adoption and efficiency.  Adding these costs in is the concept of Total Cost of Ownership or TCO.  This concept applies as well to the implementation of new systems as it does the acquisition of hardware. When evaluating the Total Cost of Ownership, there are three main elements to take into account:  Acquisition cost, Implementation cost and Support/Maintenance cost. Acquisition cost:  Typically, this category will include the outright purchase of hardware and software and is usually accounted for as a capital expense in the organization’s budget and can be depreciated over time.  Acquisition through in-kind donations or grants should also be accounted...

5 Key Items to Run a Successful Salesforce Implementation

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. When implementing new technology in your organization or expanding your existing system, a little bit of planning can go a long way in ensuring the success of your project. Planning the project well and having subject matter experts and/or experienced project managers can help the project move smoothly. Every project will have bumps in the road, but below are some tips that will help smooth out the bumps. Caution #1: Run your discovery sessions well. Now is the time to sit down with the main “sponsors” of the project (whether it’s the executive committee or a small team of people within a department) and your client team to make sure you fully understand what your teams needs. Allow your team to do a “brain dump” of their ideas, pain points, and needs. Don’t focus yet on the technological solution; just allow them to talk about their processes or desires, or even allow them to vent for a few minutes about what simply doesn’t work for them. Allow the conversation to be organic and go in its own direction, but don’t miss an opportunity to ask follow up questions. You may hear a tiny little factoid during a conversation that is crucial to the implementation. Also make sure you have documented those “exceptions” that always pop up every now and then. Sometimes the exceptions aren’t worth planning around, but sometimes they are. After the “brain dump” is finished, the questions are answered and you have a clear idea of what your project will look like, take some time to...

Salesforce Sandbox and How To Use It

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. Who doesn’t like the idea of a sandbox? You can get creative, get dirty, and get better at what you’re looking to accomplish. Salesforce has some nice options here. Depending on the type of sandbox you spin up, you have different features, capabilities, and pricing. Your sandbox options are; Developer (Free / 6 per EE instance) Developer Pro (Free / 1 per EE instance) Partial Data (Paid / Contact your Salesforce AE for pricing) Full (Paid / Contact your Salesforce AE for pricing)   This page explains the sandbox types that you can create & a general overview. How can I create one? Go to: Setup | Deploy | Sandboxes > you can create either a Developer or Developer Pro sandbox for free (assuming your instance has some available to create). The amount of time it takes to create a sandbox is dependent on the size of your production organization. Contact your Salesforce account executive for pricing for additional Developer Pro sandbox licenses or for a Partial Data or Full Sandbox. What can I do with it? Test New Features – With each new release, Salesforce rolls out the new features in a sandbox. This is a great place to test new features/customization before they are available in your production environment. Install App’s – You can install apps from the AppExchange and test them out. This is very helpful when assessing options for a new roll-out or simply exploring how to expand your environment with new functionality. Application Development – You can built and test without risking the...