Article of the Month: Kevin Delaney on using free tech to compete with the big charities

I really like this article by Kevin Delaney of Academy Street Workshop, in which he discusses a situation that many of us will relate to: struggling to keep up with the administrative aftermath of a fundraising campaign.  A direct mail campaign for a small charity went really well – yay!  But the technical systems weren’t able to handle the volume, and the fundraising team couldn’t thank all the donors – yikes!

As Kevin points out, donors don’t really care if you’re a big or small charity, they still want to be thanked for their contribution.  Even aside from the donor care consideration, many donors became worried that their cheques had got lost in the post, or that the appeal wasn’t legitimate.

Instead of panicking, giving up, or throwing loads of money at an untested new system (all popular choices!), Kevin examined their systems and workflows. They set an ambitious new target – getting all donation admin including a receipt, a personalised thank you letter and a tax claim form completed and posted on the same day as each donation. And then made this happen with the smart application of free technology.  Kevin used Google Sheets (free), G-connector (free) and Autocrat (free) to connect to Salesforce and get their workflow running; and now they’re meeting their one day goal for issuing donation thanks. He outlines how it was all done in the article.

Being able to figure out ways to connect different systems and create workarounds for tech that isn’t quite right, is such a key skill for non-profit digital teams. When you have a quieter period or some time devoted to planning, consider looking at your various digital services and see what apps and integrations are out there.

You may be able to automate a manual workflow and save hours of work every week, or create an entirely new always-on acquisition channel – for example, asking customers on your online shop to opt in to email, then porting them across to your email marketing platform.

A few places to get some ideas:

Your tech’s no good? MacGyver it!

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