Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Upic website on the way

Hey gang, sorry for the lack of posts lately. We're working on our new Upic Solutions website and blogging platform which will launch around September 1st. If you are a subscriber, you will receive instructions on how to get the new content.

In the meantime, here's one really cool news item. Cincinnati is hosting a Virtual Kickoff that is going to be the coolest event ever. Go to this website to enroll and be part of the online community. www.liveunitedgc.org

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

List of Change Blogroll

There is a new destination on the web for the best in non-profit blogs called the List of Change. Here you can find the most authoritative charity blogs/writers on the web in one easy to use location.

I love this site because it is one stop on the web where I can take the pulse of our non-pforit community. You can subscribe via your RSS reader to individual blogs or the entire site. There is also a Twitter stream to follow some of the best postings each day.

For more information about the List of Change, visit this blog post.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Joining Forces in the Back Office

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is sponsoring a webinar next Wednesday, June 3rd featuring several successful back office collaborations like Upic Solutions.

Earlier today, I spoke with Nicole Wallace, senior writer with the Chronicle, who is moderating the webinar next week to share our experience as collaborative. Upic may be mentioned in next week's webinar as another successful example of non-profit collaboration.

Presenters include:

MACC CommonWealth Services, an organization in Minneapolis created by five social-services groups to provide their finance, human-resources, and technology operations. The new group was formed in January 2007 by putting the administrative employees of the five charities together in one office. The result has been that each group can draw on the expertise of a staff of 20 employees.

Chattanooga Museum Collaboration which started out in 2001 as a fee-for-service arrangement in which the Tennessee Aquarium provided finance, human-resources, and technology services for the Hunter Museum of American Art and the Creative Discovery Museum. But over time, it has expanded. The organizations now work together on programs, like exhibits and summer camps, and with the city of Chattanooga conducted a joint capital campaign.

Lodestar Foundation, in Phoenix AZ whose mission is to expand the growth and impact of philanthropy by supporting long-term collaborations among nonprofit groups working in the same area in order to increase efficiency and impact and eliminate duplication of efforts, and programs that promote philanthropy, volunteerism and public service. The Lodestar Foundation created and funded the wildly successful The Collaboration Prize.

For more information and to register, please click here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How about FREE training on Inbound Marketing?

Attending IMU

One of my favorite social media resources is the weekly webcast (4:00 pm Eastern on Fridays) from HubSpot, also available as a free download on i-Tunes.

Earlier today, HubSpot announced a series of free webcasts for Inbound Marketing University the week of June 15-19, which provides the foundation for a certification program after one week of study.

I believe the United Way system would benefit greatly from a change in marketing philosophy from herding people into rallies to permission-based, personal communications. I've watched every HubSpot TV podcast and I am very impressed by the folks there.

Make sure to follow HubSpot on Twitter and read the blog post on Inbound Marketing University for more details.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Andar enhancements

Upic has just published a new newsletter on the Andar 360 enhancements. Upic members who wish to subscribe to this periodic newsletter, should click here to subscribe.

Also, please follow us on Twitter. Winston Faircloth and Upic Solutions both have accounts.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Upic starts a Twibe

You may know that I went to the College at William & Mary, whose nickname is the Tribe. So, when I saw the opportunity to start a Upic Twibe, I couldn't resist the play on words.

What's a Twibe? A twibe is a group of Twitter users interested in a common topic who would like to be able to communicate with each other. On each twibe's page, there is a list of twibe members. There is also a tweet stream that lists tweets from twibe members which contain key word tags. Tags are set by the twibe founder and are listed just above the tweet stream. You can browse through twibes that have already been created by going to www.twibes.com/twitter-groups.

In our case, the Upic Twibe will include member's tweets that include the keyword upic somewhere in the text. For the growing number of Upic members and United Ways on Twitter, we can filter down to just our comments.

To join the Upic Twibe, first make sure you are on Twitter and then click on this link: http://twibes.com/upic

Monday, April 20, 2009

Upic bids on 2010 Andar conference

It's been a month since the last post. We've been working on many new projects, including bringing affordable training opportunities to our members.

Upic selected Andar 360 as our standard campaign management application in 2001 and was one of the early adopters of this platform. Today, Andar has nearly 70% market share of the United Way in the U.S. Each year, Andar's United Way user community meets to review and propose product enhancements.

Upic's headquarters location in Cincinnati, OH is one of five finalists to host the Andar 2010 conference. We have secured the region's premiere technology conference center and several hotel options at $99/less per night to bring this conference to Cincinnati next April.

For more information on the Cincinnati 2010 Andar Conference, please visit www.upicsolutions.org/2010andar. Voting begins soon, so when you or your organization receives a ballot, please select Cincinnati.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

10 Twitter Tips for Non-Profit Organizations

Thanks to Heather Mansfield at Change.org for this article http://nonprofits.change.org/

Newsweek said it best: "Suddenly, all the world is a-Twitter." Simple and powerful, Twitter is a must for nonprofit organizations. I (Heather) created and manage a portal to nonprofits on Twitter @nonprofitorgs and based on my experience using site, I have crafted ten of my favorite Twitter Tips for beginners:

1. Authenticity before marketing. Have personality. Build community.
Those nonprofits who are most successful at utilizing social networking Web sites like Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace know from trial, error, and experience that a “marketing and development approach” on social networking sites does not work. Simply put, it comes across as lame. Traditional marketing and development content is perfectly fine for your Web site and e-mail newsletters, but Web 2.0 is much more about having personality, inspiring conversation, and building online community. Nowhere is this more true than on Twitter. Relax, experiment, let go a bit… find your voice. Be authentic.

2. Be nice. Be thankful. Reply and Retweet!
Twitter functions much like Karma. The nicer you are to people in the Twitterverse, they nicer they are to you in return. The more you ReTweet (RT) others, the more they will RT your Tweets in return. And whether it’s Twitter, MySpace, Facebook or YouTube, if someone does something nice for you in the public commons of Web 2.0, it is always a good practice to send them a message of “Thanks… much appreciated!”. Kindness and appreciation will make you stand out from the others and makes an excellent impression.

3. Follow everyone who follows you.
This is a hard one for a lot of nonprofits. They want to keep their “Home” view clutter free and controlled and only follow a select few. Honestly, they only want to follow those whose Tweets that they are really interested in reading. But I say this often… “This time it is not about you, it is about them.” Web 1.0 communications is all about us and our messaging i.e, your Web site and e-mail newsletter. Web 2.0 is all about your supporters and their messaging. It’s better to create a personal Twitter profile in order to only follow those select few you are interested in reading, but if you are going out on Twitter behind your organization’s logo a.k.a. avatar, it is a mistake to not follow all your followers in return. Why?

Twitter is about conversation. You can’t have a conversation on Twitter if you are not following your followers. It is a one-sided relationship. They can’t message you on Twitter if you are not following them. It’s a snub. Let’s face it… people on Twitter want to be followed. That’s what the site is about! How can you build community on Twitter if you won’t even participate with your followers? Have a look around Twitter… you will see the most successful, ReTweeted nonprofits follow everyone who follows them.

4. Use “Favorites” to organize the chaos and feature your most important Tweets!
So, if you are going to follow everyone who follows your organization (which is hopefully thousands of people) then “favorite” Tweets by those who you are most interested in reading and favorite your most important Tweets. The favorites option on Twitter is a simple, excellent tool to help you organize the chaos.

5. Don’t tweet about your coffee (unless it is fair trade), the weather, or how tired you are. Provide value to your followers, not chit-chat!

Winston's comment: AMEN!!
It’s one thing to chit-chat about the weather, your headache, or how you need coffee to wake up in the morning on your personal profile on Twitter, but it’s quite another if you are active on the Twitterverse via your organizational profile. The messages you send reflect upon your organization. Example of what not to Tweet: “Such-and-such Nonprofit got stuck in traffic this morning. Ugh! I need coffee and a vacation… and I think I am getting a headache!” No one likes a whiner and this just makes it sound like Such-and-Such Nonprofit is not a fun place to work. People follow you because they want good content from your organization on subjects relevant to your mission. Make sure your Tweets provide value and are Re-Tweetable.

6. Don’t only Tweet your own content.
Twitter is a news source. Participate in news. Tweet articles or blog posts by your favorite newspapers, bloggers, or other nonprofits (yes... other nonprofits! Find allies, build relationships). If it is a good read or a good resource, it reflects well upon your organization that you Tweeted it. There is also a good chance you might get ReTweeted if the article is deemed timely and worthy by the Twitterverse.

7. Send messages, but not via auto-responders.
There are tools out there that will automatically message your new followers. Don’t use them. It’s Spam. It’s not authentic. It’s not human. It's lazy marketing. I think this cartoon sums up auto-responders perfectly.

8. Don’t worry about those that “unfollow” you.
It’s easy to feel slighted when someone stops following you. What did I say? Did I do something wrong? Let it go. Who knows why they followed you in the first place. Give it no more than 3 seconds thought and then move on.

9. Limit your Tweets to 5 per day, and no more than 6!
I have been polling on Twitter and the Twitterverse has revealed that less is more when it comes to Tweeting. See poll results.

10. Twitter is what you make of it. You get out of Twitter what you put into it. This is the same of all Web 2.0 social networking sites.
Twitter is a fun, valuable tool that can drive significant traffic to your Web site (start watching your Web site referral logs!) and help build and strengthen your brand in the online world of Web 2.0, but just like Facebook and MySpace, Twitter requires time and energy to produce results. You get out of it what you put into it. If you do one Tweet a week, you will get the results of one Tweet. But if you Tweet 4times daily Monday through Friday… you will get the results of 20 Tweets weekly.

Again, it’s about community building around your mission and programs. Just having profile on Twitter (or MySpace, or Facebook) does not magically produce any results. You have to work these profiles. Find the person on your staff who loves Web 2.0 and enjoys working the sites and/or find a marketing/pr intern from your local university that needs to do a senior project! If they are getting college credit, then you know they have to stay around for at least a semester.

Source: Change.org's Guide to Nonprofit 2.0 - nonprofits.change.org/

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is it wise to post your pledge card online?

Rochester NY is unique in all of the United Way because it runs a spring public campaign which is kicking off this month.

Just in time for the Rochester kickoff is this Blog post from a local ministry group seeking designated giving by promoting step by step instructions and linking to the United Way website for a designation card.

Over the years, I've seen neighboring United Ways post these same types of instructions on their websites trying to get people to designate their gifts back home.

With the advent of Web 2.0's many free tools (blogs, social networking, etc) anyone can post a pledge form onto the web and campaign among their social connections to promote their cause and potentially damage the unrestricted giving that United Ways need to fulfill community priorities.

In the past, I've felt it unwise to post pledge cards online. Now, I'm not so sure. Comments?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Doing, Not Dining

Your intrepid reporter has been asbsent lately, trying to catch up from last week's NC caravan--more to follow on that front.

Got this great Twitter message today from United Way in Nashville, TN. "RT @JoyHaynes United Way Nashville changed celebration luncheon to volunteer event. Today we are Doing, not Dining!"

Instead of hosting an annual campaign luncheon today, this United Way is hosting a volunteer event and asking attendees to contribute the normal costs of the lunch to many basic need agencies in their community.

Check out this link for the full story. http://tinyurl.com/2liveunited

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

60 million spam emails blocked

Sometime in the next week, Upic's dual spam filters will block our 60 millionth spam email for our email hosted members.

On average, we block 400 spam emails per day per hosted mailbox. Almost 88% of all emails that come into the Upic data center are SPAM...a figure that is hard to imagine.

For real time reporting, check out this link. http://tinyurl.com/bkpwy9

Upic Caravan 2: Tuesday noon

Greetings from snowy North Carolina (unfortunately, no snow pics here).

Last night, we arrived at the hotel around 8:00 pm (just in time for the reception that ended an hour earlier). Our US Airways flight (our third of the day) arrived at the Charlotte airport on time, but we were delayed 45 minutes because there was no arrival gates available.

We planned on spending Monday visiting with all of the Andar User Group attendees, but ended up just seeing a few of our friends. The "buzz" at day one of the conference surrounded many of the new Andar features in the most recent release. Many of our members are anxious to start playing with the new content management options built into Andar.

This morning, we met with the IT team from Charlotte. This team has managed to keep their United Way running during a very difficult campaign season with 50% fewer technology staff than a year ago. We presented the Upic story in hopes that we may be able to supplement their team sometime in the future.

Our next stop is Greensboro, which is slated to be the newest Andar customer very soon. We're going to discuss e-pledge and paper processing services today with their IT committee.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Upic Caravan 2: Monday am

Greetings from Cincinnati: During our last caravan trip we were able to dodge the snow, but not this time. Charlotte was snowed in this morning, so our noon flight is cancelled.

Upic's job fair for potential members of our Andar Service Bureau is also cancelled today.

We're trying to rebook flights for later today. Tonight's post will recap Monday's travel adventure. (I guess this will teach me not to brag about higher temperatures in a blog post).

"Carolina on my mind"- Upic Caravan 2

This week, the Upic management team is off to North Carolina to visit several current and prospective Upic members.

North Carolina is the state with the largest number of Upic members and the host of the Andar User Group conference this year. Here is our schedule for the week:

Monday: Andar User Group
Tuesday: Charlotte & Greensboro
Wednesday: Greensboro & High Point
Thursday: Asheville & Burlington
Friday: Research Triangle & State Campaign

Fortunately, the distance between locations is somewhat shorter and we're expecting temperatures about 30-40 degrees warmer than the last caravan trip about a month ago. We will keep you posted from the road on all that we learn from our members.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Andar User Group survey results

The results are in for last week's Andar User Group survey. Twenty three people responded. Upic staff will attend the following sessions, based upon the survey results and other sessions of note:

Community Building Track: Speakers, Tours & Fairs Management (M-9:45a); MIG General Features (M-2:30p); Volunteer Management (M-4:00p); Subscriptions, Mass Email & Tracking (T-8:00a); Agency Training Best Practices (T-(9:45a); Andar Standards & Protocols (T-1:45p); Andar Surveys (T-3:00p); MIG Prospect Plans, Communications & Surveys (W-9:45a); Communications Log & Andar Connector (W-1:00p); Event Management (W-2:15p)

Resource Development Track: Intro to Campaign (M-9:45a); MIG Special Campaigns & Gift Relationships (M-12:45p); Intro to Campaign Reporting (M-2:30p); Hot Topics for Campaigners (M-4:00p); Campaign Reporting (T-8am); MIG Prospecting (T-9:45a); DB2 (T-1:15p); Campaign Rollover (T-3:00p); Leadership Functionality (W-8:00a); Demographics vs. Techniques (W-1:00p); Andar Connector (W-4:00p)

IT/Other Track: Core Enhancements (M-9:45a); CB Enhancements (M-12:45p); Andar 2020 (M-4:00p); IT-Training Best Practices (W-8:00a); Leadership Best Practices (W-2:15p); CB-Best Practices, Standards & Protocols (W-4:00p)

Modules Track: Content Management (M-12:45p); MIG Module (T-1:15p); CRM New Features (T-3:00p)

Training Lab Track: Data Mining Basics (T-8:00a); Mailing Lists (T-9:45a); CB Data Mining (T-1:45p)

Finance Track: Intro to Finance (M-8:45a); Processing (M-10:00a); Credit Card/ACH Module (M-2:30p); Patriot Act Compliance Tracking (M-4:00p); DC Master Accounts (T-9:45a)

ePledge/eCommunity Track: CB Budgets & Demographics (M-21:30p); Logic Module & Outcomes (T-8:00a); epledge Notes & Options (W-8:00a); ePledge Training for Companies (W-1:00p); CB Dashboard & Custom Bio Tabs (T-3:00p); Campaign Managers Online review (W-4:00p)

See this link for the full survey results: http://tinyurl.com/dgbml9

Monday, February 16, 2009

How to use Twitter & online tools

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is hosting a live chat on Tuesday, Feb 17th at noon eastern titled: "Social-Media Workshop: How Nonprofit Groups Can Use Online Tools to Build Awareness and Raise Money".

What's the difference between sites like Digg, Facebook, and Twitter? How do they work? How can your organization use these tools to connect with potential donors or supporters? What lessons can be learned from the recent Twestival -- a massive fund-raising event for the group Charity: Water that was organized on Twitter?

Join the social-media experts Chris Garrett and John Haydon for a discussion of these and other questions.

Click on this link at noon eastern time for the live chat session: http://tinyurl.com/c3djcp

Also, here is a handy link for Web 2.0 & social media definitions: http://tinyurl.com/d9yvwm

Friday, February 13, 2009

Andar Users Group survey

With the tough economic conditions, many Upic members have reduced the number of staff travelling to the Andar User group next month in Charlotte, NC.

Upic is sending several of our staff to the conference to obtain training information/materials from the most important sessions. We are committed to attending the top 2 sessions per time slot as voted by our members in this survey. We will develop future Upic web-based training options from the information we gather via this survey.

Please use this schedule to determine your priority sessions as the survey does not list individual sessions, just time slots and categories.

This survey will close at 5:00 pm Eastern time on Friday, February 20th and is limited to the first 100 responses.

Click here for the one page survey: http://tinyurl.com/as5bf7

Monday, February 9, 2009

Give5Now Minneapolis update

Minneapolis provided an update today on their Give5Now campaign.

"Give5Now was born organically in response to feedback we’d been hearing from donors, media, etc (I know times are tough, and I wish there was something bite-sized I could do to respond). So, we...put up a very simple website and created the referral tool that you saw if you gave. In all, we spent probably 10-12 hours in development and then another 25-30 in promotion (setting up facebook cause, twittering, preparing staff and volunteer email template."

"We raised just over $18,000 online and got a $20,000 check from a random donor. Of the 900+ donors, over 80% were new to United Way (or at least not in our database as current donors). 1 in 4 people that viewed the video on the www.give5now.org website proceeded to give a gift, and the average gift was a little over $20. More importantly, we got picked up by all 4 major newscasts locally, were written up in both dailies and had 3 radio stations talk about the campaign."

--Andy Goldman-Gray, United Way Twin Cities

For less than 40 hours of work, United Way Twin Cities gained almost $40,000 in donations and increased their public profile as a responsive, engaged organization.

We are also tracking similar United Way efforts and will post their results here as they become available.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Upic Caravan Day 5: Columbus

Jim, David & Winston are now heading down I-71 now that we have completed our fifth site visit in five days.

Our day five location is the "Arch City", the relatively obscure nickname for Columbus, OH! The United Way of Central Ohio (UWCO) hosted us for a recap of 2008 and a look ahead to the upcoming year.

The primary topic of discussion was the pending implementation of Microsoft CRM 4.0 later this year. UWCO is one of a dozen United Ways in the country who are preparing their culture and processes for a successful implementation of this solution.

Upic is contributing to the national CRM pilot by providing the hosting for the learning circle's test of the UW-CRM prototype later this spring. Upic is well positioned as a hosting provider for United Ways with our commercial grade, SAS70 audited data center. Our staff recently attended MS CRM 4.0 training so that we can begin to understand the potential of this tool for our members.

It's been a long and rewarding week...probably one of the best weeks of my career. More to follow.

Philanthropy 2.0 survey

If your United Way is active in Web 2.0 or social media, please make sure to fill out this short survey that is making the rounds on a number of non-profit technology blogs. http://ping.fm/VYxyL .

Thanks, you will be glad you did. Winston

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Upic Caravan Day 4: Toledo

Day four of our five day, five city, 1200 mile road trip brought us to the "Glass City" otherwise known as Toledo, OH!

There is much excitement at the United Way of Greater Toledo (UWGT) these days. As we pulled up to their building, we saw a massive construction crane signalling the beginning of work on UWGT's new headquarters adjacent to their current location. I'm looking forward to joining Upic's Board at our December meeting to see the finished product in person.

There were a number of very good discussions today with the staff members at UWGT. My overall impression: there is a deep desire by the UWGT staff to have the ability to share and obtain best practices from other Upic member United Ways. We discussed several examples of sharing Upic's community knowledge: USL reports & tips, paper processing pre-audit steps, CBDB training & agency support, resource development reports, etc.

Later this year, Upic will launch our new member's only web community that will facilitate the sharing and searching for best practices within our membership. Our discussions today certainly got my wheels turning on lots of different ways we can provide even more value to our membership.

After three plus days on the road, it certainly was nice to have some "home cooking" during our visit. The staff at UWGT hosted a pot luck lunch for us and the UWGT participants--hopefully we will get that recipe for crock pot cake. The lunch was a powerful symbol that even during tough times the best ideals remain-- hospitality, team work, and cooperation always produces wonderful results.

So, we have made the turn and are heading towards home. Friday is day five of our tour. We are heading to the "Arch City" for our final stop on this week's tour. (And no, we're not circling back to our Day 2 tour stop). Where are we?

Upic Caravan Day 3: Indianapolis

It's Day 3 of the Upic customer caravan-- a five day, five city, 1200 mile road trip visiting Upic's customers here in the Midwest. Today, we're in the "Crossroads of America"--Indianapolis, IN.

United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) has a "Upic/Andar team" which is includes cross-functional representation from the various departments. This team serves as Upic advocates and ambassadors providing early intelligence about service issues and potential future needs. Among our Upic members, UWCI raises the largest dollar amount using electronic pledging hosted/supported by Upic...nearly $27 million.

Overall, our conversations focused on improving the speed and reliability of the Virtual Office platform within the UWCI offices. Our customer satisfaction survey from December reported higher satisfaction results outside the office with our platform. We are going to engage a local networking company to repair their issues as we prepare for an expansion of Internet bandwidth.

On our drive to our next caravan stop, the three of us (Jim, David and I) started rethinking our approach to membership relationship management. With two lines of business (infrastructure & application support) we are not as proactive as we need to be especially with projects that cross business lines. Having the ability to look holistically at our response to an individual member across all of our interactions would be a great benefit to Upic. Hmmm...I see an internal Upic CRM project on the horizon.

Our next caravan stop will be "transparent" shortly...can you guess where we will be?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Web 2.0 Seminar @ NKU

Northern Ky University is hosting a FREE follow-up to last fall's Web 2.0 conference, this time featuring mobility applications.

Web 2.0 visionary Dion Hinchcliffe returns to the METS Center to discuss the use and implementation of Web 2.0 in a mobile world.

A lunch presentation from Dell discusses PC Mobility topics. Last, but not least, Apple shares their unique insights on mobile application development and deployment.

To register for this FREE conference, please visit http://imi.nku.edu/imimobility/

Monday, February 2, 2009

Upic Caravan Day 2: St. Louis

It's day two of our five day, five city, 1200 mile road trip visiting Upic customers in the mid-West.

Yesterday, we started the caravan in Louisville. Today, we are in the "Gateway to the West"--St. Louis.

The United Way here joined Upic as a full service customer during 2008. We provide hosting for Andar and MS Office/Email, help desks for technical and application support, along with Andar e-pledge configuration and custom reporting services.

We had great sessions with resource development, community investment and with members of the management team. It was wonderful to hear direct customer feedback and ideas to improve Upic services. There were times I wished we had recorded some of the positive comments for prospective members.

We're learning that we need to blend the use of our on-site staff with the specific expertise of the staff at Upic headquarters. This blended approach could be especially helpful in delivering training and for requirements gathering, for example. We're also seeing an increasing need for import/export functionality using Upic staff resources.

We're now on the road to our next "pit stop" where checkered flags salute the winners. That's our hint to our next location...

Upic Caravan Day 1: Louisville

Upic's management team (Winston, Jim & David) are on a 5 day, 5 city, 1200 mile customer caravan this week visiting some of our major United Way customers in the mid-West.

Our first stop: Louisville, home of Metro United Way. I began my United Way career here in 1982. Those first two years, we did not have any personal computers in the office. Our 1984 campaign chair donated the first two PC's ever used by this United Way to help prototype a company campaign tracking system they had developed in-house.

Times have really changed. I'm writing this blog post in the back seat of our rental car going 70 mph using a laptop with wireless Internet connection. Amazing!

We had a great visit today with about a dozen Metro United Way staff from a variety of departments. Louisville, along with High Point, were the original Virtual Office customers almost four years ago. We will be back in Louisville in a few weeks to replace the original site server which will significantly improve system speed and reliability.

Among the topics discussed: CRM, Qbase, USL-Andar integration, Internet filters, agency designation reporting portal, and the need for more advance planning/communication. We heard rave reviews for the Upic help desk and of our local CSR, Charlene at nearly every session.

Today was also the launch of our newest service, the live Andar help desk. Members calling our toll free help desk number now have the option of selecting 1 for Andar help which routes the call into Andar services group to quickly respond to Andar reporting and performance issues.

We're now on the road to our 2nd destination. Any guesses?

Hint: Meet me in ____ _______!

Friday, January 30, 2009

United Way Super Bowl ad -sneak peak

Just posted on You Tube is this weekend's United Way Super Bowl commerical...it's 15 seconds long...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Welcome to Live United Y'All

As a person born and raised in the south, when I saw the title of Louisville United Way's new blog Live United Y'All, I couldn't resist checking it out. I encourage you to do the same. It's well written and engaging.

Speaking of Louisville, the Derby City is also the feature on tonight's American Idol. I hope there is a Metro United Way connection on the show tonight.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Live United & social media

The firm behind United Way's Live United program have just posted some additional information on their blog at the following link: http://bit.ly/YUzy

I'm really excited to see the strategic direction that comes from this engagement. It will be interesting to see how local United Ways work together to leverage one another's influence in the larger online community. Imagine the overall impact if local United Ways would work together in a collaborative way.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Upic team gathers in Cincinnati

Earlier this week, Upic's customer service team gathered in Cincinnati to review our progress over 2008 and to initiate new service improvements for the upcoming year. Watch this blog for exciting new services over the next few weeks from ideas generated at this meeting.

Upic staff members pictured above (left to right):
Front: Dan Zix, Jim Mead, Pat Daugherty, Charlene Hoffman, Winston Faircloth.
Middle: Craig Irvin, Tim Witham, Jan Atterson, Patti Sperry, Debbie Jacob, Brian Miller.
Back: Kyle Sweeney, Andrew Woten, David Poe, Lisa Cotton, Nancy Abbott.

Upic assists winner of Truist promotion

Upic congratulates the United Way of Central Maryland (Baltimore) in winning the recent Truist promotion for the greatest increase in transactions for the 2008 calendar year among all United Way affiliates.

Upic is pleased to have played a small part in their victory. When UWCM faced a need for experienced Truist configuration resources, they turned to Upic to supplement their staff. Over a few short weeks, Upic executed 18 campaign accounts raising over $660,000 in employee donations.

We see this as a growing opportunity for United Ways who need to supplement their existing staff with experienced, certified Upic resources. If your United Way could use this help, or if you are an experienced Truist configuration resource, please contact Winston Faircloth.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My favorite time saver: Google Reader

With personal time at a premium, I no longer go to my favorite web pages to know what's going on, I let the web pages come to me with Google Reader. For me this has replaced traditional newspaper and magazine subscriptions and many of my internet "favorites" on my web browser. With Google Reader, when any of my sites change or update, it shows up on a single web page.

Here at Upic, I track news articles and social media mentions of both "United Way" and "Upic Solutions". Earlier this week, I was able to pass along a service compliant that was posted on Twitter to a United Way in South Carolina just by seeing it pop up in Google Reader.

Overall, this is a BIG time saver for me, allowing me to focus on the most relevant news and social media postings without having to visit multiple websites or publications. Below are two You Tube videos that describe the benefits of Google's reader technology.

Google Reader in Plain English

Getting Started with Google Reader