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:

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:

Also, here is a handy link for Web 2.0 & social media definitions:

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:

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 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. .

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

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 ____ _______!