Agile vs. Waterfall [vs. the KELL Approach]

NDI New MexicoThe Waterfall model’s earned a reputation for being top-down—a rigid system that minimizes client engagement. Agile, on the other hand, can involve so much evolution and engagement that a project quickly balloons out of budget. That’s why KELL takes a blended approach to developing solutions.

With Waterfall, once conception is complete, you move onto initiation—then analysis, then design, and so on. The advantage of this forward cascade is knowing exactly what to expect for the scope and outcome. The drawback is that once a step is complete, there are no second thoughts.

Agile, on the other hand, offers an incremental and iterative approach. It’s freeform, allowing client and consultant to work on small modules at a time and tweak as they go.

KELL’s clients are typically looking for a solution to displace a legacy system. And, as nonprofits, they often face budget limitations. As a result, the most effective path is generally a hybrid approach of Agile and Waterfall. We take the best elements of each, combining this hybrid process with our all-star project managers’ nonprofit expertise.

Read more: Agile vs. Waterfall [vs. the KELL Approach]

Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation for Nonprofits

Marketing Automation NonprofitsEmail marketing and marketing automation are terms that are used somewhat interchangeably, causing confusion for nonprofits that are trying to decide which solution they need. Both solutions are based on using email as a primary way to communicate with your constituents in the hope that some will convert into donors and ongoing supporters. In addition, many email marketing platforms are adding some look-alike marketing automation features, attempting to try to close the gap between the two solutions, which only makes it more difficult for nonprofits to distinguish between the two. But in reality, the terms “marketing automation” and “email marketing” are not interchangeable and these products are designed to do very different jobs. It’s like comparing hiking boots to running shoes. Sure, both can get you to your destination, but the journey, and quality of the experience (not to mention the time it takes to get you there) are quite different.

Read more: Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation for Nonprofits

Data Migration 101: It's Like Moving Your House

moving housesMoving database's is a lot like moving houses. First, you need to inventory your stuff and decide what you want to move vs. purge. Then you need to consider where in the heck you'll put your old stuff in the new house. "Can we even fit the piano in the new living room?". Then you'll have to box everything up and label it carefully so that once you've moved the boxes you can unpack them in an orderly fashion. Physically moving the boxes can be daunting and always takes more time than you expect! And then, once you're in the new house, you'll likely change you mind 2-3 times on where the couch fits best.

Seriously, this is a LOT like migrating data.

Read more: Data Migration 101: It's Like Moving Your House

360-Degree Reporting Helps Habitat for Humanity New Orleans Rebuild the Future

After Hurricane Katrina devastated the housing stock in Greater New Orleans, the local Habitat for Humanity chapter jumped into action. The affiliate increased its workload to address the desperate need, as well as to accommodate the huge volume of goodwill pouring into the city.

With the support of volunteers and donors, Habitat more than doubled the amount of homes built each year. Unfortunately, managing their segmented databases became less of a priority.

“We were dealing with the aftermath of a disaster, and so we had a lot of dirty data at the time,” said Jenna Mitchell Turnage, Assistant Director of Advancement for New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity.

“We needed to consolidate and clean up. We wanted a system that would allow us to start mining our data.”

They had relied on Donor Perfect to manage gifts and CiviCore for volunteers. The two systems kept their information in data silos, forcing staff to perform manual exports for communications.

Time-intensive tasks and potential for human error bogged down the staff’s progress. In addition, if a given constituent both donated and volunteered, Habitat New Orleans had no clue. KELL Partners knew that Habitat needed systems that would talk to each other.

So Adam Kramer, KELL’s Nonprofit Success Pack Practice Lead, implemented a fully integrated database pulling together Luminate Online, Common Ground Enterprise, Volunteers for Salesforce, and Salesforce. This new, coordinated system totally transformed Habitat New Orleans’ perspective.

“We were able to get a more comprehensive overview of each constituent,” said Turnage. “It’s one thing to say we have a really meaty database of over 20,000 constituents, but now we know the reality of how many of those are actually engaging with our mission and how they are getting to us and what their interactions are.”

New Orleans Habitat for Humanity had achieved real relationship visualization. They could see people who were engaged in more than one role. They could talk to New Orleanians in a way that honored what they’d been through, while addressing non-locals with gratitude for what they’d done.

Salesforce empowered Habitat to grow newsletter subscriptions and implement targeted strategies to nurture donors. Their newfound 1:1 communication proved especially beneficial for online fundraising.
Their newly integrated data is now readily available for a variety of purposes. The staff uses the Salesforce Dashboard function to spot trends in specific categories of funding. They create engaging graphics of their progress in various campaigns. Turnage estimates that KELL cut the time spent generating reports for funders, board members and internal clients by 50 percent.

“Salesforce has enhanced our ability to communicate to our board in a way that they like to see information,” said Turnage. “We’ve set it up so our management team receives an email each week that provides information in a really bite-sized way.”

Habitat for Humanity doesn’t just build houses. Since Hurricane Katrina, the Greater New Orleans affiliate has had a $307,000,000 impact on the city’s economy, creating 3,434 jobs. And they are grateful to have Salesforce in their tool belt.

“We are huge advocates for using Salesforce as a platform,” said Turnage. “Now that we’ve gone this route, it would be hard to use anything else.”
Read more about the project on KELL’s client page.


With Salesforce, Harlem Pride Nurtures Relationships

When Harlem Pride reached out to KELL, the organization had already implemented the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack. For most tasks, NPSP worked perfectly, right out of the box. But Harlem Pride needed certain customizations. Chief among these was a more flexible connection between the recipient of a gift membership and the person who originally paid.

“We have a lot of people who buy two or three memberships at a time, and of course for Salesforce that would be one contact with one big gift,” said Carmen Neely, President of Harlem Pride. The all-volunteer organization found it difficult to target the right person for renewal. In addition, a lack of integration with certain third-party apps resulted in wasted time.

In the organization’s sixth year, however, Harlem Pride hit a milestone in terms of both the success of its events and the size of its budget. It was time to unleash the full power of Salesforce. Fortunately, the KELL Partners team has tons of experience helping nonprofits go faster and further with the platform.

“What the Salesforce implementation is going to help us do is use the data to make better decisions,” said Neely. As a fully customizable relational database, Salesforce has tons of built-in features for recognizing connections between pieces of stored information. But it’s also adaptable to unique business models.

As a first step, KELL Partners Senior Project Manager Jitschak Rosenbloom integrated Salesforce with the add-ons that Harlem Pride uses. Now, volunteers spend less time on reporting and more on programs.

“It’s just automatic now,” said Neely. “Before we were pulling reports from multiple sources and then having to manually re-consolidate it.” She estimates the integrations have cut reporting time by 20%.

In addition, Rosenbloom created custom objects to redefine the fundamental structure of memberships in Salesforce. “We can now track our membership in the way that we like,” said Neely.

KELL also created a seamless architecture on which Harlem Pride can continue to build. They provide workshops on health, trans needs, homeless youth and other issues of importance to the community. With Salesforce, they are integrating additional apps to see what programs truly help, what’s needed, and who wants to be more involved.

After wrapping up their most successful fundraiser, Harlem Pride’s board feels inspired about the future. “It was larger than ever before, higher attendance, greater visibility,” said Carmen. “And now just internally we’ll be able to see what these numbers really mean when we have our retreat next month.”

Read more about the project on KELL’s client page.

With Salesforce, National Fatherhood Initiative Paints the Full Financial Picture

Research shows that children raised without their fathers face a greater risk for poverty, drug abuse, teen pregnancy and other problems. These chilling statistics drive National Fatherhood Initiative’s® (NFI) work to help fathers understand their importance and become more involved in their children’s lives.

The organization takes a holistic approach, offering fatherhood skill-building programs, resources and training to communities, correctional facilities, military organizations and government agencies. NFI produces several research and evidence-based curricula for these partners.

Read more: With Salesforce, National Fatherhood Initiative Paints the Full Financial Picture

Complex Programs Call for a 360-Degree View

At Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, the project managers, program specialists and other crew members work diligently toward one goal: science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity. Unfortunately, the many data systems that supported this mission weren’t always so unified.

Information about people and programs could be found in individual staff members’ spreadsheets and contact lists, the university’s fundraising system, and the Center’s mailing list subscriptions. None of this information was integrated for the benefit of staff.

Read more: Complex Programs Call for a 360-Degree View

A Proven Path to Success

I’ll never forget the exact moment I realized my career would involve computers. It was the summer after my freshman year in college and I was helping my dad finish a room above his garage. Along with the framing, sheetrock and electrical work, we had to build a new staircase with about 15 steps. Easy right? Not so much. We struggled. Getting the measurements just right for the risers, perfecting the mitered joins of the trim, accounting for imperfections in the wood, ugh, it was hard. After about 5 hours of trial and error we finally got one stair complete. As we sat back and admired our work, all I could think of was “ctrl-C then ctrl-V”, copy then paste. That was the moment.

Read more: A Proven Path to Success


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