Strategies for aligning technology with organizational strategy.

Nonprofit Artificial Intelligence: Governance and File Sharing

To prepare for the use of Generative AI tools like Google Gemini and Microsoft Copilot, it’s vital that nonprofits understand and actively manage their file sharing and access permissions to a degree that most never have.

A Skills Matrix Can Help Your Nonprofit Utilize Technology

A skills matrix can help you recognize where more training is called for, and help identify power users. Use this template download to get started mapping staff skills and training needs.

Nonprofit Artificial Intelligence: Unlock Its Power For Impact

As the contours of the AI terrain within the nonprofit sector continue to unfold, this curated expedition serves as an invitation to all nonprofit leaders to embark on a transformative journey—one that is brimming with potential and steeped in purpose.

How to Choose: Microsoft Dynamics vs. Salesforce for Nonprofits

We explore the 9 key factors that executives should consider when selecting between these two powerhouse platforms for their nonprofit organization. From cost-effectiveness to integration capabilities and user-friendliness, we provide a comprehensive analysis of both Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce to help you make an informed decision for your nonprofit’s future growth.

The Art of Technology Selections

The art of technology selections does not end with making your decision, it is also crucial to factor change management into the equation. Doing so sets you up for greater adoption rates, fewer bumps along the way, and more effective use of your chosen technologies throughout your organization.

Change Management Q&A with Debbie Cameron

“You need to make sure all of that change management is set up around the technology. Otherwise, there’s no chance that technology is going to be successful. So just double down on looking at all the elements that are around the technology and not focus on the technology itself.”

Key Attributes of a Tech-Enabled Nonprofit

What it should look like when technology is well-embedded within the organization. 

Fundraising CRM to an Enterprise CRM – three key steps to consider

Whatever your motivation and reasoning, moving to an enterprise CRM solution could be the right move to understand more holistically, and serve, your constituents.

Executive Roles in Technology Projects: Change Management Challenges and Strengths

How nonprofit executives and other leaders can make technology-supported change efforts a priority in order for for them to be successful.

ERP for the growing nonprofit

Enterprise Resource Planning solutions are finding their footing at growing nonprofits. With planning, ERP can be the centerpiece of a nonprofit’s finance and operations ecosystem.

6 Steps on Your Path to a Successful CRM Implementation

Successful CRM implementation and usage is a long-term investment. Planning and executing your implementation strategy will set your organization up for success. Use these 6 steps to plan.

Make Your Data Strategy Drive Your Organizational Strategy

A data strategy, for many nonprofits, becomes one of innovation and exploring new ideas.

A 9-Step Strategy for Selecting a CRM Platform for your Nonprofit

Kyle Haines outlines strategies that help nonprofits select and use a CRM platform as a key underpinning of crucial relationship management.

Debbie Cameron Elevated to Partner at Build Consulting

Build Consulting Founding Partners David Deal and Kyle Haines are excited to announce that Debbie Cameron has joined the leadership team of Build Consulting as a Partner, effective May 1, 2022.

Six Differentiators in Successful Enterprise-wide Technology Projects

Learn about differentiators that can help lead to a successful enterprise-wide technology project.

Creating a More Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Nonprofit Tech Sector

Build is pleased to announce continued financial support for four worthwhile organizations that staff volunteer with, donate to, or serve in other ways.

Are You Ready to Build on the Digital Transformation a Pandemic Inspired?

An overnight transformation is turning into a lasting one. Find insights in this article from Kyle Haines.

Nonprofit Technology Strategy: How It Should Relate to Organizational Strategic Planning

“Technology should work for the organization, not the organization for the technology.” Or “Business decisions should drive technology decisions.” No matter how it is specifically expressed, this truth has been core to Build’s belief system since our founding in 2015. Too many times in our careers, we had seen nonprofit leaders attempt to implement a […]

Nonprofit Technology Roadmaps: How Far Ahead Should They Look?

When nonprofit organizations are assessing their technology needs, and creating technology roadmaps to address those needs, they often wonder how far ahead their roadmap should look.

Power Up Donor Relationships: Take a Fresh Look at Your Data for the New Year

The beginning of the year is a natural time to look at your data from a donor’s perspective. What can you learn from data that helps you nurture behavior, including giving, throughout the calendar year?

What Is a CIO and How Can They Help My Organization?

Learn the difference with a CTO, and how a CIO can serve as a valuable resource to your nonprofit organization.

Preparing to Integrate Your Nonprofit’s Valuable Data

Three questions to consider as you start to integrate your siloed systems, and other tips from Peter Mirus.

14 Strategic Tips to Increase Staff CRM Use

Build Senior Nonprofit CRM Manager Jo Butler shares simple tips on CRM adoption to get everyone at your nonprofit organization using your data.

Nonprofit Data Analysis Tools

An update on our study of products – Tableau, Power BI, and Qlik are easy to use and low cost to try, which attractively positions them within the market to nonprofits looking to understand and present data visually.

The Nonprofit Information Strategy Framework

An “information strategy” is a document that defines how your organization will leverage information to achieve its mission. It prioritizes and sequences the projects necessary to do this effectively.

Don’t Wait for New Technology to Start Making Improvements at Your Nonprofit

Making improvements at your nonprofit begins with you! Don’t wait for new technology. Build Consulting shows low and no-cost steps to make operational improvements until you can introduce new technology solutions.

Evaluating Market Research and Benchmarking Systems for Associations and Nonprofits

Learn how Build led a recent evaluation and selection process to find a market research and benchmarking system for our client.

Nonprofit Technology Change Management

Nonprofit technology change management is the art and science of helping people to prepare for changes or disruptions that will happen or are happening. This resource round-up can help you manage change in your organization.

Nonprofit Accounting Technology: Allocation Process Automation

Allocations to accounts can be time-consuming. Getting the right process and tools in place to automate allocations in your ERP system can result in more timely and accurate financial information being provided to Development, Program, and Executive staff.

The Five Perils of Rushing Nonprofit Software Selections

Rushing nonprofit software selections has many perils. Learn to avoid these five common mistakes and get better tech projects success rates, even when the timeline is shortened.

What Can a Build CIO Do for You? Let Our Clients Tell You

Unsure of the benefit an interim or part-time CIO would have on your organization? Let two Build CIO clients tell you about their experiences

Driving nonprofit impact with online communities (a blog series)

Learn about online communities, the systems that support them, and how to use those systems to your nonprofit organization’s advantage.

Why are online communities important for nonprofits?

Nonprofits can use online communities to create deeper important engagement with donors, members, and volunteers, leading to improved outcomes.

Potential nonprofit uses for an online community

To help you imagine what an online community might mean for your nonprofit organization, here are a few potential scenarios for use.

Nonprofit online community software features

In general, full-featured online community platforms suitable for nonprofit organizations have the following core features.

Nonprofit online community software providers

A brief summary of some leading software providers of nonprofit online communities, as well as some solution providers within related categories.

Selecting the right nonprofit online community software

There are many potential online community software options out there that might be applicable to your needs. So how do you choose the correct one?

How to be successful with your nonprofit online community

Nonprofits are successful or fail with each of the leading online community software products. Success depends on you build the community.

How to Keep Your Nonprofit’s Data and Systems Secure

Can you prevent your nonprofit from being the victim of a cybersecurity attack? We provide some reasonable measures for protecting against threats, why more nonprofit organizations don’t prioritize cyber security, and what should be included in a cybersecurity assessment.

10 Questions Your Nonprofit’s Technology Roadmap Should Answer

Many nonprofits first come to Build Consulting because they want a better technology roadmap for their organization. This article will help you think about what your nonprofit’s technology roadmap should include.

CRM Adoption Strategic Tips

Build Nonprofit CRM Manager Jo Butler shares CRM adoption strategic tips on how to get your CRM used by everyone at your nonprofit organization. Use your CRM platform to better engage with and manage constituents, by incorporating accountability and training at every level of your nonprofit.

6 Traits of Successful Nonprofit Technology Leaders

“Soft” skills are as necessary for successful leadership as technology know-how! Learn about Build’s experience with these six traits of successful nonprofit tech leaders we have worked with.

Selecting Software: How to Choose a Mid-Sized Nonprofit CRM

If you are looking for ways to leverage your CRM data more effectively, or looking to make a new investment entirely, we share some differentiators between mid-level systems available on the market to help as you consider your options.

How to Improve Donor Data Management at Your Nonprofit

Improving donor data management can greatly increase your organization’s fundraising results. So why can it feel so hard to focus on practical steps to keep data clean and valuable? Learn how to prioritize improving donor data at your nonprofit.

Five Raiser’s Edge NXT CRM Best Practices from Growth-Oriented Nonprofit Organizations

Build Nonprofit CRM Manager Jo Butler shares our experience: when nonprofits excel at using Raiser’s Edge NXT or any Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) platform to better engage with and manage constituents, they will increase revenue, foster internal collaboration and decrease the operational costs associated with fundraising.

Quick Projects: You Can Make a Difference

Partner David Deal shares management tips to make quick projects successful, using the recent example of creating a map for DC community distribution of PPE.

Black Lives Matter

We stand in solidarity with those seeking to bring about change. We do not tolerate racism. We do not believe in complacency.  

10 Tips for Selecting Nonprofit Software, Systems, or Platforms

Selecting a nonprofit technology software? Use these ten tips to help guide your organization to find the right one.

Staff Turnover: A Hidden Challenge for Nonprofit Technology Effectiveness

Staff turnover is a hidden challenge to nonprofit technology initiatives. Learn to begin your project with a commitment to continuity throughout staff turnover, which plays a critical role necessary for success.

Debbie Cameron Presents: Change Management, Not Just Buzzwords

Good Tech Fest, an excellent conference on data and technology for organizations within the social sector, took place virtually this year in Chicago, May 19-21. We love Data Analysts for Social Good, the organizers of the event! This year, Build’s own Debbie Cameron presented on Change Management: Practical Solutions, Not Just Buzzwords.

Should My Nonprofit Buy or Build on Salesforce?

David Deal shares his experience with nonprofit Salesforce products and discusses ways to decide whether custom-built, pre-built, or third party options make the most sense for your organization.

Security in Slack and Microsoft Teams: Collaboration Vs Risks

Security plans for your organizations need to include the collaboration platforms used for business—whether in use by employees or contractors, and whether provided/supported by the organization or not. Otherwise, your plans ignore critical and probable points of vulnerability—and these blind spots could prolong the incident response process.

What is a Tech Platform-Centric Nonprofit?

A platform-centric nonprofit uses the technology platform as a key foundation in their technology strategy. This focus on a platform allows the nonprofit to act on information and data in new connected ways. Build has worked on a number of these transformations, and the projects demonstrably deliver value with a clear link between the effort and the outcome. Successful platform-centric nonprofits have a technology roadmap that guides their ongoing investments in platforms and people.

How to amplify under-represented voices in the Salesforce community

Amplify is a mentoring community of Salesforce database users, administrators and consultants, aiming to empower under represented colleagues. Build Consulting was proud to support Amplify with a donation in 2019 and will continue to support this and other efforts to expand the Salesforce community.

California’s data privacy law and nonprofits

Answering long-term questions for our nonprofit clients: How this legislation, along with GDPR, shifts the landscape of constituent expectations for how nonprofits will behave—based on their experience with businesses that ARE subject to the law. What new technology features will be created in CRM platforms, and other systems managing constituent data, to help organizations more easily be compliant with current and future privacy laws?

Salesforce.org is Not a Philanthropy

David Deal shares insights and observations from the recent Dreamforce gathering and employee discontent with Salesforce.org’s new emphasis on hard sell tactics, including pressuring nonprofits to purchase licenses they don’t need or won’t use. Learn how to avoid these extra costs and keep Salesforce.org working for your organization, or explore alternatives.

How to Start and Sustain Data Quality Conversations at Your Nonprofit

Data quality conversations can be hard to get started at nonprofit organizations. Leaders want to generate better mission outcomes by improving data quality—but don’t know what that takes. Database staff have a better sense of the technology and process, but might not have the opportunity to use their voices effectively. Learn how to start the conversation and get executive buy-in.

Time Management: A Hidden Challenge for Nonprofit Technology Projects

A hidden challenge of nonprofit technology initiatives can completely scuttle projects. Learn to begin your project with a commitment to good staff time management, which plays a critical role in doing the business requirements, review and selection, and implementation necessary for success.

How to Get the Best Stakeholder Input for Your Nonprofit Tech Project

It can be tempting to think the latest software will solve your challenges purely through the power of technology! But the real work begins with your people. You need stakeholder input to develop your requirements and secure buy-in.

Microsoft Making Strides with Nonprofit CRM Strategy

Microsoft is starting to make strides with nonprofit CRM strategy, and it’s getting much more interesting for a wide range of nonprofit needs. Salesforce still holds an edge in many respects, but this will be a dynamic space to watch for innovation and integration.

Help Your Software Vendor Help You: 6 Tips to Guide the Demo Process

How can you encourage the most valuable software demo possible? How does the RFP factor in? What are the best ways for you and your future software vendor to get on the same page? Help your software vendor help you: six tips to guide the demo process and get the information you need to make the best decision.

Salesforce Acquires Salesforce.org: Thoughts on the Potential Impact to the Nonprofit Community

As the story develops here are some of our initial thoughts on Salesforce.org and Salesforce for nonprofits. Build will be monitoring the effects this deal has on our clients, our nonprofit technology colleagues, and other CRM vendors in the mid-sized nonprofit marketplace.

Selecting Software: Mid-Sized Nonprofit CRM Review

Frustrated with the limitations or complexity of your nonprofit constituent relationship management system? Do you find that your tools for digital donor engagement don’t connect well to your nonprofit CRM? Do you face challenging obstacles to your nonprofit’s effectiveness and success with CRM data? These Nonprofit CRM trends observed at the 2019 Nonprofit Technology Conference should be encouraging.

What Makes Nonprofit Technology Projects Succeed?

Build often says “more than 50% of nonprofit technology projects fail.” We say this not to dissuade nonprofit organizations from pursuing technology improvement projects, but rather to highlight the primary reason failure occurs: the technology moves forward, but the organization does not. In this article, we provide perspective and resources that will help you become an advocate for successful technology project approaches at your organization.

Selecting Nonprofit Software: Technology Comes Last

Build Consulting firmly believes, and communicates to each of our clients, that four key things must come before selecting software. If the organization hasn’t previously considered each of these things in a structured manner, the changes for selecting the wrong software, or even selecting the right software but still experiencing implementation failure, are exponentially increased.

Selecting Software: How to Avoid Paying for More Licenses Than You Need

We frequently see nonprofit organizations pay for more software licenses than they need, particularly in the early implementation phases. This can cost a nonprofit thousands of dollars that would be better invested in other ways. 

The top 5 ways nonprofit leadership should support technology change efforts

Learn the top five things nonprofit executive leadership can do to ensure their major technology/organizational change projects are successful.

Microsoft Invests in Nonprofit CRM

It looks like Microsoft is ready to make a significant investment in Dynamics CRM (now Dynamics 365 for Sales) to make it nonprofit-friendly. Read this to learn about the recent developments and why this might be a good thing for the nonprofit sector.

Webinar: Five Hacks to Weave Constituent Experience Into Your Organization

Constituents increasingly expect a rich, personalized experience when engaging with nonprofits. Fortunately, being an expert in “constituent experience” doesn’t mean you must be an expert designer or programmer.

Where are all the good nonprofit strategy articles?

Nonprofit leaders crave nonprofit strategy insight. They want to know: “Where are the good sources for nonprofit strategy?”

Will Dynamics 365 Help Your Nonprofit Walk on the Cloud?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud platform that combines customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Most nonprofits are familiar with the acronym “CRM,” but fewer are familiar with “ERP.” ERP systems have a core finance/accounting component, around which other components (such as HR, procurement, and supply chain management) revolve.

Recent changes at Omatic Software—what does the future hold?

Both the Raiser’s Edge and Omatic Software are changing. What does that mean for the future of products you’ve grown to rely on, such as ImportOmatic?

Omatic Software and Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge

We often recommend that nonprofits with the Raiser’s Edge consider how Omatic Software products can improve their data management.

A Good Nonprofit Database Manager is Hard to Find

One of the largest challenges facing Build’s nonprofit clients is hiring and retaining good database managers. But what can they do about it?

What is a nonprofit database manager?

Nonprofit database managers help organizations bring their data closer to providing an accurate and accessible representation of activities and outcomes.

Nonprofit Online Community Software: Small World Community

One nonprofit online community software product that intrigues us–among the many options available–is Small World Community, offered by Personify.

What is CRM? Nonprofit CRM Defined

CRM stands for Constituent Relationship Management. It is borrowed from Customer Relationship Management from the for-profit sector.

Salesforce’s Rocky Revolution In the Nonprofit Space – A History (Part 1)

Salesforce’s entry into the nonprofit space sparked a CRM revolution. We dig into the history of Salesforce’s efforts to serve the nonprofit community.

Navigating the Options on Salesforce for Nonprofits (Part 2)

Salesforce offers a large number of options for nonprofits. How you approach those choices will impact your chances for success.

Salesforce.org: Looking to the Future (Part 3)

What does the future hold for the Salesforce platform and Salesforce.org in the nonprofit community? We consider the challenges and opportunities.

Nonprofits and the Salesforce Revolution (Intro)

Salesforce has quickly progressed to being viewed as the right tool for a variety of nonprofit needs. But, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride.

Getting the Most from Conferences, the Build Way

Conferences the Build way – they can be overwhelming and rewarding at the same time. People think that it’s all about developing the perfect agenda..

Has Blackbaud changed course to better serve nonprofits? An interview with Blackbaud CEO Mike Gianoni

Build’s candid interview with Blackbaud CEO Mike Gianoni on the company’s changing culture and product development after Blackbaud changed course

Microsoft for Nonprofits: Roundup (Dynamics CRM, GP, SharePoint)

We recently highlighted three signature software products available from Microsoft for nonprofits: Dynamics CRM, Dynamics GP, and SharePoint.

Is Microsoft Dynamics CRM Right for Your Nonprofit?

Organizations that rely on fundraising should consider other options than Dynamics CRM. However, that does not mean it is irrelevant to the nonprofit space.

Nonprofits and SharePoint: 4 Tips for Success

Here are four important tips for avoiding some of the largest obstacles nonprofit organizations face with Microsoft SharePoint Online.

The Executive’s Role in Technology-Supported Change

Nonprofit executives and other leaders must make technology-supported change efforts a priority in order for for them to be successful.

Is Slack Right for My Nonprofit?

Slack is a messaging app touting itself as “Team communications for the 21st century.” It’s a product with lots of buzz, but is it right for my nonprofit?

Blackbaud SKY: Mike Gianoni wants to revolutionize how nonprofit software looks and acts

Mike is pivoting how the company approaches integrating and building products via the Blackbaud SKY platform. In the process, Mike is also trying to chart and lead the future of technology for nonprofits.

Reducing complexity: Mike Gianoni is streamlining Blackbaud’s software portfolio

If you haven’t experienced the challenge of understanding Blackbaud’s software portfolio things can get very complex, very quickly.

Losing its way: What Blackbaud CEO Mike Gianoni found when he came to the company – and what he is trying to do about it

Blackbaud went on a spending spree to acquire new companies, but did not pay sufficient attention to integrating and rationalizing their products.

Data Analysis Tools for Nonprofits

Data Analysis Tools for Nonprofits – Tableau and Power BI are uniquely positioned within the market to develop a large group of users

Let Data Tell the Story of Your Nonprofit

Data Tell the Story of your nonprofit organization: it is much more about culture, process, and discipline than it is about technology tools.

12 Ways for Nonprofits to Connect Data Analytics to Organizational Outcomes

Information Week has released a companion piece to our recent blog post titled “12 Ways to Connect Data Analytics to Business Outcomes.”

How To Make Smart, Data-Driven Decisions

Information Week recently published “9 Way to Tap Into Smart Data-Driven Decisions.” about reducing organizational impediments.

Curing Shiny Object Syndrome | A Blog from our friends at NTEN

Vendors are competing to deliver the message that their shiny object will be the one to change your organization. NTEN helps to set reasonable expectations.

Information Strategy Helps Nonprofits Answer 5 Critical Questions

Information Strategy Helps nonprofits in 5 aspects – Leadership Governance Data Processes and Technology. Learn how Build uses this framework with nonprofit clients and how your organization could develop your own Information Strategy.

Blackbaud’s Announced API Could be a Game Changer

Blackbaud’s Announced API SKY Blackbaud has joined the modern era of application development in its announced enhancements to how it approaches APIs.

Blackbaud and Salesforce Released New User Interfaces

New User Interfaces – both Salesforce and Blackbaud will tell you that a beautiful new interface will lead to increased adoption. Build hopes so!

The Single Most Important Formula for Nonprofit Technology Projects

Formula for Nonprofit Technology – One organization at a time, Build helps OO+NT=TO. Old Organization + New Technology = Transformed Organization.

Nonprofits Need Mission-Oriented Information Strategy

Mission-Oriented Information Strategy is so much more than the systems you select: it is about better governance and better business processes.

Successfully Managing Multiple IT Projects for Global Impact

Successfully managing Multiple IT Projects for Global Impact is complicated, presenting a daunting challenge for any organization. Build can help.

Three Indispensable Aspects of a Successful Software Implementation

Successful Software Implementation – Nonprofit organizations often consider the expense of selecting and purchasing information softwarebut fail to consider the other costs.

Get More Out of Your Information Systems

Many nonprofit organizations spend a lot of money on your information systems, but do not get a lot out of them. Build Consulting helps maximize ROI.

CRM Requirements Gathering – Not a Snooze-A-Poloosa!

Lisa Fay Wellek, frequent Build project member, recently wrote an article for The Connected Cause, CRM Requirements Gathering – Not a Snooze-A-Palooza!

A Disruption in the Nonprofit CRM Force

The Nonprofit CRM landscape has been changing rapidly. Huge announcements from Blackbaud and Salesforce have generated a ton of excitement and, frankly, a lot of questions. We are grizzled veterans of this industry and even we are left with lots of questions. We recently partnered with Community IT to try to answer some of those […]

The Great Nonprofit CRM Migration – How to Stay Out Front And Not Get Trampled

There are throngs of nonprofits who are looking to change the way that they think about nonprofit CRM. We hear all kinds of motivators for switching CRM. They range from the ability to access information via mobile devices to simply being frustrated with vendors. All of these are reasonable motivators. But here’s the thing about change – it takes work. […]

We’re Bringing an End to the Database

Databases don’t end poverty, cure diseases, better the environment, or solve societal problems.  Tools, on the other hand, can. A database is something that most of us don’t either know how to use or tap into. On the other hand, a tool helps you build something special.  Databases don’t end poverty, cure diseases, better the environment, or solve societal problems.  Tools, on […]

A customer service perspective on nonprofit constituents

In our work, the word ‘engagement’ gets bandied about all the time. build’s experience is that when organizations talk about engagement, they are talking about their organization engaging with customers/constituents, not their customers/constituents engaging with their organization. build believes that the key to successful engagement is not figuring how you want to engage customers/constituents, but the other way around. Here’s […]