Association Today

Association News You Can Use

Paul Lundy is Co-Founder and President of Fonteva, the number one cloud technology solution for associations that manage members and donors.

Paul is a veteran leader of customer-driven organizations in the US, Europe and Asia. He spent many years living and traveling abroad for The Coca-Cola Company and McCann-Erickson.

Prior to co-founding Fonteva, Paul served as Chief Marketing and Sales Officer of GlobalCrypto, an early stage cyber security company . Paul was also co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Marketworks, a cloud-based Fonteva eCommerce company and eBay's largest Preferred Solution Provider. Over 3,000 businesses in 37 countries used Marketworks to automate their online sales operations when Paul sold the company in 2007.

Paul holds a Bachelor degree in Journalism and Marketing. He began his career in advertising with McCann-Erickson, where he held the position of Vice-President, Account Group Director, for the US and then Europe. Subsequently, he worked as Director for The Coca-Cola Company with a primary focus on the Asia Pacific.

Paul is an active member of the nonprofit Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Facebook Fab Five: Posts that Get You Noticed

Facebook Fab Five: Posts that Get You Noticed

Just how many friends do you need? If you’re talking about Facebook friends, the jury is still out. However, recent changes to Facebook, including the new push to purchase ads to ensure the majority of your fans see your content, have people wondering just how worthwhile it is to keep supporting this social media channel.

I tend to agree with contributor Julia Campbell’s observation that “the biggest social media network does have value for marketers, namely due the sheer number of people using it and the amount of time they spend on it.” If they want to make the most of Facebook, Campbell suggested that there are five kinds of posts that nonprofit organizations should be using. I’ve summarized them briefly here.

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Collecting Coins: United Way Worldwide Partners with Coinbase

Collecting Coins: United Way Worldwide Partners with Coinbase

Every penny counts. As cliché as it may sound, this is an understatement for nonprofit organizations who must manage their resources carefully in order to fulfill their missions.

The recent announcement of the United Way’s partnership with Coinbaseis an excellent example of how new technologies are making it possible for nonprofits to reach new donors while minimizing costs. Donors around the world can contribute to the United Way’s Innovation Fund using bitcoin currency. Donations to the fund will be accepted directly from a donor’s digital wallet via desktop or a smartphone without any transaction fees.

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Featured Fontevan: Lauren Smith

Featured Fontevan: Lauren Smith

Country Cool
Here’s a little trivia on a Friday. Which Fonteva team member has met the most country music stars? If you guessed events coordinator Lauren Smith, you’d be right. In fact, that’s how Lauren got her start.

“Country music got me into event planning,” she said. “I was pulled into a country restaurant and bar in South Florida to help the new management with marketing and events. I started working the events there and fell in love with it right away.” Along the way, she got to meet Craig Morgan, Taylor Swift, and Eric Church as well as other country artists.

Other stops on her career journey included positions working at few localVirginia wineries and an animal hospital. Then she worked as the marketing and events coordinator for a provider of high-performance network and application delivery Platform Solutions in real-time environments.

No stranger to technology, the lure of using programs like Salesforce and Pardot in addition to planning events drew Lauren to Fonteva.  She also looked forward to being a part of a start-up company.

And then there’s food. “During my first interview, Paul (Lundy)and I talked about hosting some food events, and I knew it was a perfect fit for me,” Lauren said. She makes a mean banana bread, by the way.

When she isn’t baking, Lauren coordinates Fonteva’s participation in industry events as well as planning its webinars. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Johnson & Wales University in Miami. Lauren is an avid animal lover, and in her free time, Lauren has started competing in dressage with her horse Jamil Degas.

 Her Favorite Food: Shrimp Scampi

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The Coupon Craze

The Coupon Craze

“Do you have any coupons?” That’s the question most retail employees ask of customers during the check-out process. And these days, consumers are likely to respond to this question by holding up their smart phones to be scanned by the cashier. However, that’s not to say that paper coupons aren’t being used, but they have declined in popularity.

Be they paper- or pixel-based, we love coupons. Whether it’s a specific dollar amount or percentage, coupons— and the idea of saving on our purchases—are firmly engrained in our consumer culture. After all, millions of viewers have tuned in to watch TLC’s Extreme Couponing each week since its official debut in 2011.

Consider these stats:

*174 billion coupons were distributed during the first six months of 2014, and 1.375 billion coupons were redeemed during this same period.
*Shoppers overall are regularly using, on average, 5.8 methods to discover and acquire coupons, combining both traditional and digital methods.
*Three billion more coupons were available in the United States, and consumers redeemed 25 million more coupons, primarily for non-food products, in the first half of 2014, compared to the same period last year.
*80% agree that digital coupons “close the deal” for them when undecided on a purchase.
*81% of consumers find it fun to see how much they can save with coupons or loyalty cards

Sources: 2014 Inmar Shopper Behavior Study, NCH’s 2014 Mid-Year CPG Coupon Facts, RetailMeNot, Deloitte

In 1998, the Promotional Marketing Association (now the Brand Activation Association and a division of the Association of National Advertisers) designated September as National Coupon Month. was founded the same year. To commemorate National Coupon Month 2014, the company is hosting a sweepstakes where it will award $25 VISA gift cards to 10 winners a day for 30 days. When the sweepstakes concludes at the end of the month, one lucky person will win $10,000.

According to the company, on average,, receives more than 17 million unique visitors a month on average, and millions of consumers use its and Grocery iQ mobile apps. The site generated revenue from over 1.3 billion transactions in 2013.

If you’re not a coupon aficionado, based on reported coupon savings for the D.C. area, this might be the month to become one. According to RetailMeNot’s latest survey nearly all Americans use coupons, and Baltimore and D.C. ranked #6 and #8 respectively in the Top 10 Couponing Cities.

Certainly, any deal or discount that your association offers must be carefully evaluated in terms of its potential risk and return on investment. At the same time, the coupon craze has likely touched your members and should not be ignored.

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Who’s Who Wednesday: Lori Christianson

Who’s Who Wednesday:  Lori Christianson

Throughout 2014, we want to give the blogosphere the opportunity to get to know the Fonteva team and our clients better. To that end, we've introduced a monthly feature, Who’s Who Wednesday.

This month we’re pleased to introduce you to Lori Christianson, directory of technology for the National Head Start Association. NHSA is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life. Christianson began her career at NHSA three years ago.

Next year she hopes to finish work on a master’s degree in technology management from University of Saint Thomas. She has a Bachelors of Science in early childhood education from Purdue University. Christianson has lived in Minnesota since 1990 and works from home. She has two sons; both are in college.

Read on to learn more about her.

1 - What’s on your desk right now?
--Too many pieces of paper – contracts, schedules, notes from meetings
--The start of my weekly TO DO List

2 - What's the best advice you ever got?
Early in my career, I had a supervisor suggest that I get more information from our outside technology support vendor. I learned that I could resolve issues on my own without calling them. That’s how I realized that I had a knack for computers, and it saved us money because I didn’t have to rely on them.

3 - What's the most played song on your Android?
Heavy on music from 80s, the music that I grew up with

4 - What do you do when you're not at work?
My husband and I moved into a new home a few months ago, so we’ve been unpacking and adjusting to a new space. This is a smaller home, and we need smaller fixtures and furniture. We have been shopping at thrift stores and consignment shops.

5 - If you weren't working for NHSA, what would you be doing?
Working at some education related nonprofit or in real estate

6 - What is your favorite Fonteva For Associations feature? Why?
We’re really happy with a number of features. One of my favorites is the membership card. Our members can go into the system to print their own cards. My hope is that when they do, they can see and connect with other NHSA resources.

I also like the reporting and dashboard capability. We create a nice dashboard for our membership, which shows current goals as well as historical data (i.e. membership this year versus last year).


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Turn on the Tube

Turn on the Tube

Take it away! This is the 33rd in a series of posts that have been featured on Fonteva’s blog to highlight important strategies associations can take away from other industries. In today’s sixth-degrees-of-separation world, your members are assessing your association not just in comparison to similar organizations but in relation to the totality of their experiences as consumers. As such, we want to help you stay abreast of key trends and best practices, those takeaways that may benefit your association.

“If you want to know how to do X or you’re thinking about buying Y, look on YouTube.” Referrals to this social media channel as a credible source of information have become relatively commonplace. It has gained a reputation for providing useful insights on just about anything.

Jeff Zwelling, CEO and co-founder of Convertro, a provider of marketing attribution technology, recently said of YouTube, “The content is rich, descriptive, and usually helpful.” Zwelling made this observation when asked to comment on the results of a recent study from AOL Platforms, which concluded that in terms of paid advertising on social media platforms, YouTube is most successful.

The report reviewed data found within 500 million clicks and 15 million conversions during the first quarter of 2014. Social purchase interactions were tracked using Convertro’s solution. In his discussion of the study, Matt Southern, a lead news writer at Search Engine Journal, referenced the three stages of the online purchasing cycle in which social platforms play a role in influencing potential consumers:

1- First Stage: Consumers are introduced to a product via social media.

2- Middle Stage: Consumers may see re-targeting ads that drive them back to the product they were originally viewing online.

3- Last Stage: Consumers often go out of their way to search for the product that was introduced to them during the first stage or represented to them during the middle stage. At this point, they are ready to buy.

According to the AOL Platforms study, YouTube is the strongest social media channel for both introducing new products and closing sales, with Facebook and Google+ coming in as the second and third best platforms respectfully. Zwelling shared a personal story that illustrates how successfully YouTube operates a marketing and sales tool.

In search of a new coffee maker, he narrowed his choices to three and then watched videos of YouTube of people using all three machines. Zwelling chose the one that “matched [his] idea of a good coffee maker.”

For me the key takeaways from this study’s findings are the continuing importance of providing consumers with information they find descriptive and helpful and the power of leveraging video to present an organization’s products and brand. Turning on the tube could open up new opportunities for successfully marketing your association’s products and services.


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Featured Fontevan: Jay LeBlanc, PMP

Featured Fontevan: Jay LeBlanc, PMP

In the Running

“Mentally, the challenge seemed overwhelming,” said Fonteva Senior Project Manager Jay LeBlanc, PMP about running his first marathon. “At the time the longest run I had ever done was eight miles, and there were times when I did not think I could do it.”

But Jay persevered and reached the finish line. He brings that same tenacity to the projects he manages. Recently, he worked with a small nonprofit, Ulman Cancer Fund, to set up Salesforce. “As part of the project, I helped them to re-engineer their business processes,” Jay explained. “While it wasn’t the most technical or challenging project, it was definitely one of the most fulfilling as it is helping to make real difference in people’s lives.”

Throughout out this career, each project has taught him about key elements of working with customers. Chief among them has been the importance of communication. One of his big takeaways was that while he can be focused on getting things done, “I also have to communicate with customers at each step to ensure they are on-board and comfortable,” Jay said.

So what brought him to Fonteva? “I very much enjoy the work environment and ethos of start-up companies,” Jay said. “The primary focus is always to be to get things done. Most importantly, everyone is directly aligned to the success of the company.”

The Best Advice he was ever given: In life you have to do four things: 1) Show up. 2) Pay attention. 3) Tell the truth. 4) Don’t get attached to the outcome.

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On Their Honor: Members Track Their Own Continuing Ed Hours

On Their Honor: Members Track Their Own Continuing Ed Hours

By now most people, including your association’s members, are comfortable with the efficiency that self-service provides in our day-to-day lives. We’ve gotten used to doing things for ourselves.

Almost every industry or sector offers some form of self-service option. ATMs have been around for more than four decades, and self-checkout was introduced in grocery stores in 1998. Now, many major retailers, such as Home Depot, offer self-checkout to customers.

Innovations in technology have facilitated the rise of self-service in our culture, and some associations have responded to this trend by allowing members to track their own professional development hours or credits online. Doing this allows members to have this important information at their fingertips for reference whenever or wherever they may need it.

Through its member portal, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC) gives its 29,000 members access to a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Online Recording Centre. APEGBC members can record their professional development hours and generate reports based on specific criteria. By entering their data, they have easy access to records of their professional development.

Here are two key components of CPD Online Recoding Centre:

1- Assists by tracking the limits associated with the amount of professional development hours a member may claim, per category, per calendar year - displaying the remaining available hours left to be claimed when entering professional development activities

2- Automatically tracks professional development hours accrued by members for taking APEGBC seminars. Completed APEGBC seminars will automatically appear in the member's Online Recording Centre - thereby reducing data entry and making it easier to track professional development activities.

APEGBC created a short video that shows members how to use the online recording tool.

Perhaps, you’ve considered, or are already, offering this option to your association’s members. The ability to manage the record-keeping associated with professional development more efficiently was certainly on our minds when developed Fonteva For Associations.

Users can create and track education programs, courses and certifications. Results from any learning management system (LMS) solution may be easily imported so all education information resides in a single environment. Further, as in the example from APEGBC that I shared earlier, our solution enables members to update educational credits and associations to automatically capture CEUs at event registration. Learn more about how it works.


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App of the Month: DupeBlocker 3

App of the Month: DupeBlocker 3

Yes, there probably is an app for that, for just about anything you want to accomplish professionally and personally. But how do you know which apps are the best ones for your association?

So far this year I’ve highlighted eight apps from the Salesforce AppExchange so that you could get a better idea of what’s available and may be most useful to you in your work. The ninth app that I would like to highlight is DupeBlocker 3.

Just as its name implies, this app was developed to prevent users from creating duplicates within Salesforce databases. DupeBlocker 3 was developed by CRMfusion Inc. based just outside Toronto.

In addition to real time deduplication capabilities and support for all Salesforce objects, including opportunities and custom objects, the app offers users these key features:

- Support for all Salesforce fields, including custom fields so that they can be used in the development of deduplication scenarios.

- New dual filter options, which allow for the specification of which objects should be compared against which objects. For example compare "web Leads" vs. only leads of record type X

- Auto-merge auto-convert feature, which allow scenarios to automatically merge new incoming records with existing records that match based upon customizable mappings

One user describes DupeBlocker 3 as “a great tool to help improve data quality.” Another praises the app for being “extremely flexible and powerful.” Still another user highlights the underlying benefits of using the app: “This tool is so instrumental to not only stopping duplicates at the source (point of entry), but also has underlying benefits. This tool helps train users to search first, thus re-enforcing the behavior you want. But it also stops those naughty users from entering duplicates when they're just being lazy.”

If you have concerns about data integrity, this could be the app for you. Read more online to see if this app might be right for your organization.

Related Content
App of the Month: IntelliMail
App of the Month: Predict People and Profits with Scout Link for Sales from Scout Analytics

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18 and Counting: Recognizing a Champion

18 and Counting: Recognizing a Champion

Take it away! This is the 32nd in a series of posts that have been featured on Fonteva’s blog to highlight important strategies associations can take away from other industries. In today’s sixth-degrees-of-separation world, your members are assessing your association not just in comparison to similar organizations but in relation to the totality of their experiences as consumers. As such, we want to help you stay abreast of key trends and best practices, those takeaways that may benefit your association.

On Sunday at the U.S. Open, Serena Williams defeated Caroline Wozniacki to win her 18th Grand Slam singles title. The United States Tennis Association pulled out all the stops to recognize her accomplishment and contributions to the sport of tennis. In addition to the $4 million in prize money that she was awarded, the association gave Williams recognition that was memorable, wearable and displayable.

Memorable: Tennis greats Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who were also winners of 18 Grand Slam titles, were there after the winning match and presented Williams with an 18-karat gold bracelet. This was a memorable moment for Williams.

“I never dreamed that I could be compared to Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova,” she said in her post-match press conference (as per “I was just a kid with a dream and a racket living in Compton.”

Wearable: As noted, Williams was presented with an 18-karat gold Tiffany bracelet to commemorate her 18th title win. The bracelet will serve as a “wearable” reminder of Williams’ accomplishment.

Displayable: While it’s less practical than a bracelet, Tiffany also designed the trophy that Williams received. Tiffany has created the trophies for the U.S. Open championship winners for more than 20 years. They are made using traditional silver-smithing techniques.

Williams received the trifecta of recognition that many association members hope for as well. They want to be recognized by their peers, they want a wearable object (i.e. lapel pin) that puts their special recognition in plain sight, and they want an award or other displayable time that can be showcased in their offices. Recognize your members like the champions they are to the profession or industry you represent.

Related Content
Go for a Goal: A Lesson in Leadership from the World Cup
Tee Time: 3 Leadership Lessons from Golf


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Featured Fontevan: Brent Maloney, “The Problem Solver”

Featured Fontevan: Brent Maloney, “The Problem Solver”

“[Salesforce] is only going to grow,” says Fonteva’s newest Customer Success Manager, Brent Maloney. And he should know. Maloney completed his original Salesforce training in 2004 and has continued to build upon his skills since then.

He saw joining the team at Fonteva as a great opportunity to keep moving forward on his career path. Prior to coming to Fonteva, Maloney held positions at CARFAX and Exostar. He said he has “always had an affinity for computers and technology.”

A graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Maloney has a Bachelor’s of Science in sociology. He is a Salesforce Certified Administrator.

Since becoming a Fontevan, Maloney said one of his biggest challenges has been “managing customers’ expectations and educating them about how the technology works.” Along the way, one of the biggest lessons he’s learned is that nobody is the same: “Everyone is different, and you have to take that into account when working with clients.”

Maloney is up for whatever challenges and lessons might present themselves. “I enjoy challenges and figuring things out,” he said. “While you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s even more satisfying to solve problems on your own.”

Best Advice He’s Ever Gotten: "Sometimes the best way to get somewhere you’ve never been is to not know where you’re going." (J. Peterman)

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Customer Service Is in Fashion

Customer Service Is in Fashion

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicks off today in New York City. More than 80 shows, presentations and special events will take place. Event organizer IMG Fashion has taken care to ensure that designers from 12 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, France, India, Israel, and Italy, have good experiences as they present their Spring 2015 collections.

One of the key upgrades at this year’s event is a revamped space for holding shows. According to a recent IMG press release, the new space gives “designers the ability to customize the runway setting in tandem with flexible seating schemes that allow them to better tell their brand story and vision.”

For me this statement communicates two concepts that need to be front of mind as associations work to create member experiences that are valuable and provide their customers with exemplary service.

Customization: Just as IMG created a space that designers can make their own, associations will benefit from offering memberships that enable their members to customize their selection of products and services as well as their level of interaction with organizations.

Brand story and vision: IMG understands that each of the designers participating in Fashion Week has his or her own brand to highlight. These brands can co-exist within the larger event. Similarly, associations might provide platforms that facilitate their members building their own personal brands within the context of the association’s vision and mission.

With or without all the fanfare of an event like Fashion Week, our customers expect us to value them as individuals and respond to their needs accordingly. From IMG’s perspective, “the Spring 2015 Collections will celebrate the people and places that will inspire us in the year ahead.” That sounds like a worthwhile goal to me that wouldn’t be attainable if their customers’ needs hadn’t been put first.

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New Tech with Little Training Equals Trouble

New Tech with Little Training Equals Trouble

Missed or incorrectly administered medications are chief among the concerns that hospitals have about some of the new technological devices they have deployed in recent years. These tools are designed to improve patient care and make their operations more efficient. Certainly, there’s the potential for these devices to do just that.

However, as a recent article in Crain’s Detroit Business notes, “it’s not always the technology that is problematic …but how thoroughly new tools are tested, understood by users and integrated into the care-delivery process.”

While it’s highly unlikely that association staff members using technology incorrectly will result in a life-or-death situation, there are some lessons to be learned from how the medical field is trying to address the problem of inadequate training and testing of new technology. For example, MedStar Health has established human-factor research teams responsible for investigating potential problems with deployment of new technologies and recommending ways to minimize the threat to patient safety.

Here’s some of the advice experts in the medical field offered on deploying technology safely and effectively.

Question before buying: “Start by asking, what problem are you trying to solve. Is technology going to fix it, and what could possibly go wrong?” advises Mary Logan, president of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, which develops standards for medical-device manufacturers.

Budget for training: Along with budgets for capital costs and supplies, include a training budget. If it is not considered in the upfront costs, money for training is often unavailable when the technology is deployed, says Jim Keller, vice president of health technology evaluation and safety at the ECRI Institute.

Temper enthusiasm: “Enthusiasm drives innovation, but innovation must be tempered by caution and safety,” says Christopher Kane, M.D., an expert in robotic surgery at the University of California, San Diego.

At Fonteva, we’ve always been proponents of these strategies. In particular, we offer our customers robust training options and ongoing support so that Fonteva For Associations users can make the most of all that the solution has to offer. As young people all over the country begin the school year, it may be a good opportunity to take your association’s staff back to school as well to make sure they have been properly trained in using your technology.

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Stick with It: 3 Strategies for Building Brands

Stick with It: 3 Strategies for Building Brands

Take it away! This is the 31st in a series of posts that have been featured on Fonteva’s blog to highlight important strategies associations can take away from other industries. In today’s sixth-degrees-of-separation world, your members are assessing your association not just in comparison to similar organizations but in relation to the totality of their experiences as consumers. As such, we want to help you stay abreast of key trends and best practices, those takeaways that may benefit your association.

As vice president for breakthrough innovation for Kraft, Barry Calpino has a difficult job: managing the ongoing development of the company’s 27 different brands, which include Velveeta, Jell-O and Kool-Aid.

According to Calpino, at one point the company was launching new products at a rapid pace without really investing in any of them. Kraft has since adapted a multi-year, multi-channel approach to marketing.

In a recent interview with the Knowledge@Wharton show on Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM, Calpino discussed the Kraft’s launch of the liquid water enhancer Mio three years ago an example of the company’s long-term investment in new brands.

“Kraft spent more than $50 million launching Mio, the most we had ever spent on a launch,” he said. “But more importantly, we continued to invest the second year, the third year and now the fourth year because these big ideas don’t just happen overnight. You have to stick with them and you have to invest in them.”

Calpino shared some other insights on branding that I’ve highlighted briefly here. They are great takeaways for associations concerned with building their brands for the long-term.

1- Be willing to make long-term investments: “I’ve been in the innovation game one way or another in consumer products almost 20 years. And the number-one consistent cause of failure is not investing in a good idea beyond just the launch period.”

2- Solicit negative feedback. “I think it’s human nature that you want to focus on what people love about you, and it’s painful sometimes to get that negative feedback. But I’ve studied this. I have a whole presentation on innovations that were born out of companies willing to be open about asking, “Where is the pain in the experience of our product? What do you hate about our category? What do you hate about [the product]?” And then that becomes the fodder for great innovation.”

3- Create a pipeline of ideas. “It’s about being proactive and filling the pipeline and making sure that while we have teams in the company that are launching new products, we also have teams that are building the future. Because for every great idea we launch now, some team did great work two to three years ago up to now.”

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Featured Fontevan: Dennis Mahan, “The Translator”

Featured Fontevan: Dennis Mahan, “The Translator”

“I’ve always been a technology-oriented person,” Dennis Mahan said. This affinity for technology has served him well in his role at Fonteva as a Platform Solutions Architect.

“I understand customer’s requirements and translate them into technology Platform Solutions to meet these needs,” Mahan continued.

Working with nonprofit organizations is a different experience for him, and he enjoys seeing the “immediate impact that a solution can have on customers to make their lives easier.”

Mahan came to Fonteva with more than nine years of experience working with clients to implement Salesforce as well as managing the platform internally. “I’ve always known that you could do a lot with Salesforce, but our product development team is doing extremely creative things and pushing the limits of its capabilities,” he observed.

He looks forward to sharing his experience with the platform and his “ability to deliver product as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Mahan has a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is a Salesforce Certified Administrator and Developer. Prior to joining Fonteva, Mahan held positions with Acumen Platform Solutions, Synaptic Advisory Partners and eChalk.

Before making his home in Alexandria, Va., he lived in Denver, Los Angeles and New York.

Best Advice He’s Ever Gotten: "If you have the opportunity do something that interests you, take it." (From his mom)

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The Platform for Putting Ideas into Practice

The Platform for Putting Ideas into Practice

Editor’s Note: I am pleased to introduce the third in a series of interviews that will be featured on our blog to highlight important insights from key industry observers. We hope their insights will be useful to you as make strategic decisions for your association.

Our third interview is with Steve Thomas, managing director, Purple Vision. London-based Purple Vision is a leading consultancy for nonprofits with expertise in CRM systems and databases as well as analytics and fundraising. Recently Steve talked with Associations Today and shared his perspective on continuing efforts to educate nonprofit organizations about the benefits of Salesforce. “A couple of years ago we got excited about what Salesforce could do,” he said. “And we still find ourselves evangelizing in a world that hasn’t yet woken up to its capabilities.”

Do you think nonprofits are becoming better informed about Salesforce and how its functionality can benefit them?
The simple answer is yes. Nonprofits are certainly becoming aware of Salesforce; however, there is still a good deal of misunderstanding about what it offers. It is sometimes difficult for organizations to assess what kind of opportunity it is.

The concept of a platform from which everyone works—a consistent and cross organizational platform— is new to nonprofits. They are used to separate Platform Solutions for each department. However, customers/donors expect to have one relationship with organizations. Salesforce is part of a solution to that problem.

Those nonprofits that have used it successfully/correctly have spread the word on the nonprofit grapevine. However, that doesn’t necessarily lead to widespread adoption.

In recent months, with what kinds of projects have nonprofit organizations asked for your assistance/expertise?
Projects that we’ve handled thus far are those that are easier for less complex organizations to access. Larger organizations are not yet moving lock stock and barrel to a SF solution. It’s too soon for that. From early adopters, we’re seeing projects that focus on:

Facilitating communication – A global federation with members in more than 150 countries and 100 staff in different locations needed a platform for contact management and online communication. The organization is using the classic capabilities of Salesforce to facilitate internal communication. Salesforce works in multiple currencies and languages, which is a big benefit for this kind of organization.
Membership management – Membership organizations generally have quite clear requirements/objectives. We’re finding that smaller organizations want to take advantage of the online portal so that they go from having no online services to leapfrogging into a world where their members can interact with them online.
Digital audits and strategies – Many organizations recognize that they need to get into the digital dimension, but they don’t know where to start. The majority of charities in UK generate their income from events and direct mail communication. Still they recognize the need to engage with their supporters/donors online. We help them formulate a strategy to take this ambition forward.

What are the “pain points” that are most often communicated to you when clients first engage Purple Vision?
—Poor reporting: They can never get back meaningful management information from their systems.
—Lack of integration or openness: They’ve got two, four or six different technologies tools, but none of them talk to each other. They struggle to get data in and out of the “black boxes.”
­—Insufficient support service: Some software vendors take the good will of their customers for granted and respond slowly to deliver Platform Solutions to address emerging needs.
How do you help them think through the process of selecting the best Platform Solutions for their organizations?
We have developed a methodology for that called “signposting.” We offer a straight forward, structured approach that helps clients understand in a few days of consulting what their options are strategically. We encourage clients to share their vision of the future and help them understand what technologies will help get them there.

What’s one of the most rewarding projects that you’ve worked on recently?
We’ve been working with a very successful international aid agency that raises funds to mitigate the effects of earthquakes, famines, conflicts, etc. across the world. We are helping them to broaden their approach to implementing technology.

Their relationships with their hundreds of thousands of supporters have always been reactive and transactional. Their goal is to develop more engaged relationships that are not just about money, but what their supporters can do in terms of advocacy. They want to expand the power of their network.

The client is very nimble and has great people with ambitious ideas. The only thing they’re missing is the platform to help them put their ideas into practice. It’s very rewarding to be part of such a worthwhile cause.

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Who’s Who Wednesday: Maria Lisa Caldwell, Esq.

Who’s Who Wednesday: Maria Lisa Caldwell, Esq.

Throughout 2014, we want to give the blogosphere the opportunity to get to know the Fonteva team and our clients better. To that end, we've introduced a new monthly feature, Who’s Who Wednesday.

This month we’re pleased to introduce you to Maria-Lisa Caldwell, Esq., chief legal officer and director of compliance services for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) in Nashville. NASBA serves as a forum for the nation’s Boards of Accountancy, which administer the Uniform CPA Examination, license more than 700,000 certified public accountants and regulate the practice of public accountancy in the United States.

In this role, some of Caldwell’s responsibilities include overseeing the National Registry of CPE Sponsors, the Annual Registry Summit, the Accountancy Licensee Database and NASBA’s CPE Audit Service.

A graduate of Duke University School of Law, Caldwell is a member of the Bar in both California and Tennessee. She and her husband, Billy Ray, live in Nashville and are the proud parents of three children.

Read on to learn more about her.

1 - What’s on your desk right now?
One of our big initiatives right now involves the future of learning and how that will and should impact continuing education, so I have a lot of research and information about that topic scattered about.

But my favorite thing on my desk right now is the vase of fresh flowers that my two sons arranged to have sent to me twice a month. It’s one of my favorite birthday presents ever!

2 - Who are you following on LinkedIn?
Richard Branson, Deepak Chopra, Bill Gates, Gretchen Rubin

3 - What's the best advice you ever got?
Someone once told me about former professional ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky’s response to the question of why he was so successful at scoring, and it is great advice. He said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not [to] where it has been.”

4 - What's the most played song on your iPod or iPhone?
“Alone” by Armin Van Buuren

5 - What do you do when you're not at work?
I love to hike, cook and travel. And if I get an opportunity to do any of those with my husband or my kids (two of which are now in college), it is a perfect day!

6 - If you weren't working for NASBA, what would you be doing?
I would run a charitable foundation focused on making micro loans to women in developing countries. It would be a perfect match of issues that are close to my heart and the varied work experience I have accumulated over my career.

7 - What are your favorite blogs? apps?

    • Yelp
    • Uber
    • TED
    • Two Fingers One Brain (You need to try this is so addicting)

8 - What is your favorite Fonteva For Associations feature?
The capacity to see the whole picture and having the ability to view all aspects of a particular member’s interactions with our company is so vital. Before moving to Fonteva For Associations, this information was housed in various silos.

Now we can see the donations made, committee participation, events attended and relation to our member boards and other members, all in one single view. From an event standpoint, the ability to print badges, member itineraries and various other reports has been invaluable.

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Back to School Shopping: 3 Lessons in Marketing & Branding

Back to School Shopping: 3 Lessons in Marketing & Branding

Take it away! This is the 30th in a series of posts that have been featured on Fonteva’s blog to highlight important strategies associations can take away from other industries. In today’s sixth-degrees-of-separation world, your members are assessing your association not just in comparison to similar organizations but in relation to the totality of their experiences as consumers. As such, we want to help you stay abreast of key trends and best practices, those takeaways that may benefit your association.

It’s that time of year. Students of all ages will head back to school this week dressed to impress. Teenagers, especially, are experts in what to wear and what not to.

They make their preferences clear by where they spend their wardrobe wallet. And Abercromie & Fitch, American Eagle, and Aeropostale are no longer at the head of the class. Sarah Halzack, The Washington Post’s national retail reporter, notes that these retailers are “fighting to win back customers.”

She goes on to observe that they have struggled to adapt to “a new era in which technology makes it possible for their competitors to respond more nimbly to teens’ fickle tastes.” Halzack suggests that their new challenge is “making an up-to-the-moment easy-on-the-wallet garment” when their supply networks stretch the globe. She says this new trend is “testing the retail industry’s traditionally slower ways of churning out merchandise.”

Has your association been tested recently? If not, it likely will be as your members – particularly the younger demographic – have even greater expectations around which products and services you offer, how you offer them, and when.

To that end, it’s worth noting three key marketing and branding lessons these three clothing retailers have learned on our behalf:

1- Be prepared to introduce new products and services more quickly. According to Halzack, Abercromie & Fitch has shortened its development cycle for new merchandise. In addition, the company plans to expand its production capabilities in the U.S. and South America to get clothes to market faster.

2- Pay attention to trends. Some industry analysts believe that these retailers have struggled because they have been slow to acknowledge major changes in fashion. “Teens no longer want to be bedecked in the logo-emblazoned T-shirts and sweatshirts that rocketed these companies to success in the early 2000s,” Halzack writes.

3- Keep it real (especially on social media). American Eagle’s approach to reintroducing its brand to shoppers is a campaign on Twitter and Instagram that focuses on real teens wearing their clothes instead of models.

In sum, Halzack makes another important observation: “Today’s young shoppers are seeking a highly personalized look that makes them stand out from their peers, not blend in.”

This sounds an awful lot like what your potential members are looking for when they shop for an association: a personalized experience that helps them excel in their areas of expertise. If you’re not completely comfortable with how your association is managing new trends, it may be time to go back to school.

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Featured Fontevan: Sundeep Pulaskar, “The Learner”

Featured Fontevan: Sundeep Pulaskar, “The Learner”

We want to give the association community the opportunity to get to know the Fonteva team better. This week we’re pleased to introduce you to Salesforce Business Analyst Sundeep Pulaskar.

Despite his impressive education and work experiences, Sundeep Pulaskar will tell you he still has a lot to learn. The ability to learn and grow in a supportive environment is what initially drew him to Fonteva where he works as a Salesforce Business Analyst.

With his commitment to “working with customers to make them happy and successful,” he fits right in with the team. Sundeep’s role as a business analyst enables him to participate in the entire development process from start to finish. He enjoys “translating client needs into technical requirements for developers.”

He was always interested in programming and problem solving, but he realized while working at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, how much he liked communicating and interacting with clients. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in computer engineering, Sundeep went to work for IIT full-time and developed an open source accounting and inventory management system. He also delivered advanced hands-on training to 350+ engineering faculty and students across India.

“It was a good learning experience,” he said of his time with the institute. “I learned a lot from working with tenured colleagues, and some things only experience can teach you.”

Sundeep journeyed to the U.S. two years ago in search of more learning opportunities. He earned a masters of science in information systems from The George Washington University where he also worked as a technology assistant.

He came to Fonteva excited to share his experiences thus far and to learn from others on the team. “If I can contribute my best every day, I can help Fonteva continue to grow,” he said. “I want everyone on our team to grow as Fonteva grows. Every day is a new learning experience.”

Best Advice He Ever Got: "The only way to do great work is to love what you do..." (Steve Jobs, Commencement Address at Stanford University, 2005)

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App of the Month: IntelliMail

App of the Month: IntelliMail

Yes, there probably is an app for that, for just about anything you want to accomplish professionally and personally. But how do you know which apps are the best ones for your association?

So far this year I’ve highlighted seven apps from the Salesforce App Exchange so that you could get a better idea of what’s available and may be most useful to you in your work. The eighth app that I would like to highlight is IntelliMail.

Developed by Aprika Business Platform Solutions in Melbourne, Australia, this app is helpful for sending dashboards and reports to people without Salesforce user accounts. Even if they don’t use Salesforce personally, key stakeholders can benefit from the valuable business intelligence the platform allows others to generate.

You can keep staff, board members and others up to speed with your performance indicators. In particular you can easily share this important information with all of your staff members and not just restrict it to those who have a user licenses.

One user highlights what a timesaver the app has been for her organization:

“We have been using IntelliMail now for several months and simply put it is amazing! It has freed up so much time in several departments and allows us to use our time more efficiently. After configuring the application it’s as simple as can be: create a report/dashboard, schedule the report/dashboard and set up the email in the domain and distribution manager and never have to do anything else. Our partners love seeing their own custom report and dashboards each week and every week.”

Another heralds the apps ease of use for communicating with volunteer leadership:

“We've needed to provide information in the form of a dashboard to our volunteer leadership for over a year now. Once we found this solution, we had it running within a minutes. From the point of view of our leadership, they couldn't understand why we hadn't deployed such an effective and simple solution long ago.”

Read more online to see if this app might be right for your organization.

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