Holiday Support Hours
Our holiday hours* are listed below:
*Premium support members will continue to have access to the 24/7 emergency line throughout the holidays.
Preparing for Year-End Procedures
Tips for Year-End Fundraising
Check out our tips page for quick and easy ways to increase your online fundraising! You’ll see:
- 10 reasons to promote online donations.
- A video that shares online fundraising best practices.
- A video that show syou how to optimize your website for donors.
- Four tips from fellow nonprofits to implement before the end-of-year!
Best wishes for 2015! May it be a year of good health, continued growth, and continued fundraising success.
This post was written by Doug Schoenberg, CEO of SofterWare, Inc., (the developer of DonorPerfect & WebLink).
Now that some time has passed, I wanted to reflect on some valuable lessons we learned from the service issues we experienced on #GivingTuesday.
We have GREAT clients – Clients calling with questions were almost universally understanding and appreciative of our efforts to assist them. Just another reminder of why we love serving the non-profit community.
We have GREAT staff – Not surprisingly, #GivingTuesday and the days since have been very busy and stressful, but I’m exceedingly proud of the extra effort put in by everyone. From support reps who handled very high volumes of customer calls to technical staff who literally worked through the night to upgrade infrastructure, our staff did what was needed to minimize the impact on clients.
Don’t overlook the positive – Despite the issues, #GivingTuesday was actually very successful for most of our clients. Overall Giving was up 83% on Tuesday and up 100% on Wednesday! Even clients I spoke with who were frustrated seemed to generally have had successful campaigns. This is not to minimize the legitimate concerns expressed by our clients, but to recognize that there was real value in both our and our clients’ efforts to promote #GivingTuesday.
We have to continue to improve – Our past efforts, which focused on product testing, communication and operations management, did improve our ability to respond to the challenges encountered on #GivingTuesday, but we can and will do better. We received many great suggestions from clients and staff about improvements to our systems and processes. We’ve communicated many of them already, but rest assured that there are other improvements to come.
Every client is different – In trying to decide the best way to provide tangible support for clients who encountered issues on #GivingTuesday, we considered many different options suggested by clients and staff. Ultimately we decided on the Five Days of Giving matching gift we announced last week to clients. We choose this approach because:
- It is something that we can calculate quickly and easily, so affected clients can receive the donation by the end of the year.
- The matching gift will be somewhat proportional to the size of the organization (and hopefully the impact they experienced).
- It does not require clients to do anything, but does provide them an opportunity to use the matching gift in their end-of-year campaign if they want to.
- Unlike a service credit, the donation can help toward campaign goals and be immediately used by all clients.
We’ve heard from many clients thanking us for this gesture, but also a few who would have preferred some other structure. Listening to their concerns and suggestions was an important reminder of how diverse the situations of our thousands of clients are. We did consider the possibility of giving clients a choice of resolutions, but the logistics of doing so would have increased the work for our clients and staff dramatically and delayed our ability to provide a prompt resolution.
I often joke that experience is what you get, when you don’t get what you want. But I believe these lessons will help make SofterWare a better company and DonorPerfect and Weblink better products, which is certainly what we all want.
This post was written by Doug Schoenberg, CEO of SofterWare, Inc., (the developer of DonorPerfect & WebLink).
Some of our clients experienced WebLink performance issues during the #GivingTuesday campaign. At the outbreak of the problem, we notified all clients of the event, and we kept our clients informed with frequent status updates during the campaign until the problem was resolved. We fully understand the frustration that some of you experienced during the campaign.
We are pleased to report that, although there were performance issues during #GivingTuesday, DonorPerfect clients overall raised 63% more than last year during the #GivingTuesday campaign. For more information, click here.
We are also pleased to report that the new WebLink infrastructure is performing extremely well, with large gains in both capacity and processing speed. These upgrades will ensure WebLink online forms will easily handle the expected end-of-year giving rush.
How We Are Giving Back
We know that in addition to potentially lost or deferred donations, our client’s relationships with their supporters may have been affected, even though many spent considerable time and effort planning a successful #GivingTuesday campaign. We felt the right thing to do was to create a matching gift fund to augment your continued efforts to raise donations at this critical time of the year.
Announcing 5 Days of Giving Back
- We will offer a “5 Days of Giving Back” program where we will match 3% of all donations made through WebLink, up to an aggregate gift of $10,000 for each of our clients.
- The program will start on 12 a.m. ET on Wednesday, December 17 and end at midnight ET on Sunday, December 21.
- All donations made through any WebLink form during this time will be tallied by us, and we will mail affected organizations a check for 3% of the total donation amount.
- Each of our eligible clients will receive a minimum aggregate gift of $25 under our program.
Anyone affected will automatically be eligible for this program. No further action is required to receive our matching gift.
What Is Next?
Independent of these efforts to mitigate the effects of #GivingTuesday’s WebLink issues, we are committed to many long-term improvements to WebLink over the coming months.
- Our next release in February 2015 will include updated programming changes that will significantly improve WebLink’s performance even more. These enhancements have been in the works for several months, but were scheduled for release in February to avoid impact on year-end giving and early new year activity.
- We will also be creating a centralized status page for you to view real-time information on all our products and services, including any unforeseen performance issues or outages.
Our team is taking the necessary actions to ensure that the events of #GivingTuesday are not repeated. We have every confidence that WebLink will continue to be a reliable application for clients to collect donations and registrations.
Again, our staff would like to express their gratitude to you for being so gracious and patient with us during a difficult situation.
Forgetting important tasks? Remember with DonorPerfect Alerts
You shouldn’t have to remember the next time you need to perform a routine task in DonorPerfect. Your mission is too important and your time is too valuable. Today, we launched a new feature called DonorPerfect Alerts. It’s designed to inform you of recommended best practices or remind you to complete an important task.
When you log in, you’ll notice a new menu for Alerts as shown above. You’ll also see the current number of Alerts that are pending action. If you prefer a reminder that prevents you from taking further action until acknowledged, you can set each alert to pop-up a message with more detailed information.
The first two Alerts in today’s release will help you more easily manage a monthly giving program through our integrated EFT feature.
Expired Credit Cards
This alert will notify you of pre-authorized credit cards that are about to expire or have already expired. With this report, you can reach out to your donors for new credit cards before you try to process the account. This alert will help you maintain the most up-to-date payment information for your recurring donations.
It’s Time to Process EFT Transactions Alert
Whether you process your recurring payments once per month or every business day, DonorPerfect can remind you when it’s time to process again. Simply configure how often you would like to be notified and DonorPerfect will alert you that it’s time to process.
These first two Alerts were activated for all clients with a SafeSave Gateway but there are more Alerts to come! We have big plans to help you manage your tasks in DonorPerfect such as when to de-duplicate your system, thank you donors through Receipts, or even mail your pledge reminders.
See our Knowledgebase article for more information on Alerts.
Easy Drag-and-Drop Export Templates
Export Templates are now easier to use and maintain with our new drag-and-drop design. Instead of checking a box to add a field to your template, simply drag a field from the left to the right.
Quickly find the field you are looking for by typing in the Search box instead of scrolling through a long list of fields. If a field has already been added, it will display in bold font.
For a complete list of all of the changes to DonorPerfect today, see our Release Notes.
While the #GivingTuesday numbers from DonorPerfect clients show a significant increase over last year (more than double), the day was not without its technology and performance issues.
First and foremost, if you were affected by those issues, please accept our most sincere apology. After promoting #GivingTuesday to nonprofits for several months, the last thing we wanted to have happen was a problem with online giving that hurt the very clients we’re dedicated to helping.
But it did happen, and here is what happened, how we’re fixing the issues, and what we’re going to do to make it right with our clients.
- The root cause of the issues experienced yesterday was a combination of factors, the first being very heavy traffic to our sites due to the success of #GivingTuesday. The traffic was even more than we could have anticipated.
- We recently made enhancements to both DonorPerfect and WebLink (our integrated online forms product), and the impact of what we thought would be improvements, turned out to be a bottleneck, even with all the testing we did beforehand.
- This resulted in slow load times for some WebLink forms, and in many cases, donors were unable to access the donation forms.
- There was a high degree of variability in both performance and impact to our clients between 11 am – 6:30 pm EST.
- Despite this, transactions were successfully processed through WebLink every hour of the day.
- No data was lost or compromised as a result of these occurrences.
How we’re making sure it won’t happen again.
- Short-Term (the next 7 days)
- We are re-configuring our existing infrastructure to eliminate the bottleneck.
- We are investing in additional databases and network resources.
- We’ll be testing and validating these new resources to ensure that they will handle the heavy demand we expect for the end of the year time period.
- Mid-Term (next three to four months)
- We will continue to invest in new and existing web servers and operating systems.
- A long-awaited and planned release of WebLink will improve performance even more.
- We will institute a centralized status page for real-time information on all of our products and services.
How we’ll make it right with our clients.
We take full responsibility for what occurred and are fully committed to making this right with our clients who were affected. We know that in addition to lost donations, relationships with supporters may have been negatively impacted.
Many clients spent considerable time and effort planning a successful #GivingTuesday campaign, and while the majority of our clients had a successful campaign, we know that many may have been negatively affected financially. As a result, we will be communicating our plans to address these affected clients in the next 7 days.
Our clients depend on our software and services to support their mission, and yesterday we let them down. It is our responsibility to ensure that all our services are available for them, all the time. We want to thank our clients for their patience, and we are truly disappointed about what occurred.
The problems have been completely resolved, and we have been working ‘round the clock to ensure that the issues we encountered don’t ever happen again. Ever.