Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Holidays from the SmartSimple Team!

Trees are trimmed, presents wrapped, cookies good to go! While our team is getting ready to celebrating with our families, we haven't forgotten our SmartSimple community needs us, too!

This holiday season, we’re offering the following hours from our Support Desk to serve you through this merry season.
Holiday Support Hours:
Monday, December 22
8 am - 9 pm EST (Regular Hours)
Tuesday, December 23
8 am - 9 pm EST (Regular Hours)
Wednesday, December 24
8 am - 5 pm EST
Thursday, December 25
Friday, December 26
8 am - 5 pm EST
Monday, December 29
8 am - 9 pm EST (Regular Hours)
Tuesday, December 30
8 am - 9 pm EST (Regular Hours)
Wednesday, December 31
8 am - 5 pm EST
Thursday, January 1
Friday, January 2
8 am - 9 pm EST (Regular Hours)

Please note, our email is monitored during the holidays, and help is always available in the event of any system or server outages that may occur on days our offices are closed.

Please don't hesitate to contact us at, visit our main website for more news and updates, or call us at 1-866-239-0991 ext. 1.

Have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season and a joyous New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SmartSimple Shares the Holiday Spirit!

Bright lights, festive music and glittering parties abound at this time of year. But for many families, the holiday season brings more stress than joy. It’s hard to think about buying presents for your children when you’re not sure if you can both pay rent and put food on the table.
Fortunately, there are organizations like Holiday Helpers and their Adopt-a-Family program, and once again, SmartSimple is taking part by providing a traditional Christmas to a family in need.

“It’s been such a rewarding experience for us, being able to give an entire family not just presents but the entire holiday experience,” says Sarah Jane Nicholson, Relationship Manager at SmartSimple and coordinator of the Adopt-a-Family initiative. “We get a wish list from the parents for every member of the family, so we know we’re giving them and their children what they really want. It’s so much more personal than just providing the necessities. We get to give the fun stuff too!”

Goodies baked and donated by the SmartSimple bake sale.
Since 1996, Holiday Helpers has been sponsoring low income families in the Greater Toronto Area. They are referred to the program through other not-for-profit partners, and receive a tree and decorations, presents and a gift certificate to purchase groceries for a traditional dinner with all the trimmings. To date, Holiday Helpers have made the season merry and bright for hundreds of families.

 “This year we’ve adopted a family of seven – two adults and five children. One of the kids has special needs, so some extra care was required in purchasing their gifts,” continues Sarah.

To ensure there was enough money to provide everything the family wanted and needed, Sarah Jane set a very ambitious fundraising goal of $1,500. “Holiday Helpers suggests a budget of about $100 per person, but I wanted to be able to spend a bit more and get as many of the items on the family wish list as possible,” she adds.

The whole SmartSimple team got on board to help. “Everyone was so generous with donations! We also held a couple of draws for various items – including an extra vacation day – and a huge bake sale at the Toronto office with all the goodies prepared by our staff,” says Sarah.
Just some of the gifts purchased for our adopted family!

With the funds in hand, it was time to go shopping! “I found it so rewarding to go and buy gifts for our adopted family, and everyone in the office was excited to watch the piles of presents grow!” says Sarah. All the parcels were then handed off to Holiday Helper volunteers to deliver in time for Christmas. “It’s such a rewarding feeling,” concludes Sarah, “knowing we’ve given a family who would normally be unable to enjoy the season, not just gifts, but the entire festive experience.”

You can learn all about Holiday Helpers and their Adopt-a-Family initiative on their website.

From everyone here at SmartSimple, a happy, healthy and joyous holiday season to you and yours! Be sure to keep an eye on our website and blog for upcoming webinars, events and upgrades in 2015.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

2014 Wrap-up – Highlights of SmartSimple’s Upgrades

As 2014 draws to a close and the New Year approaches, the SmartSimple team wanted to share our favorite new features from this past year. While it’s not easy to narrow down the best of the best, we think the following five are worth an honorable mention:

Arcadia X
Arcadia X Before
In May, SmartSimple brought you Arcadia X, the next generation of our Arcadia interface and our alternative to an icon-based portal. Arcadia X gives System Administrators a new way to build personalized, role-based portals with features like tab-based navigation, list views, enhanced filtering and searching options. Change permissions, add portals, lock down, grant access and reassign as you see fit – it’s all up to you!
Arcadia X After

We did a little tweaking of the interface in November, making it even more intuitive by moving the menu tabs to the top of the page and grouping them.

Simplify Integration
Over the summer, SmartSimple’s GMS360o was the first solution to go live with Simplify.

President Cameron McLean discusses Simplify at the TAG Conference.
Simplify, from GuideStar and the Technology Affinity Group (TAG), focuses on data-sharing and standards-setting in the grants management sector. With Simplify, we’ve eliminated the need to enter anything more than once during the registration process, improving efficiency and eliminating redundancies.

Another upgrade feature brought you the convenience of online document signing with Signority. With Signority, users can send, sign, and complete approvals right from your SmartSimple system without pens, paper or scans.

Signority also provides an audit trail to ensure your documents are properly tracked, authenticated and stored. Never have to “dig up” a document from another online or hard copy filing system again!

U.S. Census Integration
In 2014, SmartSimple integrated with the U.S. Census online database, providing you with the ability to access the most up-to-date, geographically-relevant data from 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Census data is provided at three different levels: Tract, County and State. Census Tracts are the lowest level of geographic region for which census data can be returned. The data can be referenced in a list view, on a Universal Tracking Application™ record or elsewhere in the system.
Sample of census data in SmartSimple.

Data from the U.S. census can also be used to drive branching logic on SmartSimple workflows or perform other calculations.

Smarter Email Functionality
The November upgrade also gave a boost to SmartSimple’s email feature. Now you can generate unique email addresses for various objects or records, adding the convenience of attaching emails directly to the relevant object or record.
Sample of enhanced email screen view in SmartSimple.

When an external user replies to your email, the system automatically records the activity on the source record so all communications are properly tracked.

If you’d like more information on any of the above features, be sure to check out our SmartSimple Wiki and our YouTube channel.

We’ll be back with our first upgrade of 2015 at the end of January, so stand by for more exciting enhancements! In the meantime, keep an eye on our website for other news, to request a demo or check out upcoming webinars and events.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

SmartSimple now a GSA Supplier to the United States Government

SmartSimple is pleased to announce that we are now a United States Government General Service Agreement (GSA) Advantage supplier.

What is the GSA Advantage?
GSA Advantage is the United States government’s online superstore. Their website provides access to millions of products and services from thousands of contractors and suppliers. Being listed on this site lets all levels of government – from federal to municipal – know that SmartSimple is an authorized supplier. This ensures government agencies can take advantage of pre-negotiated prices while enjoying the security of dealing with a GSA approved source.

What does it mean for SmartSimple?
Being a GSA Advantage supplier means we’re part of a short list of pre-approved companies providing services for any government agency looking for a grants management software solution. It makes us a much more attractive option to potential government clients.

What does it mean for SmartSimple clients?
GSA Advantage status gives SmartSimple an added level of credibility, making it clear to prospective clients – both government and non-government organizations – that we’re a major player and a serious contender in the marketplace. This, along with our standing in the latest Idealware report “A Consumers’ Guide to Grants Management Systems”, lets people know we have a high standard of professional service excellence.

It also shows the level of expertise SmartSimple has in creating software for complex granting organizations. Not just another “body shop,” SmartSimple employees are experts in the fields of not only software and cloud computing, but the management of grants, employee giving and volunteering management, and other not-for-profit activities.

Learn more at GSA Advantage
Visit the GSA Advantage website to learn more about us and other GSA suppliers. Our contract number is GS-35F-458BA.  Look us up!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

SmartSimple 2014 Year in Review Webinars

Join SmartSimple founders Michael Reid and Keith Yau as they recap and showcase their favourite SmartSimple enhancements from the past year, as well as changes to SmartSimple as a company. 

This interactive half hour webinar will highlight what changes we've made to help improve your processes and how you interact with your communities. You'll also have the opportunity to learn and discuss what we did in the past year and hear about our exciting plans for what we have in store for you in 2015.

  • Tuesday, December 9th @ 1pm EST
  • Friday, December 12th @ 10am EST

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bienvenidos, Hoşgeldiniz, Croeso, Welcome! – SmartSimple is a Positive Space

There are a lot of things that make SmartSimple a great place to work. We make cool software, we collaborate with awesome organizations, and we have super smart people from all over the world who make our offices dynamic, creative environments.

It takes a variety of people to create a space that’s inclusive and unified, and that includes welcoming new Canadians to our head office team in Toronto. A number of our employees are new to Canada, and there are things we like to do at SmartSimple – not just as an employer but as people – to ensure everyone feels welcome and valued.

For starters, when you visit the offices at 111 Peter Street, you’ll see a plethora of international flags proudly displayed in the reception area. These flags represent where we all originally hail from, and include places like India, China, Barbados, Greece and Morocco among them.

The other thing you’ll notice is we also have a sign by the door identifying us as a Positive Space.

Our Positive Space and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) commitment.
Being a Positive Space doesn’t just mean we’re really nice to everyone (though we are). It’s our way of letting the world know we not only support people of different races, religions, ages, abilities and ethnic backgrounds, but that we also openly support members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, Genderqueer, etc. (LGBTQ+) community.

Created by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI), the Positive Space Initiative (PSI) recognizes organizations that support immigrants and refugees who may not only face discrimination based on race, religion or country of origin, but may also face challenges as members of the LGBTQ+ community. There are a wide range of Positive Space Campaigns active across the province of Ontario, including university and college campuses, health care organizations and workplaces like ours.

It really doesn’t take much to create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment. It’s something we can all do to promote human rights and the acceptance of all people where we work.

Anyone can create a Positive Space, and there are lots of resources to help you get started. Visit the OCASI Positive Spaces website to find more information and download a free starter kit.

If you’re interested in learning more about SmartSimple, check out our website and request a demo. You can also visit our careers page – we’re always looking for awesome people to join our crew! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gathering, Analyzing and Acting – SmartSimple at TAG

The SmartSimple team broke out the sun block and headed to the annual Technology Affinity Group (TAG) conference in Turnberry Isle, Miami, from November 10th – 13th. This four day event brought together experts from foundations, not-for-profits and technology suppliers to network, learn and share industry best practices.

The theme for the 2014 conference was Data: Gather, Analyze, Act!, and the agenda featured sessions on how foundations and other organizations are using technology to improve the granting process.

“The conference was a great opportunity for everyone to gain insight and ideas,” says Brian Lai, Business Analyst at SmartSimple. “Discussion topics included business process improvement, security and information management. TAG also provided an app for all attendees, making it easier to track when and where events were happening, and included options to register and confirm attendance.”
SmartSimple President Cameron McLean at the TAG Conference.

Our President, Cameron MacLean, was invited to speak at the Plenary: Simplify Update session. Simplify is a joint venture between GuideStar and TAG. With Simplify, funders can eliminate the repetitive elements of the grant application process, making it more efficient. TAG issued a press release in July on Simplify’s integration with select service providers, including SmartSimple. Our GMS360o was the first solution to go live with Simplify enabled.

Another session of note was hosted by our client Tom Irvine, Vice President and CIO of Chicago Community Trust on How to Successfully Survive a Grants Management System Implementation. He shared his organization’s experience working with us. The session generated some great discussion on how SmartSimple helped Chicago Community Trust streamline efforts and save time. “It felt wonderful to be sitting in a packed room, listening to someone talk about how well our solution works for them,” adds Todd Lapin, Director of Strategic Accounts.

The SmartSimple booth was also quite busy, with many demonstrations of our GMS360o solution given to curious attendees. “We were thrilled with the amount of interest both Tom and Cameron generated,” continues Todd, “We had the chance to meet people from organizations around the world that were looking for a highly flexible solution, and we were happy to show off the advantages of the SmartSimple platform.”

Specifically, there were several questions around scholarship administration, and we were able to provide options on how SmartSimple helps manage that process. If you’re interested in how we can help with your scholarship applications, check out our YouTube video for all the details. You can also get in touch to request a demo of any of our solutions.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Latest and Greatest – SmartSimple Introduces our November 2014 Upgrades

Welcome to your final round of SmartSimple upgrades for 2014! These latest enhancements will be accessible to our SaaS clients as of Thursday, November 20, 2014.

Please note two of the features are on-demand options, easily configured by your System Administrator.

Updated Functionality for Maximum Word/Character Limit
Users could always see what the content limit was before they started, how many words or characters they had left and when they have gone over the word or character limit for a particular field.

We’ve now enhanced this feature to display how many characters/words over the limit you have gone. The character/word limit will still be enforced once you hit “save.” 

 Additional Visibility Options on Company/Contact Custom Fields
This field improvement gives you more control over custom fields on user and company profiles. You can now easily determine and configure what company categories and user roles each field will be attributed to.

Enhanced Arcadia Interface
We’ve also made some user interface improvements to Arcadia this time around, enhancing the view and making it easier to use.

First, we’ve moved the left-hand menu tabs to the top of the page, improving navigation and making better use of screen space. Now, when a tab is selected, the main section of fields are hidden from view.
We’ve also grouped tabs in similar categories together, making them easier to see and find. Custom fields grouped as tabs will now open up in a lightbox as opposed to on the page itself, making it easier to organize the fields you want to see.

On-Demand System Upgrades
The following features are also available with this latest upgrade, but will require the help of your System Administrator to complete.

Smarter Email Functionality
This great feature offers you the ability to generate unique email addresses for various objects or records. Emails sent to these address are broken out individually and attached to the specific object or record. You can now send out an email from a specific record, and when an external user replies to the email, the system will automatically create an activity record on the source record.

Multiple Aliases per Copy of SmartSimple
This new feature gives you the power to create multiple URLs pointing to a single copy of SmartSimple.

For clients with a varied user base that require their own landing pages or URLs for branding purposes, multiple URLs (example:, can be created to bring users from different URLs into the same copy of SmartSimple. Check out our October 14th blog post to read more about this feature.

Multiple Sign-Up Pages per Company
This next on-demand feature offers the power to create multiple sign-up pages per company.
Use this option to support sign-up pages in different languages, associating new users to the same company.

Be sure to visit the SmartSimple Wiki for more information. You can also request a demo to learn everything SmartSimple can do for you and your organization.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Successful First Community Conference in Chicago!

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, SmartSimple hosted our first community conference in Chicago. Held at the offices of the Chicago Community Trust, the day was jam-packed with informative and interactive sessions involving both the SmartSimple team, current clients and people looking to learn more about what we’re all about.

COO Mike Reid talks about our machine learning tool, Janus.
“I was really excited to see a full house,” says Sarah Harris, Operations Manager at SmartSimple. “We’d never done anything like this outside of Toronto, Canada, so we were thrilled at the level of interest!”

The purpose of the conference was twofold – it gave our team the opportunity to have face-to-face discussions with current and prospective users, and it provided a networking opportunity for those in the Chicago granting community, opening doors and making introductions. “It was great that the people who came out were not just interested in what they could lean and share with us, but also interested in looking for ways to stay connected to each other outside of conferences like this,” adds Sarah.

Also along for the ride were COO Mike Reid, President Cameron McLean, Director of Strategic Accounts Todd Lapin, and Technical Community Manager Eric Lauer, who facilitated the various sessions throughout the conference.

President Cameron McLean talks to attendees.
Discussion was lively throughout the day. Everyone was very eager to share their thoughts and experiences. “Since it was a mix of current and – hopefully! – future users, talks tended to focus on how people are using our software, lessons learned and new ideas for future upgrades. Current clients were happy to share their best practices with those currently implementing – or considering implementing – our solution, offering tips and tricks they’ve picked up along the way,” continues Sarah.

One of the highlights was the opportunity to show off our soon to be released “email anything” upgrade, which everyone was excited to learn about. There was even a contest, with attendees offering up their suggestions of what this new feature should be called. We’ll let you know soon what we picked!

“The best part was having the opportunity to hear firsthand exactly what this specific community needs to succeed and how we’re helping them achieve those needs,” concludes Sarah, “I specifically love hearing how different organizations have worked to get outside users onboard and excited about using SmartSimple.”

We’re always glad to share! Visit our website to learn more about our solutions or contact us directly to request a demo.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

GMS360° – Your Solution for Community Foundation Management

Community foundations are registered charities that fill a vital role in the growth and prosperity of our neighborhoods. Donations are collected, then distributed, to other registered charities to fund social welfare initiatives that improve the lives of local residents.

Many different groups of people work with community foundations; grant applicants, donors, volunteers, program managers, board members and more, and the needs of each of these groups is unique. From funding applications to financial distribution to managing fundraising events, it’s a lot to keep track of.

Fortunately, SmartSimple has the perfect solution, and we call it GMS360o.

GMS360o provides community foundations with one, highly personalizable platform to manage all their administrative processes. Our GMS360o software will accommodate any foundation, no matter how big or small.

Our clients use GMS360o to coordinate a multitude of tasks. At the center is a flexible fund management tool that gives users the power to oversee all their financial requirements. And, since GMS360o is designed to integrate seamlessly with most accounting programs, keeping records straight and organized has never been easier.

No matter how complex your funding arrangements are, this baby can handle it! Your foundation can benefit from improved efficiency, and the overall impact of donated dollars, by linking funds to a charity’s milestones, goals and budgetary requirements. Records can be maintained in any number of currencies, and payments can be set to go out automatically on a pre-arranged schedule.

Since community foundations rely heavily on a strong donor base, GMS360o also offers a wide range of options to maintain donor profiles. Match any donor’s personal funding preferences, track their donations, keep them in the loop on upcoming fundraising events and initiatives, and provide individualized portals for them to stay up to date with your organization. Plus, GMS360o gives your team easy access to any information on any donor, anytime.

Even your board benefits from GMS360o! With the administration of board activities a key function of any community foundation, GMS360o gives your team the power to book board meetings, set agendas, create board books and distribute meeting minutes.

 GMS360o can do everything you need it to do in one, smart, simple piece of software.

If your community foundation could use a hand getting more organized, visit the GMS360o Grants Management section of the SmartSimple website and request a demo of our GMS360o software today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

SmartSimple Attends the Conference Board of Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility Conference

On October 29th and 30th, the SmartSimple team took part in the very first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Conference. Hosted by the Conference Board of Canada, the event took place at the Hilton in Toronto, Canada. The theme for this inaugural event was Delivering Meaningful Impact.

Sarah Jane Nicholson and David Resnick welcome participants.
“We really enjoy attending events like this,” says David Resnick, Director, Strategic Initiatives and Product Placement, “We always appreciate the opportunity to share the power of SmartSimple with organizations looking to easily manage and run their CSR activities. Plus, it’s great to speak to our existing clients and hear about how well SmartSimple is working for them.” Also in attendance from SmartSimple’s Toronto team were Sarah Jane Nicholson, Relationship Manager, and our new Inside Sales Manager, Alvin Thompson.

This summit gave participants the chance to learn, explore and discuss best practice strategies for companies of all sizes, helping them to implement corporate sustainability strategies and programs that successfully impact customers, employees and communities. It was also a fantastic opportunity for networking with colleagues and industry experts, offering new insights and ideas into the creation and administration of CSR programs.

The two day conference included interactive sessions on topics such as Trends and Tools for Corporate Community Investment Programs and Measurement, Next Practices in Sustainability: Engaging Employees and Using Metrics to Improve Your Environmental Performance, Embedding Sustainability Throughout Your Supply Chain and Supporting Employee Donation Matching and Volunteering Programs.

Presenters and speakers included industry experts from both the corporate and philanthropic communities, including Dr. Michael R. Bloom, Vice-President, Industry and Business Strategy at the
Conference Board of Canada, Landon French, Vice-President, Community Relations and Executive Director, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd., Lisa Gibbs, Director, Community Investment, Shoppers Drug Mart Inc., and Paula Speevak-Sladowski, Director, Programs, Policy and Applied Research, Volunteer Canada.

This week, SmartSimple with be in Chicago for the first Community Conference, hosted in conjunction with Chicago Community Trust. You can also swing by our booth at the TAG 2014 Annual Conference in Aventura, Florida, from November 10th – 13th.

Be sure to check out our SmartSimple website for other upcoming events and webinars! You can also request a demo and see what our software can do to make your work smarter and more simple.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

SmartSimple at the 2014 Fall Conference for Community Foundations

From October 19th until October 22nd, our SmartSimple sales team got to hang out with the movers and shakers of the community foundations world at the 2014 Fall Conference for Community Foundations.

Symbolically hosted in Cleveland, Ohio – the birthplace of the community foundation – by the Council on Foundations, this conference celebrated 100 years of people working together to create dynamic local neighbourhoods. First conceived as a notion by Frederick Goff in 1914, his ground-breaking initiative, the Cleveland Foundation, was developed to inspire people to take charge and develop communities they were proud to call home. Since then, millions of people around the world have become active in improving and building their neighbourhoods, from Germany to New Zealand and from Mozambique to Egypt.

Alas, this year’s event marked the final Fall Conference for Community Foundations, so we’re glad we were able to attend. The SmartSimple booth, located on the second floor of the Cleveland Convention Center, had a good deal of traffic, giving both Gary Modin and Bennett Schwab, our Directors of Business Development, an opportunity to meet and greet old colleagues and new.

“One of the reasons I love attending these events is not only for the opportunity to introduce the power of SmartSimple’s web-based software to people who have never tried our products, but to talk to current clients and hear how well SmartSimple is working for them and their teams. It makes me feel absolutely fantastic, knowing we’re really helping grant makers streamline their processes and engage their applicants and grantees,” says Bennett.

We still have a few events lined up before the end of 2014. This week, we’re attending the inaugural Corporate Social Responsibility Summit in Toronto on October 29th and 30th, then it’s off to Chicago for our first ever SmartSimple Community Conference, in partnership with Chicago Community Trust, on Wednesday, November 5th. Be sure to also look for us at the TAG 2014 Annual Conference being held in Aventura, Florida from November 10th to November 13th!

Keep up to date on where we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going by visiting the SmartSimple website. Interested in having a personal demonstration? Just click on the Request a Demo link and we’ll set one up with you!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Pinch of This, and a Dash of That – The SmartSimple Recipe for Board Support

As a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider, SmartSimple regularly fields requests and queries from clients looking to improve efficiencies and streamline their work. These calls offer great insight into features we consider adding to improve our products for everyone, and are often the basis of our bi-monthly upgrade offerings.

For example, one of our Grants Management GMS360o solution users called, asking if there was a way they could use SmartSimple to help administer their board management process. They were using another program – which wasn’t ideal – and wondered if there was something we could do to help.

Presented with a new opportunity to “wow” a client, we decided to see what kind of solution we could provide.

We already had all the ingredients needed to build board books in GMS360o via the Universal Tracking ApplicationTM (UTATM). No new coding was needed, just a little mixing and blending (then bake at 375o until golden…) to configure what our client needed.

After a bit of culinary ingenuity, we created functionality that the client was extremely pleased with. In fact, after sharing it with several other clients – and receiving an overwhelmingly positive response – it’s now a standard option for all our GMS360o users.

SmartSimple Board Books offers pretty much everything other board books software does. That’s a serious advantage for organizations who don’t want to invest in a separate product to monitor and track their board activities!

To give you a peek into what the SmartSimple Board Books feature can do, check out our video:

The best part is there’s no additional cost and you don’t have to download anything new – everything is already included and ready to go!

Still have questions? Check out the Board Management brochure on our website or request a demo of what our software can do.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Communing with the Chicago Community

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, SmartSimple will hold our very first Community Conference in Chicago, Illinois (a special thank you to the Chicago Community Trust for hosting this inaugural event)!

Why a Community Conference?
SmartSimple Community Conferences are an opportunity to meet, share and learn. More than just a platform for us to show what’s new, we open a dialogue with attendees about how our software makes work smarter and easier for them, learning from each other to ensure we’re creating the products our clients really need, with features they really want.

This is a unique opportunity for people to provide Input, and conversation during demonstrations is actively encouraged. These discussions give us real input from real users, and are often the basis for upgrades and enhancements to our software.

We’ve been holding conferences for years in Toronto, but with so many of our clients based in the U.S., we wanted to “share the love” with our neighbours to the south, while gaining valuable insight into the issues and concerns impacting the American market.

What will I get out of the Chicago Conference?
Our experts will review the elements of our new universal search, census integration and custom field translation features, offering tips and tricks to improve volunteer, donor and grantee interaction. Attendees will also gain invaluable insight into the advantages of using the Arcadia X interface and our machine learning tool, Janus, to enhance decision making.

In the afternoon, we’ll discuss technology and philanthropic market trends and insights, how these trends could potentially impact your organization, and how SmartSimple is helping you stay ahead of the curve.

We’ll wrap up the day with a town hall. Participants will have a chance to share their ideas and insights with SmartSimple Chief Operating Officer, Mike Reid, and President, Cameron McLean. This is a valuable opportunity for us to learn how people are using SmartSimple and get inspiration for future upgrades. Mike and Cameron will also offer their expert insights into the future of cloud computing.

Don’t miss out!
Spots are filling up fast, so if you’re in the Chicago area, and interested in joining us for an interesting and interactive day, be sure to register here by Friday, October 31, 2014.

We plan to host further sessions in 2015 in other cities, including New York. Check our website for dates and locations coming in the future!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stepping Back to Jump Forward

Every so often, one of our clients brings us a challenge that’s not only interesting but, like dropping a pebble in a pool of water, has a ripple effect that benefits the entire SmartSimple community.

Take, for example, a request from one of our major retail clients. We’ve been working with this organization for many years and across several initiatives. Recently, they came to us with an interesting conundrum, giving us the opportunity to see what kind of innovative solution our team could come up with.

As a foundation-based charity, they needed the ability to provide not only unique branding, but distinct entry points into the same copy of SmartSimple.

The reason?

Multiple funders were contributing resources to one major initiative, so the website could not be branded for any one company. Because their partners were also well recognized brands, there was a need to somehow create several “aliases”; distinct entry points into the same instance of SmartSimple, but appearing to the donor to be completely autonomous.

Always motivated by the chance to flex our creative muscles, we jumped at the prospect, eager to see what kind of resolution we could come up with.

Ironically, it was by going back in our history that we found the answer for the future.

By reviewing some of the coding we’d constructed in our early days, we realized that – with a few simple tweaks – we could create multiple aliases for one instance of our software. That meant different people could access the same copy of SmartSimple using a variety of URLs without identifying any one particular company as the owner.

And, as an extra added bonus, it didn’t cost our client a dime.

Once we configured the solution, we realized the coding was easily adaptable; all our clients could use it, particularly those in the multiple foundation market and for corporate clients, where different initiatives require different access and views (for example, a foundation versus their employee giving program versus volunteering opportunities, or a firm that manages a multitude of trust funds).

Interested in finding out more about this option and what it could do for you? Give us a call or visit our website to request a demo! We’re love to show off this great new feature!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

“Standing on the Shoulders of a Giant” – Alan Turing, the Father of Modern Computing

The Turing mural in the lobby of our Toronto office 
When you visit the newly renovated SmartSimple offices in Toronto, Canada, you’ll notice a series of murals featuring historical moments in computing. One in particular depicts the man considered by many to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, Alan Mathison Turing.

Born June 23, 1912 in London, England, Turing’s genius was apparent early on in his childhood, and by the time he was 13-years-old, he discovered a particular interest in both math and science.

Turing attended King’s College at the University of Cambridge. In 1934, he delivered a paper, On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem (a German term meaning literally “decision problem”), citing the notion of a machine capable of computing just about anything. This became the central concept for modern day computers.

After Cambridge, Turing studied mathematics and cryptology at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1938, he returned to Cambridge to work for the Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS). There, he devised a number of methods for cracking German cyphers, decrypting messages that ultimately allowed the Allies to defeat the Nazis in several key battles during World War II.

Once the war ended, Turing went back to London and began working for the National Physical Laboratory, where he created the design for the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE). This lead to a ground breaking concept for stored-program computers – computers which store program instructions in electronic memory. He then went to the University of Manchester where he developed the “Turing Test,” his first foray into artificial intelligence, proposing a design standard for the technology industry.

Sadly, Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for being an admitted homosexual, illegal at the time in the U.K. He died on June 7, 1954, and, while never completely proven, it is believed he committed suicide. On September 10, 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated."

In 1999, Time Magazine recognized Turing as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century. Over the years, he’s also been immortalized on the screen in several adaptations of his life and work, including the 1996 television movie Breaking the Code, the 2011 film The Turing Enigma, and the soon to be released feature, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

We’re in the process of installing a new mural portraying Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper, USN, Ph.D., a computer scientist best known for coining the term “debugging” for fixing computer glitches. We’ll share her remarkable story in a future blog – stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Learning Together – ORCID’s Research Funding Webinar

Most organization use more than one tool to meet their operational requirements. It takes a balance of several tools that seamlessly integrate to create a complete solution.  That’s why SmartSimple – as a provider of research management software – was excited to attend a recent webinar presented by ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), a fellow member of the research management community.

By linking up with organizations like ORCID, we provide applicants and researchers with options such as the ability to import their profiles directly into SmartSimple, ensuring accuracy and saving time.

The webinar, hosted in conjunction with the Health Research Alliance, was entitled Why Research Funders are using ORCID Identifiers. This informative session focused on how funders are using ORCID identifiers in their workflows and systems, and featured presentations by leaders at private and public funding organizations in the U.S. and Europe.

Webinar: Why research funders are using ORCID identifiers September 25th 2014 from Rebecca Bryant on Vimeo.

Attendees also learned why funders are integrating ORCID identifiers into common CV platforms, mandating their use during grant submissions. These identifiers are then used to improve tracking and evaluation of applications.

Who is ORCID?
ORCID is a non-proprietary registry service for researchers to obtain a unique identifier to distinguish themselves from other contributors. This is particularly helpful for those who have a common name, have changed their name, or have multiple name variations.  ORCID works with funders and other research organizations to integrate these identifiers into research workflows and systems such as grant applications, publication submissions and other research documentation. 

Who is the Health Research Alliance?
Founded in 1998, The Health Research Alliance fosters collaboration among not-for-profit and non-governmental funders to support health research and training from biomedical science applications that advance health.

Interested to know more?
If you missed out, and are interested in learning more about the advantages of using ORCID identifiers, you can visit the ORCID website.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 2014 Upgrades – What’s New, What’s Cool!

The SmartSimple Development Team has some great system-wide upgrade features for the fall (or spring depending on where you are in the world)! Upgrades will go live for most clients on Friday, September 26th. Visit our Wiki for full details:

SmartFolder Interface – We’ve brought you a cleaner, more contemporary view of your SmartFolders, making it easier to find and identify sub folders in your system.
SmartFolder View Before
New SmartFolder View
Scheduling Conflict Alert Feature – Be notified of scheduling conflicts before you book your next meeting or event in your SmartSimple calendar. The scheduling conflict feature alerts you instantly if someone you’ve invited is already booked for that date and time. You’ll still be able to include them in the event, but you’ll have the advantage of knowing if they have a previous engagement.

Conflict Alert feature shows who has another appointment.
Web Page View in a Light Box – Now users have the ability to launch a web page view in a light box (a view that highlights images in a new window) rather than a pop-up window. The light box option means you see a clean, clear presentation, and you never have to worry if your pop-up blocker is on when you want to open a page in a new window.

Previous Pop-up View
New Light Box View
Arcadia X – Arcadia X is the latest SmartSimple portal enhancement. Now it’s even easier to configure personalized portals without needing to know any specialized coding such as html, CSS or JavaScript. In addition to greater flexibility, Arcadia X gives your portals a modern look and feel.

Example of an Arcadia X Portal
Number Validation – Our enhanced number validation option gives you the ability to select the number format – percentage, integer, comma, decimal or currency – and the relevant currency symbol in a specific field. This upgrade also provides the ability to round any numeric value up or down based on your chosen precision. Select whole numbers, single or multiple decimals, nearest ten, hundred or thousand – it’s all up to you.
Previous Numbering Option View
New number validation feature offers personalized options.
As always, you can visit our Wiki for full details on this month’s upgrades, and be sure to check our webinar schedule and video library on YouTube for guided tours and demonstrations of all the new features.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mountains, Salmon and Dog Sled Racing – SmartSimple goes to Alaska!

Madhulika Sharma with the Rasmuson team
In early September, 2014, SmartSimple Project Manager, Madhulika Sharma, journeyed to Anchorage, Alaska, to provide two days of on-site training for one of our newest clients, The Rasmuson Foundation.

This is our first client in the great state of Alaska, and Madhulika the first SmartSimple employee to venture to the far north. The Foundation’s Statement of Work (SOW) was completed in early 2014, and full implementation should be completed by the end of October, 2014. Madhulika was invited out by the Foundation’s CEO, Ian Dutton, to provide on-site end user system administration training. “I was very happy to meet Ian,” said Madhulika, “and I was thrilled to find out he’s a fellow cricket player! He’s shared the field with many legends of the game, and it was great to find we had a common interest.”

The goal of the first part of the Foundation’s training schedule was to create super users to handle the administration of the system, allowing the Foundation to be self-sufficient. Over the two days, Madhulika introduced a team of administrators to SmartSimple’s GMS360o software, giving them their first real taste of how much the platform could do to help streamline and manage their granting process.

“Since the Foundation funds projects all over the United States, they’re going to be taking their SmartSimple software with them wherever they go. They were so excited to see what SmartSimple could do for them and so appreciative that I went to train them personally,” added Madhulika.

The trip – and the training – were a great success. “Madhulika was excellent! We are all so grateful she came up to visit work with us,” said CEO Ian Dutton.

Madhulika also enjoyed her time, and plans very definitely to return to Alaska. “Everyone was wonderful, so friendly and welcoming,” she said. “It’s just so beautiful there. No matter where you are, you see mountains all around you. It’s definitely a place I would recommend everyone visit – I’m taking my family there for a vacation next year!”

About The Rasmuson Foundation

The Rasmuson Foundation awards grants to both organizations located in Alaska that serve the local community and to individuals for projects, fellowships and sabbaticals. Grants are awarded for projects that focus on artists, performers and community organizations from within Alaska and throughout the continental United States. To learn more about them and the work they support, be sure to visit The Rasmuson Foundation at