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.
Before
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.

After
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: company.smartsimple.com, subcompany.smartsimple.com) 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.