Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SmartSimple July 2016 Upgrade Highlights

SmartSimple’s July 2016 upgrade takes the Arcadia X user experience to the next level, giving you even more reporting and communications options. We’ve introduced new On-Demand features that bring life to your reports and dashboards. And, our enhanced email offering makes it easier to add contacts and quickly edit your communications based on specific, pre-filtered records already in your platform.

List View Charts (On-Demand Feature)
SmartSimple empowers you to create dynamic and impactful charts directly from your current list view without needing to use Report Builder.
List View Charts instantly aggregate your data into easy-to-understand, vibrant charts. This flexible new feature requires next to no effort to use, maintaining the current columns and filtering the information you want to share directly from your list view. There’s no need to re-input any details.

Seven descriptive and colorful chart types are available to display your data in a meaningful way. This feature provides the ability to see the data as tables or charts as well as being able to drill down into the data for a more granular view. Users then have the option to download the chart or table as a PNG, JPEG, PDF or vector image.

Note: This feature is available in the Arcadia X interface only; List View Charts cannot be created from the Classic interface.

BI (Business Intelligence) Dashboards (On-Demand Feature)
This feature is ideal for board members or internal team members who want descriptive graphics that clearly display their information succinctly whenever they open their personal portal. BI Dashboards offer regularly updated overviews of granting data, ensuring you always see the most up-to-date statuses.
There are six charts and a map already built in to make it fast and easy to create your dashboard. Simply select which fields are represented by which graph type and set the data filters for what you need to see (status, start date, end date, etc.).

The charts in the BI Dashboard will always remember the latest settings used and provide options to zoom in for greater detail. Use maps with current addresses to drill down information based on location for more granular analysis. Charts can also be personalized according to each user’s needs, providing the exact results they want to see, every time.

Note: The graphs displayed and their locations on the dashboard are applied by default and are not configurable.

Dynamic Field Controls (On-Demand Feature)
This feature offers you the ability to easily create smart logic to control visibility of sets of fields based on values selected on other fields.
This new feature uses what’s known as ‘branching’ or ‘skip logic’ (showing field information based on your answers. Select X to see details on Y. Select Z to see details on A, etc.). Always ensure that the data shown to every user is only the data they want and need to see.

Note: If you’re interested in exploring this feature further, talk to your System Administrator.

Group Email Enhancements (Global Feature)
Email is a vital lifeline for your community no matter where they are, so we continually look for new ways to increase the usability of SmartSimple’s email function.

For this upgrade, we’ve improved both the user interface and the user experience by making the generation and sending of emails flow more smoothly. Select any number of roles and our email wizard will instantly display the exact number of users on the final list so you know how many people will receive your communication. This new feature also gives you the additional opportunity to double check and confirm your email targets the right audience.

Additionally, you now have the ability to edit content right from within the email template, meaning last minute changes can be made on the fly. All emails are saved as an activity on the Level 1 record.

Learn More
See the full list of all our July enhancements on our Wiki. Be sure to sign up for one of our Upgrade Q & A Sessions on Tuesday, August 2nd or Thursday, August 4th by visiting our Webinars Page.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Four ways Brexit is impacting the nonprofit sector in the UK

With the final results of the Brexit Referendum of 52% to leave the EU and 48% to stay, the majority of UK citizens have voted - albeit by a small margin - to leave the EU. A surprise to many, the result has lead to not only the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, but created a great deal of turmoil in the country, leading to massive speculation about the future.

News articles abound on the impact of Brexit on the automotive industry, energy and climate change, investments, and technology. But what about philanthropy, or, as it’s commonly known in the UK, the third sector? After all, more than 732,000 people are employed in this industry by an estimated 162,000 organizations that spend approximately £38 billion annually on initiatives to assist people in need.

1. Economics and Funding for Philanthropy
It’s no surprise that the initial reaction of the global markets was panic; financial institutions never cope well with change. Not only did the pound plunge against the US dollar by over 10% to $1.32, a 30-year low, investors “...have started to flock to the safety of US Treasuries.”

This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean a windfall for the US. In the short term, market volatility will impact everything from the dollar to trade to tourism. Should economic uncertainty continue for any length of time, it could slow down growth in the US while both businesses and consumers reconsider current spending habits — including, potentially, donations to nonprofits.

There’s another major funding issue that Brexit has created for the third sector. As part of the EU, the UK has been able to tap into the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). This funding had been key in offsetting the ongoing government cuts to the not-for-profit sector, so its loss in conjunction with a highly devalued pound and loss of investment income will certainly be felt.

How much was the UK getting from the ESIF? The Third Sector published the results of a report produced by the Britain Stronger in Europe Campaign. It stated, “British charities would lose more than £200m in funding each year if the UK votes to leave the European Union... 249 charities received £217m from the EU in 2014, the most recent year for which there are figures.”

This is a bad combination at a time when 70% of charities predict demand for their services will continue to increase. How can organizations whose missions are to support those in need keep up with the societal demand?

2. The Future of Employment and its Impact on the Third Sector
The impact on the workforce is also a hot topic. Companies that have been able to take advantage of the open trade and movement of employees across the EU will become a thing of the past. This is making many large global companies rethink their UK office locations.
An article in The Guardian contained a warning from Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JP Morgan, that “between 1,000 to 4,000 UK jobs at the bank could move overseas.” Morgan Stanley is also apparently thinking of moving UK jobs to Europe.

If those jobs go, leaving the people working in them unemployed, what happens to their taxable income the government uses to fund initiatives? What happens to any donations they would normally make directly to charitable organizations? What if they themselves need services?

This leads to a “double whammy” for the third sector, says Paul Palmer, professor of voluntary sector management and associate dean for ethics, sustainability and engagement at Cass Business School. Combine the drop in donations with continued government cuts and the impact is twofold.

3. Charitable Services after Brexit
If funding starts to disappear, what happens to the people that rely on the services these organizations provide?

The Third Sector spoke with Danny Corry, Chief Executive of New Philanthropy Capital, who said, "The Brexit vote means we are entering a period of uncertainty for charities. The government will now be tied up for months negotiating what happens next, sucking time and energy away from making sure charities are in the best position to make a social impact.”

4. University Research Grants Already Feeling the Impact
One victim has already fallen: university research grants. Forbes reported some UK universities have already been told future funding applications are likely to be put on hold. That’s 19,000 jobs generating £1.86 billion for the UK economy indefinitely delayed.

So what’s next?
Remember, until the UK invokes Article 50, the separation is not “official.” Article 50 comes from the Lisbon Treaty that each member of the EU signed in 2007. This is the formal declaration by the Prime Minister that the UK is leaving and triggers a two-year countdown where both parties negotiate the separation agreement between the UK and the EU.

In the meantime, however, uncertainty rules.

Leaders of the third sector have requested an immediate summit to discuss the possible recovery of revenue to be lost in charitable sector funding, but, to date, no meeting has been set.

It’s a bit early to say what the ultimate outcome will be. There’s wide range of opinions regarding the legality of the vote and whether the vote alone is enough to invoke Article 50. It’s entirely possible that, should Brexit go to parliament for further discussion, the outcome of the referendum may be considered too close to be considered official. There are also legal concerns that Article 50 cannot be called into play until there has been an Act of Parliament, meaning a separate vote by MPs.

The longer uncertainty stands, the more optimistic the talk becomes that the UK may not leave the EU after all. In that case, this last couple of weeks could simply be considered a valuable learning opportunity and potential warning to any other country considering such a move. Still, there’s a strong belief it will come to pass, so it’s imperative the third sector put as much pressure on the government as possible to keep their issues top of mind.