Showing posts from 2015

Sharing the Gift of Joy this Holiday Season

It’s the time of year when everyone is rushing from festive events to the shopping mall as people get into the frenzy of holiday activities. But for many families, this is more a season of stress than joy. Parents may worry about not having enough money to pay the bills each month while still wanting to ensure their children still have something to look forward to Christmas morning. That’s why April and Sarah Rutka createdHoliday Helpers and the annual Adopt-a-Family program. Since 1996, Holiday Helpers has donated Christmas packages to over 1,700 families in the Greater Toronto Area. And, for the third year, the SmartSimple team in Toronto has once again raised funds and purchased gifts to ensure one more family has a very merry Christmas. The SmartSimple adopted family for 2015 was a single mother with three children, and their wish list included basics such as winter coats, boots and pajamas. As part of the Adopt-a-Family initiative, each family also receives a tree with decorations …

Facilitating a “Conversation of Possibilities” with the SmartSimple Partner Network

“Bringing the best solutions to our customers means working with innovative people, not just those on our team, but also knowledgeable and talented organizations,” said Chief Operating Officer & SmartSimple Co-Founder, Mike Reid, during his opening comments at the first-ever SmartSimple Partner Network (SPN) Roundtable.

This inaugural gathering took place in Toronto, Canada, with a select, dynamic group of representatives from the current partner network and the SmartSimple team. Attendees participated in the full-day event amidst vibrant discussions that included working in current and exploring potential business markets, doing business in the U.S. and the features and functions of the newly created SmartSimple Partner Portal.

Collaborative Learning “The purpose of the day was to open discussion on how we can work collectively to meet our customers’ objectives,” continued Mike. “There are incredible opportunities in today’s business culture for a platform like SmartSimple, so bui…

SmartSimple November Upgrade - Connecting your World

We’re excited to share our latest round of updates to the SmartSimple platform. The theme this month? Integrations designed to help you connect more easily with your community. Upgrades include new sharing capabilities for calendar invites and to-do lists as well as enhancements to our ORCiD integration. And, coming soon, a new online payment integration with Stripe.

On-Demand Features
Share Calendars, Contacts and To-Do Lists Not all organizations or individuals use the same tools to manage their calendars, schedule meetings or keep to-do lists. This can make completing simple tasks, like setting up meetings for review panels, complicated, as not all systems are compatible.

Fortunately, there’s a way to make sure all your contacts know when meetings are and share important information whether they use Outlook, Gmail or Apple Mail.

Known asiCalendar, this universal feature gives you the ability to share meeting requests, vCards (virtual business cards), and to-do lists with your contacts …

Learning, Sharing, Growing: SmartSimple’s Fall Community Conference 2015

It was a meeting of the minds in Chicago last week, as SmartSimple hosted its second annual Fall Community Conference. “Our vision for the conference was to provide a forum where our clients could network and share ideas, and we exceeded our expectations,” says Sarah Harris, Director, Client Support and Operations.

Our Fall Conference is Growing! The conference – hosted by the team at Chicago Community Trusts head office – drew representatives from a diverse range of organizations. Attendance was nearly double last year’s event, with 64% attending for the first time.

Interactive Learning at its Best
The full-day event featured a number of interactive sessions, highlighted by productive, open discussion amongst attendees. “Our clients’ sense of community was really evident this year. Everyone was incredibly open about sharing solutions and creating new connections.”
New this year was SmartSimple’s first-ever peer-led panel discussionon Strategic Grantmaking, featuring thought leaders from…

Grantmaking Leaders Take the Stage at SmartSimple’s Fall Community Conference 2015

The SmartSimple team is very excited about hosting our first ever peer-led panel discussion during our upcoming Fall Community Conference 2015 in Chicago on Wednesday, November 4th.
“We wanted to create an opportunity for this year’s conference attendees to experience something different than our usual SmartSimple led sessions. Something that would add some additional value for the experts joining us for the day” says Sarah Harris, Director, Client Support and Operations. “Our clients have a vast array of experience to share, and the chance to compare insights, strategies and tactics with colleagues in an open, interactive setting is important to fostering the growth of the philanthropic industry.”

The session’s topic, Strategic Grantmaking, will cover a range of issues from why strategic grantmaking is important to making the transition from responsive to strategic grantmaking.

Meet the Panelists
Kathe Elwell, Director of Grants & Stewardship, YMCA of the USA
Kathe Elwell is the …

Top Five Challenges for Grantmakers and How to Fix Them

Awarding grants is a complex process. “Every step – from the creation of the grant application to monitoring and tracking of results – must be well thought out,” says Haifa Staiti, Project Manager, Philanthropic Solutions at SmartSimple.*

Haifa speaks from experience. She’s a grant-making professional with nearly 10 years of experience in managing grant programs. Her areas of expertise include funding medical research, community health promotion, women’s education and empowerment, peace building and human rights, so she understands the challenges facing today’s research and granting organizations intimately.

What are the issues around creating, awarding and managing a grant? Haifa shares her top five challenges of the grants management process:

Developing an application process that is user friendly. If your potential grantees can’t understand what you’re asking for, or find the process too complex or costly – needing to make multiple copies of proposals and shipping them – you may lose …

Did you miss it? SmartSimple's September Upgrade Webinar

Eric Lauer, Director of Customer Experience, hosted two webinars, showcasing the great new features and enhancements from our September upgrade:

In this upgrade webinar, Eric walks you through the latest Global and On-demand updates to SmartSimple, as well as some upcoming Beta testing opportunities for developers. You'll also see three use cases for the Neo Report Builder introduced in this upgrade.

Be sure to check out our events page to find out how to register for our Fall Community Conference 2015 in Chicago. Stay tuned for news on more upcoming webinars.

Security is a Shared Responsibility

Keeping your data under tight lock and key takes the combined effort of both our team and yours. We recently introduced a new security page on our website to ensure everyone understands the shared security model when working in the cloud.
Keep reading to learn how, by working together, we can provide better security.
Who’s responsible for what? While SmartSimple ensures our platform’s security and the protection of your information, we all bear some responsibility for complete security throughout your data’s lifecycle.
We can safeguard the data that you store with us, but we have little control over what happens outside our environment. Therefore, it’s important that you evaluate your own security policies, consider how your users access your system, monitor how the data is used, and maintain the physical security of your own premises and its hardware.
To really understand why security is a shared responsibility, you need to know the difference between two key concepts:

·Security of t…

SmartSimple brings non-profit professionals together again at the Chicago Fall Community Conference 2015

Building on the success of last year’s Fall Community Conference, SmartSimple invites you back to Chicago for another full-day of interactive engagement.

“We were really pleased with how well our first fall conference was received last year,” says Sarah Harris, Director, Client Support and Operations, “so we decided to go back to the Windy City and host our second community conference outside of our home base in Toronto, Canada.” The Fall Community Conference is the ideal setting for our clients to engage with the SmartSimple team in dynamic discussions about their systems, its functions and features. It’s also a valuable opportunity to network with peers and share ideas and insights about the non-profit community.
What will I get out of the conference? The conference is designed to provide attendees with: ·An update on new developments at SmartSimple. ·Useful tips about features and functions in your SmartSimple system that you may not have taken advantage of. ·A chance to have open dis…

Build more configurable reports faster and easier than ever with Neo

Watch our latest video on Neo – the next stage in the evolution of our Report Builder. System administrators and other technical users involved in the configuration of your SmartSimple system will find this information helpful.

While Neo offers a more intuitive interface that is easier to configure and saves you time, there are some important behaviour changes to be aware of. This video walks you through the new, easier to use report building process:

Register now to join Eric Lauer, Director of Customer Experience, for one of two upcoming webinars:

September 2015 Upgrade Overview:

Tuesday, September 29th (10:00 AM EST to 10:30 AM EST)Thursday, October 1st (2:00 PM EST to 2:30 PM EST)
Eric will delve into the finer points of using the new Neo report building process, and other great features from our September 2015 upgrade.

If you have any questions about Neo or other upgrade features, feel free to ask in the comments section below.

SmartSimple September Upgrades

Fall is almost here, and that means it’s time for our upgrades for September, 2015. We have some new enhancements that improve overall usability, enhance previous reporting functionality, and update the Arcadia X user interface. We’ve also opened up a new beta testing opportunity.
This upgrade will take place on Thursday, September 17th, so let’s get you ready!
Automatic Upgrade                                 This feature is automatically applied with the September upgrade, meaning you don’t have to do anything to begin using it in your SmartSimple system:
Expanded Arcadia Colors and Styles If you’re an Arcadia X interface user, the first difference you’ll see when you log in after this upgrade are new navigational colors. Don’t panic; this is part of the enhanced color and style functionality we’ve added to increase Arcadia X personalization options.
From the Configuration tab, under the Global Settings menu, permissioned staff will see a new Branding and Terminology tab at the top …

Test to Production to Versioning – Pick your Solution!

Every SmartSimple client is unique, which is why we offer so many options for personalizing individual systems. One thing, however, that is common for all our clients is the need to change various forms and applications, often on a regular basis. For that reason, SmartSimple has two different solutions available; Versioning and Test to Production, otherwise known as T2P.
Why two solutions? Some smaller organizations have very limited technical infrastructure, which means they may not have a Systems Administrator on staff, so they want a solution that they can easily use without a lot of technical knowledge required. Versioning is ideal for these clients.
Other larger clients have IT staff to handle more complex levels of configuration, and can therefore work with more sophisticated solutions, and therefore T2P is preferred. That doesn’t mean a larger organization couldn’t or shouldn’t use Versioning. Versioning was designed to be used by everyone.
Versioning Versioning is particularly a…