Development, Meet Accounting!

Nonprofit organizations often enter and manage key financial data in places other than their accounting system—and require that the data flow into the general ledger. But getting the data from those systems—for managing fundraising, membership, grants, or services—into the accounting system is rarely as straightforward as we would like it to be.

In this session, nonprofit operations and information systems experts from Build Consulting lead a discussion on how Development and Accounting teams can better work together in managing financial data.

Melissa Waters: Thank you again for joining us today. My name is Melissa waters and I'm the manager of events and programs at JM T consulting and we have you joining us today for the development meet accounting expert speaker webinar series.

Again, hosted by JM T consulting. I did want to go over a couple housekeeping tips with you and then I will hand it over to Peter, Kyle and Lisa

If you have any questions at all during the presentation, please submit the questions in the Q AMP a box on your control panel and

The team will answer them accordingly, as well as today's recording and slides will be emailed to you following the webinar. So, for some reason, you have to hop off early. Don't fret. We will send that to you. And with that, I am going to turn it over to Peter. Thank you.

Peter Mirus: Thanks, Melissa.

Welcome to the webinar. Everyone is presented as a partnership between build consulting and jam t and we're grateful to JM T for allowing us to present on this topic for you today.

In this webinar built consulting panel of experts will be answering your questions regarding how development and accounting can work together to manage financial data.

Just a little bit about built consulting where we work exclusively with nonprofit organizations to help them make information technology and information systems decisions that support their mission.

And we have a collaborative approach that empowers our clients to make informed choices for their organizations.

All of our services are designed to help clients transform themselves to better serve constituents of all types, including funders donors program beneficiaries staff, volunteers in the general public.

We believe that tomorrow's best nonprofits will use technology to transform themselves and the world.

But the reason build the consulting was founded back in 2015 was because the more more than 50% of nonprofit technology projects fail. And that's often the case, because while the technology moves forward. The organization does not in some way.

And this slide the formula here means old organization plus new technology equals expensive old organization.

And this is the slide that we share with a lot of our clients and other nonprofit organizations to help them understand that transformation is critical to your success.

And what we're going to be talking about in today's webinar. And this Ask the Experts format.

Is how we can work differently, how we can transform our organizations to have a better agreement between the development and accounting functions for the better management of constituent and financial data.

My name is Peter Maris I'm Co founding partner of build consulting and I'll be the moderator for today's discussion.

And I'm happy to welcome to my industry colleagues from build who will be serving as our panel of experts for today's session.

They are Lisa received the CEO of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has been a past collaborator with Bill

And who will be representing the accounting voice in today's conversation and Kyle Haynes, a partner at built consulting and also a co founder who is also the acting CIO at the lymphoma Research Foundation, Lisa, will you please take a moment to introduce yourself.

Lisa Risi : Yes, thank you, Peter, as Peter mentioned I'm currently the CEO of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I've been with

The organization for about eight years responsible for finance it administration and everything and HR prior to that I worked for about 12 years at the National MS Society in a variety of financial and operational roles.

Peter Mirus: Thankfully, so and Kyle, will you please take a moment to introduce yourself.

Kyle, are you muted.

Kyle Haines: I was given instructions at the end to stay muted. And so I forgot to take mute off.

So hi everyone Kyle hands as Peter shared. I am a partner at build consulting why I was interested in today's webinar is my career actually started in development, I worked in development.

For five years and then worked for a very small at the time software company that many people have probably not heard of called Blackboard.

And following that I went out on my own and worked with organizations.

Predominantly around CRM and often for many organizations that obviously starts, or at least the genesis of that for many organizations is in fundraising. So that's why I'm joining today and I'm really excited to be here.

Peter Mirus: Thanks Lisa and Kyle.

And now we're going to get to the questions we got many questions from clients and the webinar attendees today about data management between the development and accounting functions.

And we boiled these down into six that will plan on answering during this session. And we'll also take your questions as they come in as well. This is an informal collaborative discussion.

Featuring primarily Lisa and Kyle, with perhaps a few introductions for myself.

If you would like a more comprehensive answer to a particular question or one that speaks more directly to your individual situation, please contact us and we'll be happy to have a dialogue with you and information about how to reach us will be shared at the conclusion of this webinar.

The first question is, what are the different viewpoints or priorities of development and accounting when it comes to managing financial data, Lisa. Would you like to take the first crack at answering this

Lisa Risi : Absolutely. Thanks, Peter.

I'm not so sure that we're different viewpoints, but certainly our priorities are different. So from the development and I'm sure Kyle can concur.

You know their primary thing is donors stewardship and looking at data in a way so they can compare a year over year. The types of gifts, perhaps

Moving people from one level on your gift permitted to another. I won't mention levels because they're different organization by organization they care about retention rate.

Things along that nature and they want you know analysis to support it. And quite frankly, that needs to come from either the data management team and or the finance team on the accounting side while we know all of those things are critical to financial goals.

We prefer to keep summarized information in the accounting system because the detail of this and whatever CRM. You're using one would hope and you know our concern is about accuracy at all times, probably at a level that's not as important to a development person.

Having a reporting. And for us it's really about timeliness and our ability to close books. Whereas I think on the development side, they're more

More concerned not about the day to day personnel, but more about what are we doing with our donors, how do we grow them so

The way they might choose to categorize gifts might be at a level of detail that really isn't relevant or necessary, whether it be for board reporting.

Or for external audit purposes. So I really think it's a matter of trying to find a common ground between. What are the outputs that both groups need and figure out a way to get there. I don't know if you want to add to that.

Kyle Haines: Yeah, I am. Hopefully I didn't put myself on mute again. I like what you said Lisa about

Maybe it's not as much about different viewpoints, but different priorities and this idea of finding common ground. I really like that.

You know, I thought about three things as you were talking that accounting folks might not care as much about that folks in development do care about and those three things are first like what's the return on investment of specific types of engagement.

That at a level of detail that perhaps accounting doesn't care about so direct mail comes to mind accounting probably doesn't need to know

The financial effectiveness of individual packages or maybe even individual mailings they're more much more interested in overall how well is direct mail doing

The second one is, I often find in development, we want to understand, like, what was the intention behind a large donation. So somebody might have verbally.

Expressed, what do they want a donation, or what do they want a legacy gift to be used for and perhaps that doesn't always match up with the level of detail that accounting cares about

I always use this example that if a donor gives $10,000 for new rhododendron bushes. I can pretty much guarantee. I don't know if I can guarantee I'm gonna guess that Lisa

Doesn't want to create a new account for rhododendron bushes. So this difference between capturing the intention of donors.

And then lastly it, which is sort of a hybrid of both of those is what was the vehicle by which somebody made a gift. Again, I, in my experience, not only not always is that super important to accounting folks.

You know, the last thing I'll say is that oftentimes at the highest level or at least I hope at the highest level development should be or wants to be tracking projected revenue.

That may not be at the stage that it's capable of being recognized by accounting

And sometimes that demand is coming from either the CEO of an organization or the board themselves or the Development Committee. So, that can be a difference in a priority.

Around let's come up with some meaningful estimation of what projected revenue is that's not capable of being booked as an account receivable for example.

Peter Mirus: A study of a follow up.

Do you have a follow up on anything that Kyle.

Lisa Risi : I would just say, as you talking while I was thinking about, you know, some of the nuances when there are multiple year gifts from particular donors for a bunch of different initiatives.

And the way development looks at it, versus accounting new. So for example, we recently had a toner who gave us a you know a 10 year gift and they want to apply to different initiatives and so

For accounting we book that revenue all at the point of the pledge and on development. They do too. But when they need to do reporting for a particular initiative, especially if it's that that can be broken more into one of those 10 fiscal years. So, there is always a

Reconciliation. And I think on the accounting and we have to remember that they're not so concerned about which audited financial statements.

Things head. So when we get information from development. We can't just take it at face value, we have to make sure that we're talking the same line which which is an overseas.

Peter Mirus: Right. Thanks Lisa

Let's go ahead and move on to question two. And this is something that Lisa kind of alluded to earlier, and it is, how can we resolve misunderstanding between development and accounting about how to categorize gift records Kyle, can you take the lead on this one.

Kyle Haines: Yeah, I mean I think the easiest way is to just do it the way development folks want to do it and I

Hope all of the accounting folks on today's call. That's their primary takeaway from today's call.

No, I think.

You know, I go back to what Lisa said, I just have this note.

That resolving any misunderstandings, perhaps it's about finding what the Common Ground is first

And then I think obviously build NJ empty, you know, we're both approaching some of this work from a technology lens.

And I think part of this is agreeing that your technology or software is going to also view gifts differently than accounting does as we were talking about in the last question and fundraising.

And so, for example, taking two really popular solutions intact and Razor's Edge, the way they prioritize and the last report.

On financial information. It's going to be just much different stuff and Lisa as you were talking earlier, I thought about this as sort of a Venn diagram and for most organizations, unless you have enormous compliance issues.

The Venn diagram should overlap but not completely overlap. And the important thing is to figure out what are the points of overlap.

And then step back and figure out what's important just to a singular group and those types of conversations can drive some of the decisions that you make about technology or decisions about capturing data or tech decisions about business processes.

And I would just say that too often these conversations they happen around specific gifts and they don't get to the heart of any

Misunderstandings to use the word in the question. So using Lisa's example again.

If there's a persistent problem with how the organization is going to track and recognize and manage multi year pledges rather than just approaching it in the moment, stepping back and saying, Are we well structured

To address these types of gifts that are going to happen, invariably in the future. Mm hmm.

Peter Mirus: Lisa

Lisa Risi : Yes, things are, you know, I think what I, I'd like to share is that in the last two years we converted over to sage intact through the help of GMC consultant to. Thank you, Melissa emptied and

We spent a lot of time with the development department to make sure that based on their plans for what they were doing in

Upcoming campaigns and things of that nature and how they were hoping to track interactions to make sure what we set up in

Blackboard could come in a way that could be automated coming into sage and I'll tell you it wasn't one half hour conversation by any left there wasn't there was a lot of back and forth and

A nature being nature, some folks on the finance team.

You know, unless patient about these things. Like, why do we have to go to this level of detail. They have it.

But ultimately we want to be able to reconcile what they're reporting to the board to what we are. And so we did actually have to get to a place where

We had we actually gave them sort of an accounting one on one, and this is why we struggle with these things. And we want to give you what you need. But we also need what we need from the Ottoman the auditors and although that took us a little longer.

On both sides of the table in the process because they talked about the things they had to report to the Development Committee there. It seemed to be a lot of light bulbs coming on.

And we actually found together and way to work together. And so I'd love to say it was a walk in the park and then we're rainbows unicorns. If that wasn't exactly

But we got to the right place. In the end, and I think that as a result of those conversations. There was a deeper understanding of some of the anxiety and pain that the other teams will kind of quietly experiencing and

Kyle Haines: Yeah, I love that you approached it that way. And I, you know, it just a reminder that sometimes

You know, speaking for myself that sometimes you have all of this history and information and all of this understanding about how this will go well and

how important education is and how, like, I just love that. That's where you started. Before you even got into the work and helping people who may not have an understanding of what is required by accounting for accounting starting there. I think that's just such a cool idea.

Peter Mirus: Kyle. How have you handled it in the past when there's been a sort of when you've arrived at a client, where there's a distrust between the accounting and development teams in terms of

Primarily I've experienced this in terms of distrust on the part of the accounting team that the development team will manage data in such a way that allows for it to cleanly and

Accurately flow into the accounting system. Have you had you go about the process of helping to solve those kinds of emotionally charged situations.

Kyle Haines: Yeah, I mean, that's a good question and I think I think just to be honest, Peter I oftentimes I rely on my my candor and authenticity. I tell them

What I know really well, which is development processes and gift classification recording in CRM solutions and I acknowledge upfront that there are a number of things that I need their help with and

That I very much view them as a partner. And I think that I also know, I think I know enough about accounting that I can be conversing with, you know, someone like Lisa. Lisa, could beg to disagree that

She doesn't find me conversant in any of this stuff, but at least make an attempt at it and just acknowledge the places where which I need somebody like Lisa to weigh in. Or we might even need an auditor sometimes to way and

So I don't know that I have a tactic, other than authenticity to offer.

Peter Mirus: Lisa, how does that resonate with you.

Lisa Risi : That's really right. I think that by nature, the type of person that goes into the accounting field versus the person who's in sort of data management.

And then someone who makes people give them money with nothing in return, except the. Thank you. We all have different personality types. So I think when you just have a really open dialogue about

What you need and why me that it can help eliminate some of the what I think would be natural distrust because we practically speak different languages. Mm hmm. Yeah.

Peter Mirus: Next question our chart of accounts is currently very complex and confusing, which makes it very difficult to map gift records to the GL for integration. Is there a solution. Kyle.

Kyle Haines: I can't, I'm assuming I can't fall on the answer that I use last time where you just tell

Me the way it's going to be so.

Absent that i mean i i think it's important to remember fit you know I think of every nonprofit as having started around a kitchen table.

Or it started around an idea for so many organizations and as that organization professionalized and realized they needed something beyond Word and Excel.

The first piece of business productivity software they likely bought was an accounting solution. So even if that was QuickBooks, way back in the day, QuickBooks on prem.

That was the very first time that the organization said we need a system that can capture financial data and categorize on it categorize it and report on it. And so, Lisa said this earlier. I'm going to use her half hour conversation.

As she moved to intactc. My belief is so many nonprofits that when they got to the stage where they had to buy a CRM solution. Somebody went to someone like Lisa and said, how should we structure this and somebody might have given him a copy of their Chart of Accounts.

Or given them very strong direction and there wasn't that moment that I talked about earlier where you step back and say, you know what

Our Chart of Accounts was designed to track all of this stuff that really, we don't care about, like, I don't care about the the

Postage costs on a per mailing basis. I care about postage costs, but I don't care about it at that level of detail. So I think so many organizations don't step back and say,

At the time they implement CRM does our chart of accounts support us and is it bloated by tracking things that were set up to track in absence of having a donor management system.

Peter Mirus: Thanks, and and Lisa as I as I hand it off to you. I'll say that one of the challenges that I've experienced in the past with a lot of clients implementing

A new era P system or a new CRM and Dr. P system simultaneously is there's often some desire to simplify or streamline the chart of accounts.

So maybe you can speak to that, as well as the general question.

Lisa Risi : Absolutely. I think

I think Kyle hit the nail on the head when he said that in charts of accounts tend to be

Added on over time as an organization grows with in more than one chefs in the pot and they have different needs. And so there's a lot of bubble come band aids and elders glue and you look at it and you say, what is this thing, trying to do and

We took advantage recently of our change our bar upgrading to a more robust telling package to say

Even at the expense level, going back to the development teams asking

You what they need to know as well as you on our programs side.

I think for us we were actually able to streamline quite a bit and we're able to demonstrate that we didn't need to have for every transaction that goes through Blackboard.

A can come transaction going through our accounting system that we can, if we capture them correctly encode them correctly and blah, blah, they can be summarized in a way that accounting get what they need, as well as reported back in a way that

The development team can handle. And I, I just think that, you know, for all of our good intense we found ourselves.

About a year into the process that we were tracking things they claim they wanted and then they found very annoying when we gave them reports on it.

So I think we have a meeting. Well, when we sit in those meetings that we almost have like a utopia setting. And then there's the real world of

You know, I might have an hour week to look at this stuff. What do I really look at so we actually called quite a few

Project codes and things from our chart of accounts about in Europe were 14 months after we implemented, just because people said, Actually, it's harder for me to manage with this level of detail.

And we truly couldn't care less. We want to give them what they need, because either way would meet what we needed our needs are less

Peter Mirus: Complex right so

Lisa Risi : I think it's I think it's an ongoing process.

Peter Mirus: How often would you say that the Chart of Accounts sort of structure and composition should be reconsidered by an organization.

Lisa Risi : I don't think you know more than

A year maybe to know in my opinion because key positions will have turned over and I think a lot of it also is personal, to be honest. Mm hmm.

Peter Mirus: The next question is, what are some of the key problems with how nonprofits manage gift records that make life hard for accounting

Lisa all all I'll give you my personal the gripe I see most before I hand it off to you and that is when development or fundraising teams will post a post a gift to the GL and then go back and edit the gift record without using an adjustment.

So that, that's a, that's a key challenge I've seen what what springs to your mind in terms of

How gift records are managed that can make life hard for accounting

Lisa Risi : Well, that's certainly offender number one.

Sorry, they just go in and change the gift because sadly, you can. Yeah, with most and

There's not much we can do about it except one of the things that we do is on a

monthly basis we reconcile year to date. So if something like that happens because human nature is you take the shortest route.

Without thinking about how it impacts will pick it up and then we'll just fix it in accounting with a manual journal entry. I would love for that to be more automated but

The reality is, we've just built in sort of work around to catch the stuff that doesn't happen. The right way and I think it's short sighted, not to do that doesn't take very long to do it. And it makes everyone's life easier. I think the other thing is

I think the larger problems come from. I feel like I'm repeating myself not spending the time upfront to get the import process locked down in that

Knowing what you want to report out on and there's a level of detail that the fundraisers need to do their jobs well

That couldn't possibly be necessary for the accounting team, but you have to make sure you have a mechanism so that it can be automated in the import, otherwise you're going to just

Have spent a lot of money on technology and to have a lot of manual work. I think that's, I really think that's one of the biggest problems is that people say they want change. They want to fix things.

In their first reaction is to, quite frankly, throw money at it without really looking at the processes, which in the end of probably more important than whichever technology.

Kyle Haines: Yeah, I mean, once again, I'm going to start by building off something you said Lisa because I thought it was really interesting.

And maybe it's really a question that you know for the lymphoma Research Foundation, we're considering upgrading our financial system. And I think what that group is most excited about our how that system is going to make them work.

More efficiently. And I don't think that to some of the earlier questions that they are saying the place that I'm going to bring the most energy to that selection and that implementation.

Are to gift classifications and revisiting the chart of accounts like it's just not there thinking, Oh my gosh, we can automate the process, you know, maybe we can integrate this with our HR system they're thinking about those things which have value and merit of themselves, but

We think these things are really important I think on this call, but I'm not sure everyone would say in a new era P or new implementation. That's what I'm most excited to dive into

And I don't know if that was the case.

For bc RF or not.

Lisa Risi : The things that

I'm sorry.

Kyle Haines: No, go ahead. I went I did say I was gonna frame it as a question. So I should probably pause for an answer.

Lisa Risi : So I would say that

The finance team had already sort of figured out ways to be what I would call relatively efficient about the interaction with the non fundraising systems and

So we were kind of less concerned about that to be friends and to really be of service to the development team and you made a joke at the beginning that the account should just do with the development. See a lot on some level.

Yes, what they want, given some of the requirements for

external reporting, whether it be to the board or for day to day management and

It. There was like a lot of conversations for my team where I had to remind them that we are a support function and that people don't follow up in the morning because they're here to service us and you know it's changing something greens mentality, quite frankly, and took

Conversations and then eventually it dawned on them, where I was going in by having conversations with the other team, they realize they weren't BS.

They're just people raising money for the organization that in the end pays them. So sometimes you have to go to that level of detail because, as Peter alluded to earlier, it's not unusual to find a level of distrust between finance and development.

Peter Mirus: Kyle sometimes to, to, to try to get over that this trust and also for accounting to be pleased with the way that development is managing gift records.

They really want the fundraising system, whether it be the razor's edge or whatever to be effectively 100% accurate. A our sub ledger. How realistic is it for any nonprofit to have that expectation for the gift data and its fundraising system.

Kyle Haines: You asked a question earlier, you know about what what tools I use and I said that it's

It has a lot to do with my authenticity and awareness and accounting practices. I do think it's realistic.

With some with some caveat with a small caveat I think that's how you build trust. But one of the things that I thought about in

This question. And as I was thinking about some of the problems that development creates is for, you know, let me use a specific example. Oftentimes development.

They want to be able to track pledges or plan gifts that are not capable of being recognized, but they need to track them, whether it's for something as perfunctory as an annual report or

It helps them inform how they engage with people or just simply do something as banal as pledge reminders. So there's instances where it doesn't have 100% parody. But this idea. I think what I heard you say, Peter, this idea that if it is truly fits within a definition of what can be booked.

In an accounting system. It is a totally reasonable goal to say to my colleagues and accounting, there needs to be 100% agreement.

When we run reconciliation.

The, you know, and I just I'll throw this in. One of the things as Lisa was talking about in terms of one of the headaches. I know that my development colleagues create is

And Lisa and I have been around for a couple of years doing this. But more and more so much of our fundraising.

Happens online. And so I can think of instances where people have spun up donation forms those donation forms are constructed in a way that might appear that it's a restricted gift.

Or it's not clear, or people create something new and don't really work in concert with accounting around donations that are being made to that initiative, how is that revenue going to be recognized.

Peter Mirus: They stay have anything to add before we move on.

Lisa Risi : No, I don't think so. I can close up with it.

Peter Mirus: Cool. Thank you.

Next question is, what should we be thinking about when planning a CRM to your integration to help make sure the data flows properly Kyle I suspect will be starting to repeat some themes here. But what are your thoughts in regards to how we should answer this question.

Kyle Haines: I mean I think Lisa said it really well. Almost at the outset that detail that when you're thinking about this and I think maybe all of us have said it. My view is that your CRM is a sub ledger to Your, er, P or to the general ledger.

And if you have a donation management system like the razor's edge.

There's a question. Because, at its core, that's a charitable revenue system and it's not great at recording other types of revenue, but that's the definition. I think that any organization should make is

And moving in that direction. I think Lisa would agree with this. Can we agree that there's tons of detail in our CRM is not going to be replicated to the same extent in our era P or account accounting system.

You know, perhaps even before that.

Someone at the organization should be capable of outlining or documenting

All of the data that's captured related to financial transactions mapping out how it's currently structured how it's going to be structured moving forward.

I think a question is how is it going to be leveraged so if to pick on Lisa if Lisa is insistent that a piece of information needs to be brought over from the razor's edge using that example from earlier or her example to index having somebody who can really

Push Lisa on the value of that data.

Or ask the question of the organization. How does that data have value.

And then to us and I think this aligns with Lisa's philosophy, but I know she gets to refute anything that I said is, don't make perfect the enemy of the good. And or another way of saying that what I said earlier, is

What's interesting data versus useful if Lisa is saying that this would be interesting to look at how much time and effort. Are you going to spend bringing over an integration interesting data versus things that are actually going to help your colleagues do their work.

Peter Mirus: Cool, Lisa. What would you say to this point.

Lisa Risi : Yeah, listen, I think that

You can design anything to track anything. The question is, is anybody going to look at it. What's the screen towards the juice right that's the old saying, and

More often than not, nonprofits, I, I've never been associated as important member volunteer or staff, where there was excessive manpower just reading the news right so you kind of have to pick. And I remember this is just a funny story.

At one point in my career at the MS Society and the CFO had me tracking stuff that I couldn't imagine anybody wanted to know.

And that was because he asked me to. And he was my boss and then I got overwhelmed with a couple of projects and it kind of went to the you know the bottom of that pile.

And it was literally two and a half years later, from when I had stopped doing that when he asked for the XYZ report.

And I chuckled. And I said, I don't know how to tell you this, Joe, but I stopped tracking that two and a half years ago because you stopped looking for it. And I really didn't think anybody needed it. I can go back and put it together for you and he had he had extremely upset.

That I did that without you getting his permission. And then he looked at me.

But you're right. I haven't needed it for two and a half years. Why do I need it. Now get out

So, I always tell this story because I think we frequently think we want a lot of information that we really don't have to use for or we don't have the capacity to utilize that when it comes and there are pain points in tracking things that could free us up to do things that are much more meaningful to track. Yeah.

Peter Mirus: One way sometimes had encourage clients to think about that is what data do they need in order to satisfy their responsibilities or obligations and that's the

Priority level of data and then there's another level of data that is sort of speculative or aspirational terms of what it would allow you to produce and that's where a lot of discussion happens in terms of what's really necessary.

Kyle Haines: I remember, you know, Lisa, I remember when we work together. There was some

I don't remember the specifics, but there was something that you just were like, yeah, that's 30 things and that's an Excel spreadsheet. Like, I don't need technology to chain to

Track that that's like an Excel spreadsheet and even if that Excel spreadsheet went away. I could recreate it in about an hour's worth of work and I just always remember that really

Thoughtful perspective around where you're going to invest time and energy, like, What, what's, what's really important to spend a lot of time and energy on so I was chuckling as you were talking because I remembered back to that.

Lisa Risi : I have a question actually was related

To something I see as a chat question. Do we want to take that at the end, Peter, or the line with that now.

Peter Mirus: I'll throw it in right now and for the audience. There was a question from the audience, which is what systems do you suggest for managing and tracking restricted donations regarding usage of funds do you find this resides.

Best within a development system and accounting system or Excel and that will also segue into our next question, which is about

About how to think about changing a CRM or and or earpiece system and how we should we approach the

Kyle Haines: Process of

Peter Mirus: Considering or placement. So, Lisa. If you want to go ahead and take a stab at answering that audience.

Lisa Risi : So I think the answer is, it depends which is the answer to every question we have

How many No seriously, how many types of restricted gifts. Do you get

What is the volume of the different restrictions. How many gifts to get you might have 50 gift codes, but

Maybe two gifts to each of them. I don't know that I want to spend the time sorting that out.

Of everything system that I have in in the case that Kyle and I were talking about when we were working back in the day and literally had three restricted funds at that time. And I just couldn't imagine

Beyond in the CRM noting the restriction when it comes in, that I could pull the report anytime and do what I need to do to do an accounting to the donor for a year and financials. But when I was at the MS Society, for example, and we had a nationwide system.

We literally had hundreds of restrictions and at different offices and what have you. There we actually put it in both the CRM and in the accounting system and we used

We set up the funds in the accounting system to capture revenue expenses and and have it automatically update the net assets for that fun code. So you can go

From as simple as Excel for everything a hybrid of CRM and Excel and accounting and then a fully on a were both systems to one another and you get the final report.

Out of the accounting system because you don't track expenses in your CRM generally. So, I mean, that's like the whole gamut of it that I've experienced so

Unfortunately for the person who is that person, I would suggest they actually follow up with build so they can give more background and perhaps talk about

You know what's specific to their organization. Does that make sense, Peter.

Peter Mirus: Sure does.

Kyle Haines: Yeah, and Rob

Peter Mirus: Rob address that question. Yeah, I do. I do feel free to reach out to us if you'd like. And we can get some more information from you to help if that doesn't provide a specific enough response Kyle.

Kyle Haines: It, ya know, it's interesting because where my head went during this question is all of the things that you need to do around restricted giving that relate to reporting and perhaps if it's, you know, donors stewardship or cultivation and I'm using those terms loosely

Because you might have an institutional funder, but I was thinking where my head went was you have reporting intervals. Where does that get track that people are doing those things and fulfilling the requirements of the grant. And I've found you know that oftentimes is something that just needs to be well defined around

How is that being managed. So there's aspects of relationships you have to manage that are softer, like, you know, we're going to go to

I'll use everyone's example we're going to go the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a public health initiative.

And we have to nurture that relationship and submit a grant proposal and we're going to have calls with them and

We interact with the program officer. But there's also some things from a fiduciary standpoint that you have to complete

That require coordination between development and accounting and a question that comes up is, where does that get managed and How can folks like Lisa feel confident that those things are being done in a timely way and are meeting the funding requirements. Mm hmm.

Peter Mirus: We have a great question that just came in from an anonymous attendee, this can be quite a charged conversation at some organizations who owns the development database.

That's one part and then the next part of the question is should accounting folks be left to access this database Kyle, you're, you're representing the development side, how would you answer this question.

Kyle Haines: I mean, I think that if accounting is going to own the development database, they should expect a reasonably low investment by development folks in using that database.

I think there are clearly as we talked about earlier points of overlap around how gifts are recorded, but I have not seen in 20 years of doing this.

A ton of success when somebody is responsible for managing a donor management system other than the development people. And I think it's

at the organizational level, just to go really high, it's critical that those folks have an investment in it with with respect to add to access. I think questions that

I think definitely some sort of some form of access absolutely has to be provided to accounting and it raises for me questions about

The process for doing things like the adjustments that Lisa and Peter were talking about earlier.

Doing reversals. If a check bounces or credit cards declined writing pledges off. There are clearly some processes.

Within a CRM system that, in my view, might be entirely owned by accounting

So it's, it is a little bit of a nuanced response. And I think it depends on the capabilities of the CRM solution but ownership to, to summarize, I think the ownership needs to reside within development, but there are clear parts that accounting needs to be heavily invested in

Lisa Risi : So I would just add to that we've been

The one who's responsible for the finance M.

It's a development system. It's owned by that fruit but it needs to be otherwise you might as well just put it on the shelf.

I think the ability to run reports and do queries should always be available to the finance team. And as a matter of

Course, where, where

The adjustments are our process by the development team and assigned notice that they didn't, you know how I'll do it on my end and have them do it, or there's and we've come to an agreement over time that

They notify the finance team of write offs, but the finance team actually does it so that we make sure that we're always in alignment, because we do treat our CRM as

An accounts receivable sub ledger. Thankfully, we don't have too many. But I think it's just the partnership and understanding

And you know, we give them access to run their own departmental reports in the accounting system. It's just a matter of if you trust your colleagues or if you want to build trust.

You let them have access to maybe you don't want them entering data. I certainly don't think they want to enter data in the accounting system, but they shouldn't have to

Go through somebody to get something if they need it right away. I mean we we push out reports, but they have the ability to run a report it anytime. And I think that kind of back and forth respect goes a long ways of building the relationships you need to be successful to get

Peter Mirus: Great. Thanks Lisa

Kyle Haines: Can I add something.

That that may, you know, I think we as we were getting ready for this call the three of us were talking about the black box security breach.

And so I think what a lot of organizations right now are experiencing is that they were including information in all kinds about people in all kinds of places that weren't appropriate to be including. And so, you know, I thought about what

Peter Mirus: You know what Lisa in charge. I mean, the organizations, right.

Kyle Haines: So in Lisa in your position, you know you oversee ah, are you oversee operations. And so as we were as you were talking, I was realizing

There's another constituency that as responsible for the data that's responsible for the data and that's whoever is charged with data security for the broader organization.

Lisa Risi : Mm hmm. Absolutely right. And

We actually had a laugh, if you will, when that happened,

With our development team and I said well you know how you've been complaining for years that we don't capture people's it's a bird, and this and that the system. Can I just say, praise God that we care.

That we haven't so It's just they want everything but

Maybe it's for the best, you know, capture it all. Yeah, yeah.

Peter Mirus: Okay. Moving on to our last plan to question and folks will have a little bit of time at the end, particularly if we get through this answer to this question quickly to answer any other questions you want to

Send in again. You can use the chat or the questions and answers feature to do that. The last question is, we're thinking about changing our CRM and or earpiece system to help solve our financial data flow problems. How should we approach this process and what systems should we consider

Lisa Risi : I actually think you want to back it up a little bit in that. My experience is and just from living through enough of them all in one level or another you deeply inside an organization as a consultant as a volunteer, what have you.

That there may be financial data flow problems it may not be a technology issue. So everyone thinks if you spend more money on things. They'll just magically work.

But I really think you're, you know, how should we approach this fast. I think the first step is to figure out what's

Not working now with the tools that you're using and try to identify if there's a way to change process so that the current tools work.

Better and then you can decide whether you want to make an investment to go to something better. I just feel like people give a very short shrift to

You maybe it's us maybe it's not the technology, maybe it's not, you know, maybe I'm doing things in such a way that I can't see my way to a solution and in quite frankly frequently is that it could just be to the for individuals in an organization who

Are used to things a certain way don't like change and usually they're in positions of power to make decisions.

And they think that, you know, just throw money at it'll go away. I think the people who have to live with the day to day interactions need to do a little soul searching first

But before we go into what systems when you consider which I would definitely punk to Kyle on the cloud. Do you think I'm wrong with that.

Kyle Haines: No, I'm mad at you because you stole my answer. I mean,

I don't know that I would say anything different than

Than what you said. I mean,

I don't remember you used an adage earlier at least forget what it was, but are you talked about no more juice from that. Squeeze. I mean,

My concern here would be, are you throwing the baby out with the bathwater to use another adage, and I think you

Just because of where we are with time you articulate it really clearly, I would say, you know, maybe the one thing I would add quickly is that if ultimately you're led to the conclusion that

You need to switch one of these out. I don't know without really understanding how you work, how you figure out which one needs to be replaced and for goodness sakes, don't do both at the same time.

And so

You know, I think that what you said like

Hopefully, at the end of whatever thoughtful process. You do, it's really clear that you were the problem if it's a technology one

Lives and if it happens to be both, then you have a sequencing question and I think Peter shared this earlier, the formula old organization plus new technology equals expensive old organization.

Just be really careful that you don't end up just being an expensive old organization.

Peter Mirus: Yeah. And in terms of what systems should be considered. I mean, there are so many to think about clearly

With JM t is in as an intact implementation partner and they would make a good and reasonable case for intact, you know, NetSuite is another one that we see in the RP space a lot

Dynamics with business central and the 365 because system has become become a player and prior to that we had seen a lot of traction with GP and Sal, and

nav and apex. And, you know, there's probably I could I could rattle off probably as many as 18 different era platforms that we've

Seen in our still viable competitors to one degree or another. And same thing on the CRM side, it's just very situational there's bipeds suite of products through Salesforce. There's every action.

You know, could go down and down the list and ultimately what we would recommend is that whether it's a CRM or a RP that you take time to, you know, do your business requirements documentation really well really assessor need sometimes that involves doing some constituent journey mapping

As well and really kind of narrow it down to good pre qualified maybe two different platforms in each category to consider.

Because on top of that, you'll have different implementation partners representing each platform.

So, try, try to do some thorough pre qualification to make sure that you're not just shooting an RFP out in the space and

Getting 16 different kinds of responses back for about 10 different platforms with, you know, maybe 12 DIFFERENT VENDOR representatives, so

We could say an infinite amount on the subject is probably a topic for another day. But again, we have a lot of

content on our site that speaks to this and I'm going to use that to segue into the next slide, which is

Where you can go for more information from built consulting, we have a blog that touches on a lot of these issues learning section of our website that includes a lot of tools and templates white papers recordings from webinars.

Newsletter is a great way to keep apprised of new and updated content. And again, if you'd like to continue the conversation with us in any way you can reach out to us via our website. Check us out on Twitter or LinkedIn.

And we're happy to have a conversation with you about any of your needs.

We've pretty much run out of time for Q AMP. A and thanks for those of you who set questions in already

And we want to just say before I hand it off to Melissa to close for JM t that

You know, a bit of consulting our passion is working in the nonprofit sector, we got into this work because we believe in your missions and we love working with you.

We're really grateful for the work that all of you and your organization is doing the sector and it's been a real privilege to be with you today. So thank you. Alyssa.

Melissa Waters: All right. Thank you, Peter and Kyle and Lisa. We truly appreciate your time today and thank you everyone for attending.

And as Peter said is we also have webinars. If you are interested, you can visit JM T consulting com and visit our Events tab for more upcoming events and webinars. We would love to have you.

And it looks like we might have one question pop in Peter. If you have a second to answer it before we go.

Peter Mirus: It's the question is, any feedback on Boomerang, I think we'll have to take that as a follow up.

Melissa Waters: Okay, perfect. Well, thank you, everyone. And we hope that you have a wonderful day. Thank you.

Peter Mirus: Thanks, Melissa.

Lisa Risi : Thank you, Melissa.

Peter Mirus: Thanks, everyone. Bye.

Kyle Haines: Take care.

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CATEGORIES: Expert Speaker Series