Nonprofits and Data

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This group is for those interested in learning and sharing about all things data-related for nonprofits. The Nonprofits and Data group is for people using data to serve a mission, either directly or by improving nonprofits and the nonprofit sector. That includes everything from collecting data and managing databases to analytics, data visualization and data mining. Here are some examples of topics we discuss: using data to improve organizational effectiveness, measuring impact, using data for storytelling, tools for data management and analysis, figuring out the “right” data to collect, and learning skills to help us use data better.

Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

  • 1.  Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

    Posted Dec 07, 2017 13:51

    Hello all,

    We (Planned Parenthood) are in the final stages of migrating our fundraising CRM to Salesforce NGOC and I want to begin to explore the best ways to capture information from third party aggregators (ie Workplace Giving, Matching Gifts, Donor Advised Funds etc).

    We are looking for the best ways to capture all three datapoints on a single gift (ie TPA, Donor Name, Employer Name). To complicate it further, we want to see how much each donors gift was and, ideally, create an employment relationship. All of the information comes in a spreadsheet (which we can standardize/clean up before import) but the actual layout of fields is where we are stuck. Our volume of donor names in each check is very high (thousands).

    Does anyone have best practices or want to brainstorm together? I would be happy to buy you a drink or return a database favor in return!



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    Juliana Weissbein
    Planned Parenthood Federation of America
    New York, NY
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  • 2.  RE: Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

    Posted Dec 08, 2017 10:23
    Hi Juliana,

    You're definitely on a good CRM platform for that kind of custom work! Everything you described sounds like it can be achieved without custom code or software.

    I'm not familiar with the NGOC flavor of Salesforce specifically but I am a Salesforce admin, so I'd be happy to brainstorm over the phone/screensharing session! It sounds like the trickiest part is identifying what your index fields will be, because you're at the mercy of how that workplace giving data comes over to you.

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    Emilio Arocho
    Director, Technology and Digital Strategy
    Food and Drug Law Institute
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    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 3.  RE: Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

    Posted Dec 08, 2017 11:45
    Juliana, I'll reach out directly to you as well. But for the purposes of getting more input on this thread, it would help if you could clarify what you mean by "layout of the fields." Are you talking about visual representation or database table structure?

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    Isaac Shalev
    http://www.sage70.com
    Stamford CT
    @Sage70
    isaac@sage70.com
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  • 4.  RE: Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

    Posted Dec 12, 2017 13:46
    Thank you to you both! I am still gathering my thoughts but will reply shortly.

    Isaac, I got your e-mail and keep an eye out for my response. I am thinking more about the table structure but layout will come next.

    Thanks again- stay tuned :)

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    Juliana Weissbein
    Associate Director, Development Operations
    Planned Parenthood Federation of America
    New York, NY
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  • 5.  RE: Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

    Posted Dec 12, 2017 14:30
    Wondering if anyone here who currently uses SalesForce and who receives third party donations would be willing to share what they track and how, as an example, model for one way to go about it?

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    Janice Chan
    Co-Organizer, NTEN Nonprofits and Data group
    Technical Training Specialist, Development and Alumni Relations
    Johns Hopkins Institutions
    Baltimore, MD
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  • 6.  RE: Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

    Posted Mar 01, 2019 19:34
    Hello,
    I'm also interested in what other organizations track with regards to workplace giving.

    We receive small numbers of donations from quite a few workplace giving platforms, giving federations, and other third-party platforms, including YourCause, Benevity, Nonprofit for Good, Bright Funds, and United Way. Typically these third-party platforms accept the donation and the tax implications, take a management fee, and pass on the remainder of the donation to the nonprofit. This is somewhat similar to how Donor Advised Funds are processed from the POV of the nonprofit receiving the funds.

    One point of contention is whether these funds should be categorized in our financial documents as "Individual" or "Nonprofit". Right now we "hard credit" the platform, designate it as "nonprofit" funding, and "soft credit" the original (Individual) donor. That method of tracking is confusing and feels incorrect to some of our staff. We'd like to find a consistent way of tracking these third party funds which is streamlined, requires the least amount of data entry, and is easiest for thanking donors and adding them to our e-blast lists. Is workplace giving equivalent to Donor Advised Funds in how it should be tracked, or is there justification for labeling these donations "Individual"?

    I would be grateful to hear thoughts from other data managers or Accounting/ Operations staff.

    Thanks,
    Leslie

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    Leslie Proudfoot
    Philanthropy Operations Coordinator
    GRID Alternatives
    Oakland, CA
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  • 7.  RE: Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

    Posted Mar 02, 2019 09:28
    Leslie, when you say "whether these funds should be categorized in our financial documents as 'Individual' or 'Nonprofit'" -- are you referring to how you track your finances internally (for decision making) or things like your audited financial statements?  I get that it may be helpful from a strategic, decision-making perspective to look at that type of giving differently than giving that is truly coming from a nonprofit per their board.  I wonder if it may be possible in how you are tracking so that you can see a further breakdown for internal analysis purposes?

    Hard crediting the organization that sent over the funds and soft crediting the individual donors is how I've handled these gifts in the past and what I would suggest to others so that you can keep track of who made the giving decision (individual donor) and legally who gave you the donation (the organization).  While I'm not an accountant or a lawyer, my understanding is that from a tax perspective of who is the legal donor, workplace giving and other third-party platforms are similar to donor advised funds.  I know it may feel like workplace giving should be considered individual gifts because they are part of people's paychecks and not from the company (I'm guessing this may be your colleagues' objections?), but technically they are giving you a part of their paycheck before they ever receive it and so the assets are being transferred from the company (or their giving arm, more likely) and not directly from the individual.

    Basically, if you want to categorize at third-party donations as individual giving when you are planning and evaluating your fundraising, that is your prerogative, but for tax purposes (and any reporting or documentation related to that, including donation receipts) the hard credit needs to reflect whose bank account it came out of.

    As to whether there's a way to streamline the data entry, if you can do batch imports, some of those places do provide a CSV file of the individual information.  But that probably depends on your system(s) as much as theirs.  (Ideally, the third party also included a way for that individual to opt in or opt out of receiving other communications from you like an e-newsletter, otherwise I'm not sure if you should be adding them without asking them....?  Been a while since I did e-mail marketing though so perhaps someone more familiar with CAN-SPAM etc. can touch on that...)

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    Janice Chan
    Co-Organizer, NTEN Nonprofits and Data group
    Consultant, SH/FT+SCAFFOLD
    Baltimore, MD
    www.shiftandscaffold.com
    Twitter: @curiositybone
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    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 8.  RE: Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

    Posted Mar 04, 2019 12:51
    Hi Janice and David,
    Thank you for your input. Janice, you've phrased it in a really helpful way. I think that what our Development staff is looking for are ways to separate workplace giving from other types of nonprofit/foundation giving for strategic purposes. 

    Currently we have a relatively small percentage of our fundraising from individual sources, so we don't break out the types of individual giving on our General Ledger. I have seen various ways to track fundraising on financial documents including having specific line-items like "United Way" as an item on the General Ledger. Is one possible solution to our question on strategic v. financial tracking simply to have subgroups for individual fundraising, e.g. Individual -> Workplace Giving (Nonprofit source), Workplace Giving (Foundation source), Donor Advised Fund (Foundation source). If this is something that others have seen commonly, I will bring up the topic with our Accounting team. 

    David, I really like your points here:
    We book 11 transactions (1 for the aggregator & 10 for the donors). The aggregator transaction is posting (i.e. it has accounting impact). The donor transactions are non-posting.
    (3) On the donor side, it looks just like a transaction & is aggregated into the average gift size, etc.  

    I'll have to speak with our Ops team about whether we can implement a posting vs nonposting donation. That does seem like a good system. 

    I'm not exactly clear on what you mean by "layout of fields" issue. Could you explain a bit further?

    Thanks all!

    --

    Leslie Proudfoot | Pronouns: She/ Her
    Philanthropy Operations Coordinator
    1120 W. 12th Ave. | Denver, CO 80204



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  • 9.  RE: Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

    Posted Mar 04, 2019 13:11
    >>I'm not exactly clear on what you mean by "layout of fields" issue. Could you explain a bit further?

    I just used the term "layout of fields" since it is from your original post. What I understood it to mean is you were looking to create fields in your fundraising system to connect the transaction to the donor, aggregator and employer. This often becomes a challenge when you just start adding fields to the transaction record rather than using your system's native relationships. Adding a field for employer to the transaction rather than using your system's normal way to relate a transaction to an employer through the donor record (multi level join) can end up creating challenges since you are now designing and maintaining both the data model & business process for aggregators rather than allowing your software to own the data model & business process. (sorry a bit database/softwasre geeky, but not sure of a better way to explain it).

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    David Geilhufe
    Senior Director
    Oracle NetSuite Social Impact
    San Mateo, CA
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  • 10.  RE: Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

    Posted Mar 04, 2019 16:38
    Leslie -- If you have the ability to track a subcategory of some sort, yes, this would help you analyze the data in the categories you want from a development perspective. However, from an accounting perspective, you will still probably want to make sure the GL reflects how you will need to report your financial statements externally, so it may end up more like Nonprofit Giving (or whatever you call them) -> Workplace Giving, and setting up your development reports/dashboards to reflect that you consider Workplace Giving under the bigger umbrella of Individual Giving.  This may more depend on the functionality and architecture of the system(s) being used here.  For example, in a CRM, you could potentially use a campaign code or something else that accounting doesn't use to keep track of this being a Workplace Giving gift, because your accounting team may not have any need for that distinction, but this depends on how you currently keep track of gifts and how closely interwoven this is with your accounting.

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    Janice Chan
    Co-Organizer, NTEN Nonprofits and Data group
    Consultant, SH/FT+SCAFFOLD
    Baltimore, MD
    www.shiftandscaffold.com
    Twitter: @curiositybone
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 11.  RE: Third Party Aggregators (Tracking Workplace Giving)

    Posted Mar 02, 2019 13:31
    I'd be interested in what you all end up brainstorming. At Oracle NetSuite, we document leading practices across our 1,400 organizations for these type of business process challenges. Inevitably, folks choose to do things differently, but we define and document a leading practice that represents an approach that works for most of the orgs we serve & aligns best to our specific software offering.

    Our leading practice for aggregators is:
    (1) You have an aggregator that delivers you a $100 check & a spreadsheet with 10 donors that each gave $10. You have GDPR compliant opt in on the 10 donors.
    (2) We book 11 transactions (1 for the aggregator & 10 for the donors). The aggregator transaction is posting (i.e. it has accounting impact). The donor transactions are non-posting.
    (3) On the donor side, it looks just like a transaction & is aggregated into the average gift size, etc. We use our native relationships on the transaction record to record the three data points on the gift (TPA, Donor, Employer).
    (4) On the aggregate reporting side, our users become accustomed to looking at reports that represent revenue & reports the represent relationships... for example, if you look at all donors & their donations in aggregate the number is inflated ($200 in the example). We usually just put it in two columns.... for each donor line their are "donations" and revenue - this eliminates some of the most common conflicts between the development director and the CFO. For the 11 lines in the example, there is one line with $100 for revenue (the aggregator) and 11 lines for donations ($100 for the aggregator & ten $10 lines for the donors). Plenty other ways to make this clear from a reporting standpoint.

    You can do duplicate this mostly in the soft/hard credit model you find in most fundraising systems.
    The hardest part is the importing process... lots of ETL (extract, transform, load) work is required to get things right - employer names don't match exactly, etc. Without good ETL tools, this can get very time consuming.

    IMHO, the key to success here is you should aspire to have no "layout of fields" issue.... as soon as you code the business process yourself (by creating fields) in your database, you need to maintain the model. You should adopt the approach your fundraising system provides if possible.

    Through our social impact programs, we actively convene organizations to work through these type of things & will assign pro bono teams to help with the solution... we have 4 US planned parenthood organizations & 5 international planned parenthood organizations - but unfortunately NYC isn't one.

    Hope this helps,

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    David Geilhufe
    Senior Director
    Oracle NetSuite Social Impact
    San Mateo, CA
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