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Migration Updates / Requests

06/05/24 Update

Everyone,

It has been 3 weeks since we launched Raiser’s Edge to the Affiliate Group Network.  We are still awaiting the login information for a few groups, but for the most part it appears that you all have been able to access your database and start getting familiar with the system.  We have gotten a lot of great feedback on the platform and assure you that this is just the beginning.  Over time, this new CRM system will continue to be built out and expanded with new features to manage your group and to fundraise for your missions.  We appreciate your ongoing and continued feedback so we can best serve your group and our Peace Corps community.

As the organization who is responsible for providing the CRM infrastructure for the Affiliate Groups, NPCA takes its role in maintaining our collective data very seriously.  We spent countless hours and a lot of financial resources to migrate from SilkStart to Raiser’s Edge, and we expected the migration to be done well and benefit all of us.  For example, it was our intention that the migration would clean up thousands of stale and duplicate records, however it appears that resulted in other unforeseen errors.  It was Dan’s commitment to groups that all of your SilkStart data would be included in Raiser’s Edge and therefore we have instructed Raiser’s Edge to perform the import of the SilkStart records into Raiser’s Edge again – this time we asked that they include every record whether it is stale, duplicate, has not contact information, etc.  This is a lot of work, but hopefully shows our commitment to ensuring the migration is done properly.  Our Raiser’s Edge team is ready to support all of us through this next step and has indicated that this will be a priority.  With everyone’s cooperation, we are hopeful that it should be completed in a couple of weeks.

With this, there are a few points I would like to address:
  1. Whatever exists in Raiser’s Edge now will remain there.  The updated migration will only bring in new records and will not impact the ones already there.
  2. SilkStart was VERY lenient on who it classified as a ‘contact’ (please read further here: https://silkstartsupport.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/219015378-How-does-an-inactive-member-contact-become-an-active-member).  It is highly likely that you have contacts in your database that should be deleted, but instead of us trying to determine this on the frontend, we will now rely on our collective efforts to do it after the import.  Since SilkStart basically added anyone who clicked on your donation page to your contacts, we still expect that some of your contacts will not show up in Raiser’s Edge, but the number should be much closer than it may appear now.
  3. SilkStart was very difficult to work with when we asked for a data export.  They overcharged us and provided around 15 files, all with different information that are challenging to link together.  We are doing our absolute best to maintain your data, but assume that some may be lost in the migration.  Therefore…
  4. We ask that ALL groups access SilkStart to export your data and to run whatever reports you would like before we terminate our contract with them.  Please note: SilkStart is STILL active and will not be shut down until the migration is completed.  If you have had trouble accessing your Admin account in SilkStart it is likely that you are using the wrong URL to log in – this would have resulted from the website migrations to WordPress.  If you cannot log into SilkStart, please contact us and we will share with you your SilkStart URL.  That should solve the problem.
  5. We are running a report on all donations received from the initial export in September, 2023 through tomorrow (June 6, 2023) for all groups.  This will also be sent to Raiser’s Edge for the migration.  Please do not continue to add donations into SilkStart.  If you are manually adding gifts, please do so in Raiser’s Edge.  On the homepage of Raiser’s Edge, you can now add gifts as well as constituents – though you can only add gifts to your specific group’s fund (more information on this will be shared at a later date).
  6. Raiser’s Edge has a costly service (~$5,000 per group) to migrate recurring donations to Raiser’s Edge from SilkStart – we assume this is an unnecessary expense for all groups. Therefore, when we export donations to your group, we will provide you a list of the group members who are currently submitting recurring donations to you.  This will be a great opportunity to engage with them about our new platform and ask that they renew their recurring support on Raiser’s Edge.
Thank you for your continued help as we make our way though this next step.  Our NPCA team is honored to support the activities our Affiliate Network Community does and we will always prioritize your needs.
Best,

Carla Brown
RPCV The Comoro Islands (1992-1994)
Director of Partnerships and Operations

05/31/24 Update: New CRM Office Hours

We have a new schedule for CRM Office Hours. See the information below

 

Mondays starting Jun 3, 2024

05:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Every week on Mon, until Dec 30, 2024

Zoom Meeting Link
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85450424082?pwd=Taws6qejUpAgF17V7av3VPzLvfUcZS.1

Meeting ID: 854 5042 4082
Passcode: 799119

 

Thursdays starting Jun 6, 2024

06:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Every week on Thu, until Dec 26, 2024

Zoom Meeting Link
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88535046172?pwd=3E1iWKAtbVJaJUsPwW7dzOKRpiqpsW.1

Meeting ID: 885 3504 6172
Passcode: 624271

 

If you have any questions, email Anya Chudnaya ([email protected])

 


05/01/24 Comprehensive Update from Dan Baker

Dear RPCV Group leaders,

Best wishes and greetings to you all! First and foremost, I want to let you know in advance that this is a long email. I encourage you to please read the entirety of this correspondence and know that I appreciate your patience as you do so. By the end of this email, my hope is that you will have a better understanding of where we are in regards to the website migration, what is required of you and next steps to move through this migration, and the steps and support we at the NPCA will be actively providing to you over the next few weeks.  

I will be candid: this website migration has been unpredictable, challenging, and wildly frustrating. It has been an unmitigated disaster for me and my staff who need to focus attention elsewhere, but more importantly, it has been anxiety producing for our affiliate groups, who are operating on a volunteer basis. I know that you, as group leaders, have myriad challenges and limited bandwidth (i.e., juggling families, day jobs, and running an organization) and this migration was not intended to add to your already full plate. That has not been the case and I want to personally apologize for the discomfort and frustration that you and your organization has experienced in regards to this bumpy migration. As the adage states, “To understand all, is to forgive all.” The purpose of this email is to both provide an understanding of the challenges we have collectively faced and also the encouragement to stay with us. There is light at the end of the tunnel! 

When previous leadership made the decision to migrate to a new and more modern database system and fundraising platform, we took immense care to ensure that the new system we selected would be one that would provide better support to affiliate groups. I firmly believe that we made the right decision and that the end result will be a more modernized cohort of organizations that are able to better fundraise, advocate for their communities, and connect more people in a shared vision of promoting worldwide friendship and fellowship. That being said, the migration process has been fraught with unforeseen delays caused by our former provider (Silkstart), staff turnover, and unidentified hurdles with the new provider that should have been communicated to us— and to you earlier. As we encountered each challenge, we attempted to resolve it to the best of our ability. This resulted in confused communication, next steps, and at times there have been long pauses in communication. Hindsight is always 20/20 and it is no different here. Trust me when I assure you that no one wants to get this migration behind us more than our small team here at NPCA. 

Better Together: It has come to our attention that SilkStart has reached out to affiliate groups to entice them to stay with their platform. We were unaware of this solicitation and were taken aback by their willingness to engage in this type of marketing tactic. Our concerns about Silkstart support started us down this journey, and we were validated and encouraged to move away from Silkstart when they refused to allow us access to our datasets without paying a hefty sum on top of our subscription costs. We will completely shut down our Silkstart subscription as soon as the migration is complete. To be clear, every affiliate group has self-agency, and has the choice to be associated (or not) with NPCA and our platforms. But, we believe that we are stronger, better equipped, more cost effective, and more impactful as a collective, and I hope that this temporary migration challenge will not influence your group’s plans to join us on a more modern platform. 

If you do decide back out of the migration, please know that you are choosing to no longer be connected with NPCA data sharing mechanisms, including access to any new RPCVs that the Peace Corps agency is now actively pointing towards the NPCA platform. 

What staying a part of NPCA platforms provides:

  • NPCA is recognized as the advocacy arm and the home for organizing RPCV groups and initiatives. The NPCA has formal ties with the Peace Corps and with this relationship we are able to recognize, champion, and advocate on behalf of specific countries of service (our June issue of Worldview magazine will spotlight group achievements, and the Ruppe award nominations will open next month as well). 
  • Shared data with all-affiliate groups on the RENXT platform. 
  • Groups can create the and track communications to various segmentation lists within your membership. 
  • Affiliate groups will enjoy the benefits of NPCA networking, nonprofit organizational support, and NPCA organized events
  • Fundraising campaigns, crowdfunding project support, and small grants (coming soon!) 
  • We significantly subsidize the cost of your platforms or absorb transaction fees
  • Given the labor-intensive task of onboarding groups to our platform, in the future we will only invite new groups to join once per year. 

We are almost there! Some groups (5) are already going live as of this week on their new websites. For most of you, there are just a few more steps to bring groups online, and I hope the following sections provide clear instructions for what is needed and offered at this point to wrap up. 

Your support team and what we are doing for you After the untimely departure of our previous migration and database managers, Carla Brown recently joined our team as our new Director of Partnerships and Operations. Since joining our team, Carla has been speaking with many of you, and advocating strongly on your behalf. My vision beyond this migration and transition period is that Carla’s role will evolve into what we previously had with Anne Baker – an authoritative, supportive and knowledgeable voice and leader for the RPCV Group Network. Additionally, we are very lucky to have other staff in place, including Travis Matthews as our Development (and CRM) Manager, and short-term support from Anya Chudnaya, who along with Carla and Travis has jumped into the migration with impressive commitment, and communications. Over the next few weeks NPCA will be using an “all hands on deck” approach to getting us all over the migration finish line. Please see below for further detailed instructions and explanations. 

Setting you up on Raiser’s Edge NXT (RENXT) – We are excited to announce that groups can now begin accessing their data through RENXT. Travis has set up your group’s permissions, and we can begin giving you access to your data in the new system. This week we determined that we can begin introducing you to the new platform and get you into your data before merchant services are set up. That said, you will not be able to receive dues and donations until you complete the steps below. 

The delays with the migration were related to the Blackbaud Merchant Services and surprises related to setting up Merchant Services Accounts (this is the same type of agreement that your representative signed with Paypal and the like). This service is regulated by the US government banking statutes (specifically, laws that address money laundering and the like). As a result, Blackbaud requires specific documentation of the relationship between NPCA and each group, as well as tri-party agreements with each group. Initially they were also requesting MoUs between NPCA and your respective groups, but thanks to Carla and Anya, we were able to negotiate a bulk approval of our groups, eliminating the need for you to sign MOUs. 

Finalizing Merchant Services (a.k.a. Getting your $$ through Raiser’s Edge) – 

NPCA also negotiated slight revisions of the language in the tri-party agreement language. The current version of the agreement contains the bare minimum that must be signed to set up your merchant services according to US banking regulations. From a risk management perspective each affiliate has its own individual account, which will be used as a disbursement mechanism (receive only). Therefore, RPCV groups really face no liability by signing up with Blackbaud Merchant Services. 

Next Step: Sign and Send the Tri-Party Agreement for Merchant Services –  The next step for setting up merchant services is to 

  1. Print, sign and scan the revised Triparty Agreement
  2. Upload agreement through this Blackbaud webpage
  3. Forward the signed copy to Anya Chudnaya ([email protected]) for record-keeping

NPCA Raiser’s Edge Orientation – Before you delve into Blackbaud U, we would like to offer an NPCA-led Raiser’s Edge tutorial on May 16 at 8 PM Eastern, which will be recorded and posted for those who can’t attend live. We will schedule additional support sessions after May 16 for those unable to attend, or in need of a little personal attention.

Blackbaud Training – In addition to our orientation, and as part of our agreement with Blackbaud, group leaders will have access to getting started training courses through Blackbaud University. Following initial training and orientation, it is important to note that IT support for Blackbaud will be provided to you directly through Blackbaud. They have very robust 24 hour customer support services. 

Membership Portal – We have now moved our attention to setting up the new membership “join” pages. This form is now live on NPCA’s website for the first time this year, and group version of this sign-up process will be the focus of our May 16 training with Travis. 

Website update – As of this week, Fatlab has taken five group websites online, and plans to complete 5 to 10 more groups each week from here. I believe over the course of the next two months, we hope to have every affiliate group migrated over to WordPress websites.

Please respond to any inquiries from “FatLab Web Support” regarding your go live at your earliest convenience. We can help shepard this along if you keep Anya copied on your emails to Fatlab, and you can let her know if you feel like you are missing something here. 

Dues and group donations moving forward – Donors and members can now give to groups through the NPCA system again by selecting the group they want to give to through our groups giving page. Groups with RENXT merchant services will immediately receive any donations through their websites. We now have a system in place to send remittance on a regular monthly basis! Whew! 

Outstanding Remittance Transfers – NPCA is aware that the remittance payments for the end of 2023 have been delayed and were last paid out through October. Due to the migration process and staff turnover there was a rupture in the reconciliation process, November and December dues and donations are still owed to groups. Our new accounting firm has fixed the issue, and we will begin transferring all funds next week (May 13-17) to groups that are set up with ACH banking systems in Bill.com. If you have not yet done this, the link you were sent has expired at this point. We will begin emailing your Bill.com to your updated email addresses again beginning this week. 

Once your remittance has been sent, a summary statement of the transfer will be sent to you, including a breakdown of all donations and dues received. If you have not received your Bill.com account invitation by Friday, May 10, please contact, [email protected], and our finance and accounting support team will get you set up individually. 

Again, I want to thank you for your patience for making it through this email – my team felt we needed to get all this information out in one place, and in a way that can be shared and referenced as needed. You can find this information on the CRM Migration Updates Website, as well as the linked agreement and NPCA’s agreement with Blackbaud as our CRM provider. 

Once again I recognize that this has been a challenging period, but NPCA is committed to addressing these issues in the short term because we know the value of the collective voice of our community. As we continue to move through last stages of the migration, my commitment to you is that we will make good on rolling out all of the database and website functionality we promised at the outset of this process, will continue to be transparent, and provide timely communication, responses and as much individualized attention as our limited capacity allows. Carla Brown will continue to send weekly updates so you are aware of our progress.

Finally, this should be an inspiring time – this month RPCVs are beginning to return from service again for the first time in over four years! Let’s welcome them to the next stage of the Peace Corps journey. I also ask that you all remember the big picture issues that drive the need for a united network of Peace Corps people, groups, and initiatives. Namely, remember that Peace Corps recruitment has dwindled to record lows as a result of the pandemic, as has public awareness about the program. Compounding this, there are clearly isolationist forces at work in our country that would like to see us withdraw from the world instead of cooperating and building bridges with our neighbors. And lastly, Peace Corps people continue to be some of the most outstanding leaders our country produces, and deserve a strong network to elevate their important work. I can’t wait to partner with you again at the mission level! 

With great respect for you the work you lead, 

Dan

 

05/01/24 Update

Here is the latest development from FatLab Web Support. They will reach out to you according to their batching process. Please be prepared to respond within 24 hours to avoid delays. 

Please pause all changes to sites until the end of migration. 

Preview Your New Site: (Fat lab will include link)

FatLab migrated the essential content from your old site to this new platform. Please review your new site thoroughly and let FatLab know if any critical content is missing or needs adjustments.

 

Next Step: Going Live

To redirect traffic seamlessly from your old site to the new one, FatLab need access to your Domain Name Servers (DNS) records.

According to public records, your domain (web link) maintains its DNS records at (host) . Please coordinate with your team to ensure you have access to these records. Unfortunately, we cannot obtain this access on your behalf. Please confirm with us (reply to this email) once you can access your DNS records account.

Let us know if you are comfortable making these changes yourself or need support.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES UNTIL REPLYING TO FATLAB’s INITIAL EMAIL.

Post-Launch:

Once your site is live, we will send you login details along with resources to help you manage and update your new website effectively.

More Information

To obtain more information on this effort, please visit: https://fatlabwebsupport.com/npca/

 

Update from Blackbaud (useful when your platform is up and running)

Blackbaud Training:

It is in your best interest to be as informed as you can be. Well trained team members will be more successful and do a better job, but the software doesn’t require it. Travis at NPCA will have an alternative abbreviated training option and that will be available at a later date.

Key takeaway: only give each user the rights and access that they need for their role and they are ready to take on.

Below are some training links/resources to help. If you are not able to access those let us know and we will do our best to resolve log in barriers in a timely manner.

New User Landing page: https://hello.blackbaud.com/RaisersEdgeNXT-NewUser.html

View the free eLearning courses: https://learn.blackbaud.com/learn/learning_plan/view/102/basics-of-raisers-edge-nxt

Two I would recommend for all new users under the link above:

Basics of Raiser’s Edge NXT / Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT

Basics of Lists / Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT

https://learn.blackbaud.com/pages/194/blackbaud-raisers-edge-nxt-and-raisers-edge

Pick role (Data Entry, Events Coordinator, etc.) follow the recommended sessions as appropriate for the user’s specific part of the role.

 

Managing events: 

When the event registration forms are built within RE NXT Webview, each form provides either a block of java script you can place on a page built on your site OR a URL that can be used to access the event registration form directly. The URL while faster and easier isn’t branded with your site URL, site art, navigation etc.

If you pick the java script process, your web person will decide what the URL will be for that page.

Either way, once you have the URL for that event registration page, you can place it in any event calendar page/program desired.

There is not a calendar feature or functionality within the event registration forms.

Further information coming from the office of the CEO regarding the tri-party agreement.


04/24/24 – CRM UPDATE

Migration is moving forward. Thank you to all who have met with me the last few weeks as well as the NPCA team for solution focused approaches to identifying threshold resolution opportunities.

Next Steps

  • Web Site Pre-Launch Questionnaire – if you have not submitted the survey please do so at your earliest convenience. Please let Anya know if you need the link to be resent to your website manager’s email address. You can select to receive a copy of your response when you submit the survey.

Action items

Tri Party Agreement – Blackbaud Merchant Services – will need to be signed by groups to have the Blackbaud Merchant Services Accounts. The agreement is currently reviewed by NPCA leadership to ensure adequate course of action.

  • 4.24.24 Fat Lab & Blackbaud Meeting to identify gaps in Web Site Go Live process
  • Tentative Web Site go live end date is 5.15.2024 – still on target
  • Next 2 weeks – Fat Lab to contact affiliate groups in a batch process (5 per week) to inform of next steps for Go Live. Please have your website DNS (Domain Name System – available via your web-site host) information ready for Fat Lab to access. You are welcome to forward to Anya to make sure it is ready.
 
Silk Start invoicing – pending
Memberships – pending

02/15/24 – CRM UPDATE

  • We have migrated to the Raiser’s Edge CRM and although we still have a number of configuration tasks that have to be made, we are in production with it.
  • We have migrated and published the new NPCA site. Some advanced features are still in development but it’s up and running well.
  • We will be moving forward with publishing affiliate sites ASAP. How long it will take depends on things like whether you signed up for Merchant Services or whether you are using a custom website/domain name (and have the login credentials to update where your website name points to).
  • We have spoken in great detail to Blackbaud’s Merchant Services regarding the requirements for affiliate groups to create their own account. As stated before, the contact/personal information of the affiliates president is indeed required, however, this is only for verifying the account and they are not financially responsible in any way. In fact, Blackbaud suggests updating the information whenever a new president comes into office.
  • We have learned of one final requirement, which is a signed MOU (contract) between NPCA (with Dan’s signature) and each affiliate (with president’s signature). The reason for this form is just so NPCA can verify (vouch) in writing that each affiliate group exists and is legit. We are working on the MOU and will be sending out more information in the coming days.
  • If there are any affiliate groups who want to speed up the migration time… if you have your own payment provider (PayPal, Stripe, etc.) and want to switch to Merchant Services at any time in the future, you are welcome to do so.  Just let me know.

 

 

12/9/23 – Affiliate Website Support Information!

– FatLab has asked me to provide everyone with the link to their NPCA Affiliate Website Support page.

– Please keep in mind that this is a growing resource and they will be adding more information as we progress forward.

– IMPORTANT!!  Ignore step 2 of the “Taking Your Website Live” section.  Do not make any changes to the A Records of your website’s domain settings until we request it!

– I highly recommend that everyone who is migrating to WordPress, bookmark this page:

https://fatlabwebsupport.com/npca

12/8/23 – Additional Merchant Services Information

Below is the final list of items needed to set up a Blackbaud Merchant Services account for affiliate groups. Unfortunately there is no way for groups to sign up themselves because it has to be done through the NPCA admin environment in order to associate the accounts with NPCA. Therefore, the only option is for groups to provide this information directly to NPCA so we can create the account in our environment.

If the ‘principal employee’ of each group is comfortable sending me the information below (using any method you are comfortable with.  I recommend either creating a Google doc that contains all the information requested below and then share the doc with only me ([email protected]) or create a password protected PDF and send the password in a seperate email.  Once I receive all information, I will turn around and create the Merchant Account account ASAP.  Otherwise, we are trying to determine the safest alternative for groups to provide this information to us.

 

________________________________________________________________

In order to save time and reduce errors, please provide all information in text format so I can copy and paste

 

  1. Your organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  2. Bank account information where funds will be disbursed
    • Bank name
    • Account holder
    • Account number
    • Routing Number
    • Estimated monthly processing amount (for planning purposes only)
    • Estimated average transaction amount (for planning purposes only)
  3. Principal employee information:
    • First name
    • Last name
    • Org. Title
    • Email
    • Phone number
    • Date of birth
    • Social Security number
    • Affiliate mailing address (no PO Box addresses)
    • Website URL
  4. An electronic version of one of the following:
    • A scanned image of a voided check, pre-printed with your organization’s legal name and address
      or
    • A bank statement from the account, including all pages
      or
    • A bank letter, including your organization’s legal name and address
  5. Statement options
    • Name to appear on statement (22 characters, including spaces)
    • Main phone number to display on statements (extensions not supported)
    • Email address (the general affiliate email address)

________________________________________________________________

12/7/23 –  Two Updates

1.  WordPress Website Previews 

I had previously mentioned that groups will be able to preview their websites before we migrate. FatLab (the company migrating the websites) will be notifying me over the next couple of days as each site becomes available for preview and then I will forward the address for the new website to the respective group.

We have one request:  When viewing your new website, please keep in mind that there may still be minor adjustments or cosmetic changes that need to be made.

In most cases, these updates will be implemented before we go live. However, depending on the workload we have leading up to the migration, in some cases these minor updates might not be made until shortly after the migration. These minor updates that I am referring to might be a color, font size, or specific wording, for example.

Thank you for your understanding. We are trying to avoid using valuable time right now by answering numerous emails about issues that are not production related.

 

 

2. Donations & Payment Processing  

*The following does not apply to affiliate groups who do not receive payments/donations through NPCA

– To be able to accept donations/payments directly (instead of being routed through NPCA), affiliate groups have to create a free Blackbaud Merchant Services account. Once an account is created, groups can add their bank account and begin accepting payments.

– To clarify, Merchant Services is Blackbaud’s version of PayPal or Stripe. While the service is free, it does require each group to designate a ‘principal employee’ who will have to set up the account.

-The principal employee will have to provide their DOB and social security number (the same as setting up a PayPal or Stripe account) in order to have the account set up.  We have NO control over this.  It’s required by law and will only to be used for the initial setup of the account.

– We realize that providing a DOB and social security number may be very concerning for some so here is the link that Blackbaud provided that explains Why is a Social Security Number (SSN) required to set up a BBMS account? (blackbaud.com)

 

*This is really the final  (and biggest) task that we will need affiliates to complete prior to the migration. I will follow up with the link to create your Merchant Services account tomorrow but I wanted to get this information out ASAP so groups can start discussing/gathering whatever you need.

Stay calm, stay strong, we’ll get there together…

__________________________________________________

12/6/23 – Blackbaud University 

Updated Training Information!

We recently sent out information about the four Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT Fundamentals courses that all CRM users are required to complete before logging into the production environment. However, we were unaware that these instructor-led classes are not being offered until January. You can access the same four foundation courses but in the eLearning (self-guided) format. 

 

In order to gain access to the new CRM, all users are required to complete this fundamentals course: Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT Fundamentals (eLearning)

 

Although not required, this basics course is highly recommended! It gets into a bit more specifics in regards to what NXT can do: Basics of Raiser’s Edge NXT (eLearning) 

 

Finally, here is the entire NXT training catalog.  This shows all the paths (topics) available for Raiser’s Edge NXT: Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT and Raiser’s Edge Catalog

 

*If you have trouble opening the links, try logging into the Blackbaud University website first and then try opening the link again.

__________________________________________________

12/3/23 –  Email sent to many groups today with the following…

 

1.  Important steps regarding your new Blackbaud account:

– You will be receiving an email from Blackbaud today with an invitation for your new Blackbaud training account.

– This account will be used to access the Raiser’s Edge NXT training through Blackbaud University.

– As a reminder, this temporary account should be shared with any member of your group that will be requesting access to Raiser’s Edge.

– After you receive the email, accept the invitation, and finish setting up the account, the account will then have access to Blackbaud University and you can then proceed with the next step…

You can find the instructions for accessing the training environment and the four initial required courses: How to Access Blackbaud University

__________________________________________________

12/1/23 – Two Updates Provided Below

UPDATE 1 – ACTION REQUIRED:  Affiliate Group Custom Website Domain Names

Almost all affiliate groups use a custom domain name for their website. What this means is that your website is not using the default SilkStart address that contains peacecorpsconnect in the name but rather a personal, customized address.

For example, instead of the address RPCV.peacecorpsconnect.org, the address would look like RPCV.org. Right now, your domain name (website name) is pointing web traffic to your SilkStart site. Once we migrate all the websites during the December 9/10 weekend, all domain names will have to be “redirected’ to the new WordPress website.

There are two very important things that groups need to know:

  1. NPCA does nothave access to update affiliate group domain names. This is something that each affiliate group purchased at some point so groups will have to make the extremely simple updates themselves. The only challenge that many groups may face brings us to the second point…
  1. What we are asking ahead of time is for groups to ensure they have the login credentials needed to update the IP address for your domain name. Some examples of popular websites that groups may have purchased a name from are GoDaddy,  Domain.com, NameCheap, etc.

*We will send out extremely simple, detailed instructions on what and how to update but groups have to be able to log into the environment first. Again, this is more of a heads-up right now to allow groups to inquire within. More to come…

UPDATE 2 – ACTION RECOMMENDED:  Downloading Affiliate Group Member Data

Many affiliate groups have asked how they can download their SilkStart member data for archiving purposes or just as a precaution. We are recommending that groups run two reports in SilkStart in order to download/archive their membership data before the weekend of December 9/10. While this is not required, it is highly recommended. In most cases, the two files that you download will not be very large and can be kept on a computer, in Google Drive or any other cloud storage, on an external or USB drive, etc…

You can find the instructions on how to run the reports to download member data in SilkStart here:

Using SilkStart Reports to Download Group Member Data

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11/29/23

RESPONSE REQUIRED… BY FRIDAY!

If your affiliate group has not yet provided an email address for us to use in creating a temporary Blackbaud account, please email us ASAP with the email address and full name of your affiliate group. If we do not receive an email address by this Friday 12/1, groups run the risk of not having a BlackBaud University training account created in time for the migration on 12/9 (tentative).

 

Here is the original request:

We are asking all groups to provide a single email address for us to use in creating a temporary Blackbaud account. Once created, the account will be shared with your group to allow for early access to Blackbaud University training. This is temporary and once we migrate, each Raiser’s Edge user will have their own ID to log into the CRM.

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11/15/23

TENTATIVE CRM & WEBSITE MIGRATION DATES: 12/9 & 12/10

CRM Migration Update

  • We’re happy to announce that Blackbaud has just delivered our data in an environment where NPCA can test functionality and give the final approval for the final migration.
  • We are asking all groups to provide a single email address for us to use in creating a temporary Blackbaud account. Once created, the account will be shared with your group to allow for early access to Blackbaud University training. This is temporary and once we migrate, each Raiser’s Edge user will have their own ID to log into the CRM.

Website Migration Update

The website freezes will start at the end of business on Friday, Nov. 17

  • This Friday is the last day that groups can make changes to the content on their websites before all changes are “frozen”. Freezing a website does not mean the site will become unavailable or that you won’t capture donations, you just can’t make any unnecessary changes to the public facing content on the website.Only critical content changes are permitted and changes have to be reported to [email protected] or the changes won’t be copied over to the new site.
  • FatLab is hard at work migrating the website data for all affiliates to the new WordPress environment. We will notify you once your website is ready to view and test before the migration. We do not have an exact date it will be ready to view; it will most likely be during the week before the migration.

 

ACTION NEEDED – Blackbaud Training Account

  • We are asking each affiliate to send us an email at [email protected] and let us know your group name and provide us with a one (1) email address which will be used to create a shared, temporary Blackbaud University account within your group in order to access the Blackbaud University training. This is temporary, only until all individual accounts can be created.

 

We will be posting any follow-up details immediately!  

   

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10/20/23

New Updates!

Up until now

  • As previously mentioned, we requested a copy of our data from SilkStart and after several months of waiting, I’m pleased to report that we finally received the data.  We immediately sent it to Blackbaud to analyze.
  • We provided the pricing and a signup sheet for the new CRM and/or Website. Thank you to everyone who responded!
  • We provided FatLab, the company who is migrating the websites and will be providing support, with the list of affiliates who are migrating to WordPress.Right now
  • We are working with Blackbaud support on “mapping our data” in preparation for the migration. Data mapping is the process of matching data fields or elements from a source, such as SilkStart, to their related data fields in another destination, such as Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge. This process also involves defining the many fields in Raiser’s Edge (a robust fundraising system) that do not exist in SilkStart (a less comprehensive membership database). It’s how you establish relationships between different data models.
  • We are also working with Blackbaud Merchant Services on setting up payment processing for NPCA and affiliate groups. More information to come…
  • We are in the process of configuring security and creating user accounts for NPCA and affiliate group members.  Once we have the user accounts set up, individuals can begin using the Blackbaud University training website. We are working to have the accounts set up as quickly as possible to give people as much time as possible to view the training.  In the near future
  • FatLab is hard at work copying the data from the NPCA website to the new WordPress environment.  They are hoping to be able to migrate the NPCA site towards the end of October/beginning of November.
  • After the NPCA site is migrated, we will begin migrating affiliate group websites in small batches. We will send out notifications a week or two before we plan on migrating your website so you can plan accordingly for the website freeze (freeze meaning no changes can be made to the site during the time leading up to the migration). More details to come…
  • Mapping the data is a time consuming and extremely important process so it’s difficult to say exactly how long it will take to complete this step. However, according to Blackbaud’s timeline (shown below) it’s estimated to take 6-8 weeks from now to complete the conversion. This is only an estimate that is based on the information we have nowPlease understand that it may take more or less time than expected and that we will be sending out additional notifications as we establish details of the timeframe.

 

 

Is there a demo or any way we can see what Raiser’s Edge looks like or what features it has? 
Yes, here is a 30 minute video provided by Blackbaud that introduces Raiser’s Edge NXT and details some of the most useful features:

Blackbaud RE NXT Demo

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10/8/23

How much will the new CRM/Website cost us exactly?

The CRM/Website pricing worksheet has been simplified and easy-to-follow instructions have been added to the page. You can find the pricing worksheet here:   Improved WordPress & Raiser’s Edge NXT Pricing Worksheet

 

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9/7/2023  

Update to the Raiser’s Edge packages

NPCA has exciting news to share! In order to offer additional savings to our affiliate groups, NPCA has decided to eliminate the Raiser’s Edge Basic and Enhanced packages that were previously being offered and instead offer all groups just one package, with full access, for the same pricing as the Basic package!

 

Why did NPCA decide against offering CRM packages?

We received many emails from groups who were trying to decide between the two CRM packages and the most common question we were asked was “What is the difference between the Basic and Enhanced packages?

This is difficult to explain, especially since we don’t have access to our new environment quite yet so we can’t provide any demonstrations for the groups.  But now there is only one package for groups to consider purchasing.

Here is one example that highlights a huge reason why so many groups were willing to pay more money for the Enhanced package (which is now the standard package):

Example:  You are asked to run a report that shows only the first and last name, home address, and email address for all donors who gave within the past 30 days.

The standard reporting, which might include basic information like first name, last name, and home address, might not include the email address or it might include data that isn’t required, like phone numbers, because of how the report was pre-configured.

Conversely, the enhanced package gives you access to the report builder which allows you to specify exactly what data you want included or excluded from the report.  There is no limit to how the reports can be customized.

 

I understand that now there is only one package (or level of access) being offered for Raiser’s Edge.  Is there anything that is not included in the package that groups would have to pay addition in order to use?  
Yes, there is one add-on that is not included in the standard pricing for Raiser’s Edge and it’s called the Fundraiser’s Add-onGroup’s that purchase the Fundraiser’s Add-on will have access to the wealth screening tools that are offered by BlackBaud.
More details to follow

Can we cancel the Fundraiser’s Add-on whenever we want? 
Yes, it’s a month-to-month subscription that can be purchased or canceled at any time.


Will an affiliate group’s income be reviewed only when they sign up or will it be reviewed each year? 

Affiliate group income will be reviewed each year to determine the most up-to-date pricing applicable.

When should affiliate groups stop making CRM or website changes in SilkStart? 
We anticipate that some time in October, NPCA will start sending out notifications well in advance of when the CRM and website will be “frozen” for a limited time.
More details to follow…   

CRM & Website Migration Overview

In early 2022, NPCA began the process of searching for a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution to replace our current CRM, SilkStart. We found that over time SilkStart was not meeting the needs of NPCA and our affiliate groups. NPCA hired a consultant to search for a new system and over the course of nearly a year, we selected Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge NXT, a nonprofit CRM industry leader.

  • The NPCA and affiliate websites are currently hosted through SilkStart. The benefit of this was that SilkStart managed most of the back-end (behind-the-scenes) settings for us. The drawback is that because we don’t manage those settings, we don’t have the access to them to use in the new website build. Since we can’t perform a standard “full” website export then our only option is to build a new site using the front-end, public facing website as a reference. We have contracted with FatLab Web Support, who will build a new website template for NPCA and a new website template for all affiliate groups. Once these WordPress templates are built, the company will then copy all existing website content to the new sites.

As part of this whole process, we carefully considered the needs of our many affiliate groups on the platform. Each group is unique and uses SilkStart for various tasks, which presents the challenge of finding a new system that would work for both NPCA and affiliate groups. We are confident that Raiser’s Edge NXT will be a solution that not only serves the needs of NPCA and affiliates, but evolves with us over time.

Affiliate groups have put so much time into making SilkStart work for them over the years, and we recognize and honor your efforts. We know that any kind of change is never easy and transitioning to a new software system will likely generate many questions. That is why NPCA is committed to making this transition as seamless as possible for our affiliate groups. We will be migrating the websites and databases for your group, and we’ll ensure that you have the proper training and skills needed to use the new systems. We think you will find the new solutions very intuitive and there will probably be new tools that you didn’t even know you needed.

NPCA signed the contract with Raiser’s Edge NXT and is currently in the process of meeting with the transition team to understand how our new system will be set up. Below, we have compiled a list of FAQs that will help you better understand the new CRM and website changes. As we learn more specific details from Raiser’s Edge NXT, we will update this page and inform affiliate groups.

 

We are confident that you will find Raiser’s Edge NXT a great resource that your affiliate group will use for many years to come

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