Sparkrock Blog

Announcing our Fuel Good 2018 Featured Keynote: Liz Weaver!

by   Nikki Trinnear on 11.08.17

Every year Fuel Good brings together industry experts and thought leaders to teach conference-goers more about technology and innvovation. This is the foundation of our conference, but what really takes Fuel Good to a higher level are the keynote speakers we hand pick to inspire and motivate attendees. These speakers not only give listeners valuable skills and tips to better serve their communities, they also remind us why we do the work that we do: to fuel good in the world. That's why Sparkrock is excited to announce our second keynote of Fuel Good: Liz Weaver, the Co-CEO of Tamarack Institute!

Topics: Sparkrock

Evergreen: Taking the Uncertainty Out of Upgrading

by   Dhebi Hay on 10.24.17

At Sparkrock, we're constantly analyzing our customers' wants and needs to create better solutions to suit their specific organizations. In doing so, we often have to have some tough conversations, and one of the most difficult ones is surrounding upgrades. During these tough conversations, we frequently hear:

Topics: Technology

Budgeting Tips and Takeaways for Human Services Leaders

by   Stefanie Gause on 10.24.17

While I was at the Providers' Council Annual Convention in Boston, I attended a great session on NFP budgeting, led by AAFCPAs a local CPA firm. I was struck by their core message - finance needs to be a strategic partner to the rest of the organization. Nonprofits need to think beyond day to day bookkeeping – paying the bills, managing funding contracts, etc. Budgeting is one of those key strategic activities and unfortunately too many NFPs don’t have the time or tools to manage this area of their business effectively. It’s crucial that today’s NFP finance leaders get past transactional work and collaborate with leaders on the program side to help deliver on the organization’s mandate.

Topics: Finance , Outcomes-Impact , Leadership

Announcing our Fuel Good 2018 Featured Keynote: Author Froswa' Booker-Drew

by   Nikki Trinnear on 10.16.17

Every year Fuel Good works to bring together experts and thought leaders to teach conference goers more about technology and innvovation. This is the foundation of our conference, but what really takes Fuel Good to a higher level are the keynotes we hand pick to inspire and motivate attendees. These speakers not only give listeners valuable skills and tips to better serve their communities, they also remind us why we do the work that we do: to fuel good in the world. That's why Sparkrock is excited to announce our first keynote of Fuel Good, Dr. Froswa' Booker Drew!

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew has an extensive background in nonprofit management, partnership development, training, and education, and is currently the Director of Community Affairs/Strategic Alliances for the State Fair of Texas.

Formerly the National Community Engagement Director for World Vision, she served as a catalyst, partnership broker, and builder of the capacity of local partners in multiple locations across the US to improve and sustain the well-being of children and their families.

Topics: Sparkrock

Key Takeaways from our recent K12 Meetup!

by   Nicola Dickinson on 10.11.17

On September 28th, Sparkrock brought together over 30 attendees, across 12 Ontario school boards, to discuss issues and trends most prevalent in the province, and listen to the amazing guest speakers that were lined up. The day proved to be an exciting and engaging one as we kicked off the event at the Ontario Science Center with an open discussion highlighting key objectives and challenges faced by the boards in Ontario as well as key initiatives designed to increase the Sparkrock K12 ERP solution’s value and effectiveness.

Topics: Finance , Product Innovation , Support & Success , k12

Sparktivist? Never heard of it.

by   Nikki Trinnear on 10.05.17

Sparktivist. What does that word even mean? It's certainly not in the dictionary (even though words like gimcrack somehow are...). Well since we can't find a good definition, I suppose the next best thing to do is define it ourselves:

Sparktivist

[spark-tuh-vist] noun

1. An especially active, vigorous advocate for Sparkrock

This special program is designed to reward our activists – more than ever before – for sharing their experiences and expertise, referring colleagues, and helping us create and spread great content.

Topics: Sparkrock

Overtime - The Silent Budget Killer

by   Cait Abernethy on 10.03.17

We’re going to throw a stat at you that might sound ridiculous, but depending on the size of your organization you could be victim to it too: Human Services organizations, on average, end up spending nearly $1 Million dollars annually in overtime pay.

Topics: Finance , Workforce Management , Workforce , Operations

The True Cost of Manual Processes

by   Cait Abernethy on 09.19.17

As a Human Services agency, you’re constantly tasked with “doing more with less.” With tight budgets and even tighter restrictions on how you spend funder dollars, making sure your organization is running as efficiently as possible is a must. In our experience though, most human services organizations are so busy focusing on service delivery and putting out fires that they have little time left to focus on internally-strategic things such as determining the average cost of many of their day to day processes or figuring out more efficient ways to manage these tasks. And, because funding is tight, purchasing a new management system that could automate many of these processes seems too costly so many agencies continue to rely on paper-based or manual methods.

But what is the true cost of completing tasks manually? While the 3-4 minutes it may take to do something simple like walking over a purchase request to a supervisor’s desk for approval may seem insignificant, if you have to do it a couple times a week, and then multiply that by a year, you’d be shocked by how much time you’ll have spent walking back and forth between desks just to do this one minor task. But obtaining approvals isn’t the only offender when it comes to surprisingly-costly manual processes. Some other tasks that add up to significant time and costs wasted are Expense Claims, Purchasing and Inventory Management, Timesheets/Payroll, and Employee Scheduling.

Topics: Finance , Outcomes-Impact , Workforce , Technology

Why IT Professionals Should Not Fear the Cloud

by   Cait Abernethy on 09.14.17

From our experience working with nonprofit organizations in the past, IT departments are rarely thrilled with the idea of implementing a cloud-based solution. Some might think, “wait, wouldn’t IT love the idea of new technology being implemented in their organization? Wouldn’t they be thrilled at the chance to get to utilize something new and innovative?”

The reality of the matter is that many IT professionals do not like the idea of cloud. But why is this?

Topics: Technology

8 Questions to Ask Before Starting your RFP Process

by   Craig Mundle on 09.12.17

A request for proposal (RFP) is an excellent tool for nonprofits to use to find the best products and services for their organization at competitive prices. Although it can take considerable time and effort, a well planned, written and executed RFP can be a game changer when it comes to finding a solution partner that truly understands your organisation’s goals, pain-points, and what functionality you need to ensure you continue to deliver on your mission. We know this can be a daunting task at times - so we are here to help! Below we have pulled together a list of 8 questions to ask yourself before you start the RFP process, which will point you in the right direction for a stronger and more effective RFP.

Topics: Product Innovation

3 Trends that will Impact your Nonprofit’s Approach to Workforce Management in 2018

by   Cait Abernethy on 08.25.17

It’s hardly a secret that the human services and nonprofit sectors have long underinvested in their most valuable asset - their people - and over the last decade this problem has unfortunately gotten worse, not better.

But we predict that the tide will finally begin to turn in 2018; this will be the year when talent will become a top priority for nonprofits and their funders. Why? It’s safe to assume that the changing political climate and administration in the US will put future investments in social programs and services at risk. As a result, the demands placed on nonprofit organizations will likely increase  while financial support and government funding decreases. Human service agencies, nonprofits, and their supporters are now being forced to recognize that if they hope to effectively address the needs of their communities and advance their missions in the years to come, they must have creative, capable teams in place who can find ways to deliver results under difficult circumstances. Employees - qualified, well-resourced, engaged employees - are the answer to many of the challenges the sector is currently facing and will face in 2018.

Topics: Workforce Management , Workforce