Sparkrock Blog

Cait Abernethy

Cait Abernethy
Cait Abernethy is the Marketing Coordinator at Sparkrock and is excited about marketing trends, enthralled by technology of all kinds, and is interested in the ways local actions can have a global impact.
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Recent Posts

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

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

5 Signs your Financial System is Failing your Nonprofit Organization

by   Cait Abernethy on 08.04.17

As a nonprofit, you're looking to put every dollar towards your mission. So, it’s likely that when you were first starting out you chose a finance solution that wasn’t too costly or complicated and fit your basic needs. But as your organization grows, tools such as Accpac or Quickbooks may no longer be robust enough to handle the increasing complexity of your budget management or reporting requirements. If you're still using one of these smaller finance and accounting systems, take a second to ask yourself these questions:

Topics: Finance , Technology

Fundraising with YouTube? Here are 10 Features of a Great Creative Strategy

by   Cait Abernethy on 06.30.17

Move over funny cat videos and the double rainbow guy, nonprofits are becoming major players in the YouTube ecosystem! These organizations have amassed over 4.6 billion views since the start of the YouTube for Nonprofits program, and there are now over 25 thousand nonprofit partners using the platform to further their causes and do good in their communities and the world.

Topics: Fundraising , Outcomes-Impact

Why a Role-based Permissions Strategy is Critical for Human Services Agencies

by   Cait Abernethy on 06.02.17

Protecting your network and financial data and ensuring the integrity of sensitive client information rate high on the priority lists of every Human Services agency. In addition, more stringent privacy laws have imposed new levels of confidentiality on institutions that deliver health-related services, and as a result, permissions management has become a critical component in ensuring information security and access control.

Topics: Finance , Workforce Management

From the 'First Date' onwards: 3 Important Steps When Picking a School Board ERP

by   Cait Abernethy on 05.17.17

Picking an ERP system to implement in your school board is very similar to picking a significant other. You want them to be reliable, hard-working, easy to deal with, anticipatory of your needs, and – let’s be honest – visually appealing…you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them, after all.

You and your new ERP solution will (hopefully) be entering a long term relationship, so it’s vital that you choose one that meets all of your needs and makes your day to day role easier. Here are three important steps to take when entering into a relationship with a new ERP solution:

Topics: Finance , k12

How to Create a Volunteer Handbook

by   Cait Abernethy on 05.02.17

People volunteer for an endless variety of reasons. Many people want to gain experience, acquire new skills, meet new people, or expand their network of contacts as a way to get a new job or start a career. Others just want to give back to their community, help a friend, or promote a worthwhile activity. They do it because it makes them feel good. It gives them what some describe as a "private smile."

Even though volunteers are willing to give a great deal of their talents and free time, they are an asset that is largely underutilized. If your organization is thinking about developing a volunteer program but don't know how to create a volunteer handbook, look no further. Here are six important sections to make sure you include in your handbook:

Topics: Workforce Management , Workforce

Guide to Hiring an Exceptional Executive Director at your Nonprofit

by   Cait Abernethy on 04.26.17

Hiring an executive director is one of the most important actions that the governing board of a nonprofit agency will take. The board depends on its director to achieve the agency’s purposes and objectives within the constraints of its budget on a day-to-day basis—not an easy task to accomplish year in and year out. Also, the working relationship between the director and the board, the staff, volunteers, clients, funding organizations, and other service agencies can significantly influence the agency’s effectiveness and reputation in the community. But finding a great Executive Director can be a tricky process as they are senior positions, but tend not to be as well paid as in the private sector, meaning that hiring someone who is in it for more than just financial compensation, someone who is in it because of passion, is critical.

 

Topics: Finance , Outcomes-Impact , Workforce Management , Workforce

How to Make Tough Decisions about Technology as a Nonprofit Leader

by   Cait Abernethy on 03.14.17

Technology is tough, but we all need it. Embracing it is pretty much an essential part of any organization. This is especially true when it comes to nonprofits. Database management, office and marketing automation, scheduling, reporting, etc., can all be massive time savers for a capacity-strapped organization. But the upfront costs and time delays of finding the right solution, and implementing it properly, can be daunting.

Topics: Outcomes-Impact , Technology

How to Get your Constituents to Follow You on Social Media

by   Cait Abernethy on 03.08.17

It’s impossible to deny the ubiquity of social media platforms - it seems that everyone and their dog has a social media account of some sort these days. The reality is the that having a strong online presence has become important, and this is especially true for nonprofit organizations - whose causes rely heavily (and sometimes entirely) on their supporters. Since many nonprofits already have to deal with tight budgets and limited staff, social media isn’t always high on their priority list. However, while effective social media requires constant time and effort, the attention that your cause can garner along with the connections you can make with your audience are a worthwhile tradeoff.

Topics: Fundraising

Ontario K12 School Board Improves Reporting through Recent Upgrade

by   Cait Abernethy on 02.23.17

Their Mission

The Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board has nurtured the development of students and families since 1847, and are fervently committed to high standards for achievement in teaching and learning.  They are very proud of the quality of instruction within all schools and their commitment to inclusive learning spaces that provide differentiated opportunities for growth and development.