This year our events team experimented with a new way to help attendees meet one another by organizing conference goers into their respective tribes or villages. Dubbed “Sage City” the event enabled peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and lots of networking around functional areas and topics of interest. From my view, it was a great way to get a conference started bringing partners, customers and employees together. Shortly after a welcome from Pascal Houillon and Himanshu Palsule, attendees were coached by Sarah Michel on how to participate and get the most out of Sage City.
• Seek out a Village that aligns with your interest or industry.
• Find a topic you want to learn more about.
• Share your challenges, solutions, best practices and knowledge around the topic.
• Capture key takeaways or outcomes. Tweet and post your outcomes to the comments wall.
With over 2000 attendees, Sage City was an ambitious experiment in open and flexible conferencing. It was amazing to watch how our customers found one another and how excited they were to connect. While I can’t fully capture the buzz Sage City generated in this blog, I can share some of the outcomes from the Not for Profit Village with you.
- “Grants” – staying compliant, measuring outcomes and reporting on grants was by far the hottest topic with three separate conversations taking place during Sage City. The key to compliance is open and timely communication between development and finance. Finance needs to know and understand every grant requirement and condition in order to set it up properly in your Sage system. Second is again communication and training! Your staff needs to be knowledgeable and aware of funding requirements. Third, be sure and incorporate grant requirements into your organization’s outcome measures. Finally, take advantage of the grant administration module in Sage 100 Fund Accounting – everyone has access to it. (If you don’t see it on your Chart of Accounts, ask your system administrator to check your permissions.) Or take a look at Sage Grant Management, a robust software solution to help manage, report and track your grants.
- Mobility – convincing their organizations to spend money on mobility software and hardware like tablets and smart phones is the biggest barrier to “going mobile”. The solution: determine what could be earned by having a mobile application or payment system on hand at events or even when meeting a major gift prospect. Get input from your team in the field and ask them to help you determine the cost of missed mobile donations.
- Texting – there were many questions over “textiquette”. The main outcome from this discussion – ask supporters to opt-in to your text communications. And, make it easy for them to give you permission to text. Place a sign up box on your website, add mobile opt-in fields on your donation forms, and include sign up boxes on forms at events. Remember to use your supporters preferred method of communication whether it’s text or email and always be timely and respectful with your communications.
- Payment Processing – payments are a pain for many of our customers. I overheard many who are looking for ways to automate vendor payments, as well as, process mobile and online donations. Solutions to consider: Sage Payment Solutions and/or bill pay EFT through your bank.
Do you have similar concerns and interests? Thoughts on the topics and tips that made their way around Sage City? Let us know by commenting below. For fun check out the YouTube time lapse video of the event too.