In Short

first_img== France tops the world ==France was crowned winner of the seventh Bakery World Cup, at a ceremony in Paris on Wednesday this week. The team beat 11 other nations to the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie. Taiwan came second, and the Italian team claimed third place. Tameside college tutor Steven Salt will be heading up the UK’s entry for the 2010 World Cup.== Extra safety installed at Wrexham bakery ==A Wrexham bakery has backed the Healthy & Safety Executive’s ’Shattered Lives’ campaign to reduce the number of workplace accidents by installing non-slip flooring throughout its Minera factory. It has also issued employees with safety footwear. HSE figures showed there were 136 accidents at workplaces in Wrexham last year.== Costa ’not for sale’ ==Whitbread has denied that it wants to sell off Costa Coffee. Head of Costa John Derkach told Reuters that he “didn’t see any need” to sell off the chain, which has seen fast expansion over the past two years.== Gangmaster gets marching orders ==Midlands gangmaster Robert Taylor has had his licence removed after forcing migrant workers to sign standing orders or face losing work. The Polish workers received less than the minimum wage after Taylor made deductions for accommodation, which were more than £24 per person above the legal limit. Among the firms provided with staff by Taylor were British Bakeries and confectioner Thorntons.== Nampak sales head ==Nampak Cartons has appointed Ian Simpson as sales manager to focus specifically on new business development for the company’s short-run sites at Gillingham and Crewkerne.last_img read more

Liverpool close to signing Bayern Munich star

first_img Loading… It is said that the clubs are in advanced negotiations for a deal which will cost in the region of €35m (£31.5m) with the talks focus around the structure of the payment rather than the amount.The 29-year-old’s deal in Bavaria is set to expire in the summer of 2021 and despite the club keen to renew his deal, the player has backed off and looks set to end his seven-year stay at Munich.Last week, a report in German outlet Sport Bild claimed the Spain international is expecting to leave the Bundesliga champions this summer and had been the first to report of interest from the Reds. Read Also: Zidane wants Messi to stay in Spain despite Barcelona exit claimsAs highlighted by transfermarkt.de, the central midfielder has a market valuation of €48m and Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is said to be a huge fan of his technical ability and would love to add him to his midfield ranks this summer.Thiago joined Bayern in 2013 after they activated his €25m release clause at Barcelona and whilst he has been linked with a return to the Camp Nou at several points in his career since, no move has ever come to fruition and now appears unlikely due to the Blaugrana’s options in the position.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Promoted ContentCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable WayA Guy Turns Gray Walls And Simple Bricks Into Works Of ArtIs This The Most Delicious Food In The World?6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A DroneCan Playing Too Many Video Games Hurt Your Body?Who Earns More Than Ronaldo?6 Extreme Facts About HurricanesWhat Happens When You Eat Eggs Every Single Day?12 Flicks That Almost Ended Their Stars’ Careers8 Fascinating Facts About CoffeeThe Best Cars Of All Time11 Most Immersive Game To Play On Your Table Top Liverpool are ‘very close’ to completing the signing of Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, as per a report in Diario Sport.Advertisementlast_img read more

Ryan relishing prospect of clash with Cats

first_imgKilkenny manager Brian Cody believes Tipperary have a very talented panel.He also thinks this year’s final could be a great game.Tipp FM will have live commentary on the match this Sunday afternoon.  Our build-up to the game – which gets underway at 3.30 – begins at 3 o’clock. Coverage will be brought to you in association with Mulcahy Car Sales, Ardcroney, Nenagh. The Upperchurch-Drombane club man will hope to lead the Premier County to their first title since 2010.The counties last met in the final two years ago – it took a replay for the Cats to claim the Liam MacCarthy Cup.The Tipp boss is full of admiration for the side his players will do battle against on Sunday.last_img

Darwinians Still Justify Genetic Determinism

first_imgOne of the most dangerous philosophies in the history of mankind is still embedded in modern Darwinism.In a recent post, we laughed at two evolutionary just-so stories that extrapolated animal behavior into human behavior. Remember, though, that animal behavior is encoded by their genes, and that’s no laughing matter when genetic determinism is extrapolated to humans. It sucks all the air out of morality, making humans pawns of an amoral, aimless natural process with no accountability.Some personal beliefs and morals may stem from genetics (Science Daily). The authors at Penn State try to qualify their genetic determinism with the word “some” — “some personal beliefs and morals” may stem from genetics. What other source is there? To evolutionists, genetic change by mutation and selection is ultimately all there is.“Most people assume that parenting shapes the development of virtuous character in children via entirely environmental pathways,” Neiderhiser said. “But our results suggest there are also heritable influences. This doesn’t mean that if parents are conscientious that their children also will be regardless of how the children are parented. It does mean, however, that children inherit a tendency to behave in a particular way and that this shouldn’t be ignored.”Who decides what is virtuous in Darwinland? The only standard is survival, isn’t it? That is completely amoral. Genocide qualifies for the fittest group that survives. Later, the determinists again qualify their stance, saying,“Your genes are not totally deterministic of who you are,” Ramos said. “Genes simply give you a potential. People still make their own choices and have agency in shaping who they become.”But once again, Darwinists have no choice or agency in their toolkit. It’s all mutation and selection, resulting in genetic changes. To have choice, you have to have free will and a soul.How did reading and writing evolve? Neuroscience gives a clue (The Conversation). Your clue that Derek Hodgson is a genetic determinist is in the thought that reading and writing “evolved.” No free will in that idea; you just carry out behaviors when you scratch on a stone or type at a keyboard. The self-refuting nature of this assertion is self-evident, because Hodgson’s genes made him say this. It could be argued that language and writing “evolve” by convention, which implies human minds that can freely choose how to represent their thoughts on material substances and in vocal sounds, but that is not what he is talking about.But how was this possible? Neuroscientific research has shown that writing text involves the premotor cortex of the brain, which drives manual skills. My theory therefore suggests that reading and writing evolved when our passive perception for discerning things started to interact with manual dexterity.In other words, you are a passive marionette governed by invisible strings reacting to natural selection. Words in a book are mere marks on a page like scratches on a stone.That said, some researchers believe that early marks were symbolic rather than aesthetic and that writing evolved from encoding information in them. However I argue this now seems increasingly unlikely. Early marks look similar to each other over an immense period of time. If the marks were symbolic, we would expect to see far more variation across space and time, just as we do in modern writing systems. But this is not the case.All this points to the probability that the earliest marks were aesthetic in that they derive from the early visual cortex’s preference for basic configurations. And it could have begun as early as Homo erectus, which lived from about 1.8m to 500,000 years ago.How evolutionary theory guides policy (Nature). This is the scariest of the three articles we are taking a look at. David Sloan Wilson, the New Teacher who wants Evolution for Everyone, is back. He sees all the detailed negotiations in national governments and foreign policy as mere manifestations of Darwinism. And Nature likes his new book about it. Even the title is scary for lovers of liberty and justice for all: This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution. Head for the hills! The Brave New World is upon us.Wilson’s passion for multilevel selectionist thinking, and his relentless optimism, give the book something of a messianic flavour: in places, I detect leaps of faith, for example in the belief that well-functioning groups can solve our problems of collective action. There is no false advertising, however. The very title (albeit cribbed from the end of Charles Darwin’s 1859 On the Origin of Species) portends a personal perspective. The result is utterly fascinating and beautifully written.He addresses deep questions about humanity: how we can avoid physical or mental illnesses, raise children, make groups more effective, create sustainable economies and nurture better planetary stewards.This is a recipe for global socialism, which always brings with it totalitarianism, elitism, and slavery. The elites will try to keep the peasant hens producing eggs for them.Things get more interesting for policy when Wilson turns to what he calls the “problem of goodness”. Literature on the evolution of cooperation — such as the 2011 A Cooperative Species by Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis — gives us plausible scientific reasons for goodness triumphing over evil, or selflessness over selfishness. Multilevel selection is important here. Wilson’s favourite example is an experiment showing how to increase caged hens’ egg production. You select not for the most fertile hens in each generation (co-housed, they will peck each other to death), but for the multi-hen cages with the highest productivity (where more positive social interactions predominate).Humans don’t live in cages, but group living is a fundamental adaptation of our species. In a wink of geological time, humanity moved from small pre-Neolithic tribal groups to large nation-states, with transnational religious identities and (albeit weak) global governance institutions. All this reasonably suggests a role for multilevel selection. We know that social groups work effectively when they have clearly delineated membership, are relatively egalitarian and police themselves. Wilson recounts the huge success of a “school within a school” programme with these features for students in Binghamton, New York, who were at risk of dropping out of high school. He also discusses the effectiveness of local “block clubs” in run-down parts of Buffalo, New York, and other often well-controlled studies demonstrating the success of groups that follow these design principles in producing socially preferable outcomes.Isn’t that nice to speak of “design principles” for multilevel selection? Beware fake words. Who defines what is “good”? Who designs “socially preferable outcomes”? The powerful elites who run everything, of course, and teach the peasants that they are products of selection. The elites, meantime, excuse themselves from the same rules of “multilevel selection” that everyone else is enslaved to. They make the selections now. They have reached godhood.Reviewer Monique Borgerhoff Mulder welcomes this study on Darwinian solutions to social issues. She says Wilson’s book should be on everyone’s bedside table. Everyone’s cell table, that is, next to the hole in the floor.People have no idea the horrors they are in for if this kind of thinking goes mainstream. The 20th century was a huge, awful demonstration of “selectionist” thinking imposing itself on national policy. Now that we have instant access across the globe and orbital surveillance, there will be no place to hide. We will be praying for a Rapture. (Visited 416 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Backpacker lodges: Gauteng province

first_imgThe ProvinceWith a total area of 16 500 square kilometres, Gauteng is slightly smaller than the US state of New Jersey. While it’s South Africa’s smallest province, it has the second-largest population after KwaZulu-Natal, and by far the highest population density – over 570 people per square kilometre.It is in an area known as The Highveld because of the high altitude. It’s also the economic hub of South Africa. Johannesburg, especially, is a fast-paced city and offers plenty to do, as does Pretoria, a short drive up the M1 highway.Find out more: Gauteng provinceBACKPACKING ACCOMMODATIONBenoniAfrica Centre Backpacker Guest Lodge and Travel CentreMufasa BackpackersBoksburgMbizi Backpackers LodgeBronkhorstspruitSinkShackCenturionSunnyside Up BackpackersTom’s BackpackersCullinanCullinan BackpackersDaveytonLal’Uphume Backpackers InnJohannesburg2BHappy Backpackers Lodge (Yeoville)Accoustix @ Grant’s (Randburg)African Footprints Lodge (Midrand)Bob’s Bunkhouse (Edenvale)Brown Sugar Backpackers (Observatory)Diamond Diggers Backpackers (Kensington)Gemini Backpackers (Edenvale)Ghandi’s Back Packers and Lodge (Kensington)Joburg Backpackers (Emmarentia)Melville International Backpackers (Melville)Pension Idube (Melville)Sleek Backpackers (Blairgowrie)The Backpackers Ritz of Johannesburg (Dunkeld West)The Burches Backpackers Lodge – Johannesburg (Roosevelt Park)Ululapa Backpackers (Crown Gardens)Zoo Lodge (Parktown North)OR Tambo International AirportAirport Backpackers Lodge and ToursEmerald BackpackersTerrylin Backpackers HostelPretoria1322 BackPackers International (Hatfield)Constantia Lodge (Meyerspark)Friends Accommodation (Brooklyn)Kia-Ora Backpack (Berea)Pretoria Backpackers Lodge and Travel Centre (Clydesdale)SowetoSoweto Backpackers (Orlando West)Elsewhere in the ProvinceOns Plek Country Kitchen (about 20km outside Pretoria, on the road to Hartbeesport Dam)Backpacking accommodationEastern CapeGautengKwaZulu-NatalWestern CapeRest of South AfricaSAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

South African-French collaboration sings of Madiba Skies

first_imgElectrifying performances are what you can expect at Under Madiba Skies. (Image: I Support Do You)Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994; his inaugural speech, in which he spoke of freedom, the future, reconciliation and renewal, still resonates today.“It always seems impossible, until it is done,” he said, prompting musicians from South Africa and France to interpret his words in a special performance in which many influences and cultures come together on stage.This meeting of musical chairs goes by the name of Under Madiba Skies, and they will be performing in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town from 29 October to 1 November.On 29 October, catch them at Alliance Française Pretoria; on 30 October, they are in Johannesburg at Alliance Française Johannesburg; on 31 October they will be at Ikhaya le Langa in Langa in Cape Town; and they finish off their tour in Durban at Rainbow Restaurant. All performances are free, except the final show in Durban, for which tickets are R60.A MEETING OF DIFFERENT CULTURESIn Under Madiba Skies, French band Gran Kino has come together with a number of South African musicians, including Manelis, Ayanda Nhlangothi, Jitsvinger and Burni Aman, to share their vision of South Africa today.This collaboration, which began in 2013, has spawned several songs. Whether from Durban, rapping in isiZulu, from Johannesburg singing with a traditional sweetness, or from Cape Town rapping in Afrikaans, the vision is mutual: coming together on one stage, uniting different languages, visions and ideas. Above all, the venture celebrates an endless artistic richness.The music weaves together traditional songs, rock, hip-hop and acoustic piano and voice. The performers are colourful and embody values of peace and openness to the world.Under Madiba Skies released a four-track EP in 2013; the first single was called Brand New Day, and is available online.The artists see Madiba’s inaugural speech as a prophecy and feel honoured to bring his word to listeners around the world. It is also an opportunity to show the world what South Africa has to offer.Their ideals dovetail with South Africa’s National Development Plan or Vision 2030, which has an aim to seal Africa’s place in the world and bring about nation building through social cohesion.In 2013, the group successfully toured France with performances at some of the biggest world music festivals in that country, such as Festival Generic and The Worlstock Festival. In 2014, they visited South America.The first Under Madiba Skies single, Brand New Day, was playlisted on Radio France International and other French radio stations. Songs from the EP were also playlisted on radio stations in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Lebanon, Poland, Italy, Spain and Hong Kong, among other countries.AUDIENCE APPRECIATIONIt seems the collaboration has touched many, with audiences around the globe appreciating the performances:“I wanted to congratulate you, to thank you, to tell you how much this moment had touched me. My emotions about your performance were so strong, I was not able to do anything the days following your concert.”“It is this simple message I want to convey to you: through your involvement with a bit of soul, Madiba was in Macon, and the permanence of the soul softens the pain caused by the sad news of his passing. For me, as for many, Madiba remains alive.”“It was an evening of great splendour and generosity… Your concert was like a bomb of talent: energy, originality, crossroads of music and styles. A true rainbow of musicians and rhythms.”last_img read more

Jimbelungare Culture Clash

first_imgOn Saturday, 11 October, the South Queensland Sharks hosted the Jimbelungare Culture Clash. This event featured a combined team from the three First Generation Tribes from South Queensland as well as teams from New Zealand. In what was a celebration of culture, the day started with a traditional welcome and smoke ceremony before the games got underway. Participants varied in age and backgrounds, but this didn’t stop anyone from having a great time and enjoying the chance to play against and learn from one another.A great turnout ensured an ideal platform to showcase the culture of the differing groups in attendance, including the New Zealand under 15’s and 17’s Mixed sides. One of the event organisers, Craig Williams commented on how ‘events like this create opportunities for further growth and understanding’.“Sport is the perfect vehicle developing leadership skills and healthy lifestyle choices in young indigenous people,” Williams said. TFA Participation Manager, Adam Raptis, spoke on the importance of events such as these, and their ability to bring people together through the sport of Touch Football. “Jimbelungare is a fantastic event for our sport and the indigenous community; it provides opportunities for neighbouring communities to engage with each other, it provides both a participation and pathway opportunity in the sport, and it has allowed educational opportunities through the referee and coach courses that have been delivered.”The next round of the Jimbelungare Touch Tournament will be held this weekend, with the third and final round to be held later in November.Related LinksCulture Clashlast_img read more

Get Ready for Year-End Fundraising

first_imgFirst things first: Make sure your organization can accept online donations. Though you’re clearly getting on the ball by tackling end-of-the-year fundraising now, your donors may still put off “the big give” until the last minute. Make sure your donors have an easy-to- use, customized donation form that generates that vital tax receipt immediately – all without having to leave your website. (Don’t have a custom donation page? Contact us to try out our DonateNow service.) Make a plan.Tips 1-4 get right to the practical heart of your marketing strategy. Don’t forget to take a step back to plan ahead. Do you have year-end fundraising goals? Do you know who or what you’d like to highlight? What positive information and updates will you highlight for your audience(s)? And, maybe most importantly, what are your donors looking for – news, updates, stories, numbers/figures/results of a past campaign? Ask your audience what they need and want from you and deliver it! They’ll remember it when your well-crafted appeals start rolling in a few months.*Don’t believe that tax breaks are a major influencer? Network for Good processes 30% of its annual donations in the month of December, and the majority of that comes December 30 and 31. It’s not exactly a coincidence that this time is right before the tax-year ends! Nonprofit organizations can fulfill supporter’s desires for tax deductions just by being a 501(c)(3) (about.com has some info you can share with your potential donors about this). Get your story straight. Passion about your work is infectious, but too often fundraisers sap the emotion and color from our work when we seek to put it into words. We talk about our work in analytical ways when we should be speaking from the heart to compel people to action. Find out how to break out of this pattern and get the tools to help you write the right (brain) way every time. Determine the fixes/updates you can make prior to December to your organization’s website. Can you make your donate button bigger? Do you need to add a “why give” page? We’re not talking a website overhaul – just a few minor modifications you’ll be thankful for a few months from now. Check out these three steps you can take toward a better nonprofit website.  If your website is already up to par, and you’re ready to move on to social media, here are 11 Steps to Success (and 6 Things to Avoid) with Social Networking. Now is the time to focus on building stronger relationships with supporters to lay the groundwork for a big year-end giving season. By checking these items off your list now, you can strengthen the vital relationships that will set your organization up for a strong holiday giving season.Here are five tips to help you kick off your holiday fundraising now: Become friendly with an email marketing tool to communicate with your donors regularly – not just when you’re asking for money. And we’re not talking about Outlook. Giving your supporters content of value as it happens, rather than just at the end of the year will increase your donors’ feeling of investment in your organization, which leads to higher gifts.  An email marketing tool will also help you comply with CAN-SPAM laws, allow your supporters to easily share your information with a friend on social networks and generally keep them happy! (Want to send out great emails your can track and tailor? Get started with Constant Contact, an easy-to-use and affordable email marketing tool.) Supporters choose to donate to organizations for a variety of reasons. While most of the time you’re better off focusing on the emotional side of giving, at the end of the year data shows you  can get away with an appeal that’s focused on the financial side because people love tax deductions.* Photo source: Big Stock Photolast_img read more

How to Write a Fundraising Letter That Wins Back Lapsed Donors

first_imgLapsed donors are donors who have not donated to your organization within the last year, two years or three years. Donors who have not sent you a gift in over three years have not lapsed donors — they are former donors.Lapsed donors are valuable. Unlike strangers, they have supported you before. And they believe in your mission enough to have sent you a gift (or gifts). Here are some tips on writing an appeal letter that will win them back. (In the fund development profession, the letter you write is called a “recovery letter” because it aims to recover donors who have lapsed.)1. Write to one person:You will likely not know why each donor has lapsed. Donors stop giving for any number of reasons. Some forget. Some lose interest. Some get distracted with the arrival of children or grandchildren. Others decide they do not like your new executive director’s ties. Each donor is an individual, and the way to win each one back is to send a warm, sincere, personal letter from your heart to theirs.2. Say “we miss you”:What you are trying to communicate in your letter is that you miss the donor more than their donations, which should always be true. You have lost a supporter first, and a source of support second. Write your letter in such a way that you show your concern for the person. Here are some lines to use:We have not heard from you since March 2011. We miss you! We are counting on your renewed support this year for . . . We miss you. We miss your moral support, and we miss your financial support. We sure have missed hearing from you these last few years. 3. Invite the donor to come back:Provide a tangible way for the donor to renew support. Ask for a gift for a particular project. Offer a subscription to your free newsletter. Do something to involve the donor and make them take action.4. Customize your appeal:Whenever possible, customize your recovery letter to the unique circumstances of each lapsed donor. For example, if you know from your database that a donor only sent a gift once a year at Christmas, mention that in your letter. Or if another donor supported only one area of your work, mention that. The more that your letter appeals to the interests of your donors, the more likely you are to recover them. Here’s an example:“The last time we heard from you, you had generously responded to the humanitarian crisis in Honduras. You sent us a gift that helped us meet the immediate needs of that emergency. Today, I am writing to you because I think you can help us overcome another crisis.”5. Match your language to the length of lapse:Statistically speaking, the longer you’ve had to wait for a gift, the less likely you are to receive one. That means you should segment your database into groups of 12-, 24- and 36-month lapsed donors (or other criteria that you use), and send each group a slightly different appeal. To a donor who has not given in a year, for example, you can say, “We miss you.” To the donor who has not sent a gift in three years, you can say, “You have supported us in the past. Your gifts made a difference. I urge you to renew your commitment by sending a gift today.” The idea is to be casual with the new lapsed donors and progressively more vigorous with donors who have not given in two or more years. Some examples:12-month lapsed: “Your financial support in 2011 made a difference. Your gift at the end of this year will have a positive impact on the people, which in turn will lead to better health, hope, and confidence in humanity.”24-month lapsed: “Your financial support in recent years was a great help to us. Now I’d like you to renew your support by joining me and the volunteers at . . .”36-month lapsed: “We have not heard from you for quite some time and yet your past support has made a difference for populations in danger. I think you can help us overcome this crisis.”6. Tailor your ask:Some of your lapsed donors will have given once and never again. Others will have given faithfully each month for years. Each donor demands a different letter. The more faithful your donor has been, the more that donor requires a personalized letter with a personalized ask amount. Don’t ask a one-time donor and a 10-year supporter for the same amount, treating each one the same way. You could ask the one-time donor for a gift that’s the same size as their last one. And you could ask the long-time supporter for a gift that’s the same size as their smallest one, or their average gift over time, or their last one, and so on.7. Win back their hearts and minds:Lapsed donors need to be persuaded again to support your mission. You’ll need to re-state your case for support and address any reasons you know donors have stopped their support.The two most important things to say in a recovery letter are that you miss the donor and that their support made a big difference in the lives of the people your organization serves. “A carefully crafted appeal that lets past donors know they are important, appreciated and missed almost always produces a net income,” says Stanley Weinstein (The Complete Guide to Fundraising Management).About the author: Alan Sharpe is a professional fundraising letter writer who helps non-profits raise funds, build relationships and retain loyal donors using creative fundraising letters.last_img read more

Choosing Non Profit Database Software: Steps to Success

first_imgRFP/RFIScripted demosUsability testingReference checksFull-cost proposals 5. Test vendors against your needsRFP/RFI. Issuing a Request For Proposals can help you identify vendors. If you can ask clear, unambiguous questions that can be answered with a yes or a no (andmaybe some amplifying text), an RFP can be helpful. Recognize that any question you ask the vendor should be a question that you can score a response to. So a “yes” answer has to mean something specific, and that gets points. A “no” means the opposite and gets no points. A well-written RFP can help you identify vendors who wouldn’t have been on your radar otherwise, or help narrow the field when you have too many vendors to evaluate in-depth.However, it is difficult to craft an RFP that will accomplish this goal.  Also, some vendors do not respond to RFPs.  Depending on your needs, you might be able to get the information you want with a short Request for Information (RFI), or even a phone call.  RFIs are good for answering basic, factual questions.Scripted demos. You are really only going to hold demos with a few vendors-three or four is usually the ideal number. The goal in holding demos is to compare apples to apples between the different vendors.The most critical step is to use a script to tell the vendors what they need to show you to prove that they can meet your requirements. The demo should focus on those areas that emerged as the top priorities in your needs assessment.Have everyone on your team rate the demos (usually a 0-10 scale with a space for comments). These ratings should not be anonymous. For instance, it’s important to know whether it was the gift-entry person or a program manager who rated a system poorly on gift entry features.You will probably have a list of questions that arose during the demos that you’ll want to ask their customers. You’ll also have general questions about the vendor: Did it cost what they told you it would cost? Do they answer your questions promptly? Do they introduce new bugs every time they upgrade the software?You need to talk to enough references to distinguish between bad clients and bad software. So if you hear something from just one site about problems, it could be that their staff wasn’t trained properly, or they didn’t configure the non profit database software properly, or they outgrew the software but can’t afford to change it.Approach reference checks like reference checks for hiring someone: you may live with this database longer than you will live with most of your employees.  It’s critical to ask detailed questions about the software and vendor.Optionally you may want to visit client sites that are using the non profit database software and find out how it works in real life. That can be incredibly educational. If you take this step, look for organizations similar to yours in size and complexity.Full-cost proposal. You may have received a cost estimate when you first talked to the vendor. As some point, you will need to get a detailed cost proposal. It should include the software, training, conversion, and ongoing maintenance fees. Particularly with non profit database software that is sold by module, you really won’t know the final cost until you have a conversation with the vendor and say, for instance, “We think we can do without the volunteer module. We can keep tracking that in Excel or in our FileMaker database. But we really need the events module.”Adapted from Robert Weiner’s “All You Need to Know about Choosing a Donor Database” presentation. You can listen to the complete presentation or read the transcript by clicking on the presentation title above or the “related article” link below. 2. Complete a Needs AssessmentWhat are your requirements? What’s working well now? What can you not give up? And what’s wrong now? What are goals in doing this project? What are you trying to fix? Maybe it’s not something that’s broken now, but it’s something that, as you consider the growth the organization is going to experience, you think will become a problem in the future. For example, you’ve never done major-gifts fundraising, but you’re going to start within the next year or two and your current software won’t support that activity.Here are the questions to ask yourself and your team:Is software really the problem? You might have the right database already, but the people who were trained have all departed the organization and no one has been trained since.  Or the database may have modules that can do what you need but you haven’t purchased them. Or your organization might have mis-configured the non profit database software -it can actually do what you need but it’s not set up properly. Or perhaps the wrong people are managing the database.If software really isn’t the problem, new software isn’t going to make your life any easier. So first you need to decide whether this is a truly a software problem, or a people or process or policy/procedure/communication problem.What do you really need? You need to distinguish wants from needs.  A true need is a single requirement that will disqualify any non profit database software that lacks it, regardless of price or other attractive features. For instance, if you’re a Macintosh shop, Mac support is mandatory. Those features that are not mandatory need to be prioritized.  When you look at systems, you should first eliminate those that don’t meet your mandatory requirements. Then you can and focus on those that meet most of your top priorities.What can you afford and support? There may be non profit database software out there that can meet every one of your requirements, but will it cost vastly more than you can spend?  Will it require new staff people to support it-positions you can’t afford?  Or will it require a higher level of technical skills than your staff possess? The following article was transcribed from a teleconference presented by Network for Good on April 15, 2008. This post was updated March 28, 2016.When you boil down your non profit database software selection process, there are five basic steps:Convene the right team.Specify your needs and priorities.Secure funding.Identify a pool of potential vendors.Test vendors against your needs.center_img 3. Secure FundingDepending on the non profit database software, software may be the smallest part of your purchase.  As databases become more complex, you often need other things to go with them.  For instance:A new server to run the software onUpdates/replacements for hardwareUpgrading your network so you have a fast-enough connectionTraining for your staffConverting your data from your old system to the your new oneDeveloping new reportsAn annual or monthly fee to continue using the software (unless it’s a free piece of software to begin with)There is set amount for how much you should spend on your database. It really depends upon your needs.|4. Identify a Pool of Potential VendorsNow that you know what you’re looking for and have a ballpark budget in mind, you need to identify a list of potential vendors of non profit database software .  If you are part of a network of organizations that do similar types of work, that’s usually a great place to start. There might also be deals between your national headquarters and vendors or deals between other chapter offices of your organization and vendors that can save you money. Even if you’re an independent group, you can find out what other similar organizations are using.You can also ask on general purpose lists, such as TechSoup and Idealware. Talk about your specific requirements so that you hear from comparable organizations.Try to find vendors that have experience working with organizations that are similar to yours, unless you are willing to take risks. Sometimes it is completely justified to take a risk on a vendor who has never worked with your kind of organization before because their technology meets your needs, they inspire confidence, and they are interested in getting into your market. They may be willing to give you a great discount in order to prove themselves in your market. But only accept the discount if it is software that looks like it’s really going to meet your needs.From Network for Good: Our donor database software is specifically designed for small to mid-sized nonprofits. 1. Convene the Right TeamFirst, convene a group of people who will select the non profit database software . The team should consist of subject matter experts in the areas that the database is going to address. Since we’re talking about a donor database, that’s usually direct mail, major gifts, grant writing, gift-entry, and IT staff. You need to get input from the people who will actually have their hands on the keyboards, getting the donations in, running those reports, etc.Selecting a non profit database software is not an IT decision. It is a business decision about how you’re going to run your nonprofit.  Techies should be included on the selection team so they can advise you on the standards that are appropriate for your organization, but it’s not a technical decision.You also need to realize that while you’re trying to get input from everyone, you may not be able to satisfy everyone in this decision. You’re probably not going to be able to afford, or necessarily even find, a database that will do everything the team can possibly imagine.So part of the exercise is going through a prioritization exercise so that you know which needs are most important.last_img read more