Allison Bolduc, bCRE, is a software consultant, Blackbaud® product expert, and an experienced nonprofit veteran. Allison previously held roles as the Associate Director of Development at the Charleston Animal Society as well as the Membership Coordinator at the Gibbes Museum of Art. Today, Allison trains Omatic clients on Omatic products including: ImportOmatic, EventOmatic, MailOmatic For Accounting, MailOmatic for Schools, and PosPay. Let’s catch up with Allison as she shares on how to achieve efficiency when facing common nonprofit challenges.
What are some of the most frequent challenges you see nonprofits experience with their data?
Consistency, consistency, consistency! It’s a big problem when it comes to data management. The lack of consistency becomes evident in the accumulation of inaccurate data. Inconsistent data causes a flood of issues such as: inaccurate reporting, frustration in daily processes, duplicate data, and so much more! Messy databases can be a major challenge for any organization to overcome, but consistency is the key for accuracy and efficiency! For that reason, I always encourage dedicating some time for an internal database audit. Assess the inconsistencies and inaccuracies that you are dealing with. Then, establish a plan for cleanup and enlist outside help where necessary!
Employee turnover is another common issue plaguing efficiency today. How can organizations be prepared to quickly move forward when an employee leaves?
Turnover is definitely one of the biggest client issues I’ve run into! When a person leaves, they take all their acquired knowledge with them, and that loss of knowledge can be detrimental to an organization trying to meet its goals. Let’s face it – rehiring takes time and many organizations don’t have the luxury of having the exiting employee train a successor. Therefore, to keep your daily processes moving, make sure there is documentation for regular policies and procedures. Establishing an internal training manual is super helpful! Setting aside time to nail down documentation now will save hours or even days in the future.
If you could give one major tip on how to become more efficient using Raiser’s EdgeTM (RE), what would that tip be?
Ask questions. If you are doing something and you aren’t sure why you’re doing it that way, ask someone why. Don’t do something simply because that’s the way you’ve always done it. If there’s a process that has a lot of extra work tied to it, question it. Do the means justify the end? Too many RE users are fearful of change, but it can be a good thing in many cases – especially if it streamlines your overall process! And, don’t forget – always keep the big picture in mind!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received regarding working through change?
A very wise colleague once told me, “we’re not NEW to this, we’re TRUE to this.” This was said to me during a time when I was feeling lost and unsure of myself, and it reminded me that everyone has a moment in their lives where they have to adapt to learning something new. There is no crime in taking the time to understand something clearly because everyone learns at their own pace. If you take time to learn a new task well, it will pay dividends in the future with mastered efficiency!
What do you enjoy most about your role as a product trainer?
I love talking to people from faraway places, especially in other countries. I like seeing varying internal structures, and I’m fascinated by clever shortcuts and workarounds that some clients have shown me. These tips and tricks are some of the greatest things I’ve ever learned and I love that the info sharing is bi-directional! I often learn from our clients in the same way that they learn from me. No two training sessions are ever alike. Each day is different which keeps things interesting!
When you aren’t busy teaching nonprofits new ways to improve their organizational processes, what can we find you doing?
When I can get away, I enjoy traveling around the world with my husband, Brian. He is my steadfast travel companion and best friend. I also enjoy knitting, crocheting, quilting, and cross-stitching (basically anything involving crafts)!
Raiser’s Edge ™ is a registered trademark of Blackbaud, Inc.
Omatic Software is dedicated to integrating disparate systems and democratizing data access for today’s nonprofits. Founded in 2002, Omatic has worked with thousands of nonprofits globally to remove their data barriers by integrating systems and enabling nonprofit teams to leverage their donor data rather than be burdened by it. The Omatic team has one goal – unleashing the power of data to show a complete view of your donor, enabling data-driven decision making and opportunity creation for your organization.