Omatic Interview Series: A Conversation with Kristen Hendel 

Mar 28, 2024

At Omatic, we recognize the critical role data plays in driving mission impact for nonprofits. However, we also understand that the true strength of any organization lies in its people, and at Omatic, we are proud to boast some of the best talent in the industry.  

In this interview, we’re speaking with Kristen Hendel, Senior Product Manager at Omatic, who will share her story of how she transitioned from a modern dancer to a nonprofit enthusiast to helping design and build Omatic products.  

Hi Kristen! Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today about your career journey and your role at Omatic. I’d love to start with a little bit about your background.  

Sure! I’ve always walked the edge of creativity and analytics. I went to college in Texas, where I earned a double degree in modern dance and business. After college I spent some years dancing in NYC which exposed me to the great work many nonprofits are doing. Since then, I’ve spent the past 15 years serving in a variety of roles for non-profits which led me to Omatic 7 years ago.   

What was it like dancing in NYC? 

It was such a dream! After college, I moved to NYC as a professional dancer and danced with various companies. I learned so much from the diversity of NYC – constantly surrounded by culture and creativity. I was able to travel to Cuba to perform at a dance festival. I even got to perform onstage at an event with Ariana Grande! 

What led you to transition to the nonprofit space?  

Because of my love for dance, I have always been passionate about supporting the nonprofit sector. NYC offered an incredible opportunity to learn from the most established and highly regarded performing arts organizations.  

Understanding the importance of philanthropy in funding the arts, led me to making the transition from being a dance to focus on the fundraising side. This led to a job in development at a world-renowned dance company where I eventually became the database manager. I oversaw data integrity and integrations with The Raisers Edge and The Financial Edge.    

How did you end up at Omatic?   

Working closely with numerous nonprofits, I observed a common challenge: many organizations struggle connecting the data from the various systems they use. This experience deepened my appreciation for the importance of data integration in nonprofit fundraising. Having a comprehensive view of each donor is key to building relationships and establishing trust.

No one wants to be called the wrong name, emailed as a prospect when they are already a donor, or not be recognized for event attendance or volunteering. The list goes on and on. It’s hard for organizations to manage that on their own.   

I started using Omatic’s products for the first time in 2015 as a Development Associate. I was impressed by how drastically my day-to-day life had improved. I felt like a superhero, accomplishing tasks at hyper speed. Suddenly, I could get information where I needed it quickly and reliably!  

I loved helping facilitate this kind of change across the entire nonprofit sector. I wanted every database manager to find relief in their jobs, which I found by using Omatic’s products. When a job opened at Omatic, I was excited to join their mission!  

 What is your role at Omatic?    

I’m a Senior Product Manager at Omatic.  

My job is to be in tune with our client’s needs, discover what is valuable to them, and find ways to improve their efficiency. I speak to clients regularly to learn and understand their challenges. Then, I work with our development team and designers to prototype solutions, iterate on those ideas, test our hypothesis, and finally build the feature into the product. 

Can you describe a typical workday? 

In the mornings, I usually focus on what we call “the delivery track”. This revolves around the features the team is actively building and preparing to deliver. Our team meets to discuss any roadblocks, and then have various team meetings depending on the day.  

In the afternoons, I switch to “the discovery track”, where I learn what customers think and strategize what to build next.

We spend time brainstorming ideas, iterating on those ideas, plan for discovery sessions, discuss what we have learned, and preparing items for the development team to work on. I might have meetings with our partners or internal stakeholders. {Feel free to sign up here if you want to participate:} 

After work, I do my best work when I’m staying active, so I’ll either go to a dance class or a Pure Barre class! 

What are you working on now?   

There are many updates and improvements coming to Blackbaud’s SKY API this year, so we are busy ensuring we can provide value based on those changes. Keep an eye on our website, blog posts, social media and of course BBCON, where we’ll be sharing all the latest updates! We’re excited about releasing updates to Query, Membership, and Gift Batch in Omatic Cloud! In addition, we are looking at adding many more connectors to support the variety of the software tools utilized by non-profits. 

Can you share a bit about your work with Omatic Cloud? Why was the OC product created? What led to the evolution of OC?  

Omatic Cloud is a modern integration platform that enables our clients to build integrated technology ecosystems. It expands on the foundation of our ImportOmatic solution that has been serving the nonprofit community for over 20 years.

As the nonprofit landscape has evolved, and technology has become more advanced, building a connected ecosystem is critical.

With Omatic Cloud, we continue our commitment of providing nonprofits with the tools they need to fulfil their mission. Omatic Cloud is available to all new clients as well as existing ImportOmatic clients making the transition to cloud. 

Why would clients want to make that move? 

Moving to Omatic Cloud provides so many more valuable benefits. Some of the most significant benefits include: 

  • Awesome interface. We keep hearing feedback about how much simpler the user interface is than it was in IOM. It’s straightforward, easy to train employees on, intuitive, and even provides example data during mapping! 
  • Ability to multitask. You can now process multiple imports at once and open multiple records at the same time! 
  • More Connectors. We have even more direct API to API integrations! You no longer have to handle so many excel files! 
  • Exception handling. If you are tired of managing all those exception files, take a look at Omatic Cloud! All exceptions are handled directly in Omatic Cloud, providing a seamless exception review experience 
  • Automation. Omatic Cloud has 100% automated data flows, including the ability to schedule FTP file pickup. You can schedule the formulas to run over night or even enable clean data to be sent directly to the destination.  

What are you hearing from customers who have transitioned to OC?   

We are hearing so many great things about Omatic cloud!

Here are some direct quotes from our customers:  

  • Moving to Cloud has enabled us to not have to work on weekends which was dire need on our team.” 
  • “Most days it is faster/less arduous than our previous IOM process and allows us to multitask!”  
  • ”Omatic has been a technological miracle” 
  • “I was able to get a hand of things very quickly!” 
  • “We are getting so proficient with Omatic Cloud that we’re able to triage unexpected results, correct the formulas/imports as needed and get on with our days.” 

Thank you for your time, Kristen!

Ready to simplify your nonprofit data?

Nonprofit professionals working with their fundraising CRM and coming up with fundraising goals
Heather Jackson