Friday, July 15, 2016

Learning to LOVE Your Organization's Database-- Tips for You

It is hard to even think about! What is the condition of your organization's database?  We have  one,  we need one, but they sure can easily get unwieldy. 

Gail Robinson of Generosity Data Solutions, a local company, offers these tips to keep your database maintained.  Her contact information is below if you want to know more about how Generosity can help your organization.

Your Personal Database Checklist
We don’t have to tell you how important it is to make sure your database is up and working properly. But we also know that keeping up with your database maintenance needs can seem overwhelming.

That’s why we created a checklist that will help you to stay organized when it comes to monitoring the most important part of your business.
  • Do you have a dedicated person in charge of your database? 
    When it comes to running a database, you need someone who can constantly monitor it. Make sure that person is available enough to ensure that operations run smoothly. There should never be confusion on who runs the database.
  • Do you have documentation for your data entry policies & procedures?
    Everyone in your company has to be on the same page when it comes to the database. You need to make sure that your data entry policies and procedures are documented and readily available.
  •  Is your data backed up and updated? 
    You aren’t going to get a warning before your database crashes and you lose everything. You need to establish a schedule to make sure that your data is backed up, and you also need to make sure that it's being updated. We tell companies to make sure they update NCOA, email and phone appends, deceased suppression data, and much more.
  •  Are permissions for all of your users set correctly?
    Every employee obviously doesn’t need access to every security level within your database. But we find that companies often forget to provide some of their key employees with the right permissions to perform their jobs effectively.
  •  Do you have the latest software installed?
    Collaborative projects can become a headache if staff members are using different software. Make sure that everyone has the latest software update installed to access key features and keep operations running smoothly.
  •  Do you have strong passwords?
    Stress the importance of password strength with your staff. With password hacking tools becoming even more sophisticated, a weak password can leave your entire company vulnerable.
  •  Is your staff properly trained?
    Is your staff properly trained on how to use your software and communication tools? Remember, you aren’t always going to be there when a problem occurs.
  •  What support levels are covered through your CRM Company?
    Do your customer relationship management programs have enough support? Are you able to accurately analyze customer data and interactions? Is your data migrated into one CRM program? It’s great if you are utilizing CRM technology, but a lot of businesses don’t have the support levels they need on the platform.

If you would like to learn more about Generosity Data Solutions and how we can help you today, please visit us at

Generosity is a software and data solutions company that implements, integrate and customize software platforms so business processes can run smoothly, effectively and save time.
Gail Robinson
Chief Data Officer/Owner
Generosity, LLC

Thanks, Gail, for sharing your expertise!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Vacation- A Time to Unplug

Your vacation, so relaxing, or at least supposed to be! This is important and timely, since we are getting into vacation season, so I am sharing this again in 2016 with some updates.

People are STRESSED!  In many cases folks are not truly relaxing when they are on vacation. Technology is lovely but does not help us relax when we see email, Google Drive and  Linked In notifications on our phone constantly.  And when you are doing the job of two people, there is never a good time to be away!  But alas, we are human and to rejuvenate, enjoy life, and to come back fresh, creative  and energetic, we need a break.  

The two articles below have some great pointers.  Below the articles are a few favorite ideas gleaned from these. Take a minute to reflect on what you can do to improve your vacation this year and maybe take a few hints to share with your team.


The Right Way to Unplug When You Are on Vacation

Favorite Suggestions

  • Turn off notifications. Disable any work-related notifications on your phone and computer for the length of your vacation.  How can you relax when things are beeping and lights are flashing?!
  • What do I and my fellow travelers expect from one another? Your work colleagues aren’t the only ones you need to consider. If you’re traveling with friends or family, get clear up front about your technology game plan. Avoid the family fight with this tip…
  • Set up a check-in schedule. If you are planning to check your business email,  set up a schedule in advance.  Talk with your traveling companions about this schedule so they know when you’re going to be in work mode. And share your game plan with your colleagues, so that they know if and when you will be checking work-related email. It would be better to not do this, but if you must...
  • Look at what's happening work wise a month after your vacation so that you can anticipate things clients or colleagues may need and may come looking for right in the middle of your vacation. Preparation is key to you getting to chill!
  • If you are in a leadership position, vacation is the perfect time to practice letting go and trusting your team or key individuals with more responsibility.  They will love that you trusted them and it is a win-win.

Follow KS Solutions on Facebook for other tips and resources to support you in your work for good.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Retain Your Employees with the Help of Your Team

What I love about consulting is getting to interact with so many organizations.  I get to see such dedicated people in action and support important work.

The one constant theme is that everyone is at capacity or feeling pushed beyond.  People are working very hard, in multiple roles and for extra hours to get the job done.  This is the case at all levels in the organization.

We know it is more cost effective (for mission and dollars) to keep a good employee than have to replace her/him. So, we want our hard-working staff to know they are valued by us (supervisors) and by their peers so they continue to stay motivated to work with us.

How do you recognize your staff?  Consider carving out some time to think about how you show appreciation to your team and consider where you can improve.  A good way to think of it is 3 levels: day to day, informal and formal recognition.  

One article I read is titled, "Recognition is like exercise... the more often you do it, the more results you will see."   Maybe they are on to something!

There are some good suggestions in the articles below to help you get started.

A TIP- Peer-to-peer recognition is very meaningful to people.  It instills a sense of respect, team spirit, motivates employees to do great work, feels genuine and promotes openness and transparency. More about this below.  

KS Solutions provides advising and professional development sessions on this topic if you or your team would like additional support.

Articles on Employee and Peer-to Peer Recognition:

Keep up the great work!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tools for Ease in Event Planning

Spring is that time of year – events galore! It is a lovely time of year to engage people with the work you do.  Whether you are hosting a small meeting, or a large festival for hundreds, events are challenging and time-consuming.   They can be fun too, especially when you have the right tools and supports. 

Below are some free tools, online and otherwise, that save time, generate ideas, and keep you organized as you plan and execute your events.   

As a reminder, KS Solutions provides consulting services for events. We will come up with the concept for your event to assure you engage the intended audience to reach your goals and we can also manage event planning and event execution for you.  We hope you find these resources helpful, and if more support is needed please reach out to us!

If you know of other event tools you’d like to share, please post on the KS Solutions Facebook page to share with others. 

Event Planning Tools:

  • Asana – Asana is an online project management tool.  It tracks your team’s task lists with due dates and internal messages.  It saves on all of that back and forth emailing.  It can be used on your computer and/or mobile device.  I like to pull up my tasks by due date so I can prioritize what I should be working on each day.  For up to 10 people linked to one organization, Asana is free.

  • Evernote or OneNote – Either one of these (or any of the other note-taking apps) can be very helpful.  I use OneNote (a Microsoft product) for personal and business.  It is a place I can type quick notes or lists and save them in various “notebooks” and name each “page”.  What I like is that I have the app on my phone and it syncs with OneNote on my laptop so my information stays up to date.  I use it for shopping lists, to record room measurements, to create To Do lists, keep lists of event venues with links, etc.   While I am out an about, I often type things into OneNote to refer back to later.  

  • Excel – I love Excel for event planning.  Not all people do though and luckily there are plenty of other options.  The link is to a few Excel templates that are for (or can be for) event planning that you may find helpful.  I use task tracker and then use tabs in the same document  for other important details like menus, lists of signs, RSVPs, etc. so the information I need is all in one document.  I like the simplicity of that.\

  • Pinterest  - As you likely know, Pinterest has ideas abound!  I find it a good place to browse when I need ideas for themes, food, activities, decorations, etc.  for my event that are affordable.  Sometimes I  take an idea from Pinterest and other times it gets my creative flow going here I come up with my own idea. The link is to the search I did “nonprofit events”. 

  • Baltimore Tool Bank – Unlike the others, this is not an online resource but a local nonprofit that is here to  help you.  Are you a member?  If not, you may want to become one! Membership is free.  Once a member, for a very low fee you can borrow many tool and event supplies from these guys.  To give you an idea, to rent a trash can for a week is $.60 (yes, 60 cents!).  They are awesome.  For events, they have things like generators, hand trucks, chairs, tablecloths, ice chests, trash cans and much more.  See what they have here: BTB inventory.

A few good articles for some basic event planning  information:

Please remember to share other resources on our Facebook page

Best wishes to you as you plan your event!