Rochen.com has the very good fortune of being the host to many amazing companies who provide all types of services and products to their customers. In today’s blog post, we highlight one such company whose focus is solely in a unique space, that being supporting non-profit organizations.
If you’ve ever been involved in a volunteer group or a non-profit activity, you know there are typically few full or part-time paid employees. As you can imagine, people who are passionate about a cause will want to do all they can to support it. Once there, they themselves often wear many hats.
The growth of today’s non-profit, like a traditional for profit company, will have an IT back-end of some sort to track and grow membership, raise needed funds, schedule events, Twitter, Facebook or other social media communications tools.
“IT” is needed to support these valuable tools but oftentimes is cobbled together with various tools and services and then handed to an accidental techie. This person, who may or may not have the background to manage complex IT systems and solutions, is a necessary driver to the success of the non-profit.
Non-profits today must make a wise choice in their technology, and choosing wrong can cost the organization both time and money.
What’s a non-profit to do?
One of Rochen’s clients, PICnet, solves this problem through their SaaS (software as a service) offering combining a mix of real world experience, open source tools such as Joomla!® and integration with the Salesforce.com constituent relationship management (CRM) platform. The solution provides the non-profit client a turnkey solution for web-enabled technology needs.
We recently had an opportunity to speak with Tim Forbes,VP of Products and Marketing for PICnet and learned quite a bit about how they deliver their services to non-profits.
ESG: Tim, what does PICnet do?
TF: Our mission is to make non-profits more efficient and effective through technology.
We do that by developing websites that support our clients’ missions and provide them the tools they need to fund their work.
These websites are created on our Soapbox platform, which is built on the Joomla!® content management system and offered through a SaaS model. Through this model, we can create highly customized websites for our clients efficiently and cost-effectively.
ESG: That’s great, I can see that’s a huge burden lifted off of a small organization simply through offering a SaaS model. Traditionally a web administrator would have a nearly full time job maintaining just a website these days. Let me ask you, what sets PICnet apart from your competition?
TF: Focus. We focus almost entirely on the non-profit space. We want to help our clients make a positive impact and rock the world for social good.
Most of our staff comes from a non-profit background, enabling us to understand the real-world problems our clients face.
Our Soapbox platform also targets the needs of non-profits through the applications we offer, providing organizations the tools they need to engage with their donors and supporters to process online donations, manage events, engage in e-commerce, and much more.
Soapbox also has extensive integration with Salesforce.com. Salesforce.com is the world’s leading CRM tool and offers up to 10 licenses for free to non-profits through the Salesforce.com Foundation. The Soapbox integration provides a powerful, flexible, and mobile-friendly means of pushing data to and from their Salesforce instance without the burden of supporting and administering custom code.
And Soapbox works seamlessly alongside an organization’s existing website, if they wish to keep their current site but wish to use our online engagement tools to integrate with Salesforce.com.
With the range of services in Soapbox, we are one of the few who offer our clients a complete and comprehensive solution for integrating their website with Salesforce.
ESG: How is that accomplished exactly, the comprehensive solution?
TF: There are various point solutions in the marketplace meeting very specific online needs for organizations. Soapbox offers a wider array of solutions in one platform. So, organizations may start with a single donation page that integrates with Salesforce but can easily expand to offer event management, ecommerce order forms, forms submitting to Salesforce, searchable directories pulling data from Salesforce, robust online application tools, and self-service member management.
Our aim is to make sure your online engagement tools are polished, professional, and powerful enough to grow with your organization over time – all while being simple enough for a non-profit accidental techie to manage.
ESG: What is PICnet’s plan for supporting mobile?
TF: We take a responsive design approach. It is a great method for keeping things simple for our organizations to manage while making sure their sites look great across any device. We want folks standing in line at the grocery store to be able to easily make a donation from their smartphone.
ESG: What does the future hold for your products and services?
TF: A big focus in the coming year is online advocacy. We just released a new app on Soapbox for online petitions that integrates with Salesforce. This is a great way for organizations to rally support around an issue and build their mailing list.
We will be continuing this focus into 2014 with a new Write Your Representative app that will allow for online letter writing campaigns that is integrated with Salesforce.
ESG: How has Rochen.com enabled PICnet in delivering on their goals?
TF: We see Rochen.com not just as a service provider but as a true partner, invested in PICnet’s success and the success of our clients.
It’s hard to imagine PICnet being able to scale without Rochen. Rochen provides invaluable expertise in managing our server architecture, addresses urgent situations when they arise, works with us when unforeseen needs and opportunities come up, and assists in planning for future growth.
With Rochen’s expertise and responsiveness, we’re able to focus on our strength: providing powerful online engagement tools to the non-profit community so they can further their missions.
ESG: Thank you for you time today, Tim. If you are a non-profit and are struggling with technology or are ready to move to the next level, then we recommend you contact PICnet and get started with them today.
Tom Canavan is a member of Rochen’s ‘Enterprise Solutions Group’ focused on creating customized and complex hosting solutions.
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