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Free Furniture From 916 Ink

916 Ink has a TV and a big reception style desk that we are looking to get rid of.

Hoping to get it to someone before Thursday COB. Pictures below. The drawers are a part of the desk, they fit underneath.

Person would need to haul it away. Interested party should call 916-826-7323 to schedule the pickup.



Communication During a Crisis: A Cautionary Tale

Once upon a time about twenty years ago, our then-current Internet Service Provider (ISP) was purchased.  All servers & web domains were transferred from the previous provider to the new owners in a poorly executed “Big Bang” migration – everyone got moved over a single weekend.

Twenty days later, the smoke still hadn’t cleared.  Our web site was crippled, and e-mail service was sporadic.  Most of the customers acquired by the purchase either found a new provider or were looking by the third week.

This is the equivalent of buying an expensive ice sculpture and leaving it in the summer sun… the money invested melts away as your disillusioned customers rush toward the exits.

There are two interesting aspects to this fiasco.

  • The technical debacle – A tale of arrogance and ignorance, trying to convert tens of thousands of domains all at once with what appeared to be little planning, prototyping, or testing; changing the help ticket application and moving the support telephone lines on the same day they migrated all customer domains.  The outcome was sadly predictable: the migration created a huge smoking crater where customer web sites used to be.  As customers realized they had problems and tried to contact the provider they discovered the help ticket and telephone systems were both offline.  This exacerbated the second part of the disaster…
  • Botched communication – Before and during the crisis.

I want to focus on the troubled communication aspects of this tragedy to see what can be learned and applied to YOUR next disaster to make it less disastrous.

The vendor notified customers via e-mail a month before the move that the migration was going to occur and encouraged users to back up their sites and data.  They also cautioned users that any changes made after backups were taken on March 15th would be lost when systems were restored on April 15th.

Setting aside that a 30-day delay between backup and restore is criminally poor service in the 21st century, I received the e-mail warnings prior to the conversion only because my personal e-mail account is registered as our domain administrator.  Several thousand other customers never got this message.  Some because they only check their administrator e-mail when they are actively engaged in site administration.  Others apparently have non-technical types monitor the admin accounts who received the message but didn’t understand its significance.  Bottom line: many businesses lost 30 days of critical customer data – not just web pages, but databases with purchase and payment information.

Take away points:

  1. Keep people informed about what you plan to do
  2. Assure they are getting the message
  3. Check to see if they understand the message

At the time of the conversion, the vendor established a web page to communicate migration status.  Good idea.

Unfortunately, the page was hard to find.  Bad idea.  People who identified problems days after the conversion and tried to enter trouble tickets discovered what looked like a “secret” site that seemed to be hiding the fact that many of their problems were already known and still unresolved.

The migration status web page was updated every few hours on the first day, then once per shift for a day or so, then once per day, then not at all.  The last entry was April 22nd, a week after the conversion and two weeks before I wrote this essay.  The first entry triumphantly proclaimed the success of the migration noting a few “minor issues”.  Later updates acknowledged more serious problems, and asked customers to be patient.  Still later entries chided users for some of the ways that they had coded web pages and applications, telling them “if they had done things ‘correctly’ many of the problems would not have occurred”.  Starting and then stopping communication while problems persisted?  Terrible Idea.

Take away points:

  1. Set up and publicize a central source of status information
  2. Make sure that status is easy to find and available to everyone who might care.
  3. Keep status current, even if you have no new information.  Better a message every two hours saying “no change” than silence
  4. Establish a gatekeeper or editor for all broadcast communication that is responsible for assuring that content is balanced and not defensive.  Explaining what is happening and why can be helpful.  Blaming your victims for your mistakes?  A truly AWFUL idea.

I logged five trouble tickets and never received a reply.  On the rare occasions when the support phone number worked, I left voice messages, but I never received a call back.  Five days after the migration, a notice was posted to the status page reporting that all problems were known and asking customers to please stop submitting trouble tickets.

Take away points:

  1. Positive acknowledgment of all incoming communication is essential.  One reason for the flood of trouble tickets that overwhelmed the provider’s support staff was people reporting the same problem several times because they had not received a response.  Customers were doubly frustrated because they felt their issues were not being heard or addressed.
  2. Precision is vital if you must broadcast a response.  It is arrogant to say (and dismaying to hear), “We know about all problems”.  Much better to say, “We are aware of problems X, Y and Z and will notify you when they have been resolved”

The best communication rule I’ve heard is: “The burden of communication lies with the party that has the most to lose.”  Everyone had a lot to lose in a crisis situation.  The ISP likely failed as a consequence of their poor migration (karma).  Customers’ operations were disrupted and many lost business, data and money.  Dozens of small operations were mortally wounded as a consequence and had to cease operation.

Clearly, better planning and testing could have prevented much of this disaster.  Better communication might have mitigated some of the consequences.  Informed customers might have been better prepared and more patient once they understood the nature of the problems and could see progress addressing them.  Instead, most gave up in frustration.

Article by Payson Hall, PMP®,  consulting project manager for Catalysis Group, Inc. in Sacramento.  Payson is bringing a series of project management classes to Impact Foundry this fall, beginning with Project management for Nonprofits: Reading the Tea Leaves on August 15th.

The 2019 Grantseeking Report

This document, The 2019 State of Grantseeking™ Report, is the result of the 17th informal survey of organizations conducted by GrantStation to help illustrate the current state of grantseeking. The primary objectives of the State of Grantseeking Report are to help you both understand the recent trends in grantseeking and identify benchmarks to help you measure your own success in the field. As a leader in the nonprofit sector, part of your job is to know about the latest trends and to apply lessons learned by others to the strategic development of your organization.

 

The 2019 State of Grantseeking Report_0

Nonprofit Consultants Networking Group

A group of experienced consultants, including members of our Impact Foundry faculty, have formed the Nonprofit Consultants Networking Group. They want to help build the capacity of consultants and leverage the collective group experience to support each other. We think this is a great idea.

If you are a consultant to nonprofit organizations, or you want to become one, this is a networking group for you! Watch for an interest survey and event information in the near future. Meanwhile, if you are interested in receiving information about the Nonprofit Consultant Networking Group, email us and we’ll put you on the distribution list.

Together, we can do more good for the nonprofits in our region. Issues facing the nonprofit world continue to become more complex and as consultants it is important to stay abreast of those changes and possible solutions for the field.

Email us if you are interested in joining at [email protected]

Golden 1 Gives Back

A teenager learns the joy of writing which leads to better grades and admission to college. A 6- year-old visits Golden 1 Center for the first time and squeals in delight as Moana skates on to the ice. A former foster youth living on the streets finds a safe place to sleep and receive counseling services. These are just a few of the stories that drive Golden 1 Credit Union’s commitment to giving back to the communities we serve. Golden 1 was founded in 1933 in Sacramento as a not- for-profit financial cooperative. Throughout our history, the spirit of cooperation and our guiding philosophy of people helping people have been integral to the credit union industry and Golden 1’s success.

We pride ourselves on being part of the fabric of our communities. Whether we are helping kids open their first savings accounts or newly retired couples plan for their golden years, we ensure our members can live their best financial lives. We have grown exponentially since the early days. We now serve more than one million members at 72 branches throughout California. As we have grown, our commitment to our members has not wavered, but our approach to giving has evolved. We believe that philanthropy is a natural extension of our vision to enhance the financial well-being of Californians and their diverse communities. When our communities thrive, so do our members.

To realize our vision and make the biggest impact possible, our Corporate Giving Program is focused on three pillars; increasing educational opportunities, strengthening financial well-being, and making communities great. We offer a variety of opportunities for nonprofits who align with our pillars to partner with Golden 1. Qualified organizations can apply for one of our numerous grants. Charitable organizations can submit sponsorship and employee volunteer proposals, or apply to watch a game or show at our Golden 1 Center Community Suite. And anyone can take advantage of our Financial Wellness programs.

Since its inception in 2014, our Community Grants Program has funded 56 nonprofits in the Sacramento and Fresno regions, providing more than $2.6 million to support youth literacy and transition-age foster youth. Recipients have used funds for things such as mentoring programs, youth job development, and creative writing workshops. The application process opens in the first quarter of each year for programs operating from July to June.

We also contribute to our communities by sponsoring charitable events and fundraisers and facilitating employee volunteerism. We invite nonprofits to submit their sponsorship and employee volunteer proposals to [email protected]. Proposals should include proof of 501(c) (3) status.

One of the fun ways we give back is through our Community Suite Program. Nonprofits can apply to enjoy a VIP experience at Golden 1 Center, including suite tickets and refreshments. Learn more at our Community Suite web page.

Golden 1 offers an array of free financial education to our members and the public. Anyone can visit our Financial Wellness Portal to watch videos, listen to podcasts, register for webcasts, or complete a learning lab module. Our Financial Education team can also lead in-person workshops to organizations and schools serving ages 12 and up. Email [email protected] to learn more.

Golden 1 is grateful to the charitable organizations working to improve lives throughout California. We are committed to strengthening our partnerships with nonprofits. Together, we can make our vibrant communities even better.

 

ABOUT GOLDEN 1 CREDIT UNION

Founded in 1933 and serving all those who live or work in California, Golden 1 Credit Union has grown to be one of the largest credit unions in the United States with more than $12 billion in assets. Golden 1 is highly focused on delivering financial solutions with value, convenience, and exceptional service to its members. As a not-for-profit organization and dynamic, trusted leader, Golden 1 is committed to enhancing the financial well-being of Californians and their diverse communities. The Credit Union’s 1,700 employees proudly serve and care for 1 million members. Visit www.golden1.com for more information.

What IF Feature: Kimberly Cargile of A Therapeutic Alternative

…But What’s the Most Important Thing?

I’ve had a role doing and managing projects for four decades now and I’ve been teaching project management for nearly thirty years. The basics are pretty constant. We have seen incremental improvements in processes and some nice development in tools for sharing, managing, and presenting information – but the fundamentals remain:

1) Get agreement about goals and constraints (and write them down)

2) Identify the work necessary to achieve those goals

3) Build a credible schedule

4) Estimate the effort and cost to perform the necessary work

5) Identify and address risks

6) Figure out whether the project can be accomplished within the desired timeframe and resource constraints and with acceptable levels of risk

7) If plans survive step 6, start work and monitor progress to respond to new information

8) Repeat step 7 until the project is finished or it no longer makes business sense to continue

When I’m talking with consulting clients or students about project management, one question that comes up frequently is, “Sure…. But What’s the most important thing?”. It’s a question I don’t relish… I think all of these processes are important to success. I DO have a recommendation about where to start if your organization doesn’t currently have basic processes in place, and that is DEFINITION (step 1 above).

There’s a great exchange in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” when Alice meets the Cheshire Cat. She is lost in the woods and relieved to meet someone she can ask for directions.

Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to”

Alice: “I don’t much care where – -“

Cat: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go”

Alice: “- – so long as I get somewhere”

Cat: “Oh, you’re sure to do that, if you only walk long enough”

I’ve had variations of this conversation when brought in to consult on troubled projects. “What should we do next to get the project done?” comes the inquiry.

“What is it, exactly, that you are trying to do?” I ask.

A scary answer I’ve gotten more than once is, “We don’t have time for that now, we are behind schedule!”

Effective project management practices start with developing an effective (written) project definition – a clear and unambiguous description of what “done” and “success” look like. This

takes practice, and it sounds a lot easier than it is. One of the most challenging parts is identifying who gets to define success. Who should we be asking? What does that person want? How would we know if we satisfied them? These can be difficult questions because sometimes there are multiple constituencies that must be satisfied, and sometimes we can’t satisfy them all.

That’s why project definition is so important. If we can’t build a written definition that all key stakeholders agree to, the best course of action might be not to do the project. That thought can be frightening to an organization, but if key stakeholders don’t agree what the goals of the project are it is better to discover that BEFORE expectations have been set and the money has all been spent.

Article by Payson Hall.  Payson Hall is a Consulting Project Manager with Catalysis Group, Inc. in Sacramento.  He is scheduled to teach a 3-day Project Management Course at Impact Foundry June 13-15.  For more information click here!