Beacon

9 things we're working on in 2019

Posted on 3rd Jan 19 by Chris Houghton

When we started Beacon, we wanted to build the database that worked for every nonprofit.

2018 was a really exciting year for us - we released big features like hosted donation forms, Gift Aid automation, direct debits, and one click imports from places like JustGiving.

Most importantly, we got to help and work with even more incredible organisations! I personally feel this is a huge privilege, so if you're one of our customers - thank you!

One of the things that we really focus on is making data easy to work with. Sometimes data can get a little tricky - but you shouldn't have to connect to a VPN, login to Citrix, and go through a 15-step process just to filter through some of your contacts (like you have to do with some other systems).

We're directly building new features in-line with your feedback, and we're working on some really exciting things that we think you'll love. Here are some of the big ones:

1. Faster database

Soon, your Beacon database will be even faster! Things tend to be pretty zippy already, but we realised that there was even more that we could do.

As part of some related changes we're making to the system, it's likely your database will get 2-3 times faster quite soon!

2. Smart querying

Today it's easy to filter and report on any of your Beacon data in seconds. We're taking this a step further, so you'll soon be able to filter based on all of the related and aggregated data - in seconds!

3. Enhanced roles & permissions

We've found that every charity is different, so it makes sense that every charity's database should be different as well! With all this flexibility, it's really important to ensure that employees and volunteers working for your organisation can only see what's important to them - and nothing else.

We'll soon be releasing an update that makes this a piece of cake!

4. Contactless donations

BCard

Contactless has taken the nonprofit sector by storm. As we move towards a more cashless society, contactless donation points will become a key source of income in face-to-face fundraising.

It also means that there's another source of income to track, categorise & report on!

That means that we'll be building integrations with companies providing contactless donation systems, products like Square or iZettle, so your donation data flows nicely into Beacon in real-time (without you having to do anything).

5. Dashboards

It's really important to have the important data at your fingertips so you know what you need to do each time you login to your Beacon database.

No matter what your role is in your organisation, you'll soon be able to customise your Beacon home screen, to show the data that matters front and center.

Dashboard donations block

6. Events ticket sales

Beacon makes it possible to build forms to allow your supporters to register for events quickly and easily.

However, what if you want to charge someone to attend? Different priced tickets for adults and children? We'll be adding this very soon.

7. Workflows

One of the key things that nonprofits use CRMs for today is supporter journeys. That is - communicating with supporters in a way that is relevant to them based on what you know about them.

The first step to this is collecting and storing information in a reliable and structured way. The second is to implement processes and "journeys" to communicate in the right way based on this data.

This is where workflows will come in. With workflows, there's no manual work in sending supporters through these journeys. You can start to automate internal notifications, emails, tasks and also integrate with email marketing platforms like MailChimp.

8. Integrations

Manual data entry can take a crushingly long time. CSV uploads take a bit less. Automatic integrations take no time at all!

The best kind of data entry is the data entry that you don't have to do - because computers are doing it for you.

That's what we're building. We really want to save you time so you can focus more on what matters. Expect to see quite a few new integrations that make this happen soon!

9. Better de-duplication

Beacon already does quite a bit to ensure your database is free of duplicates, particularly during imports and form submissions. However, there's more to do!

We're building an AI-powered algorithm to automatically detect and suggest duplicates - so you can be confident in your data.


We're always looking to improve based on your feedback. If there's a big thing you'd like to see that isn't in this list, do let us know!

About the author

Chris Houghton heads up the team at Beacon. He's focused on using data and technology to empower nonprofits to do more good.

Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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