Wednesday, March 25, 2009

State of the Product Call Update

This morning we held our second, quarterly "State of the Product" Call to give our clients some insight into what we’ve been up to over the last quarter in terms of product development, and what our priorities will be for the next quarter.

Thanks to the 40 people who joined the call and asked questions. For those of you who couldn't make it, here are a few highlights of our accomplishments over the last quarter. If you want to hear what we have planned for next quarter there will be an audio recording available soon (for clients only):

Since the last State of the Product Call on November 11, the AngelPoints engineering team has completed:
  • 8 releases
  • 10 roadmap feature sets or large modules
  • 53 smaller enhancements
We spent significant time this quarter on 2 new modules:
  • Rewards: Manage volunteer incentive programs that drive employee participation.
  • Organization Management: Manage your company’s own list of approved non-profit organizations, add organizations, or edit organization information including mission statements and organization logos.
We also worked to improve the functionality of current feature sets & make things easier to use:
  • New Help Site: Replaces the support wiki and provides much clearer support and help documentation
  • Upload Participant List into Event Roster: Upload users to a roster from an excel spreadsheet (currently only available for SSO clients)
  • Improvements to Event Search: Added flexible opportunities to the event search and gave them more search capabilities
  • Validate Hours Page: Enhanced functionality for approving/denying volunteer hours
  • CRA: Improvements made for CRA module (used by banking clients)
Kate Derrick, our Professional Services Manager, also gave an update on the ideas bank where clients have been logging their ideas for what our product priorities should be.

Over the last quarter, we've implemented four feature requests that came from the ideas bank and we currently have four in development. Two more have been added to our upcoming roadmap.

The ideas bank has been incredibly helpful to me as I look to prioritize the product roadmap going forward so keep the great ideas coming.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Looking for Inspiration? Check out the BCCCC Film Festival

There's no question that video is a great medium for telling your company's CSR story. This year, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has put together a film festival featuring short videos that demonstrate and promote corporate citizenship.

To watch the videos and cast your vote for the winner, visit:

Voting ends at 11:59 EDT on March 25. The winning video will be announced at the 2009 International Corporate Citizenship Conference on March 30 in San Francisco.

We're pleased to see entries from a number of AngelPoints clients, and wish all the contenders luck! Your creativity and efforts are an inspiration.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reminder: State of the Product Call Scheduled for Next Week

Just a quick reminder to AngelPoints clients: the quarterly State of the Product call is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 25 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific. If you haven't already registered, please add your RSVP at

This quarter, Director of Product Angie Schiavoni will give an update of the product roadmap, including a discussion about our new Rewards module. We'll also be sharing an update from the AngelPoints Ideas Portal.

We look forward to having you join us for the call.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Customization Options

The latest update to AngelPoints includes several new customization options:

Viewing Lifetime Hours
Motivate your top volunteers by showing them how much impact they've made. You can now opt to display lifetime volunteer hours on the dashboard.

Site Configurable? Yes, please contact your Account Manager to enable this feature.

Customizing Login Error Messages
You can now provide customized messages for user login errors. Error messages are displayed when users enter an incorrect user name or password, when they have one more attempt at logging in before they are locked out of the system, and when their account has been locked due to too many failed login attempts.

Site Configurable? Yes. If would like to change the default error messages provided by AngelPoints, please contact your Account Manager.

Customizing CRA Help Text
We have added rollover help to the Create Event page for clients using the CRA module. When you hover your mouse over the help icon next to the CRA Eligible checkbox, text is displayed to help your volunteer program managers better determine whether to use the CRA Survey as part of the event screening process. If you would like to customize this message to be more specific to your program, you can do so on the Manage > Setup > Content page.

Site Configurable? No. The help rollover on the Create Event page now defaults to on for clients using the CRA module and you can customize the text..

Conference Board 2009 Report Sees 45% Increase in Employee Volunteering

Thanks to Chris Jarvis at Realizing Your Worth for pointing this out...

The Conference Board just released a report, The 2009 Corporate Philanthropy Agenda: How the Economic Downturn is Affecting Corporate Giving, based on a February 2009 survey of 158 companies on planned changes in corporate giving programs.

Although the report noted that there was going to be a decrease in giving, it also stated that "Volunteerism will see the biggest increase, with 45 percent of the survey respondents reporting a resources increase."

Although many companies are experiencing layoffs and significant cutbacks in their budgets, they can still demonstrate their commitment to the community by allowing their employees to continue to make an impact.

AngelPoints State of the Product Call Scheduled for March 25

AngelPoints quarterly State of the Product call has been scheduled for March 25, 2009.

If you are a current AngelPoints client, please join us for an information-packed hour as Angie Schiavoni, Director of Product, gives an update of the product roadmap, including a discussion about our new Rewards module. We’ll also be sharing an update from the AngelPoints Ideas Portal.

The Details:

Who: Current AngelPoints clients

: March 25, 2009 at 10:00 AM PST - 11:00 AM PST

Where: Call in number and online meeting information will be sent
following your RSVP.

How: Primary company contacts can RSVP by clicking here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Paine's Stimulus

"I like the man that smiles in trouble, that gathers strength in distress, and grows brave by reflection. Tis the business of little minds to shrink."
- Thomas Paine

At a time when American independence was still undecided, Paine published his infamous 48-page pamphlet called Common Sense and with it moved thousands of everyday citizens closer to freedom from British rule. The pamphlet was one of the most influential of the revolutionary era. It spread beyond wildest expectations, doing something like the 18th-century equivalent of tweeting across the colonies. It was also an enormous financial success, selling 120,000 copies in the first three months, going through twenty-five editions and selling 500,000 copies in the first year alone. Paine was a master of the social media of his time, but because his ideas would have gotten him executed for treason, he wrote Common Sense anonymously. In its wake, had he wanted to he could have stolen away to his comfortable home in Greenwich Village to spend his royalties and enjoy life in anonymous splendor. But that was not his calling. Instead, he did something worthy of historical awe. He donated his royalties to George Washington’s Continental Army, reportedly saying: "As my wish was to serve an oppressed people, and assist in a just and good cause, I conceived that the honor of it would be promoted by my declining to make even the usual profits of an author."

Paine's influence was outdone only by his moral fortitude. One could argue that his contribution to the Continental Army was both a brilliant bit of cause marketing (promoting his honor through philanthropy) and one of the greatest investments of all time, yielding centuries of liberty, growth and prosperity for millions of people. For me, he serves as a model citizen, standing for what he believes, using his influence to move others to action and then forgoing short-term gain in order to ensure long-term upside. This model served man and country well in the case of Thomas Paine. His was surely not the business of little minds.

Fast forward to the year 2009. Today. Now.

Another great mind has emerged on the political landscape, a master of social media who sways thousands with his simple and bold message and his sermon-like style. Indeed, Barack Obama has inspired a generation of people with his clear and hopeful vision for our country and he has done so by communicating directly to the people. His micro-contribution campaign success and his ability to harness YouTube are, like Paine's pamphlet, case studies in social media, what some could call election 2.0. But the similarity does not end there. What many people find most compelling about Obama, including me, is his Paine-like insistence that we must stand up to our current challenges not grudgingly, but gladly, with courage. It is these moments that have given me goose bumps during his speeches, like during his inauguration when he summoned the "New Era of Responsibility" and said: "what is required now is a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task." We must seize our duties gladly. This is surely the stuff of Thomas Paine.

If we view the world through a Painsian lens, we can spot examples of those who stand up to challenges gladly and those who shrink from them. Ultimately and perhaps urgently, which way the scale tilts could determine the fate of this country and, perhaps, the world. This is why I watch with such interest the debate over the stimulus package. The investments we make today will ultimately reflect our willingness to face challenges with fortitude or to shrink from them. Billions will get lost in the gordian financial mess to cover credit swaps and narrow interests, or billions will stimulate education, innovations in health care and a green revolution. Fear will compel us to focus on short-term market losses and gains or courage will compel us to look to the future prosperity and health of our nation and the planet. We will invest the way Paine did or we will invest the way Thain did. To my mind, it's pretty much that simple.

Of course, if I had my way, it would be game over and we'd all grin and bear it as we forge ahead in the spirit of responsibility, like Shackleton's men on the glacier or the small band of Washington's men huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. We have built AngelPoints with this single purpose: to tilt the scale and play a part in the new era of responsibility that is required of us all. If Paine could move thousands with a short-stack of paper, then surely we can move millions with the use of the web and through the leadership of the world's best companies. To be sure, a growing majority of the population and an expanding fleet of companies are making tangible investments in the new era of responsibility. Our exceptional growth over the past eight years is a testament to that good news. But more than a handful are not yet on board and some are even reversing their stance at this very moment. On the same day that Bank of America executives jetted to New York to refute Cuomo's inquest into $3 billion in suspicious bonuses funded by you and me, the bank was eliminating the position of a good friend of mine, Bob Mandala, VP of Team Bank of America, the unassuming but passionate man behind their award-winning employee volunteer program, which has mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to serve their communities and put buckets of sweat behind the promise of being the so-called "bank of opportunity." Just last week, one of the largest producers of food in the world, operating in 67 countries, employing over 150,000 people, slashed and burned over three years of effort to take its employee community engagement program global. No longer will this company have the opportunity to leverage its enormous sphere of influence to spread organic agricultural practices to millions of farmers and students. Gone in an instant. Done.

Amidst the economic meltdown, when executives feel the heat of battle, it's not always obvious to redouble investments in programs that don't produce immediate profit. But I'm pretty sure it wasn't obvious to the average business owner in 1776 that they should put their money on a boy who chopped down a cherry tree and then defeated the British empire.

I recently read a story that John F. Kennedy liked to tell, about an early-20th-century French marshal named Hubert Lyautey. As the story goes, one day Lyautey says to his gardener, "Could you plant a tree?" The gardener says back, "Come on, it’s going to take 50 years before you see anything out of that tree." The marshal looks the guy in the eye and says, "It’s going to take 50 years? Really? Then plant it this morning."

The corollary to Paine's quote above is that it's the business of big minds to grow. We've seen dozens of companies that are growing amid the gloom, increasing their investments in responsibility at this critical time. Companies like Campbell's, Travelers, Wells Fargo, Deloitte, GE -- these are companies that are gathering strength in distress. While these companies are suffering bumps and bruises through tough times like everyone else, I have no doubt about their long-term success. And for individuals who are suffering set-backs, the question of how we invest our money at this critical time will surely tip the scale. I can only hope that there is a large number of modern-day Thomas Paines out there. The battle has just begun.

Monday, March 2, 2009

AngelPoints web demo 3.12.09

Are you tired of managing your volunteer program with Excel spreadsheets and Outlook emails? Is your in-house system outdated and ineffective? Are you ready to take your EVP to the next level?

Join us for an online demo and see the value AngelPoints can bring to your employee volunteer program:

* Increase Productivity. Manage your program more efficiently and with fewer resources using the comprehensive suite of AngelPoints volunteer management tools.

* Enhance Brand Reputation. Track, measure and report on your program's impact to demonstrate its value to your customers, your community and your management team.

* Leverage Talent Capital. Strong employees = strong companies. Engage employees and build a strong program that will help recruit and retain quality people while providing opportunities for skills-based learning, team-building, networking and fun.

Demo will take place Thursday, March 12, 2009 8:00-8:30am PST Sign up now!

Can't make it on March 12? We host live demos once a month. Check out the upcoming schedule here.