Monthly Archives

October 2021

3 Time-Saving Excel Tips and Tricks

By | Microsoft Office | No Comments

Love it or hate it, but Excel and related spreadsheet programs are here to stay. Even if you have a nonprofit accounting software package you love, somewhere, somehow, someone will need to use an Excel spreadsheet. Whether you’re using Excel for basic accounting or with MIP, we found some great tips and tricks we’d like to share with you. Here’s to saving more time in Excel!

Tip #1: Viewing and Printing Comments

Have you ever circulated a spreadsheet for feedback and received it filled with comments? Hey, we’ve all been there. It can be quite challenging to read through and implement them in the proper section of a spreadsheet, especially if there are multiple workbooks affected within one document.

Here’s the good news: If you’re using Excel for Office 365, you can view and print comments. Follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon.
  2. Expand the Page Setup.
  3. Once the Page Setup window opens, go to the Sheet
  4. Next to Comments and notes, choose At end of sheet from the dropdown.
  5. Click Print Preview. You should now see an additional sheet in your workbook that contains all the notes and comments from the file.
  6. From here, you can use the Print Preview screen to output as a PDF or to print it to the device of your choice.

Please note that instructions may differ for older versions of Excel.

Tip #2: Create a Customized Set of Features

Perhaps you’re an Excel champion, the person in your office people rely on to navigate and use Excel with authority. You’ve got your favorite set of features, too. These are features you use frequently, like setting up special tables or completing various functions.

You can create your very own customized Ribbon that includes the features you use frequently. It’s a great time saver. Here’s how to set up the customized Ribbon.

Set-Up a Customized Ribbon

  1. Go to File > Options > Customize the Ribbon.
  2. Under Customize the Ribbon, select Main Tabs.
  3. Choose New Tab. A new tab and group show in the window as part of the Ribbon. You can add more groups to the custom tab by clicking New Group.
  4. Right-click on New Tab (Custom) to rename it. You can choose any name you like.
  5. Right-click on New Group (Custom) to rename the group.

Add Tasks

Next, you’ll need to add specific tasks to your new customized group. To the left of the Customize the Ribbon window, you’ll see a list of Excel features. Choose All Commands under Choose command from. This will display all available options.

To add favorites:

  1. Select the name of your Custom group.
  2. Select the feature you want.
  3. Click Add.
  4. Repeat with each feature until you have the group set up with your favorites.

Tip #3: Create a Quick Ordered List

Imagine that the first column of your spreadsheet is a sequence of dates, in numerical order, from the first of the month to the last date of the month. You could type in the dates, but there’s an easier way.

  1. Type the date in the first cell, first row and column.
  2. Format the date so that it is in the format you wish by right clicking on the cell, then choosing Date > Format.
  3. Once your date is formatted, click on the cell. A green box appears around it.
  4. Click on the lower right corner of the green box. Drag the edge down with your mouse. As you drag, Excel should automatically populate the first column with sequential dates until you release the mouse.

We hope these Excel tips and tricks are helpful to you. For all you Excel fans out there, what are your favorite tricks? Let us know!

More Excel Tips & Tricks

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at (206) 605-3113 for more information.

7 Tips to Create a Fair, Efficient, and Transparent Grant Review Process

By | Grant Management, Nonprofit | No Comments

What is your organization’s process for reviewing grant applications? Whether you run a small, local organization that provides grants to deserving individuals or groups in your community or a national foundation, having a fair, efficient, and transparent grant review process is essential to building trust with both constituents and applicants. Here are seven tips to help you create such a process for your group.

7 Best Practices for a Grant Review Process

If your grant review process could use some tweaks, the following best practices can shape it into the best it can be. With these tips, you’ll ensure a fair process that helps you choose the best recipients.

  1. Create a detailed rubric

A well-written and detailed rubric ensures all reviewers on the team will use the same criteria for evaluating applications. It helps ensure objectivity and fair scoring on the key points required in the grant application. Define the objective and each layer of the rubric, and detail how the scoring impacts the overall selection.

  1. Be transparent with applicants

Offer all applicants the same details. Publish them publicly and ensure everyone can attend any briefings or question and answer periods, if applicable. Share details of the review process and the selection criteria so applicants feel like they’ve been treated fairly.

  1. Create a balanced review team

Make sure your review team includes a diverse mix of people who can fairly and honestly review the applications while adhering to the rubric. A diverse mix of ages, genders, and cultural/societal perspectives honors your organization’s commitment to equity. Communicate the goals of the process clearly and ensure all voices are heard during discussions.

  1. Hide information

Hide information that may unfairly persuade the scoring. Names, genders, and similar information may be safely hidden by creating a numerical key that assigns an identification number to each application. By hiding identifiable information, you help ensure a neutral, balanced, and fair review.

  1. Build consensus

When there are disagreements—and there are sure to be at least some—work hard to listen to one another on the review team. Build consensus by finding common ground. Use the rubric thoroughly and rely upon it to guide any discussions.

  1. Create a numerical scoring system

Whether you average the scores from the rubric or use a weighted average, a numerical scoring system makes it much easier to select recipients without allowing unconscious bias to creep into the selection process.

  1. Use software to manage grant applications

Software has come a long way, and cloud software enables nonprofits to affordably tap into powerful systems that can make tasks such as grant management much easier. There are many benefits to using a digital process: clear communications, easier sharing of documents, streamlined review process, and reducing manual tasks. By using software to manage the grant review process, you’re able to focus more on the quality of the applications and less on the process itself.

A fair, honest, ethical, and equitable grant review process builds your organization’s reputation in the community.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at (206) 605-3113 for more information.

Turning Raw Data Into Engaging Stories: Data Visualizations

By | Data, Nonprofit, Uncategorized | No Comments

Nonprofits often struggle to engage donors and constituents in their work. Often, their work, whether it is in the arts, human services, healthcare, humane societies, or education, remains hidden.

But the more work remains hidden from the public, the less interest and engagement a nonprofit will experience. Raw facts and figures aren’t interesting. People have trouble understanding and interpreting data. Although sites like Charity Navigator do a good job of providing basic metrics, they fail to put a face or a name to the work done by each nonprofit.

That’s where data visualization comes into play. The data your organization collects can be a powerful ally in your quest to reach more constituents, deliver programs and services, and engage donors.

What Is Data Visualization?

Data visualization uses information (data) and transforms it into charts, graphs, and other pictorial representations (visualization).

People tend to have a very hard time putting data into context. A list of years and the number of people who contract a disease vs. those who die from it lacks context. Change that list into a picture, and it’s easier to imagine that 1 out of every 5 people will die from cancer in a given year.

How Does Data Visualization Work?

Many organizations add business intelligence, or BI software, to their basic accounting systems to add data visualization capacities to their overall system. This helps them:

  1. Prepare better annual reports by including robust charts and graphs
  2. Engage the media in your work by sharing story-based graphics reporters can use
  3. Publish visualizations to their website and donor sites, adding information in a format easily understood by constituents
  4. Apply for grants with clearer and better information

A Tale of Tails: Data Visualization in Action

The Best Friends Society seeks to transform shelters into no-kill shelters, or shelters where animals are not humanely euthanized but kept at the shelter until adopted. The organization had collected data from 2015 on the state of animal adoptions nationwide but needed a way to publish it so that visitors to their site and people interested in their work could understand the urgent need to save more companion animals.

The organization responded to the challenge by investing in data analytics and business intelligence that transformed raw data into engaging, responsive graphics on their website. The resulting data visualizations may be seen on many pages on their site, for example, such as the interactive map of the United States that responds to changing demographics as the dataset is updated in the background.

According to Michael Kabella, interim CIO of Best Friends/Save Them All, in a streaming interview entitled Making Data Actionable: How Best Friends Animal Society Scaled Innovation on Behalf of 6M Furry Friends “ … the new dataset, being able to interact with it in new ways, allowed our mission, advancement, and programming teams, to really make informed, strategic, and tactical decisions that often, in the past, might have been driven by an intuition.”

He also relayed positive responses and benefits from sharing the new data visualizations with supporters and donors. “We also found out that our supporters and donors really responded positively to the visuals. It gave them an ability to identify with the information in a way that previously they hadn’t been able to with a spreadsheet of data. Because of that, we saw an impact on life saving and on donations.”

Cloud-based software is rapidly making robust nonprofit accounting software more affordable. It’s also easier to add on business intelligence and data visualization tools than ever before. Considering that nonprofits like Best Friends/Save Them All believe that adding this software made a big difference on saving the lives of companion animals, it may be worthwhile investigating it for your organization.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at (206) 605-3113 for more information.