New year, new features

The holidays are over, but things are about to get better. Over the next few months, we will be releasing several new features and enhancements to help you make this year your most productive yet. Here are 3 major updates you can expect from Akubo in 2019:

An all-new email editor. With a fresh drag-and-drop interface, you’ll be able to create, design, and preview your emails more easily and quickly — no HTML skills required.

Akubo Chat. A faster way to provide support: We’re working on a live-chat app integration that lets you talk directly with our customer support team directly from your Akubo platform.

Akubo Donor Connect. A portal where your donors or customers can track their own giving history and print receipts or invoices.

We’re also working on a new set of enhancements for the Events feature, giving Payments a design makeover, and boosting Akubo’s platform security.

Our team is always on the lookout for more ways to make Akubo easier and more effective than ever, and we’d love your input. Send us your feedback and suggestions at support@akubo.com.

Akubo Tip: Import & Update Import Contacts

Adding numerous contacts into a database is a difficult task as well as cleaning your database. A lot of time should be dedicated just for that task. In Akubo, you can import your contacts from an Excel or CSV file as well as doing an update import. Below is a sample format of the Excel file.

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1. On the main page of Akubo, click Others, then Import & Export.

2. On the Import dropdown, select CONTACTS from Excel or CSV file.

3. Click Choose File to find the file from your computer that you want to import. Click Upload.

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4. Next is matching the columns of the spreadsheet with columns in the database. The matched columns will be in green.

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If your file contains duplicate names, you can check on the setting that will not allow duplicates to be imported. You have the option to check for duplicates by: Name/Organization, Email, Both Name and Email, or Custom Field.

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You can use the setting Assign Country to set a country value only if there are no other value in the Country column in the spreadsheet or if all the contacts are from the same country.

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If you want to add the new contacts to a specific group, you can use the setting GROUP: Add all imported entries to the group. From the drop-down menu, you can select an existing group or create a new one.

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5. Click Import.

 


If you’re cleaning your database, you can do an update import by exporting the contacts and after updating them in MS Excel, import it back to Akubo.

1. Export the contacts first. On the main page of Akubo, click Others, then Import & Export.

2. On the Export dropdown menu, select CONTACTS to CSV.

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3. Select the contacts you want to export. You can select all contacts, by group or by individual contacts.

4. Next, select the fields you want to include in the exported file.

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Note: Don’t forget to check Contact ID. The Contact ID will help Akubo identify each contact when you do an update/import.

5. Click Create CSV File (MS Excel), then Export.

6. After editing the contacts in MS Excel, import it back to Akubo. On the Import & Export page, click on the link UPDATE CONTACTS using Excel or CSV file under the Import dropdown menu.

7. Click Choose File, and the select the file you wish to import. Then click Upload.

8. Next step is matching the columns of the spreadsheet with the columns in the database. Matched columns will be in green.

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9. When merging/updating contacts, you can merge by the following options: Name/Organization, Email Address, Contact ID, Both Name and Email Address or by Custom Field.

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Note: When choosing the column to check for merging, it must have a unique value. Example is if you select email address then there should be no contact in the database that has the same email address listed on the spreadsheet. If there are duplicates, Akubo will not import the contact until the duplicate is removed. It is suggested that you use Contact ID since it is unique to each contact.

10. Click Import.

Akubo Tip: Tracking your donors

You may have some donors in your database who haven’t donated since 2014, for example, or some who haven’t donated at all. Now is a good time to get in touch with them through a mailer.

In Akubo, you can view a list called Lapsed Donors: it’s a list of donors who have donated before, or have not given since, 2014. For this tutorial, we will get the list of donors who haven’t donated since 2014 and even those who have never donated to your organization yet.

Continue reading “Akubo Tip: Tracking your donors”

Write better headlines for email

FB - Apr 8 II

Last year, we wrote about how helpful it is to have a good design for your email newsletters, as it’s the first thing the recipient notices when they open your email. But what if the reader decides not to open your email at all?

It’s not unusual for most people like your customers or prospects to have an overflowing inbox — which is why you’d want to pay more attention to your email subject lines. What your subject line says can either give them a reason to open your email or lead your message straight to the spam folder. So here we’ll share with you some ideas to write better email headlines for your next batch of e-blasts.

Continue reading “Write better headlines for email”

A DSWD registration checklist

If your NGO is recognized as a social welfare development agency (SWDA), then you already know that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) requires NGOs like yours to register with them at one point.

While SEC registration is always necessary for an organization to operate, a DSWD registration means better credibility, especially at a time when so many fake NGOs have been exposed. You also need it when you apply for further accreditation with the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC). If you still have yet to make it into the registry, don’t worry: we present below a checklist for the requirements* to make your registration process easier.

  • An accomplished application form (Download here: http://goo.gl/173EHX)
  • Certified true copy of yourCertificate of SEC registration, articles of incorporation, and by-laws
  • Updated certification from the SEC or any regulatory government agency on the SWDA’s status of operation if the date of registration with the concerned regulator agency is more than 5 years prior to application
  • Profile of the governing board
  • Profile of employees
  • Work and financial plan (at least 2 succeeding years)
  • Manual of operations
  • Annual accomplishment report for the previous year
  • Audited financial statement for the previous year

Additional requirements for organizations operating in more than one region:

  • Certified true copy of the written agreement of partnership or cooperation between the agency and its partner to implement or take part of the implementation of the SWDAs

Additional requirements for organizations with satellite branch offices:

  • List of main and satellite/branch offices to include the contact persons/addresses, programs, and services being implemented

* per revised guidelines on A.O. 16 S. 2012

What multi-tasking cost me

Blog - Multitasking

Being a customer care engineer, I have to work with clients and assist them if they have technical questions. I handle clients in the US and in the Visayas region in the Philippines, and sometimes give client presentations. At the same time, I also have another task: a web application project.

With these tasks that I have to work on everyday, I have to multitask so that I can accomplish all of it on schedule. But lately, with the looming deadline of the project I’m working on, I have to prioritize it. Unfortunately, by doing so, I gave all my hours to the project and completely forgot to check the clients.

So I was struggling to catch up with technical support to clients AND risking the programming project. If I’m in the middle of tech support and an email comes in regarding the system, I would get distracted. I would go and check the code, then eventually forget to compose a tech support email. It’s the same thing when I’m programming and a client calls, asking for help.

While I was juggling two tasks, it became too hard for me to concentrate. Half of my brain was left pondering on a support question and half of it was trying to figure out how to put that function into code. I admit that it isn’t ideal; however, at that time it was the only way I could work on both tasks.

I got distracted.

Because of how the project turned out, I was pulled out of it. I had to put all my attention back to Akubo support. It wasn’t a good time for me because I felt that I failed. But I have to move on and learn from it.

For me, the cost of multitasking is that I lost my train of thought, especially when I get overwhelmed with work. When multitasking, you have to be good at time management, and in my case, both tasks were a high priority and needed full attention, which is why it was hard for me.

However, while it was bad for me, I did learn something out of it. I had to be strict in following the time I set for each task. If I set time in the morning for tech support and in the afternoon for programming tasks, I should follow that schedule and not let myself be distracted. This is helpful in a way that my brain can focus one task at a time, instead of dealing with multiple assignments at the same time.

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Written by Pauline Manolo.
Pauline is one of Akubo’s customer care engineers, a bookworm, and an avid writer in her spare time.

Lessons from a social media marketing beginner

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If there is one thing I learned after a few months of helping build Akubo’s online presence, it’s that a social media plan does not become successful overnight, or perhaps even in a week. Especially if you are new to the process as I am.

From creating blog topics to publishing on time, I know the responsibilities can be as overwhelming as the jargon you’ll find in many a Guide to Social Media Marketing, but I believe there are really just a few things you need to focus on when you start your social media plan.

 

The first question, as Simon Sinek writes, starts with why

Before you set up an account like a Twitter profile or Tumblr, remember this: just because we use a social network doesn’t always mean our average customer uses it too. Pick wherever your customers (and potential customers) can reach you. Let’s say you run an arts & crafts shop for young artists: besides a Facebook page for your updates, you might want to consider an Instagram feed — a familiar platform for many teenagers and young adults, and a great way to display beautiful photos of your products or even artworks that your customers created.

It’s also important to dig deeper with your goals. If you created a Facebook page to gain more followers, ask yourself: what kind of followers are you looking for, how many followers do you intend to gain, and how many months do you need to reach that target? Your answers will help you map out the rest of your plan.

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The calendar is your best friend

Our initial plan was simple: share a news story or quote on Facebook every Monday, post a tip on Wednesday, and publish a blog article on Fridays. But how do we decide what story to share or what topic to write about?

And so the calendar is there to tell you what to do. Check the next month: are there any holidays or birthdays? Design a banner. Will you launch any new feature? Prepare your press release. Are you going to or sponsoring an upcoming event? Is it back-to-school time or tax season?

Mark the dates as a guide for your next digital update. The idea is to assign a theme every month, so your blog articles, Facebook posts, and other social profiles weave together consistently. But don’t look too much into the future — always be updated with the news, local and global, especially in your niche.

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Think of your brand as a person

Sit down and strike up an imaginary conversation with your brand. Do they sound serious or casual? Would they talk excitedly or speak softly? How would they dress? How would they write a status update, an announcement, a blog article, or a photo caption?

When you update your company’s social media profiles, you’re using a different voice than your own. Nobody wants to read generic, corporate jargon in your ads, especially on your Facebook posts and Tweets.


Admittedly, I had my lapses in keeping up with our social media plan. We’re new to the process ourselves and we hope you learned something from this too. The challenge is to do everything consistently.  The bottomline is: we do not join in the social network circus to create mindless advertising all the time. We’re here to talk to our customers, to give tips for work, to hear their stories and share ours.

WORDS BY JOY MARTIR, A GRAPHIC DESIGNER/WRITER FOR AKUBO

The Business Phone Call Etiquette

Business Phone Calls

Ring it thrice

Please don’t be too excited to pick up the phone. When receiving a call, let it ring thrice. Your caller will have the time to prepare himself for the conversation and have a quick mental review of the purpose of the call.

 

Greeting

The first thing that your caller should hear is a positive note, followed by the name of the company or organization. “Good morning, this is Pauline of ABC Company.” What is important is that the caller should hear your voice smiling with enthusiasm as you answer the phone. Sometimes, the phone may ring in the middle of your hectic schedule that you are in your dead-serious-mode. Don’t worry, here’s the trick in making you sound enthusiastic and kind: before picking up the phone, take a deep breath and smile. Trust me, it will work!

If you are the one making the phone call, it is polite to return the greeting then state your name and purpose. “Good morning, this is Rose, may I inquire regarding your office hours on weekdays?” It doesn’t pay much to return the politeness.

 

Listen

Active listening should be practiced in every phone call. It is necessary to understand the message and refrain from interrupting. Take note of the points where you need to give answer to and make clarifications thereafter.

 

I’ll get back to you

Come on, you should know that responding with “I don’t know” is rude. Be polite and respond with “I’ll get back on you regarding that matter” if you really do not have the information that the caller needs. Sometimes, there is a need of putting a caller on hold, so make sure that you apprise him that you will holding him for a little while. Same thing goes through when you transfer a call, inform the caller first before putting another person to accommodate him.

 

End with positive attitude

Wouldn’t it be nice to end the phone call with a “Thank you for calling, have a great day!” than just hanging up?