Alfaro Consulting

Coaching and Consulting for Nonprofits

Funding Resources this week!

Funding Resources this week!

Support for Day Programs for Elders with Dementia
Brookdale National Group Respite Program

The Brookdale Foundation Group works to advance the fields of geriatrics and gerontology and to improve the lives of senior citizens. 

Funds for Out-of-School Tech Skills Programs in Company Communities
Best Buy Community Grants Program
The Best Buy Community Grants Program provides support to community-based organizations that are located within 25 miles of a Best Buy facility. Grants focus on local organizations with a demonstrated track record of building skill proficiency in technology through out-of-school time programs.

Efforts to Address Hunger Issues Funded
ELCA Domestic Hunger Grants
The Domestic Hunger Grants program, an initiative of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) World Hunger, aims to provide relief and development assistance for those who suffer from hunger and injustices related to hunger in the United States.

Organizations Fostering Diversity and Dignity Supported
Wild Geese Foundation
The Wild Geese Foundation works to defend human rights and to promote food sovereignty by supporting nonprofit organizations throughout the country that respect the diversity of human expression and identity.

Wisconsin Specific

Grants Bolster Community Organizing Initiatives in the Midwest
Needmor Fund
The mission of the Needmor Fund is to work with others to bring about social justice. The Fund’s Core Grants program focuses on supporting grassroots community organizing in the Midwest—specifically Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Data migration is a scary daunting task!

Data migration is a scary daunting task!

Data migration is typically about 50% of the effort and cost of any data migration project; whether you’re migrating to Salesforce or any other database program, it’s always hard! The reason is that you’re shoving about 1,000 square pegs into holes of all different shapes.

Indeed, data migration is typically about 50% of the effort and cost of any data migration project. Truth be told it doesn’t matter whether you’re migrating to Salesforce or any other database program, it’s always hard! The reason is that you’re shoving about 1,000 square pegs into holes of all different shapes.

To help prepare, first get to know your own data and understand the process you are about to embark upon. 

To understand your data, you need to have a good sense of the types of data you’re storing currently: Contacts? Check. Households? Check. Donations? Check. And so on. Get a good sense of how these data types relate to each other and whether you have any special rules (written or in your head) for how data is being managed.

A common rule nonprofits must consider with their migration is about householding. When do you want two contacts to be linked together within a household? It’s not as easy a decision as you might think!

The migration process will more or less follow this pattern

1. Analysis – we first analyze your legacy data. This involves getting to know the structure of all tables and fields and how they relate to each other; as well as, assessing the integrity of the data and deduplification and cleanup work that will be required. Every database has dirty and duplicate data, and it’s impossible to eradicate this 100%, but there’s a LOT that a data expert can do to improve the quality of your data.

2. Mapping – this is the slog, the really hard work that will take your time. We will walk through every table, every field and seek to understand its purpose and structure so that they can determine how this old data should live in the new system and establish migration rules. Buckle up for a few weeks, this takes time to get right and it’s absolutely critical that it’s done well.

3. Conversion and migration – the rules defined in the mapping stage are used to transform the old data to the new system based on the mapping and transformation rules. Once, the data is converted, your data is ready to be imported. Yahooo!!

4. Validation – now you get to see the results. But fair warning, you’re gonna work it. You’ll want to do some side by side comparisons of your old database with the new one, making sure the mapping rules were applied correctly and that you approve this new structure. Head’s up, you will find things you’ll want to change. It’s a lot like moving into a new house, after you see your furniture and art on the walls in the new place, you may want to move them around to get it just right.

5. Cleansing – Deduping, data appends, normalizing common values, fixing errant weird characters and more. This is where your data starts to get squeaky clean and you’ll begin loving all the new reports you can run!

6. Differential – it’s probably been weeks since you started your data migration project. Well you probably didn’t stop using it did you? That’s right, a differential allows us to rerun all of the conversion and cleansing scripts on an updated copy of your database and add or modify any records that have changed in the time since it was previously delivered.

Data myths in the Social/Nonprofit Sector

Data myths in the Social/Nonprofit Sector

Think your org doesn’t need data analysis? Do you assume analytics work is only for larger firms? Let’s bust a few myths together:

Myth: I don’t have a data problem.


Deep down, every problem is a data problem. That’s because problem-solving is all about gathering information, testing ideas, and making decisions. All of those steps are driven and supported by data. Just because something doesn’t appear to be a “data problem,” data analysis may still be part of the solution.

Myth: I’d need to run a tech business to collect and use data.

Says whom?

If you run any kind of business (i.e. nonprofit business model??), regardless of size or area of focus, you have data and you can analyze it to help improve your standing. Proper, practical use of data analysis can drive decisions to unlock and explore new avenues of community impact, or identify and mitigate challenges.

Myth: I don’t have the “big” data I read about in the news.

That’s fine, you don’t need it.

Employing data analysis in your doesn’t require all of the fancy new tools you see in the news. Quite often, you can make a lot of headway using tools you already have: your CRM database, a spreadsheet, even some back-of-the-envelope calculations.

As a consultant, I’m always in search of a new problem to solve. Why not tell me about yours?