Corporate Philanthropy Software is Not Client Focused, and Vendors Want It that Way

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Corporate Philanthropy Software is Not Client Focused, and Vendors Want It that Way

By: Burt Cummings, CEO
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How #Technology Hijacks Our Minds (and how this connects to #CorporatePhilanthropy software): @Versaic

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016 - 1:05pm

CAMPAIGN: Getting to Impact


You may have read the article by Google Design Ethicist Tristan Harris on How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds. If not, pause and go read it now. I promise it is worth the 12 minutes. While I may not have anticipated that an article written by a design ethicist and magician would be relevant to the corporate philanthropy software business, the lessons are certainly there.

Hijack #1: If You Control the Menu, You Control the Choices

The idea Tristan describes here is that by shaping the menus we pick from, technology manipulates our choices by what they put on the menu -- and what they leave off. They’re essentially hijacking our experience. But the closer we pay attention to the options we’re given, the more we’ll notice when they don’t actually align with our true needs.

“This is exactly what magicians do. They give people the illusion of free choice while architecting the menu so that they win, no matter what you choose,” states Tristan.

We share Tristan’s line of thinking that technology should empower people to make choices that are most beneficial to them. For that to happen, software providers need to put client needs first instead of doing what’s easiest for product development. That includes developing the menu. I see that in my own world where too many software providers in corporate philanthropy are taking a vendor focused approached to developing and implementing their online solutions.

We hear time and again, that people are tired of Corporate Philanthropy solutions that provide a hundred menu options when only two or three are needed. For vendors serving endless menus, it’s easier to apply your software solution to broader markets if you’ve loaded in every possible choice. But for clients and users? It’s a nightmare to scroll through all of those options.

Our clients tell us they much prefer Versaic’s client- centered approach. Our system includes all the tools, features, and functionality of other software providers with one big difference: Versaic custom-configures each solution to our client’s exact requirements. Clients control the menu. They have the endless menu possibilities to choose from, but once the software is up and running, the menu they see is the menu they picked. They have full control over all guidelines and content. Workflows are created based on their exact requirements.

One Size Fits None

One-size-fits-all solutions validate their approach by saying every conceivable option is accounted for and available. In truth, this forces clients to adapt and/or actually slow business processes. Clients have unique workflows, processes and specific ways of doing things. We work to understand it from the client’s perspective, instead of arming clients with DIY tools and wishing them luck.

We believe a versatile software platform and an expert client success team are necessary ingredients for impact. Our client success team is not simply there to ‘service’ the product, their role is to deeply understand the needs of your programs to ensure you get the best solution possible. They help you choose the menu in the first place, providing feedback built on best practices working with hundreds of companies over the years. You won’t see menu options that you were not aware of and have no use for.

Empower Clients to Save Time and Gain Insights

“The “most empowering” menu is different than the menu that has the most choices,” states Tristan.

We agree. It is time to be pickier with menus. Ask yourself if the menu you see actually fits your needs. What is not offered on the menu? Why does the menu offer so many choices?

When selecting corporate philanthropy or any software for that matter, make sure you have every bell and whistle you want without anything excess to get in the way. Make sure you also have a true partner in the process, invested in seeing your programs succeed. This is a sure sign that the solution is one that will work the way you work, rather than the way that best suits the vendor.

Versaic custom-configures each solution to your exact requirements, which allows you to accurately and easily set goals, collect data, measure results, and report on impact. To learn more, visit or call 877-712-9495.

Keywords: Technology | Business & Trade | Media & Communications | Philanthropy | Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship | Software | Versaic

CAMPAIGN: Getting to Impact