This guide provides a high-level overview of setup for the CommunitySuite Fund Advisor Portal, also referenced as Donor Portal, to help you plan for the launch of your portal that will be specific to your foundation and needs.
The workflow for fund portal setup is unique to each client with no standard prescription. This guide will help you customize the setup of your donor portal based on how your data is configured. It is important for you to plan and define an order of operations for setup of the donor portal. Take advantage of your sandbox to work through this plan and adjust your order of operations. Take screenshots and document your settings and workflow so you can recreate it in your Live site. Once you are live, you can test your workflow as much as you would like and sync the sandbox as needed. Syncing your sandbox will clear out any settings you made and start fresh if you want to try a different order of operations for setup.
Listed below are factors to take into consideration as you plan for launching your fund advisor portal.
What date will you want to launch your fund advisor portal?
- Review your planned go live date; portal launch can happen after you are live in CommunitySuite, and it is up to you when you want to launch. If you have an existing portal, the launch timing might be closer to the live date. If you are setting up a donor portal for the first time, you may opt to build in more time to launch. This is an important deadline to set and then work your way backwards to plan your setup.
When do you need to send fund statements next after you are live in CommunitySuite?
- Regardless of when the portal is launched, in order to create statements for fund advisors, the setup of fund advisor functionality will need to occur first.
Transitioning Grant Recommendations
Do you plan to keep your existing portal open while the new portal is launched, or will you have a hard transition date?
Will you have a "black out" period?
- This is a short interruption/request to fund advisors to not make grant requests during the transition time. This could be three days or two weeks; the length of time is your decision.
Will you accept/process grant recommendations during the transition time via the existing portal but hold to process them in CommunitySuite?
- Some clients opt to provide an alternate way for donors to request grants during the transition time such as email, paper, or other means as well.
Planning Internal Resources
Do you have a point person or selected staff that can devote time to do functional setup of portal? Example activities that the point person will be responsible for include creating fund advisors, setting portal tab permissions, testing settings, and more?
- This person/team will need to prioritize Fund Advisor training and testing of the functional area of CommunitySuite for portal launch before you are live.
Do you have other busy times/lots of checks/grants/events/activities coinciding with your go live that might impact that staff person's time/bandwidth?
- Having all staff on board to help with launching (internal FAQ/how to) is important to consider. Expect a high volume of inquiries as fund advisors learn and navigate new site.
Planning External Resources
Do you need an outside vendor to assist with styling of the public facing portions of CommunitySuite?
Will you need assistance from an outside vendor to create communication materials for the launch?
- This may include a FAQ resource, training/how to videos to publish on your website or the fund advisor portal landing page.
Do you have vendors you work with, or will you need to find a vendor?
Fund Advisor Access
Will each individual fund advisor have their own unique login, or will a couple with donor advised funds (household profiles) have a single login?
- The portal can use the person’s email address as their login ID; it is easiest to remember and can be set in bulk, but each fund advisor will need a unique email.
Do you have fund advisors with exceptions?
- You will need to plan for setting up the portal with those exceptions in mind. Plan for the need to do some manual setup for exceptions, despite all the bulk tools available. For example, fund advisors with no access to the portal and receiving statements via paper or email or donor advised funds that have multiple fund advisors with different permission levels (only some/one person can request grants).
Do you want to pilot your Fund Advisor Portal with a small test group of fund advisors?
- Doing a soft launch and obtaining their feedback before releasing live can help make the full launch go more smoothly. Who would be good candidates for your pilot group? This can only happen post go live.
How are you setting up organizations/nonprofits/agency funds for accessing the portal?
- With CommunitySuite, organizations can have access setup as the organizational profile and/or can have individual contacts for the organization set up as fund advisors to access the portal separately.
Do you want fund advisors to have the full buffet of tabs available, or do you want to launch with a less is more approach?
- As you get comfortable with the new functionality, you may consider limiting tab permissions overall and “releasing enhancements” as you are ready.
As you prepare for launching your portal, consider your communication plan to your fund advisors.
Communication methods and frequency
- Consider a minimum of 4-week communication plan, starting before you are live in CommunitySuite, for launching the portal.
Identify what kind of FAQ and support materials such as webpage, .pdf, and videos will be needed for your fund advisors. What kind of a lift will this be to create?
Notify staff across teams so that they are all aware of communications going out about the portal launch.
- Be prepared and anticipate a higher volume of questions and support as your fund advisors become comfortable with creating a password and navigation.
Review and Assess Profile Fund Categories
Start by assessing your current structure of the connection between your fund advisors and their funds.
You may have profile fund categories that differentiate between fund advisors. Create a definition of those codes. Who receives statements and can request grants? Who will just need a view-only access to the portal? This can help define in what order to create your donor advisors in bulk using Profile Fund Categories. For instance, you may have fund association codes for successor fund advisors or interested party fund advisors who would not need grant request access.
- Audit your profile fund categories for accuracy. Are all the correct profiles included, and are they connected to the correct funds? Identify if this will be a cleanup effort. If so, can this work be done in your legacy system prior to go live?
- Create a definition for each profile fund category. Make note of who may receive statements, and who will have grant request access vs. those who are view only.
- Use the worksheet attached at the end of the article to help you assess these categories and their access levels. Highlight rows of which categories you will use to set up your fund advisors in batch.
Consider creating documentation by groups to help define your workflow for setting up fund advisors in CommunitySuite, both with your initial setup and, in the future, as you establish new funds.
When you first set up a fund advisor, whether individually or in bulk, they get the full functionality in the portal. This includes all available tabs, most notably the grant request tab. Start by thinking about which donor advisors will need a limited permission, such as not having the ability to create grant requests, and which donor advisors will have additional permissions. For instance, agency and scholarship funds may have limited access and DAF may need full access so they can request grants. This will help you identify which tabs you will want to remove from all donor advisor’s view when they first login and which can be set in bulk after the donor advisors have been created.
Group 1 (i.e. Scholarship and Agency Funds)
- Download the attached spreadsheet to see which tabs should be visible and removed for this group.
Group 2 (i.e. DAF)
- Download the attached spreadsheet to see which tabs should be visible and removed for this group.
Create Fund Advisors
You can create fund advisors in bulk via appropriate Profile Fund Category.
- Create the donor advisors with the most restricted access first if your profile fund categories define this. Then set their permission levels using tab permission options outlined above.
- Next, create fund advisors with most access, then set their permission levels.
- Fund advisors that might not access the portal at all and just receive paper statements would be created last.
- Some profile fund categories may only be a reference for statement type notification settings such as send statement by mail or send quarterly. These are functional settings in CommunitySuite, and you can use these categories to guide setting up statement types and when you process and distribute fund statements.
Set Tab Permissions
Setting tab permissions will allow you to limit what fund advisors will have access to in the portal. There are multiple ways to set tab permissions and you may use a combination depending on your complexity and fund advisors who may be considered an exception. Reference this list against your groups of fund advisors and note how these factor into your workflow.
Consider if you have multiple fund advisors per fund but only some of them will have full access. An example of this could be family members who are involved with their DAF, but only a few have grant request access. Set permissions by fund and edit the fund advisor permissions in bulk.
By Donor Advisor
If you have a fund/donor advisor that is associated across many funds with varying permissions per fund, then these will need to be created manually to set the appropriate permissions to the correlating fund. Consider creating a list of fund/donor advisors who may be in this situation.
By Fund Group
If you have fund groups set that align with limiting access for your donor advisors such as scholarship or agency funds that are restricting grant request tab, you can set access by Fund Group, Subgroup, Division, or Segment.
This is an all or none setting, so this may be helpful for removing the tabs that you do not want any fund advisors to see.
Validate and Review
Verify access for a few fund advisors in each group and permission level, statement type setting, etc. Be prepared for additional cleanup and refinement of manually editing settings for individual fund advisors as needed.
Set Email as Login
Each fund advisor that will have access to the portal will need to have their own unique login. Create a username that is easy to remember by setting their email as login. Consider creating a standard if profiles have no email or are sharing an email address. Usernames are case sensitive and stored on the fund advisor profile.
Set Statement Type
All fund advisors will receive online statements by default. You can also establish additional statement distribution for fund advisors to receive email or paper statements.
This all or none setting will allow you to set up your fund advisors to receive automatic email notifications of donations and grants. You can use this bulk action if you wish to have all fund advisors receive the notifications. If you have fund advisors that will not receive these notifications, make a profile list so you can manually set their notify options individually.
Review Settings and Content
You have options to customize content and settings that affect the portal globally. Review each setting and set content as needed; preserve the merge fields.
Send Login Emails
When you are ready to announce the new portal and have fund advisors create their account, you are able to distribute the login email to your entire fund advisor listing in bulk.