You, your data and Echoleft.

It’s likely that you’ve received a lot of emails and notifications recently about various companies changing their terms and conditions and privacy policies. That’s because on May 25th, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect.

We’ve value privacy very highly at Echoleft. Our memorials can be completely private, donations can be made anonymously and we only store the data that we need. GDPR provides us a structure to formalise that commitment to privacy, so here are the initial steps we’re taking to make sure that we’re compliant with GDPR along with some of the goals that we’re putting in place to go even further.

We’ve updated our privacy policy to make it even clearer what data we hold, what we use it for and how we protect it. GDPR asks us to make it clear on what basis we hold the data, how long we hold it for and what’s our basis for holding it, so we’ve added all those details too.

If you ever have any questions about how the data we store, how we use it or how we protect it, please contact support@echoleft.com.

The updates we’ve made around GDPR are only part of our ongoing commitment to put you in control of your personal data. We’re working closely with charities and organisations to provide them with a set of Echoleft features that allow them to offer you more opportunities to build long-term relationships with great causes, in a way that makes it clear how your data is being used. We’ll have more details on those in the coming weeks and months.

If you work with a charity or good cause that is interested in running events or fundraising campaigns with these types of data tools built-in, we’d love to talk.

“I’m A CEO… Get Me Out Of Here”

Right now, in offices across the region there are 14 very nervous CEO’s. They’ve agreed to take part in St Nicholas Hospice Care’s “I’m A CEO… Get Me Out Of Here” and on October 27th they’ll be “stepping out of the boardroom and into a world of creepy crawlies, stomach churning snacks and top-secret trials, to help raise funds for the Hospice.”


Visit their Echoleft fundraising team page to find links to each of their individual fundraising pages. Here’s just a glimpse of what’s coming, with Laraine Moody looking thrilled to meet a snake:

Here’s Clare Friel getting a sense of what to expect on the day by meeting a cheerful looking lizard:

https://twitter.com/RandDCons/status/912998498500583424

We can’t wait to see what the hospice team have cooked up for them on the day!

Using Apple’s Pages for collaborative design and layout.

We’re in the process of producing a new brochure for Echoleft to highlight our event registration and ticketing features.

Designing printed materials for us had previously started with a pencil-and-paper sketch layout and, perhaps, a Google Doc for the written content. We would then jumped almost immediately into Photoshop or InDesign to get the layout and text working together. This step, however, means that everyone other than the designer is unable to see how changes to the wording affect the layout and vice-versa. It also creates a multi-step process for edits: suggest the new content in the Google Doc, wait for the designer to implement it, review the changes, repeat.

We have tried using Google Docs (including Drawings) for the layout in the past, but the tools just aren’t good enough yet.

I’ve always liked the layout tools in Apple’s Pages app, it’s always been a solid desktop-publishing app for those that aren’t professional designers but need to produce documents that look good. I see people using Microsoft Word for this, but if you’ve ever had to edit or manipulate images in Word and inevitably wanted to throw your computer out the window, you’ll know why I prefer Pages even with its imperfections.

With the announcement in 2016 that Apple’s iWork apps (Pages, Keynote and Numbers) would support real-time collaboration, it made sense to give it a try for designing the layout of our new brochure. It will end up in professional design software eventually, but I wanted to produce a draft that would give us a ‘close enough’ version that we could work on together.

Here are a few observations from the process:

  • Apple’s collaboration for Pages is still not finished. It’s not bad per se, it’s just not finished. Here’s the list of features that currently aren’t supported when you make a document collaborative.


  • That list is optimistic. There are other thing that don’t work, I found several issues that were resolved by switching collaboration off, for example at one point I lost the ability to delete a page.
  • If you’re using custom fonts, you need them to be installed on all devices. Google Docs works around this by providing access to a range of ‘good enough for most cases and in some cases excellent’ fonts across all devices. Apple’s default list is much shorter. I did learn, however, that you can install custom fonts on an iOS device. I used the AnyFont app and it worked really well. I had to restart Pages for it to recognise the new fonts and once I’d done that everything looked just right.
  • If you’re willing to spend a little time getting to know it’s features, Pages is an incredibly powerful layout tool. I found learning as much as I could about everything in the ‘format’ bar really useful. I think the lack of linked text boxes in the last few versions has constrained Pages as a desktop publishing tool, but now they’re back and they worked well for me.
  • When you’re offline, you can’t work on a collaborative document in Pages at all. Google Docs makes this features available via a Chrome Extension although my mileage has varied dramatically with it over the years. There’s something ‘unnatural’ about being told by an Apple-made native macOS application that you can’t use it offline. I think this is the first time I’ve ever experienced that and it’s not handled particularly sensitively in the UI.

If I was working on content alone and didn’t need the layout features, I’d choose Google Docs every time. Powerful privacy features, the fact that it’s cross-platform and third-party integrations are just some of the reasons we use it every day. However for working on a more complex layout, I wouldn’t hesitate to use Pages ‘collaboration’ feature.

I don’t think Apple isn’t competing on the same playing field and for small groups at work, families and friends working on documents together I think Apple are making real progress on a useful feature that’s worth your consideration if you need it in the future.

More powerful exports for charity fundraising events.

We’ve released an update to our charity events tools which make them even more useful for charities and non-profits.

In case you’re not familiar with what we do, here’s a quick update.

If you’re running a charity event that needs people to register in advance, or buy tickets, Echoleft is for you. We provide an easy to use tool where you can add your event, we process payments, handle group bookings, allow you to ask for any information you need during registrations, there are also built-in donations and fundraising pages.

One of the most common questions we get asked is about exporting registrant data to databases such as Donorflex, Harlequin and Raiser’s Edge etc., so we’ve been working hard on making that as easy as possible.

You can ask for any data you need when you’re registering people for your event, but we know that people don’t always enter their details in the format you need it. So, for every field that you ask for, we let you choose from a range of formatting options when we export the data for your database.

You can choose the column heading/title (the top row in an Excel spreadsheet), you can capitalise first letters, force all upper-case or lower-case characters, remove punctuation and even ‘sentence case’ enter fields. You can even combine these if you want to. You can also choose the order of your fields in the exports, in case you need them to match an existing template.

This means that whatever questions you’re asking to people registering or buying tickets for your charity event, you know that you’ll be able to get the data formatted just how you need it.



If you’re running a charity event, or planning one and you want to chat about how we can make registrations a little easier for your team, and keep your supporters engaged, I’d love to hear from you at max@echoleft.com, you can also find out more at https://www.echoleft.com/charities

Girls Night Out 2016 raised a huge £250,000!

Note: the total was only announced this week, which means they must have taken this photo in the freezing cold Suffolk winter, so huge respect to everyone who re-donned their PJ’s for the photoshoot.

A massive ‘well done’ to everyone that took part in Girls Night Out 2016 supporting St Nicholas Hospice Care. We saw first-hand how hard you all worked to raise a record-breaking £250,000 and how much the team at the hospice appreciated everyone’s efforts.

We’re proud to have been part of such a wonderful event.

If you work with a charity and you’re interested in seeing how Echoleft can help your events raise record-breaking amounts, you should take a look at our event registration tools, or browse everything we offer for charities. We’d love to help.

Registrations are now open for Pedal For The J’s.

It’s not long since we announced that we would be teaming up with The J’s Hospice to power registrations for the eighth annual Pedal For The J’s. The time has come, and registrations are now open.

The BeauLieu team riding in the 2016 Pedal For The J’s event.

You can register for the sponsored cycle by visiting https://thejshospice.echoleft.com/charity-events/pedal-for-the-js

Be sure to register soon, because there’s still time to take advantage of the early-bird registration before it closes on the February 6th, 2017.

Whether you’re an avid cyclist, or want to support the hospice by riding with the family, you can take part. The event will be open to both children and adults, with the choice between a 15, 35 and 50-mile route and a 2-mile route for children.

Based in Chelmsford, The J’s Hospice supports young adults, aged 16–40, with life-limiting conditions across Essex. They support patients and their families in their own homes and within the community to give them greater independence and the best possible quality of life.

The Echoleft team will be there, so we can’t wait to see you all in Admirals Park, Chelmsford on Sunday 30th April!

Pedal For The J’s is Coming Soon!

We’re delighted to be working with The J’s Hospice for their annual Pedal For The J’s sponsored cycling event, which will be returning for its eighth year on Sunday 30th April 2017.

Whether you’re an avid cyclist, or want to support the hospice by riding with the family, you can take part. The event will be open to both children and adults, with the choice between a 15, 35 and 50-mile route and a 2-mile route for children.

Based in Chelmsford, The J’s Hospice supports young adults, aged 16–40, with life-limiting conditions across Essex. They support patients and their families in their own homes and within the community to give them greater independence and the best possible quality of life.

Registration for the event opens on the 9th of January.

We’re excited to be working on the registration for this amazing annual event that raises money to help so many people.

You can be a part of something amazing by registering for Pedal For The J’s.

Pedal For The J's 2017 Cyclists

19 days left to register for Girls Night Out 2016

The date for Girls Night Out 2016 is coming up fast. The sponsored moonlight walk in support of St Nicholas Hospice Care is on 10th September, so there’s only 19 days left to register. If you haven’t already, there’s still time to register and donate on the Girls Night Out Walk website Help us spread the word, be prepared to dress in your best pair of pink pyjamas and raise money for a great cause!

Girls Night Out participants wearing their glowing bunny ears in the dark

Girls Night Out looked great in 2015, we can’t wait to see you all this year!

Girls Night Out 2016 is on it’s way.

There is still plenty of time to register for Girls Night Out 2016, or sponsor someone who has already, before the event on 10th September. We’ve been floored by the number of registrations so far, with the number still climbing fast this year’s event is sure to be something special.

Girls Night Out 2015 Participants

You find more information by visiting the Girls Night Out 2016 website. You don’t want to miss one of Suffolk’s most exciting fundraising events of the year, so tell your friends, family and coworkers and be a part of this incredible event with us!

Nominations now open for Dementia Friendly Awards 2016

Alzheimer's Society Logo

From the Alzheimer’s Society website:

The Awards will recognise communities, organisations and individuals as well as partnerships and innovations that have championed the rights of people affected by dementia to remain included and supported in their daily lives. This year’s categories are detailed below, please see individual award webpages for specific entry criteria.
 
 There are nine categories to enter in 2016

  • Dementia Friendly Community of the Year
  • Dementia Partnership of the Year
  • Dementia Innovation of the Year
  • Young Person(s) Contribution of the Year
  • Dementia Journalism Award (England and Wales only)
  • Dementia Friends Champion of the Year
  • Dementia Friendly Organisation of the Year
  • Inspiring Individual of the Year
  • Outstanding Contribution of the Year

The deadline for nominations is midnight on Monday 1st August, so if you work or volunteer in this area, give some thought to nominating a deserving person or organisation.

Unlike some other awards, their website has a breakdown of what they’re looking for in each category, which is great.

Read the full announcement.