Beacon

7 things we're working on in 2020

David Simpson Posted on 6th Jan 20 by David Simpson

We're starting 2020 with the same goal for Beacon as we've always had: To build the best nonprofit database in the world.

2019 was another really exciting year for the Beacon product team. We've been extremely busy this year and we've released lots of exciting features.

More importantly, we've had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, some remarkable organisations doing really great work. It's a privilege to get to work with so many great customers and to shape Beacon with their suggestions.

Two of our guiding values are that we are constantly innovating and we strive to do what we do better than anyone else in the world. In 2020 we'll be putting those values into practice as we work even harder to improve the Beacon product.

Here's a taste of what we're going to be working on over the next year:

1. Faster database

We're constantly working behind the scenes to keep the Beacon database infrastructure robust and snappy. We overhauled how everything works in the early part of last year - this year we will be focussed on refinement and optimisation. We'll also make sure that our infrastructure is running as efficiently as possible in order to maintain our commitment to being a climate positive organisation.

2. Event tickets

Beacon makes it possible to build forms to allow your supporters to register for events quickly and easily.

Forms also allow donations and memberships to be collected easily. This year we'll be creating a new kind of form that will allow you to allocate and sell tickets to events. Naturally, all of the data about tickets and event attendance will flow automatically into Beacon.

3. Location, Location, Location

We're working on two major improvements with regards to locations within Beacon:

  1. Improved mechanism for inputting and normalising locations - This will make inputting addresses on forms simpler and will help to keep things neat and tidy.
  2. Location enrichment - We'll be adding useful additional information about addresses like parliamentary constituency and NHS primary care trust.

4. More useful timelines

Timelines are getting an overhaul. This feature allows you to see a record's changes and activities over time. We're going to make some important changes:

  1. Make timelines filterable - you'll be able to find events across different records, or search for all updates made by a user
  2. Select activity types - only want to see the audit logs of a record? Only want to see the forms submitted by this person? We've got you covered!
  3. More activities logged to timelines - Including document merges and emails sent from mailchimp
  4. Improved interface - with more features comes an updated timeline interface to handle it all

5. Improved integrations

Before founding Beacon David and Chris were senior managers at integrations startup Tray.io. This expertise in integrations has been brought to the Beacon team and automation and integration is an important part of Beacon's product plan.

Sometimes we'll integrate with another best-in-class product (like Mailchimp, Stripe, and iZettle) but, as with event tickets, we also develop features in house when we think that is the best approach.

Our Zapier integration and import templates provide a generic mechanism for integrating with other tools but we're also working on some more direct integrations:

This year we're planning to build integrations with Xero, Donr, Office 365, Goodbox, and JustGiving to name a few.

6. The Beacon portal

We're improving mechanisms to allow people to update their data in Beacon without being Beacon users. This will be useful for membership organisations who want to give their members a way to keep their data up to date. It will also be useful for case work in which teams of volunteers need to keep records up to date.

7. Rich text fields

Finally, a reminder that some features can also be a bit of fun! We'll be adding support for text formatting in Beacon fields so you can store more complex text data. This includes support for emojis!


We're always looking to improve based on your feedback. If there's a big feature you'd like to see that isn't in this list then let us know!

David Simpson

About the author

David Simpson is the CTO at Beacon. He's dedicated to making Beacon the best charity CRM in the world.

Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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