Adopting a More Coordinated and Effective Approach to Fundraising

Health System Database Merger Case Study

Managing disparate donor databases typically leads to one thing: inefficient fundraising. Merging donor databases across your nonprofit  — whether yours is a single location, a primary organization with multiple chapters, or a healthcare system — helps you streamline internal development operations, reduce the risk of duplicate or inconsistent donor communications, and, ultimately, improve overall fundraising performance.

Here’s just one example: A prominent health system worked with Heller Consulting to merge 11 separate donor databases into a single system for more efficient and effective fundraising.

Following are some of the results:

  • Increased efficiency — The main database administrator can now run reports for individual medical centers, freeing development staff time.
  • More effective fundraising — The system no longer competes over shared donors, dual development officer assignments are minimized, and officers are closing more gifts.
  • Improved performance — The consolidated database paved the way for processes that manage and track development office performance.

Find out more about this success story here:

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What is CRM and what does it mean to nonprofits?


Questions Concept Blackboard


For the past couple of years, I’ve been hyper-focused on CRM. Changes in the technology landscape and nonprofits’ engagement with their constituents have converged to present exciting opportunities to effectively meet the needs of contemporary nonprofits via CRM. But what is CRM? Three simple letters but often a Pandora’s box full of responses when you start asking. However, I am willing to take a swing at it.

First, the basics. In the nonprofit sector we talk about “Constituent Relationship Management” (in the commercial sector it’s about Customers). To dig deeper, I’ll pull on our firm’s experience designing and implementing CRM environments at many nonprofits large and small, and our conversations with many more organizations.  For our 2012 white paper “Insights into Nonprofit CRM” , we interviewed CIOs at 30 of the largest nonprofits in the country.  In the course of these conversations, three definitions for CRM emerged: CRM as a System, Service and Strategy.

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Top Things to Consider Before Converting Your Nonprofit’s Data into a New System

Top Things to Consider Before Converting Your Nonprofit's Data into a New System

Recently, Laura Bibbo wrote a helpful post on 7 Things to Think About Before You Implement a Fundraising System. Now, here are some things to consider before you move any data into a new system, and a few tips on how to get the conversion process started off right.

Data Mapping

At Heller Consulting, we believe that data mapping is one of the most significant steps in a successful migration. Mapping happens before we begin any other implementation activities. The process involves taking every single field from the old database and mapping it to a field in the new database.

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So You’ve Hired a CRM Administrator…

So you've hired a CRM Administrator, how do you enable them to succeed?

In the opening article of this series we gave our impressions of what are the qualities of a strong CRM Administrator. Several others in the blogosphere have also contributed to this conversation, including Tal Frankfurt at Cloud for Good and Mike Gerholdt at ButtonClick Media.

I’d like to take a moment to talk about some of my own experiences and observations as both a technology manager and consultant working with nonprofit clients varying in size and scope from a dozen employees to many national offices and site locations.

A lot of traits that cut across the posts mentioned above make strong cases for understanding how to identify people who might fill this role for your organization successfully. Too often, by my assessment, these folks are then quickly beleaguered and locked into a battle of both responding to CRM-related requests and explaining what they do to justify their role and responsibilities.

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7 Things to Think About Before You Implement a Fundraising System

7 Things to Think About Before You Implement a Fundraising System

After making the important decision to implement a new fundraising system, there are some key factors to consider before selecting the system, kicking off the project, and implementing the system; and after go-live. I recently interviewed several of Heller Consulting’s implementation consultants for their most practical ideas about ensuring a successful project.

Here are their top tips:

Establish goals and objectives

Before you do anything else, think strategically about the future of your organization. Where are you going? What areas do you want to develop? This is a good time to map out key business processes, as a new system should not be limited by existing processes. Make sure that the fundraising software you select not only fits your current needs, but allows you to grow and meet future needs as well.

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