When Jan Perkins began work at Lutheran Mideast Development, she urgently needed a low cost, easy-to-use database. The one the organization had been using was no longer in service, due to a computer crash. It was a custom written program with no support or HELP file to get it running again.
Lutheran Mideast Development ministers to the Kurds in Turkey. The organization’s work focuses on Kurdish women and children who have been impacted by war. Lutheran Mideast Development is a FundRaiser Select user who started out with FundRaiser Basic.
Starting with FundRaiser Basic
"When I started working here, we had this Access program and couldn’t get back into it,” explains Jan, financial director for Lutheran Mideast Development. “I went to the internet and typed in fundraising software. FundRaiser Basic came up in the list. I thought, ‘we can handle that low fee!’ We needed it immediately and could download it right off the internet and be on our way.”
She liked Basic. “Basic is so easy and very user friendly. We were able to export the old files into FundRaiser. I could jump right in and use the software.”
Pledges, reports and major donors
After Lutheran Mideast Development had been using Basic for awhile, the organization’s fundraising activities expanded. “We started to get pledges. We wanted to track them using the software,” explains Jan. She decided to move to FundRaiser Select which has a special module for tracking pledges. “The pledge module has been working great for us,” she says.
In addition, the expanded reports section in Select was important to Jan. “We are able to get so many different reports. We can sort on so many more criteria than I could in Basic.
As a result, we’ve been able to target some of our largest donors. That has paid off.”
What is it like to adjust to Select after using Basic?
“The transition from Basic to Select was smooth for us. I just had to move a file from Basic to Select. Then I was set to go and on I went.”
Jan did have some adjustments. “Select is different from Basic because it is set up with a series of windows. In Basic it is mostly all in one window. In Select, first I start out on the master list. Then I go into the gifts window. I need to save each time I change windows, and that took a little time to get used to.”
Now she says, “Select flows so well. The feature windows are set up in a row and you just work your way along. You don’t have to figure out any special navigation.”
To buy Select, Lutheran Mideast Development made use of the no interest payment plan. “We were given the option of paying on a monthly basis instead of having to come up with that lump sum. That worked out so well with our cash flow,” says Jan.
Keeping up with your organization’s growth
“Basic is great to start out with, especially if you have never used a fundraising database before, but Select will grow your organization better. You get extensive reporting. You can customize your reports and track your incoming funds so well. It was a great move for us. We were able to track our pledges. It has all the reminder letters, and all the automatic stuff. I love that. You have so many more capabilities,” says Jan.