Bad past experience
Before switching to FundRaiser, WJIE was using an online donor management system. After losing connection to their database several times during a major campaign, they urgently needed to bring their database in-house. For WJIE, losing connection at that time was a fundraising crisis.
“We do two major fundraisers a year," says Calvin Bader, Engineer at WJIE. "They run a full week and are intense. People call in 14 hours a day and we are entering names and donations into the software the entire time. With our previous software, their servers went down during one of our fundraisers. We couldn’t access the software. We were waiting on them to get their servers back up.”
Trying something new
WJIE switched to FundRaiser Select with the Donor Portal. The Donor Portal gives donors online access, but the actual data is offline and in-house, in FundRaiser Select installed on the a local computer. “FundRaiser is local on our machine so we don’t have to worry about the internet connection going down,” says Calvin.
This spring they did their first fundraising drive with FundRaiser. During their live radio Shar-a-thon they used FundRaiser Select and the Donor Portal. “Everything worked well,” says Calvin. “We were in the software 14 hours a day without any major connectivity issues, and without any major software issues. The software met our needs.”
“The people entering the information were very pleased with the system. We were able to find existing donor accounts quickly and enter the new pledges and donations quickly. In our previous system, you had to re-enter everything about a donor for each donation. With FundRaiser, we hit ‘I want to enter a new donation’ and then we’re done. It saved us a lot of time,” says Calvin. “This year, we finished entering donation details half an hour after the fundraising drive was over. With the previous software, a volunteer was still entering donations days after the Shar-a-thon was over.”
Automatic donor thank you’s
Acknowledging donations through the donor portal was simple, too. “As soon as a donor makes a contribution through the donor portal, I have it automatically send them a thank you letter. We were able to customize the letter. They receive that email almost immediately with their name, address, and gift that they’ve made, and how they made it. In the previous software we had to go in and initiate that. We could see the donation that had come in, but it was very difficult,” says Calvin.
Easy to learn and use
“Everyone in our company that has used it has said that the software is easier. In the FundRaiser Donor Portal everything is simple and easy to set up. In the old software, when we wanted to create a new motivation code we had to create that in four different areas, or you couldn’t see it online.”
“The FundRaiser Donor Portal is laid out very intuitively,” says Calvin. “We just jumped right in. It was easy enough that we could learn it on our own, with calls as needed to technical support.”
Moving data from one system to another
When asked what tip he’d pass on to other people interested in using FundRaiser with the Donor Portal, Calvin urged other users to consider the best way of getting data out of their previous software and into FundRaiser. “My biggest fear was losing data on the transfer. We have almost 7000 donors in our database. If we lose any of those records in conversion, we are going to hurt ourselves. We were able to do it ourselves. We got all of our information over in a very efficient way, even though the old software was horrible for exporting data. It was a nightmare to get our names out of the old software. If we had it to do over, I would probably look at having the FundRaiser data conversion team do it for us, or sit down and talk about what options the Pro version has that might make import easier.”
Bridging the online - offline gap
FundRaiser with the Donor Portal gave WJIE the best of both worlds – data securely kept in-house, and online options for donors that integrate smoothly with the offline database.