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Come Rain, Shine or Nor'easter, American Rescue Workers Offer Crucial Assistance

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It’s been a tough winter in eastern United States. Happily, there are nonprofits who help keep people safe. American Rescue Workers in Williamsport, Pennsylvania is one, providing emergency assistance in the way of food, shelter, counseling, and more. 

Their mission is to give spiritual and material aid to those in need. New development director Valerie Fessler is busy fundraising in the community as well as working behind the scenes to build an even stronger program.

Even as Valerie and I spoke about her decision to upgrade to the Hosted version of FundRaiser Spark, another nor’easter storm was blowing to the north of Williamsport, but happily was passing them by this time. The upgrade to Spark Hosted was one of her first decisions as a new development director. She decided to move to Spark Hosted so she could access the data wherever and whenever she wanted.

Although Spark was at the organization when she arrived, it wasn’t being used much. Valerie, who had a strong background in fundraising in her previous work, has been expanding the use of Spark. So far, she has used it to send direct mail pieces, to identify potential donors for an ongoing capital campaign, and to pull many reports. She looks forward to utilizing the pledge feature in Fundraiser Spark as the fundraising program grows. “Right now the organization is incredibly fortunate to have many generous annual donors, but these gifts are not commitments that American Rescue Workers can plan on annually for budgeting purposes. I want to connect with those donors so the organization can have some multi-year commitments on the books,” says Valerie.

To help her identify prospects for those multi-year commitments, Valerie has been using the reporting features of Spark. “The report I am using the most is on Active donors that have given over a certain amount in the last 3 years,” says Valerie.

Before coming to American Rescue Workers, Valerie worked at a large rural hospital and a college. “I had experience with a complicated database. It was very costly every year. When I began working at American Rescue Workers, I wondered if Spark could really have what I needed. When I got into it, I was pleased to learn that it can do everything that I need now, and often in a more user friendly way. As our fundraising program grows, I am glad that I can move up the FundRaiser product line,” she says.

At my previous jobs, there had always had a team of capable people who did the database work, so doing this with just myself and our secretary has been a huge change. In the past I could make data requests of the team and remain largely hands-off in reporting and exporting,” she says. “I’m finding Spark very user friendly and am so grateful that Fundraiser support has been with me every step of the way.”

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