The Center for Community Arts has big dreams, and they are determined to fulfill them.
Last year, "we got a lease from the City of Cape May on an old segregated school. We got it designated a New Jersey African-American Historic Site, " says Judy Austermiller, the Development Director for the Center.
Then earlier this year, "we finally got a large grant to hire an Executive Director. We're about seven years old, but we were an all-volunteer organization until then."
Now, they are in a $2 million capital campaign to restore the historic school for use as a community cultural center. "It's a big leap for what was a grass roots organization with a $50,000 budget. I knew that we needed to get quite sophisticated about our individual donor database. I wanted to be able to manage it from the get go, and manage it well. That's why we decided at this early stage to do something."
What she did was embark on a thorough review of the donor software options. "First I talked to the Development Director at a large arts organization here in town. She was in the process of making the decision on what new program they would use. She shared all her research with me, including the sample disks that she got. They ended up going with a $10,000 program. The other programs that were more in our price range were hard to play around with. They didn't have that intutive sense to them."
So she looked further. "I used to be on the board of another organization, the Highlander Center. The Development Director there had picked FundRaiser. I talked to her about her use of the program, and to the current person who is managing the database at Highlander. They loved it, and loved the tech support and found it simple to use; simple to tailor to their needs."
Also, Judy talked to Kim Klein from the Grassroots Fundraising Journal. FundRaiser "was one of the ones that she said worked well for smaller non-profits, grass roots organizations."
She purchased FundRaiser Professional, and started using it at the Center. "I'm not someone who has learned a database program. Still, learning the program, very easy. "
Like many organizations, its office staff do most of the day-to-day work with the program. At the Center, Yvonne, their part-time office manager "really got it up and running even before I learned it," said Judy. "She's just been learning as she's been going. She's found it very easy and likes using the program."
For the most part, "we've really learned it ourselves." But when "we ran into a couple problems, I called and got plenty of help. I can't say enough about the accessibility of the tech person and the software developer."
FundRaiser Software is proud to have been choosen after such a thorough evaluation process. We strive at all times to live up to our promise-- to be an intuitive, powerful, affordable program, with the most responsive and knowledgeable staff around.
Center for Community Arts in Cape May, New Jersey, is a multicultural organization whose mission is to foster tolerance, inclusiveness, and creativity through the arts and humanities.