When Ann Hyatt began working at Legal Services of the Hudson Valley as the new Director of Development & External Relations, she was determined to bring the agency to a new level. LSHV provides civil legal services for low income people in seven counties in the New York Metropolitan area. Despite its success over the years, LSHV was able to serve only a small percentage of those who needed their help. Hyatt quickly embarked on a capital campaign with a goal of raising a million dollars to hire additional attorneys.
Hyatt has extensive experience as a development professional, and she knew what she needed to succeed. "Before an organization begins a campaign, they have to have software in place and someone who knows how to use the software. You need to be highly organized. You need to know who your prospects are, who your donors are. You need to be able to keep track of pledges. Thank you letters have to be sent out immediately. In order to play in the big time, and obtain large gifts, you need to have a professional operation."
Although she had always used Raiser’s Edge at her previous jobs, it was not available at LSHV. She found FundRaiser Basic on a computer and looked it over. She liked what she saw and upgraded to FundRaiser Select.
She feels she was fortunate. "With Raiser’s Edge, you always had to have someone dedicated to working on the system, because it’s so complicated. If someone who is not a computer technician works on the program, it can easily be messed up. Here, I didn’t have the support staff. FundRaiser works for me because I can do it. I could use Raiser’s Edge to look up donors, but I couldn’t actually do the work in it."
She’s kept her campaign tracking simple. "We work mostly through the codes. We mark a campaign gift with a code. We also use the donor solicitor code, and we use the note section a lot."
She’s been working on the campaign for about a year, and doing well. As of now, they are more than half way to their goal, at $677,000 towards the million. She also has a part-time person now to help her input information into FundRaiser, and remains grateful for the ease of use.
Capital Campaigns and FundRaiser Software, by Larry Weaver