From Raiser’s Edge to CiviCRM: A Case Study

June 02, 2011
This case study was written by Eliet Henderson, the Development Director at San Francisco Baykeeper, a small nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting San Francisco Bay from pollution. Baykeeper has an annual budget of $750,000 and eight staff members, two of which handle outreach, communications and fundraising. Eliet manages outreach, online communications, publications and events.

In 2010, San Francisco Baykeeper was suffering from disparate fundraising and communication systems. We were using:

  • Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge as an offline donor database, which cost $2,500 annually.
  • Email Now from Network for Good for mass email, at a cost of $30 a month.
  • A custom database to collect online donations. The online donation pages couldn’t be customized without outside programming expertise, so they largely remained static.
  • The same system for ticket sales to one or two major donor events a year. We paid about $1,000 per event to customize the ticket sale page.
  • Various third-party vendors to host personal fundraising pages, which cost about $1,000 in processing fees per recreational fundraising events, which we held twice a year.

With no integration among these systems, we spent a lot of staff time manually entering donations into Raiser’s Edge and transferring data from Raiser’s Edge to Email Now. Without the functionality to customize online donation pages, we couldn’t conduct effective online fundraising. We also were spending a lot of money on event registration pages.

Further, because there was no integration between the contact database and the email database, we couldn’t track donors’ email activity, nor could we do email fundraising. We had no way to segment email communications based on giving history – such as differentiating between donors and non-donors – so we had no ability to, for instance, run a campaign to convert new email subscribers into donors. Meanwhile we were forced to try to cultivate our existing online donors through physical mailings, which is both costly and not very effective.

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About fblauer

Fred Blauer is a senior consultant with more than 20 years of experience providing information systems consulting, ERP implementation, syste
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