Improving Communications and Donor Relations
Advocate Charitable Foundation (ACF) is the fund-raising arm of Advocate Healthcare, a not-for-profit organization made up of more than 200 sites of care, including eight hospitals and two children’s hospitals in the Chicagoland area.
ACF has great success raising funds in support of Advocate’s mission to improve the health status of the communities it serves. However, processing more than 20,000 gifts every year for multiple hospitals and hundreds of programs can have it challenges.
Though the organization had been using The Raiser’s Edge™, fundraising and donor management software from Blackbaud, for more than a dozen years, it wasn’t a big help when it came to allowing employees at multiple locations to access and share documents related to donors and prospects.
“Information would either be in our central filing room or at one of our sites, so no one could see everything relevant for most of our constituents,” says Mitchell Gibbs, Vice President of Advancement Services. They also felt that important information wasn’t being leveraged because it was only stored with gift entry batches. There was one other major issue: “Structural engineers said our file room was in danger of a floor collapse!”
Gibbs began entertaining the thought of implementing an imaging system. “I even tried to cobble one together,” he admitted. Before a recent Blackbaud conference, Gibbs said he saw a mention of PaperSave. “We thought, wouldn’t that be cool? But we didn’t think we could possibly afford it,” he said. An ACF employee who attended the conference came away impressed.
They found that the cost was reasonable. A number of ACF staff were hesitant; especially surrounding gift processing, where the procedures were already established. “But we found that our staff ended up really liking it and were able to integrate it into our workflows, rather than having to adapt to the way PaperSave worked,” he said. “It’s definitely very easy. Installation was extremely painless. it’s actually allowed us to automate parts of our month end process, saving hours of work.” He also mentioned ACF now enjoys improved workflow and controls. “It’s dramatically improved our communication within our teams.”
No business is perfect, and Gibbs admits ACF sometimes deals with situations wherein donors have concerns about their gifts being misdirected. He said PaperSave has helped them to respond to donor questions immediately instead of having to get back to them after digging through archives. “On a number of occasions it has helped our donors feel more confident in their decision to give.” Gibbs said he is pleased that PaperSave has become part of ACF’s team: “More than any other product I’ve implemented in my career, met or exceeded our expectations.”