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PairSoft • October 12, 2023
Norfolk State University, a public Historically Black College and University (HBCU), sits on a beautiful 134-acre campus in Norfolk, Virginia. As a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Virginia High-Tech Partnership, giving is a huge element of NSU’s programs, from its University Foundation to its Alumni Relations and beyond.
NSU’s engagement with PairSoft goes back almost a decade, when the university was seeking a way to minimize paper-based processes and reduce the manual process of searching through piles of paper-based accordion files that didn’t allow them timely access donor records. “We basically did not have any form of electronic storage for saving documents in our department,” recalls Misti Goodson, Director of Development Services and Stewardship.
Through PaperSave, PairSoft’s natively integrated fundraising and document management solution in Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT, NSU saw a way to both eliminate their filing cabinets and be able to pull up gift records in their Blackbaud setup within seconds – for example, if a donor designated the wrong fund or decided to change gift their allocation (which happens frequently), and if auditors and departmental directors needed detailed information on larger gifts.
As a Blackbaud Strategic Partner of more than 20 years, PairSoft was able to expertly connect NSU’s Raiser’s Edge NXT setup with PaperSave for seamless centralization of their constituent records, financial documents, and compliance documents for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Goodson’s department went from a well-oiled yet paper-based machine to a full-on fundraising powerhouse, with the ability to oversee every gift and resolve donor errors in one interaction: “If they say, ‘Hey, my acknowledgement letter isn’t right,’ I can easily go through their constituent record to pull the check number or see the actual document – because they may say, ‘I gave to XYZ fund,’ and I can tell them that their check memo said they gave to ‘areas of greatest need.’ However, it’s not a problem [to change it].”
Similarly, Goodson’s department became huge fans of PaperSave’s thumbnail feature, which grants them the ability to instantly find and capture necessary pieces of information even if the document is 100-plus pages long. “You cannot get these features inside of the standard Blackbaud setup,” Goodson emphasizes.
Of NSU’s many rewards with PaperSave’s Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge integration, one of the most prescient was the way in which the university’s Development Services department was able to conduct business as usual regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic, which debilitated thousands of other universities and organizations.
Because NSU’s partnership with PairSoft had begun years before the pandemic hit the world in 2020, the team was used to cloud-based processes that could be – and had to be – conducted remotely. “During COVID, with me and my entire staff being home-based, it made it easier to communicate about gift processes…and to actually see the documentation on our screens.”
In fact, the NSU giving team’s love of PaperSave today has remained so strong that they’ve tripled the amount of user seats available to accommodate its frequent usage. “My gift processing team keeps PaperSave open all day because we’re just always doing stuff in it,” Goodson describes. “We initially only had it for three or four seats, but now we have 12 or 13 available, because that many people are using it on any given day.”
During COVID, with me and my entire staff being home-based, it made it easier to communicate about gift processes…and to actually see the documentation on our screens.
Misti Goodson, Norfolk State University
Director of Development Services and Stewardship