Catholic Extension increased fundraising efficiency and effectiveness

How migration from Blackbaud Raiser's Edge to Virtuous increased their fundraising efficiency

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Catholic Extension is a fundraising organization that helps ensure that all Catholics can practice their faith within vibrant faith communities.

The Challenge

Disjointed Teams and Efficiencies

The development team at Catholic Extension is the largest department in the organization. Fundraisers are distributed across the U.S. In order to work together efficiently and effectively, they needed a CRM that everyone could use that allowed them to track their progress in detail, automate manual processes, and segment their donors appropriately.

Unfortunately, their previous CRM, Raiser’s Edge, didn’t meet these requirements. Automations weren’t possible and reporting was clunky. Furthermore, the team wanted to start tracking donor data more precisely.  Madeleine Marchaterre, Senior Manager of Development, explains: “We knew that annual giving was probably the most important piece in terms of choosing a new database, because even though it’s not going to be the bulk of our fundraising by dollars, it is the highest volume, given the number of gifts and the number of donors that we need to manage, track, and reach out to.”

System Limitations

Moreover, the limits of a server-based system were becoming a problem. “We have people working in offices in various places across the U.S., and we had difficulties with accessing our other database. We had server issues,” says Madeleine. “Moving to the cloud and gaining ease of access for everyone who needed to use the database, whether it’s a gift officer in New York, or Florida, or California, was huge for us because it was getting to be a bit of a barrier.”

In addition to needing modern, cloud-based software, the Catholic Extension team was also looking for a solution that was more cost-effective than Raiser’s Edge. “We do need to watch how we spend our money,” says Madeleine. After researching their options, Catholic Extension chose Virtuous.

A group of Catholic Extension parishioners attend a religious service

How We Helped

More Visibility, Greater Efficiency

“I was surprised when Virtuous was on our shortlist,” says Madeleine. “I just kind of assumed because we used Raiser’s Edge that we would go with a bigger company. But having an open mind to consider new platforms and taking time to strategize about how a CRM is going to fit an organization’s goals is really crucial. I think Virtuous has a great deal to offer: it’s cost-effective, it’s cloud-based, easy to navigate, and the responsiveness of the support team is a huge plus for anyone looking at a CRM.”

After switching to Virtuous, Catholic Extension was able to pursue its goals more effectively. “Our move to Virtuous coincided with a desire to track more carefully and segment our annual giving appeals,” Madeleine explains. “Virtuous made it possible for us to create dashboards that allow us to track revenue and the success of different segments more closely, in real-time. Before, we had cumbersome monthly reports.” Tracking more closely, with clear analytics and appropriate segmentation, gives a better, clearer picture of the data and makes Catholic Extension more nimble in engaging their donors.

“Virtuous has a great deal to offer. It’s cost-effective, cloud-based, and the responsiveness of the support team is a huge plus for anyone looking at a CRM.”

– Madeleine Marchaterre, Senior Manager of Development

Less Time on Admin, More on Donor Relationships

With Virtuous, the team at Catholic Extension can spend less time on tedious admin tasks. “Now there are a lot of things we can do that weren’t functional in Raiser’s Edge the way they are in Virtuous,” says Madeleine. “For instance, if someone’s title is ‘Father’ or ‘Sister’ we can automatically tag them as belonging to a religious community–nobody’s doing that manually.

We can manage portfolios through the use of tags and automation. We can send out daily birthday emails or alert gift officers when new gifts come in from their donors. Having automation do these tasks for us frees up our time for higher-level operations and improves our donor relationships.”

Streamlined and Efficient Processes

Virtuous is easier to use across the team. “It’s easier to extract information, find information, and see information across the system. Being able to move through the system very seamlessly is of high value to every user,” says Madeleine. “The overview page means every user is aware of all touchpoints on a donor from what segments were mailed, visits made, gifts received, contact info changed. A holistic snapshot of a donor is right in front of your eyes with one click and that’s a gold mine in a CRM.”

With a team of more than 25 people, streamlining is important. “More people can do more in Virtuous than our previous software,” Madeleine says. “More people run their own queries and pull their own portfolios. Before, major gift officers would ask me to pull their portfolios for them, so having them be able to do that themselves is a huge advantage. A few gift officers even import their own notes.”

With Virtuous, Catholic Extension is no longer subject to server issues. “The cloud-based system definitely made it easier,” she says. “It can be accessed anywhere, which has been one of the biggest upgrades for us. Gift officers add information to the system sooner and more regularly because they can do it on the road.”

Better Results

Combining new processes for donor data and communication with a new, responsive platform is getting good results. “Virtuous isn’t a stumbling block to any of the things we’re trying to do, it enhances what we’re trying to do. It allows us to track key metrics more closely and carefully. Synching Virtuous to dashboards has provided insights and an updated revenue forecast on a daily basis. We never had that immediate window before, moreover, it has forever changed how we work. Now, we quickly know which mail pieces are having some success. Gift officers can see their pipeline and their revenue forecast,” says Madeleine. “Our move to Virtuous coincided with an organizational mandate to achieve more visibility into our results, and I think the move to Virtuous is an integral part of our success.”

With Virtuous, the city network leaders are no longer wrangling a giant spreadsheet. “Virtuous allows us to give access to each of those leaders, in each of those 25 cities. They each have their own group based on their city networks, with real-time updated information,” says Paige.

“It’s easier to extract information for building reports from Virtuous. It’s easier to search for information and being able to move through the system very seamlessly is of high value to every user.”

– Madeleinen Marchaterre, Senior Manager of Development
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