JSSA gains better insight and data integrity with a responsive nonprofit CRM

Learn how JSSA consolidated critical donor data into one, holistic system to empower their mission

JSSA is the health and social wellness agency that supports their neighbors facing life’s consequential moments. Serving communities in Montgomery County, MD, northern Virginia, and DC (DMV), their work is built on a commitment to healing their neighbors in the DMV area. Our high-quality services are rooted in caring and designed with their supporters in mind.

The Challenge

Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) found their current CRM was not fundraiser-focused. Information was hard to find and not clearly accessible. 

When Matt Wagner, Development Operations Coordinator, and Ellen Markowitz, Director of Development and Operations joined JSSA, they had no supporting documents for their previous CRM, Salesforce, which had been used by the organization for ten years. By not having proper supporting documentation, Matt and Ellen had no background information on how or why their Salesforce platform was built and any roadmap processes which made it difficult to manage and operate efficiently. 

Additionally, their development and marketing departments had limited staff and resources.  Both teams combined for only 8 team members; they used different email platforms which made it difficult to share information and get a full understanding of engagement.  

The organization was prepared to look for a new CRM as Blackbaud had made it known that Luminate CRM (LCRM) was scheduled to sunset; unfortunately, Blackbaud made the decision to fully sunset LCRM in a short time, forcing organizations like JSSA to speed up their timeline to move to a new provider.  

JSSA needed a software partner that would enable them to be responsive and independent, have full visibility into their donor data, and connect more readily with their loyal donor base. 

The JSSA Development team began an audit with Heller Consulting. They expected to move to Salesforce’s Nonprofit CRM as they wanted flexibility and the ability to integrate with other systems.

After the audit was completed, the team began reaching out to multiple vendors as part of their due diligence. During this process, a couple of vendors suggested looking into Virtuous after hearing about JSSA’s needs. “After looking at Virtuous, we saw at the very beginning that it offered us something that Salesforce was unable to provide – the ability to integrate with multiple systems but also provide that all-in-one platform,” says Ellen. 

How We Helped

Better Insights

“It was better than Salesforce in terms of fundraisers’ seeing the information they wanted to see about a donor. Seeing just contact information upfront and being able to see a donor’s giving history easily is built specifically for fundraisers,” says Ellen.

“Our Chief Development Officer hadn’t felt she saw these functionalities in other systems we were reviewing and felt that Virtuous’ interface was just that – easy, accessible, and holistic.”

Ellen Markowitz, Director of Development and Operations

Virtuous has been a growth partner for JSSA, with a responsive CRM and all-in-one platform that helps them get more out of their efforts.


One of the immediate benefits the JSSA team saw after switching from Salesforce was the accessibility of all their information. No longer was it hidden or inaccessible or causing data integrity issues across the organization. 

Thanks to a partnership with Cedarstone, they were able to help JSSA consolidate data coming from 3-4 independent systems, which added a level of complexity to their data’s integrity. “We were daunted by the complexity of our data. Thanks to Virtuous and Cedarstone, we were able to make good use of that data and upload it correctly. Cedarstone helped provide the needed support to ensure we experienced a smooth transition and started a new database with clean, accurate date,” says Matt. 

“Virtuous’s back-end is extremely accessible in a lot of ways that other systems are not with the ability to upload data. We did get a lot of help from Cedarstone. We could not have done it ourselves and they continue to be a good partner for us. For me, being able to upload data easily and create custom fields was a big selling point,” says Ellen. 

An All-in-One Platform

Virtuous is designed for nonprofits. “Virtuous delivers what we want. It gives us the comfort of email, fundraising, and automation, all-in-one. But it also gives us the flexibility to add on additional functionalities we may need in a couple more years.” 

An additional benefit for the JSSA Development team was the easy-to-use email platform. They can create emails without having to be an expert in HTML. Now that their email marketing is housed inside their nonprofit CRM, Ellen and Matthew’s team can see email metrics associated with each email sent – open rates, click rates, and seeing that information on a donor’s record. 

Using Virtuous CRM and email together has streamlined processes and donor communications for JSSA’s Development team. 

“Now we can do more welcome series for specific donor groups. It’s enabled us to work more closely with our fundraising, development, and marketing teams – something we weren’t able to do previously.”

Ellen Markowitz, Director of Development and Operations

Future Growth

Many of JSSA’s donors are legacy supporters and have been generational donors since the organization was founded 130 years ago. The Development team is eager to expand their supporters to reach new audiences that may benefit from their services – especially in mental health. 

Beyond reaching new audiences, especially younger givers like Millennials and Gen Z – Matt and Ellen are excited about leveraging more of Virtuous’ fundraising tools.

“We recently conducted a direct mail acquisition for the first time for our Holocaust Survivor Program and we’re looking at how we want to engage with them after they’ve donated”, says Ellen. 

The future is bright for JSSA and in their partnership with Virtuous and Cedarstone as they continue to adopt the responsive fundraising model at their organization. 

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Grow generosity with Virtuous.

Virtuous is the responsive fundraising software platform proven to help nonprofit organizations increase generosity by serving all donors personally, no matter their gift size.

“Virtuous truly understands nonprofits and the importance of our mission. And their open access to data and built-in custom reports gave us access to the data we need.”
Todd Shinabarger
Chief Information Officer