From 2006 – 2013, nonprofit arts fundraising was my day job, with much of my time spent putting on fundraising events, managing patron databases (Tessitura, Exceed! [exclamation mark is sic, though I am passionate about databases], and CiviCRM), cultivating relationships with members and major donors, and writing grants, reports, letters, and many other communications. In that time, I raised roughly $2.4 million for Seattle-area arts nonprofits.
Like many fundraising professionals, I had lots of experience in multiple development positions, either because of department turnover (covering to make sure work gets done) or because of department size (i.e., I AM the development department). One area in which I’ve become particularly strong is data management.
One of my biggest projects at Richard Hugo House, my most recent employer, was to oversee the movement from multiple out-of-date databases and mailing lists that didn’t talk to each other (for example: students’ membership discount data wasn’t automatically updated in the registration database; donors’ class histories were not in the same system as their donation histories; mailing opt-out preferences were scattered to the winds, etc.) to a single, comprehensive, online-accessible system during the summer and fall of 2011.
I was the staff lead for the project, working with a consulting company to export, clean, standardize, and import old data; set up new workflows for class registration, accounting, office management, and donor recognition systems; educate staff and community on how to use the new system (and then act as the helpdesk for troubleshooting); and generally empower Hugo House staff (and community members, since they could now access their accounts online) to take ownership of their data.
Consolidating many systems and processes meant immediate savings of more than $100/month on email list management costs, outdated webhosting costs, point-of-sale device rental and credit card fees (we moved to a cheaper online alternative), not to mention saving on staff time by jettisoning double- and triple-entry methods. Money is now also directly deposited into the Hugo House bank account (instead of needing to be passed between multiple employees for recording in separate systems before being deposited).
Read about my grantwriting and corporate communications experience on my Writing page.