South High Foundation

The right service provider makes all the difference

An interview with the South High Foundation

The South High Foundation provides financial assistance and support for student programs at South High School located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their goal is to enhance the students’ overall high school experience by funding enrichment activities relationf to their academic, cultural and  extracurricular activities.

Cividesk recently spoke with George Glaros, Director of the Foundation to hear more about his experience using CiviCRM and the benefits of using this cloud solution designed for non-profits.

Before George joined the Foundation, staff managed the organization using an Access database. Two years ago, the foundation decided to switch to CiviCRM with the help of a consultant who implemented the database. Unfortunately, there were some issues with the configuration that prevented the database from working properly. These problems were affecting their ability to communicate with supporters and send out hard copy mailings since there were over 1,300 wrong addresses which needed to be fixed.

George had spoken with Cividesk a few times about their monthly services for hosting and on-going support, but at that point he was very skeptical about CiviCRM due to the issues that he had encountered with the Foundations previous vendors. He felt frustrated and was considering converting back to Access. He had several conversations with Cividesk but wasn’t ready to trust another service provider after having had two negative experiences with other vendors. He reached out to other Cividesk customers who shared their experiences and persuaded him that Cividesk staff would spend time to ensure that the database was functioning correctly and meeting his organization’s needs. “Basically, they would deliver what they promised. Their references were impeccable and I was convinced”, explained George.

When Cividesk transferred South High’s instance of CiviCRM over to their servers, they cleaned up the database in a matter of hours. For the first time in nearly two years, George knows his mailing list of contacts is accurate and he feels comfortable sending correspondence to his supporters. “Cividesk has done when they said they would do and have helped us get back up on our feet with the database. They are responsive and smart and understand working with non-profits.Our mailings to over 12,000 benefactors now produce less than 100 “bad” addresses.”

Currently the Foundation uses CiviCRM for hard copy mailings, emailing contacts, recording donations and event participation. They also track donations and send PDF tax letters to donors at the end of the year. George is planning to have CiviCRM integrated with the Foundation’s QuickBooks and start using CiviCRM to manage South High’s events, such as luncheons and golf outings. South High Foundation is getting ready for a capital fundraising campaign and George knows that CiviCRM will be a great help with that long-term fundraiser. Another goal is to use the online event registration pages so alumni can register for events on the foundation website and also get in touch with other alumni. South High Foundation currently uses a standalone version of CiviCRM that is offered by Cividesk, but would like to migrate to the integrated version of CiviCRM with their CMS . This will allow alumni to log-in and edit their own contact information.

It’s been several months now that South High Foundation has been able to effectively use the database thanks to the help of Cividesk. They are still entering past data and checking data accuracy due to many different users working in CiviCRM during the past two years. However, George is pleased to have a database that allows him to access correct data for mailings and the result is that the Foundation can better accomplish their tasks and fulfill their mission. “It’s a powerful tool but the service provider you choose to work with will make all the difference in the world. In our case, choosing the correct vendor assured that we could use our data. For a non-profit the database is critical so you can reach out to your donors and contributors, that’s how you raise money for your organization. Finding Cividesk made a big difference for us”.

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