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Challenger Center

In the aftermath of the Challenger space shuttle accident in 1986, the crew’s families came together, firmly committed to the belief that they must carry on the spirit of their loved ones by continuing the Challenger crew’s educational mission. Their efforts resulted in the creation of Challenger Center.

Challenger Center and its global network of Challenger Learning Centers use simulated learning and role-playing strategies to help students bring their classroom studies to life and cultivate skills needed for future success, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork.


Challenger Center for Space Science Education did their due diligence while looking for a simple and flexible donor management system. They wanted to streamline their data and ditch complexity by downsizing from Blackbaud.

“I have grown to love Bloomerang. It is by far the simplest, cleanest system I have used. It has everything a typical fundraising shop needs — but not so much that it’s overwhelming,” said Valerie Fitton-Kane, Director of Development & Partnerships at Challenger Center for Space Science Education.


Challenger Center had finally found a simple system to help with reporting, classifying transactions (e.g., funds, campaigns, appeals), and recording interactions (e.g., email blasts). The ability to integrate seamlessly with their website was also a must-have in a new system. “I love the seamless integration with our website and the reporting functionality.”

The ability to fundraise to and segment their donor communications based on different audiences are what originally drew Challenger Center to Bloomerang. They wanted to be able to capture activity and revenue related to all four of their target audiences to segment within their donor database. “For institutional funders (government, corporations, and foundations) and major donors (individuals), we track our activities using the Note functionality and some custom fields we created for prospect tracking. For grassroots donors (individuals), we utilize Bloomerang’s mass email functionality and the online giving form integration for our website. We also use the upload functionality to capture interactions that involve physical mailings, and we are starting to experiment with the event registration functionality.”

Not only that, but by going with Bloomerang, Challenger Center could enjoy free customer support, and could rest easy knowing that customer feedback is taken into consideration in the Bloomerang product roadmap. “One of the things I love most is the fabulous customer service we’ve had and the constant improvement of the system by the developers.”


Valerie and her team have benefitted from Bloomerang’s custom fields for donor data segmentation, seamless website integration for online giving forms, and mass email functionality. “Bloomerang’s embedded mass email functionality and online giving form is so much better than many of the bigger systems such as Raiser’s Edge and Salesforce. These features are easy to use and seamlessly integrated so that the not only are the interactions and transactions are automatically recorded as ‘touches’ by the system, you can also see more information about their impact.”

With Bloomerang’s built-in donor communication functionality and analytics, Valerie is better able to segment her communications, AND she has more insights into what resonates with their donors. “Not only do I know that someone received my email sent via Bloomerang, I can see if they opened it, too. We are touching our donors more and with higher quality and more impactful communications now that we know so much about what resonates with them. I know this is having an impact on our dollars raised.”

Having Bloomerang in place continues to help lighten the load for Valerie and her team as donor records are automatically updated. “Bloomerang records a lot of interactions automatically, which reduces the burden on our team to update records and it ensures we have better data about who is engaging with us and what is resonating. Our communications and appeals continue to improve as we learn from the data Bloomerang captures.”

It’s amazing what a donor segmentation-friendly, uncomplicated tool can do for the growth of an organization such as the Challenger Center for Space Science Education.

“Bloomerang has everything you need in a donor database. It’s easy to use and offers powerful customization.”