Grand 7 Detroit was started by leadership at Harvest Christian Church in 2013 and named “Build It Detroit” in an effort to restore the neighborhood around the church. It has been relaunched as Grand 7 Detroit, to better reflect our commitment to the neighborhood near the intersection of Grand River and Seven Mile. Grand 7 Detroit is building a vibrant, thriving community near the intersection of Grand River and Seven Mile in Detroit.
Grand 7 Detroit was looking for a more formal and robust way to track constituents, handle online donations, track giving records and patterns, run reports, and send out email updates through a donor CRM. It was time to make the investment. “When I started at G7D, there was no system in place at all to keep track of donors or even contacts. Although we had already led multiple volunteer events and taken some donations, there were only paper records of those people’s contact info. I knew this would not help us grow so I started looking for a digital system. I first used a free software that I was familiar with, but it did not have much capability for an organization and I knew we were going to have to find something more robust. I needed a system that could track constituents’ contact info, take donations online, track giving records and patterns, run reports, and send out email updates. I looked at 3 or 4 programs online and felt that Bloomerang was the best fit for G7D’s size and budget. They had options specifically made for start-up nonprofits and I liked that it was web-based so I didn’t have to worry about backing it up. At that time I had no idea how amazing their online support would be!” said Leigh Fehr, Development Director at Grand 7 Detroit.
Leigh was initially drawn to Bloomerang’s ease of use and affordable price point but has come to appreciate the friendly and knowledgeable customer support team more and more since getting set up. “I was originally drawn to the lower price packages that were available for a small organization like G7D. I also liked that the system looked easy to use since I would be doing all the updates. Now that I am using Bloomerang, what I love the most is the support! I often use the chat support and get help very quickly. I have also watched and read many online tutorials. Even more amazing is all the webinars that teach invaluable lessons on using the software.”
The team at Grand 7 Detroit was also excited to see improvements with their donor retention and gift development processes by being able to keep better track of their constituent data. “G7D uses Bloomerang primarily to track all its constituents. That includes keeping their contact info all in one place, tracking their donations, sending them updates via email blasts and snail-mail, and sending year-end tax receipts. ON top of that, we also use Bloomerang (and its partners) to take online donations via credit card and EFT.”
An additional big-picture benefit to Grand 7 Detroit came in the form of Bloomerang’s integration with Benevon, a sustainable development model. “One of the other benefits for us is Bloomerang’s partnership with Benevon. G7D decided to use Benevon as a development model even before we chose Bloomerang as our software. Having a system that works with that model means keeping us on track with connecting and following up with contacts and giving us a picture of how we are doing.”
Leigh is happy to tout Bloomerang’s training, online webinars and resources, and built-in customer support as reasons to recommend it as a top donor management system for public benefit organizations like theirs. “For a small start-up like G7D, Bloomerang’s excellent support system is huge as the learning curve is pretty big. Like me, most Development Directors for super small orgs need a lot of help and training. This is all available through Bloomerang’s weekly webinars and online support. You can become a great Development Director simply by tuning into these valuable resources.”
Since implementing Bloomerang, Grand 7 Detroit has gained power over their data and has benefited from making informed decisions. “Once we switched to Bloomerang, we were able to begin tracking our constituents including all our volunteers. Without a great deal of time, we could input spreadsheets of info into the system and know that the contact info could be easily accessible. This makes following up with donors and volunteers much easier!” And since increasing their efficiency and gaining better access to their data, Leigh and his team have been able to benefit from raising more money. “Before using Bloomerang, donors could only give by check. Now, we receive online donations by credit card and from bank accounts. This means more donations and easier tracking.” In addition to high number growth, the team at Grand 7 Detroit has also seen improvements in the quality and frequency of their constituent communications. “Before Bloomerang, we weren’t sending out any updates to our contacts. With Bloomerang, this is relatively easy to do via email or mass mailing if we choose.” All in all, it’s amazing what a simple and innovative donor database can do for the growth of an organization such as Grand 7 Detroit.