How This Nonprofit Director Finally Found A Donor Management System She Loves
Learning Community Charter School’s (LCCS) mission is to help students acquire the strong academic skills and deep social-emotional tools they need to be an important voice in their community. At LCCS, children excel in education through their CIRCLE values: community, independence, respect, leadership, and effort.
Founded by parents and educators in 1997, LCCS currently serves more than 600 PreK-8th grade students in Jersey City, New Jersey. More than 35% of those students come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Because of funding inequities, LCCS students receive $7,000 less per student per year in state funding. Despite those barriers to success, LCCS was recently named among the top 94th percentile of all schools statewide.
Friends of the Learning Community Charter School (FOLCCS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support for the school. The organization has a small development team, which Jennifer Hughes, the Development and Communications Director, called “mostly a one-person show with some additional volunteers to help out.” Because LCCS is a tuition-free school and the students receive less public funding from the state, Hughes and her team need to make up the rest of the funds they need through fundraising.
When Hughes joined the team, FOLCCS was using a different donor management solution. Because four to five people held Hughes’ role over the years, there was no consistency in how donor data was managed.
“Our data was a mess,” Hughes says.
Searching For A More Affordable And User-friendly Platform
Hughes says their previous donor management solution wasn’t intuitive or user-friendly. Nothing worked the way she expected or wanted it to. When she switched to Bloomerang, she says the experience was like “the difference between a BlackBerry and iPhone.”
Although she looked at other donor management solutions like DonorPerfect, she said it wasn’t a hard decision to choose Bloomerang.
“The second I opened up Bloomerang and saw the way it interfaced, I said, ‘This is it.’ It looks fantastic. It’s sharp. It’s modern. It’s fresh,” she says. “The things I needed were right on the dashboard. The steps to get there were two clicks versus 10. I love opening it up.”
It also helped that Bloomerang was a more affordable option. The price point of their previous donor management solution was “very high.” According to Hughes, it was “very frustrating to realize we were spending a lot of money on a program that we didn’t like using.”
Help Students Acquire Strong Academic Skills and Deep Social-Emotional Tools
Hughes needed less of what she called an “aggravation factor.” She wanted her job to be “simple,” which meant finding a donor management solution that does what she wants. Here’s how Bloomerang helped FOLCCS save more time, raise more funds, and do more good–all while making her job less complicated than before.
Save More Time
“I want to spend my energy on the ways I can find new donors, find new supporters, bring people into the school. That’s where I want to spend my energy. I don’t want to spend my energy figuring out how to run reports.”
With the help of Bloomerang’s Support team, it now takes four minutes to solve a problem that would previously have taken half an hour to figure out.
Hughes says, “It’s like having your own staff. There’s someone there to help you.”
Raise More Funds
With Bloomerang, donors have the ability to elect to pay processing fees. This is a “game-changer” for FOLCCS. In the first eight months, they saved $329.
“That’s a Chromebook for a student,” she says. “That’s just free money for us. We can funnel it right back into the school.”
Half of their sustaining donors are opting to cover the processing fees every month.
Do More Good
The time and energy that they used to spend managing donors is now being used to find new ways to serve students. Now they can spend 20 minutes making a fundraising phone call instead of trying to figure out how to run one report or spend 45 minutes meeting with students and addressing their needs instead of trying to get in touch with a support team.
Redefining Donor Management Love
"When’s the last time you heard someone say they love their donor management system?"
Jennifer HughesDevelopment and Communications Director
Finding A Donor Management Solution They Love
“When’s the last time you heard someone say they love their donor management system?” asks Hughes. “But I do. It’s gone from something that’s a chore to something that I look forward to doing. Almost every time I want the program to do something, it can do it. It’s almost like it has a brain. It’s almost like it anticipates what you want.”
For more on how Bloomerang can help your nonprofit organization move its mission forward, learn more about our donor management tools.