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YMCA of Rock River Valley

At the Y, strengthening the community is our cause. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive.

Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs, services and relationships that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.


YMCA of Rock River Valley was looking for an affordable donor management solution with strong customer support and robust reporting capabilities to help them achieve their mission. “As a development professional who came to the Y from outside of the Y, I was often frustrated by the lack of robust, reliable reporting available in our previous system. I knew we needed a new solution but resources are always tight and the priority is putting available dollars into meaningful programs for our community — not necessarily on backroom functions. So, we needed to find something that was affordable, had strong support, and robust reporting,” said Michelle Gorham, Chief Advancement Officer for YMCA of Rock River Valley.


Luckily, Michelle met Bloomerang’s Chief Engagement Officer, Steven Shattuck, at NAYDO, an annual YMCA conference. She was impressed with Bloomerang’s focus on helping nonprofits grow, developing fundraisers, and being another teammate for their customers. Bloomerang offers more than just a product or software solution. After being introduced to someone on Bloomerang’s “very helpful sales staff,” Michelle felt confident that Bloomerang could help her do her job more effectively – starting with pulling the right reports. Reliable reporting functionality combined with Bloomerang’s custom fields, provided a powerful combination for gathering donor data and diving deeper into individual donor involvement. YMCA membership is just a piece of the puzzle when you’re trying to get a clear picture of how your donors engage with your organization. “I am grateful that Bloomerang lets me create some custom fields to gather information like interests of key donors and how that donor is involved in our Y other than membership.”

Michelle and her team aren’t looking back. “Bloomerang is now our key donor database and we use it primarily for all of our donor information. I also love sending email solicitations via Bloomerang to communicate quickly and easily with our donors.” During this COVID time, Michelle was happy that Bloomerang could not only improve constituent communications, but could also make it easy for one person to manage it without adding time and expense. “Before Bloomerang it was impossible to send an email to donors (either specific donors or all donors) and have that information in the donor record and available to compare to who responded. Now, in the matter of a few minutes, I can communicate with donors and share a story, a request, or a thank you. In addition, with a staff reduction (to just me) during and post-covid, I’m more efficient than I would have been had I stayed in our old database.”


Since implementing Bloomerang, YMCA of River Rock Valley has been able to alleviate several fundraising pain points around reporting and getting the support they need to succeed. “I am so grateful to Bloomerang for giving me a way to pull reports that I trust and that make sense. I am also so very thankful for the amazing support team that takes calls, emails, and chats. They are phenomenal and help me get the exact information I need without ever making me feel like a bother to them.”

Michelle can’t just pick one Bloomerang feature that’s a must-have for other YMCAs. Here’s her list of features that are useful for YMCAs:

  • The ability to document interests of donors
  • The ability to have multiple campaigns active at one time
  • The ability to assign tasks to other staff members (like first-time donor calls) to help staff know when would be a good time to talk to their donors.
  • I am also particularly grateful for the automated generation/assignment of acknowledgement letters. That’s so much better than the operations software where we had to manually create spreadsheets and do mail merges.

YMCAs, take notice. Michelle has some quick advice for anyone who’s thinking about getting a new donor database. “Bloomerang is way easier to report out of than what you are probably using AND that the people are WAY nicer! Chatting in to Bloomerang is often a highlight of the day. They care about our success and new features are regularly added.”

At the end of the day, YMCA of River Rock Valley has benefited from having better insights into their donor data, which has improved their productivity and communication segmentation. This has allowed them to make better informed fundraising decisions. “Most importantly we know our donor retention which is not something we knew before. The previous system simply didn’t give us reliable data. I also now have information about key interests of our most generous donors and have the ability to create reports that can show me all the donors who have said they care about ‘academic programs’ or ‘camp’ or ‘disease prevention programming’ so that we can engage in important conversations with them.”

All in all, it’s amazing what an intuitive, relationship-focused database can do for the growth of an organization such as YMCA of River Rock Valley. “I love Bloomerang and tell everyone who asks (and often those who don’t) that they should look into it.”