Donor management announces new release date for fundraising software

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by Georgia Tzanidis –

The New Frontier previously introduced the territory to a new fundraising software system, called Portfolio, from the company Amergent, which will affect every division and corps across the west. Initially set to launch in August, the project will now commence across the territory in February 2008.

The delay of the launch for this system—designed to give the territory one standardized structure to access donor information, track gifts, and allow analysis of various campaign results—was made after careful consideration by Lt. Colonel Kurt Burger.

The former territorial secretary for Business, Burger said he regretted making the decision, but felt it was necessary considering all that is at stake with this project.

The new centralized lockbox vendor, CDS, Inc., which will be the processing center for all direct mail donations, was not able to guarantee that they would be ready to process our mail adequately by the original deadline.

Secondly, the fundamental business rules and policies were not going to be complete prior to the original project start date. Burger required that the business rules be 95 percent complete at the time of release in August in order to avoid problems during the holiday season. The new launch date will provide an opportunity to ensure that business rules are in place and essential reports are complete.

Burger also expressed concern that the territory would feel “overloaded” in terms of implementing numerous changes all at one time (the I.T. Reorganization project, the Donor Management System project, and the Estate Management Reorganization).

Project Manager Theresa Dulcich agreed with the postponement, as it will allow the team to adhere to their commitment not to interfere with the divisions during the busy holiday season. “It will also allow us to focus more on the pilot test and what we learn will help us to be better prepared once we go live,” said Dulcich.

Going forward, the intense work of the new donor management system team will continue. The pilot test site, Sierra del Mar Division, plans on initiating their use of Portfolio on September 4 and to transition to the centralized lockbox a couple of weeks later.

The divisions will have the opportunity to review their data as it becomes available and verify its accuracy. Once it comes time to “freeze” the data in Portfolio, just prior to the territorial launch, the divisions can feel comfortable committing to their data after several months of intense review.

Those that attended the Portfolio training sessions earlier this year will be able to practice their skills during the coming months. A trial system of Portfolio is currently available; users can experiment and ask questions. Future plans for additional Portfolio training after the start of 2008 will offer refresher courses as well as training for corps officers.

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