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4.       Optimizing fundraising processes

NEW:Case #4 overview slide from Berlin 

Business Process: Fundraising and Donor Predictability

Data: Raiser's Edge (fundraising application)

Potential applications: Explorer, BI OnDemand, mobile, BPM


Arts Umbrella is Canada's preeminent arts institute for young people, ages 2 to 19. The not-for-profit began operating in a small rented space in 1979, with 45 children attending. Today, Arts Umbrella operates in a 22,000-square-foot facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, and has numerous partnerships with other organizations across the province of BC. Arts Umbrella estimates that, during 2006 and 2007, more than 36,000 children attended classes, workshops, and outreach performances. Arts Umbrella has more than 150 staff and faculty members, making it the second largest employer of artists in the province. In addition, over 300 volunteers assist in a variety of ways, predominantly in fundraising efforts.

While Arts Umbrella has grown steadily to become a world-class art center, technology in general at the organization has been a slow-going process. In the year 2000, Arts Umbrella changed its database system over to Raiser's Edge, a database used primarily by not-for-profits in the fundraising sector. "Unfortunately," says Scott Elliott, director of development at Arts Umbrella, "we didn't have the capacity in-house to run that system properly. And we had no training. So we floundered around, not able to pull any reports out of the database at all."

Arts Umbrella requires the production and distribution of a variety of reports, but two reports are especially critical - on a weekly basis. One is a forecast report, which summarizes the other report needed: a full listing of who the organization's canvassers are, who the canvassers' prospects are, what kinds of funds are expected from these prospects, and so on. Compiling these reports was a difficult, time-consuming process. "I would export pretty much raw numbers from Raiser's Edge into an Excel file," says Elliott. "And then I'd spend literally days massaging those numbers to get them into some kind of report. I never had any confidence in the finished report. Another problem was that I wasn't able to correct errors in a quick manner because we were running two systems. Whatever I had in the Excel system, I had to re-input back into Raiser's Edge. It just wasn't dynamic at all."

In addition, the reports and data were difficult to access - especially for those working remotely, interacting with potential donors and those attending events.


What are the reports? 

- donor by stage (prospect, confirmed, not interested, etc.) - similar to sales pipeline reports

- budget to actual by campaign, by date range

- performance of individual/team fundraisers against goals

Where is the data coming from?

Common data sources (and SAP partners) are Raiser's Edge from Blackbaud and Sage Millenium. Data can be mocked up in Excel

Technology Use Cases:

  • Slipstream will enable NW processes to send events about their status. It is an extension to NW BPM that uses the Sybase Aleri Streaming Platform and Xcelsius for visualisation.
    Check also:
    This enables a couple of use cases:
    • Process execution can be monitored in real-time
    • Process execution of different processes and different servers can be correlated and aggregated with each other and third party data in RT
    • Process flow can be changed during execution as gate values can be changed
    • Decisions can be based on BRM data
    • Process can be influenced based on this data in RT by being cancelled, suspended, or started
    • The events can lead also to alerts via email, sms, twitter, xyz (which is standard CEP functionality)

      Participants Berlin

      Userid SCN

      twitter handle/Linkedin

      Alexander Grobe



      Patrick De Mey


      Suzanne de Vos



      Michel Smid


      Sander van Pelt


      Participants Las Vegas

      Userid SCN

      twitter handle

      John Astill



      Andreas Muno



      Gigi Read



      Divya Mahajan



      Jesse Jake Barry



      Rody Harper



      Marek Klocok



      Marina Popova



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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous


     I wrote a blog post on the SCN site with some more background on this use case :

     I also posted an attachment with a sample report

    -steve williams