Saving Time with a Unified Nonprofit System

April 14, 2021  |  Sally Heaven

Nonprofits of all sizes want to spend more time advancing their mission and less time administering technology. Our friend Sally Heaven, one half of Raise HECK, knows that feeling. Here’s how one of her own experiences with inefficient systems has led her to help nonprofits adopt unified systems that help them do more in less time.

Picture it: Washington DC, the year 2000, my first nonprofit job. We had just invested in a new system that allowed us to create action alerts that would send emails to Congress, and also send outbound emails to our members. Considering where we started – a query to the membership database, and then copy/pasting emails into bcc in our corporate email system – this was a huge technology transformation and a big time-saver.

For all its time-saving power, this system actually created a new, additional task we had to do on a regular basis: periodically export files from our advocacy system to update the membership database, and vice versa. Otherwise, the changes to the data and any new members who joined wouldn’t be reflected in the other system, and we’d get out of sync.

I remember saying to colleagues, “I wish these two systems could link up somehow. Or better yet, if the action alert database could pull directly from the membership database. Or better yet, what if they were all the same database? Think of all the time we could save.”

At that time, it seemed like the systems available were all really good at doing one thing. The concept of “the cloud” was fairly new, and couldn’t support all the tasks my nonprofit needed to do – for example, most membership databases didn’t talk to advocacy or fundraising databases, and had to be hosted on premise. This meant nonprofits had to spend their limited time, office space, and resources on buying, storing, and maintaining a large server. (Fun times.)

My dream from 2000 is now a reality – and as I suspected, having everything in one place is a huge time-saver for nonprofit organizations. When systems are unified, staff can eliminate the hours they spend shuttling huge files around daily. Having all your supporter data in the same place in real time also allows organizations to slice and dice it in ever-more creative ways – in a word, it’s a total game-changer.

Ever since I started Raise HECK with Charlotte Kresse, we’ve been able to help some amazing nonprofits implement and learn EveryAction’s unified system. Last year’s addition of Workflow Automation has unlocked an even more effective marketing machine that makes communications personalized and draws supporters into your mission more authentically.

All that being said, there’s lots to learn when you move to a new system. That’s why we co-authored a guide to selecting and adopting a new CRM  we know how investing in preparation can help your nonprofit save time and rock your implementation, instead of struggling with change management. Raise HECK has helped other organizations fast-track their way to expertise with EveryAction. Talk to us to see how we can help you too.