Putting Donors at the Center

Donors at the centerTucked away upstairs in McDonald Hall, computers and staff are abuzz. While not as obvious as a new building, technology upgrades in the Advancement Office are an essential part of building the FPU legacy and improving the donor experience, says Don Griffith, vice president for advancement & executive director of the FPU Foundation.

For the past year, advancement has been implementing a new constituent relationship management system, or CRM. Griffith says this new system, called Raiser’s Edge, will enable his team to “better support every campaign we conduct.” The system integrates advancement business processes (like the timing or measurement of a fundraising campaign) with a comprehensive database and communication platforms. “The system will help us identify and communicate with donors and qualify [potential donors] who might have an interest in seeing the university succeed in its mission,” Griffith says.

Donors will notice more timely attention and invitations to support the university more closely aligned with their values and interests. Perhaps an email inviting alumni to donate to a program they once participated in. Griffith says donors should notice more personal communications reflecting their philanthropic goals and lifestyle. And all that hopefully means more money for university initiatives, like an honors college, endowed faculty or even a health sciences building.

Employing technology professionals, philanthropy consultants and university leadership and staff, Griffith led efforts including researching CRM platforms, gathering donors in focus groups and engaging university stakeholders. This marks a new, “disciplined approach to philanthropy, including donor discovery, gift proposals and stewardship. It facilitates a donor-centric process where the donor is at the center of our strategic initiatives,” says Glen Quiring, executive director of development and advancement services.

The advancement team got to see the benefits of the new system first-hand. Over lunch off campus, the group struck up a conversation with an alumna. Learning about FPU’s impact on her, Quiring used a cellphone app to update her information and preferences on the new CRM. Now FPU can send her relevant communications.

With the November launch, the excitement is mounting. “[This project] has the capacity to revolutionize the way we do donor development, and the way we engage the entire university in the process,” says Griffith.