"Changing your fundraising and donor management software is a huge undertaking. When the Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida decided to go with Arreva, I had great confidence going in, and now... I am certain that we made the right decision. I expect that we'll be with Arreva for a long time."
Pat Burke, Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida
At a glance
Annual Campaign % Increase
Annual Campaign $ Increase
New or Reclaimed Gifts in Annual Campaign
% of New Gifts in Annual Campaign
The Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida brings together members of the Jewish community in the Jacksonville, Florida, region through its cultural programs, events and publications. As a member of the Jewish Federations of North America, the Northeast Florida organization is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the well-being of Jews around the world. The organization reaches out to Jewish families when they move into the area and helps connect them to local Jewish resources, including schools, synagogues and agencies. The staff of 12 tracks approximately 4,600 households in the region and receives about 1,300 gifts per year, with annual fundraising now at $2.3 million.
When Pat Burke joined Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida as its director of finance and administration six years ago, the organization’s donor management software was more than 20 years old. Reporting was difficult and new staff had trouble getting up to speed with the program. A new system was clearly necessary, but it took a while to find one that would meet the organization’s unique needs. The Federation wanted a system that would help it build awareness, attract new donors, and cultivate relationships with its existing donor network. “We needed to seriously increase our efficiency and effectiveness when reaching out to and engaging with people through direct mail, email and social media,” says Burke. The platform would have to enable staff to contact everyone in the organization’s database during its campaigns, track the status of pledges and gifts, and close donors out of the campaign once their gifts were received. Simple, flexible reporting capabilities were also key, and of course, the software had to be easy to learn and use for staff subject to regular turnover.
After exploring several different systems from big firms as well as smaller, independent vendors, the organization still had not found one that was just right. Then, a colleague at the Jewish Federations of North America recommended contacting Arreva, so Burke requested a demo. Immediately, he felt that Arreva’s software stood out from all the other programs he had considered. “It was extremely user-friendly, it had all the reporting capabilities we wanted, and the campaign module was exactly what we were looking for,” he explains. “The look and design appealed to me right off the bat,” Burke says. He found it easy to move around among the tabs and key sections of the system. And although functionality was much more important than cost, he was pleased to discover that Arreva’s pricing was within the organization’s budget. “We’ve gotten tremendous value for the price,” he says. The Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida closed out its fiscal year with its old system on June 30 and then started converting its data to Arreva’s platform. “The data conversion specialist was extremely thorough and wonderful to work with,” says Burke. Within 60 days, the conversion was complete, and Burke put the system to his own critical test. “When I saw that the pledges receivable balance was correct, I knew we could move forward without a problem,” he says. “We started using the new system and haven’t looked back."
Burke and the rest of the staff at the Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida are finding Exceed Beyond to be a huge improvement over their previous system. They especially like the fact that the database is organized with a household approach. “Arreva’s software allows us to understand and view our constituents from both a household and an individual perspective and to capture individual relationships within households and with employers and organizations, a real distinction compared to the old platform as well as others we evaluated.” Additionally, Burke notes, “Reporting and tax letters have always been one of my biggest headaches. With Arreva’s software, tax receipting is much easier, and telling people how much they owe on their pledges is incredibly simple. Now that I’ve got the reporting set up the way I want it, year two will be even smoother,” he adds. The administrative staff are equally happy with Arreva’s ease of use and say that sending acknowledgments and thank you letters has become a simple task that no longer eats up all their time. “Our heaviest users are really happy with how they're able to extract the data,” reports Burke. “We can see each donor’s complete giving history in one place, and we can organize our data in so many different ways. The flexibility is incredible.”
Speed is another benefit that everybody in the organization appreciates. “When I log in, it takes about two seconds to load, and reports and other tasks run very quickly,” says Burke. This means everyone has more time to focus on the organization’s mission of building a presence in the community. Learning the system was an extremely smooth process for the staff. Although the organization purchased 10 hours of training in advance from Arreva, they’ve used only five hours of that in the first year, even with a substantial turnover. “When new staff comes on board, I log them in, show them the system, and they’re absolutely off and running,” says Burke. “It’s completely intuitive.” He adds that support from Arreva is extremely responsive in the rare cases where there are questions or need for assistance. “ The Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida is so pleased with its first year using Arreva’s donor relationship management software that it’s already taking steps to move to Arreva’s fully integrated Online Fundraising and Donor Relationship Management Software. With integrated online fundraising, all online giving and registration information will flow seamlessly from a Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida donor-centric website right into its database. Burke is enthusiastic about how the platform will enable them to further elevate their fundraising through Arreva’s powerful applications, such as peer-to-peer fundraising. online donations, events, and volunteers. “We’re really excited to build on what we’ve already accomplished,” says Burke. “We’re confident that the fully integrated system will significantly improve our ability to raise funds and attract and engage new donors, while saving us time and money.
We're confident that the fully integrated system will significantly improve our ability to raise funds and attract and engage new donors, while saving us time and money."
After just the first year of using Arreva’s donor relationship management software, the Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida saw significant improvements in its ability to reach out to the community and in its fundraising efforts through its capital campaign. “We raised 5.2% more than last year — an increase of over $100,000 — with 90 new or reclaimed gifts, which accounted for 7.2% of all gifts in the campaign,” says Burke. He credits Arreva with enabling the Federation to increase awareness, better engage and retain donors, and reengage donors who had not made any gifts in a while.
“Changing your fundraising and donor management software is a huge undertaking,” he says. “When the Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida decided to go with Arreva, I had great confidence going in, and now that we’re using it, I am certain that we made the right decision. I expect that we’ll be with Arreva for a long time.”