The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Ann Arbor has been serving families throughout Michigan and across the nation since 1985. Through its two Houses—the Main House and the Mott House—RMHC Ann Arbor helps around 1,200 families each year. The main house has 29 rooms (soon to be 31) to support parents and siblings of children receiving long-term treatment at the hospital. The smaller house, also called the House within the Hospital, offers 12 smaller rooms to parents of children that are in intensive care.
When Kathy Baum joined the staff at RMHC Ann Arbor as the Administrative Manager, they were using Exceed! Premier, Arreva’s desktop Donor Relationship Management software, to enter gifts into the database. However, the capabilities of the database were not being utilized to their full potential. Additionally, the staff working at the House within the Hospital (Mott House) could not access the desktop version. As the person responsible for entering donations into the system, Baum led the charge to move from the desktop product to the cloud.
In addition to their donor database being housed on a desktop product, their guest registration and intake process at the Houses up to that point had been almost entirely manual and the guests’ information was kept on paper cards filled out upon the family’s arrival. An Excel spreadsheet was also used to record some guest information but was used only by the House Manager and not integrated into Exceed.
It was time for the Chapter to make their registration and check-in process digital.
"When people come to me asking for certain types of information, I like getting into the database and working to extract the information that they need. I love helping people find ways to do their job more easily and this software is a very good tool for our needs and an organization of our size.”
“I think the organization had matured and we had the right people on board so that we could take advantage of the software,” Baum explains. “The other piece was that the software itself was so much more sophisticated and much more user friendly.” Most importantly managers at the Mott House would also have access to the cloud-based database.
The levels of computer experience varied from staff member to staff member. Baum got to work using some of the training tools that other Houses used, taking a lot of screen shots of the software in action, and receiving training sessions from the Arreva customer support and training team, specifically Truitt Gossett.
“What’s really valuable about Truitt is that, while he clearly knows all the details of this database, how a database is put together, and how all the data points interact, he’s able to relay that information to the user in their language.”
Baum estimates about 12 staff members use Beyond, from part-time House Managers to full-time Development Directors. Truitt’s clear communication in addition to Baum’s detailed instructions helped to get these staff members working comfortably in the database.
When asked what her favorite part of Exceed Beyond is, Baum explains, “I love puzzles and a database is just a giant puzzle to me. When people come to me asking for certain types of information, I like getting into the database and working to extract the information that they need. I love helping people find ways to do their job more easily and this software is a very good tool for our needs and an organization of our size.”
On top of streamlining their guest management process, organizing their donor database, and tracking all their gifts Exceed Beyond has helped the Chapter send out timely acknowledgement letters to their donors. Baum and her staff members can send out acknowledgement letters as they receive gifts from donors, rather than waiting to do them in batches as they were before moving to Exceed Beyond.
As the staff continue to learn the ins and outs of Exceed Beyond, they become increasingly sophisticated users, taking full advantage of everything the platform has to offer.
“If you’re really trying to have an integrated database for all the modules, it’s much easier and time effective to use Exceed Beyond. It’s helping our organization have more accurate records in a shorter amount of time.”