Ronald McDonald House Charities
director of field relations
Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) has been dedicated to bettering the lives of children and their families since 1981.
Supported by a global network of 179 independent local Chapters in 46 countries – as well as thousands of passionate and caring volunteers – RMHC has grown steadily year after year to become one of the nation's top charities, a claim recognized when it was named to Worth Magazine's list of "America's Top 100 Charities" in 2001 and 2002.
To date, RMHC has awarded more than $380 million dollars in grants worldwide.
RMHC's mission is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. This is achieved, in part, through RMHC's extensive network of local Chapters, its vast array of programs – such as Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, Ronald McDonald Family Room and grant making – and dedicated volunteers and donors.
It is the goal of RMHC Global to help each Chapter and/or Ronald McDonald House run more efficiently in an effort to maximize the organization's utmost potential. However, with hundreds of Chapters and Houses worldwide, creating operational standards and streamlining fundraising and information management processes can be logistically challenging given the multitude of programs, initiatives, and operational preferences of each Chapter or House. For example, the operational and administrative processes may vary widely as each juggle hundreds of tasks associated with the execution of local fundraising events, tracking of staff and volunteer hours, processing of incoming grant requests, accounting duties, and admission of House guests.
In the early 1980s, RMHC created a software program called "Ronald" that was designed to help with operations and address the unique fundraising needs of the Charity. However, shortly after implementation users became frustrated with the product. "It was a difficult product to navigate, and as a result, our efforts were not well documented or consistently updated," said Janet Burton, director of field relations for RMHC. "But, our biggest problem proved to be that Ronald was not designed by fundraisers, and therefore did not properly address the daily issues our Chapters and Houses face when trying to raise money." Unable to tackle many of the problems plaguing individual Chapters and Houses, RMHC recognized that it needed a new solution. "We wanted to work with a company that would not only provide reliable software, but a flexible solution that would benefit all of our local entities and their unique operational procedures and needs," added Burton.
Arreva and RMHC have been working together since 1989, when RMHC implemented Arreva's MacTRAC software, the company's first fundraising management solution. Today, RMHC now offers Arreva's flagship state-of-the-art fundraising and donor management solution, Exceed!TM to each of its Chapters and Houses around the world. Arreva's products streamline the administrative functions associated with fundraising and donor information management – a key element in helping each Chapter and House become more operationally efficient and effective.
For the past 10 years, Arreva has played an instrumental role in helping RMHC identify its different needs, and in turn has developed or customized its solution to match those needs. For example, Arreva Software has conducted focus groups with a wide range of Chapter, House and Global RMHC personnel to determine what functionality and specific features are most effective, and how to better meet the needs of RMHC. These types of focus group discussions led to the development of the Exceed! Guest Module, designed uniquely for Ronald McDonald Houses to help them maintain and centralize guest records - including length of stay, arrival and departure dates, billing information, and other pertinent data.
Today, approximately 100 Chapters are using Arreva products worldwide, making technology a central force in their fundraising and information management operations. In addition, due to Arreva's ongoing technical support and training, RMHC can ensure their organizations are maximizing the potential of each product. For example, Arreva provides education on the product's capabilities and functionality by working with Global RMHC to coordinate training sessions conducted at their semi-annual International Conference and Regional Conferences.
"Arreva has been a true partner in helping to expand the use and understanding of what technology can do for our organization. As we build capacity in local markets, technology is critical to running more efficiently, and as a result we are more effective internationally," concluded Burton. "Since 1989, Arreva has provided long-term support and technology planning, evolved with us, and today, continues to help RMHC streamline operations and use resources more wisely."
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