A CiviCRM Rebirth: An interview with Restoring the Foundations Ministry

2019-02-28 08:00
Written by

Restoring the Foundations Ministry (RTF) is an integrated approach to biblical healing, with over 200 teams around the globe providing training and personal ministry to churches and people seeking help. The mission of the organization is to offer “hope for healing, freedom from life’s deepest struggles, and renewed purpose for living.” Jaque Orsi, office administrator at RTF, recently spoke with Cividesk to share her experiences of using CiviCRM. 

What challenges were you experiencing before transitioning to Cividesk services?
When Jaque joined the staff at Restoring the Foundations Ministry, the organization had recently implemented a new WordPress website integrated with CiviCRM. Restoring the Foundations hired a consultant to help with the configuration of CiviCRM and custom coding. Jaque explained that “we were able to use the basic features in CiviCRM but it was not optimized and configured properly for the more advanced features.” Since they were paying the consultant on an hourly basis, it also became quite expensive each time they needed work done.
Despite having CiviCRM available, RTF staff continued to use Excel spreadsheets, MailChimp and Vertical Response for mailing. Yet, it was difficult to keep track of the membership data on spreadsheets. When data was needed to report on renewals and current membership financials, it had to be manually assembled by searching through spreadsheets. Jaque felt determined to use CiviCRM since it had come so highly recommended but it was sometimes a struggle finding her way through the system on her own. She had many unanswered questions and finally realized it would work much better to have outside support to contact for help. 

Why did you choose to work with Cividesk?
After talking with Cividesk co-principal Virginie Ganivet, Jaque felt confident that Cividesk could help RTF to get their CiviCRM installation in good working order. Jaque said she felt “embraced” by Cividesk during their phone call and knew it was the right choice. Additionally, the monthly subscription pricing was quite reasonable compared with paying an hourly consultant, and allowed them to plan their monthly support expense.  

How was the transition to Cividesk services?
Once RTF’s WordPress and CiviCRM instances were migrated to the Cividesk hosting environment, Jaque benefited from the mentoring services included in the monthly subscription. Thanks to the expertise Cividesk shared with Jaque, RTF was able to use CiviCRM for their membership process and meet their specific needs. Also with a new online donation page configured in CiviCRM and fully integrated with their website RTF could start accepting donations on their website. They can now better communicate with their supporters as they have new tools to segment their database. 
Throughout the reconfiguration process, Jaque has relied heavily on Cividesk support. She explains how she sometimes “bombards” the support team with emails when working on a project. She appreciates the commitment of Cividesk staff to respond quickly and help her resolve any issues she may face. From the beginning, the support team has spent time listening to her and understanding her needs. She feels heard and understood by, as she describes, “this amazing support team”. She has benefited from the online training sessions taught by Cividesk and takes advantage of the video tutorials available to Cividesk customers.

What are the benefits of using CiviCRM on a daily basis for your organization?
With membership managed in CiviCRM, website visitors can sign up as new members and existing members can renew their memberships after receiving renewal reminders sent out automatically by the CRM. Jaque said: Cividesk staff went “above and beyond” by creating a “membership manual”, specifically tailored to our organization which detailed all the steps to follow when handling membership”. Jaque is thankful for all the time Cividesk support team invests and for providing all the help and assistance needed and the right tools to successfully managing membership and donations in CiviCRM .
After receiving training by Cividesk on Mosaico they are no longer using MailChimp for their emailing communication and now manage all their emailing campaigns with CiviCRM. With the use of the Mosaico extension, they can send out very nice, professional and responsive newsletters to their members.
A substantial improvement Jaque noted is the ease of segmenting contacts to reach out to different groups. For example, RTF work with many trainers and recently Jaque created an online form to gather information from the trainers to gauge their interest in continuing working in the training program. She emails the group a link to the online form asking questions about their interest level. Jaque explained how this is a big improvement over the old system, being able to email trainers individually and then searching through the trainers’ responses. 
Another benefit for the organization is to have reporting on membership and supporters including financial reports. Before CiviCRM, it was time consuming to find this information but now it is easy to locate with a search or using one of the report templates. These reports can be emailed automatically to staff members who need this information. Instead of creating an email she can create a report and email the report to staff members who need this information. Jaque added: “I don’t need to spend time searching through old emails to find the information I need, since “it’s right there”.

Do you still have challenges that you need to address? 
One challenge that Jaque is still facing is some resistance from colleagues who prefer to continue using the old system of Excel spreadsheets. Bringing a new database to the organization has been a struggle, since often staff prefers to use the more familiar system. Unfortunately, there has not been a strong push for everyone to adopt CiviCRM. Despite this challenge, having the data in a centralized place is a huge benefit that everyone appreciates, especially now as all the data from other systems has been imported into CiviCRM. Knowing RTF has Cividesk to rely on for questions and guidance in CiviCRM provides relief to to the challenges she may face.

Would you recommend CiviCRM to other organizations?
Jaque has recommended CiviCRM to their UK office and continues to promote the database to other organizations. CiviCRM has been instrumental in improving her efficiency with performing daily tasks that are crucial to furthering their organization’s mission of offering a renewed purpose for living.