The Denver Ballet Guild supports and celebrates the beauty and power of dance by encouraging interest in ballet and other forms of dance. The organization is managed exclusively by volunteers, who promote dance at all levels and conduct annual fundraising activities to support the dance community. Cividesk recently spoke with Suzanne Goderstad, a volunteer board member, who serves as the database co-coordinator for the organization about their experiences with CiviCRM.
Before transitioning to CiviCRM, the Denver Ballet Guild used Access to manage their contacts and print their hardcopy directory. MailChimp was used for mass emailing to members and contacts. The Board hired a consultant to implement CiviCRM several years ago when they were also putting in place a new Drupal based website. The choice of Drupal as CMS was made to allow for integration with CiviCRM. However, the database was not being used by the volunteers for several reasons including lack of training and issues with configuration.
When Suzanne joined the Board, she analyzed the situation and determined they needed additional assistance with CiviCRM. But, like many non-profits, budget issues were a concern, and she wanted to find the most cost effective solution. Suzanne initially chose to use a consultant, until problems arose and additional consulting hours were required, which resulted in higher fees than anticipated. When the website went down several days before Thanksgiving and on-line registration for a major event was halted, Suzanne reached out to Cividesk for assistance. “The staff at Cividesk worked quickly over the weekend to resolve the problem”. The Denver Ballet Guild decided Cividesk services were the most cost effective way to go.
When asked to give advice to other organizations considering CiviCRM, Suzanne suggested “. . . meet with your service provider, go through the parameters of what your non-profit organization needs and make sure CiviCRM is a good fit. It’s a wonderful program and so easy to use. We really like the Cividesk Software as a Service model with predictable monthly costs for maintenance and support.”
Cividesk provides private training to all new clients, but in order to keep training costs at a minimum, the Guild decided to participate in the monthly online webinars taught by Cividesk, rather than customized training classes in their instance of CiviCRM. Cividesk also helped further reduce monthly costs by assisting in the transition from Mail Chimp to mass emailing through CiviMail.
As part of the set-up process, Cividesk updated Drupal, adjusted the Drupal theme and transitioned the Guild to the latest version of CiviCRM. They also reconfigured the CRM and created multiple webforms.
The Guild has found CiviCRM to be great for managing their membership of approximately 550 contacts. The staff at Cividesk created the online membership page for new members and renewals, set up a new workflow for the membership process and established a new membership category for the daughters of the current members. These members enroll their daughters in dance events designed for teens, so the sign-up page needed to be available only to existing members. Suzanne now easily manages online membership sign-up and renewals with the automated email reminder feature in CiviCRM. She has also segmented members in groups and smart groups, allowing for more targeted communications. An example of this is during registration for dance events, participants are automatically placed into groups based on specific criteria. The reporting features in CiviCRM and the ability to export data have also been useful for membership management.
Another benefit of using CiviCRM has been an increase in attendance at events thanks to the CiviEvent module. “Our participants for the annual luncheon doubled this year as compared to 2013. Providing online registration has also helped tremendously with the last minute registrations for events and improved event organization.”The Guild plans on incorporating more of CiviCRM this year and is looking forward to using the QuickBooks integration, as well as the new integration recently developed by Cividesk with Colorado Gives.
Many non-profits share the same concerns in regard to implementing new technology; there is a need to find a system that will consolidate data and increase efficiency in order for staff members to effectively fulfill the mission of the organization. However, budget constraints are typically an issue and can prove to be a serious deterrent to making this transition. The Denver Ballet Guild found a cost-effective solution with CiviCRM, but ultimately determined they needed to outsource their CiviCRM support in order to effectively implement the database and benefit from the full power of CiviCRM.