CEPS STREAMLINES THEIR EMAIL PROCESS WHILE SAVING AT LEAST 32 HRS/MONTH OF ADMIN TIME
The Centre for European Policy Studies
Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) is among the most experienced and authoritative think tanks operating in the European Union today. CEPS serves as a leading forum for debate on EU affairs, but its most distinguishing feature lies in its strong in-house research capacity, complemented by an extensive network of partner institutes throughout the world.
Prior to CiviCRM, CEPS was using Microsoft Access to house all their contacts’ information. However, as CEPS’s number of constituents grew, it became very cumbersome to use Access to email their 25,000 contacts (they currently have 50,000 contacts). In 2011, Radoslav Minkov, IT Manager evaluated different CRMs. He was mostly looking for the capability to send information about future events, follow-up on events, and notify their contacts about new publications, among other things.
What he found was that CiviMail gave CEPS the ability to easily schedule mailings and create different groups and subgroups. This gives them the flexibility to reach out to particular segments of their database as needed.
Radoslav commented that “CiviMail was the most important feature they needed. On average, we send 150,000 emails/month. The weekly email is sent to 14,000 people. In this feature, we need the ability to make groups, sub-groups, as well as have the ability to exclude small groups when sending certain emails, which we can easily do with CiviCRM. Plus, we get to schedule our mailings, so they can go out in the evening when there isn’t as much traffic.”
Previously, all these tasks required somebody to export names from Access, importing them to Excel, manually adding/removing certain contacts, copying email addresses, and finally, sending the email. In addition to this cumbersome process, an administrator needed to spend 3 hours staring at the computer in case pop-up error messages appeared. If these messages were not dealt with right then and there, the sending process would stop.
The goal of the project was to implement a database to house their contacts’ information and send them registration information about future events and emails about the downloadable availability of different publications and research (99% of their publications is downloadable for free).
Prior to using CiviCRM, CEPS used Microsoft Access. As the organization’s database started to grow, they faced issues with registration and sending emails…”it was very difficult to segment mailing lists”, commented Minkov.
One of the challenges with the implementation was that at the time there wasn’t a CiviCRM community in Belgium. They finally partnered with Cleverway (cleverway.eu) to transfer the data from Access to CiviCRM. Once the data structure from Access was compatible with CiviCRM, then the transfer was quite easy. Cleverway also helped train CEPS’s administrators.
CEPS worked with Cleverway, a consulting company based in Brussels.
Why did this project use CiviCRM?
CiviCRM was the only CRM targeted to non-profits.