Improve Your Fundraising Outcomes with a Hub and Spoke Technology Infrastructure
Data Volume: A Challenge & An Opportunity for Fundraisers
Over the last 30 years, colleges and universities have undergone an evolution in how data is collected, stored, and used on their campuses. Most institutions utilize large Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and may have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems along with unique databases for individual practice areas. Specifically in the area of fundraising, institutions might store alumni, donor, and dollars raised data in a donor database, or they might choose to use the institution-wide ERP. They may have also retro-fitted a CRM solution to meet their unique fundraising needs. Although a necessity for storing data, these systems are cumbersome to upgrade and not always best-suited for extracting or analyzing the data within.
University fundraising professionals can tap into enormous amounts of data. The donor database is the primary repository for this information, but this system and some other department functions, such as gift processing, integrate with the university ERP. The sheer volume of data available presents both a serious challenge and an opportunity for fundraising departments. They are expected to be increasingly nimble with their ability to consume and synthesize the information available to them, but the complicated nature of these interlocking data systems means that information is difficult to retrieve quickly, or only available to those with specialized knowledge and system rights.
Donor Database Upgrades Present a Large Opportunity Cost
As donor databases continue to evolve, some providers are recommending upgrade paths that can take years to implement. The lost time and expense may still not give the front-line gift officers access to the data that they need to make smart, self-sufficient decisions that enable fundraising. If a college or university is considering whether to upgrade, they should consider not only the cost and resources required to successfully upgrade, but also the end user experience delivered by this upgrade. Many times the new features (especially for the end users) do not outweigh the spend and opportunity costs incurred during an upgrade.
Enabling Fundraising With Purpose-Specific Tools
Generally, having one technology solution for data management and workflow isn’t the most effective option. Instead, businesses and organizations across industry-type are solving their specific business problems by integrating multiple, purpose-specific, best-of -breed tools with their data repositories. The resulting network of interconnected tools radiates out from a centralized information source – the ERP, donor database, or CRM. A hub and spoke analogy helps us understand the interlocking components of the university data spine and the software that enables everyday workflow.
You don’t need to go through a costly and time-consuming technology conversion to enable your front line gift officers. Download our whitepaper, Augment the Power of Your Database, to learn more about how hub and spoke technology acquisition can help fundraisers raise more money.