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Why One High School Made the Switch from Raiser’s Edge to DonorPerfect Fundraising Software

About York Catholic High School

Founded in 1927, York Catholic High School in York, Pennsylvania serves more than 600 students from around the globe in grades 7 through 12. Teachers deliver rigorous academic courses which challenge students to learn, grow, and care. In essence, students are asked to honor the school’s theme of “Values Matter” and the pillars of faith, mind, heart, and family.

Maida Connor, CFRE

Maida has served as Executive Director of Advancement for York Catholic High School for the past three years.

Alexandra Sterner

Alexandra has served as York Catholic High School’s Annual Fund Manager for the past six months.

Fundraising is an essential component of their roles and choosing the right software enables them to be successful in their work.

A Q&A with Maida Connor and Alexandra Sterner of York Catholic High School

Maida, you used Raiser’s Edge successfully at a previous organization. Why didn’t you stick with a program that was “tried and true”?

Maida: When I arrived at York Catholic, the school’s Advancement Office was using Raiser’s Edge. However, because the software wasn’t ‘intuitive’, advancement staff members were frustrated and didn’t feel the limited training they received was helpful in using the software. Consequently, projects took longer due to manual work arounds, and financial reports were often not accurate.

Did you try to resolve these issues through Raiser’s Edge customer service?

Maida: I personally tried reaching out to customer service by phone and email as did members of the advancement staff. Unfortunately, our inquiries were often not addressed quickly, due in part to staff turnover at Raiser’s Edge as I later learned.

As a customer, I was disappointed and as a manager, I knew we needed to make a change. We were paying for a product which wasn’t being used effectively, and since our budget was small, I knew we needed a software product which would be used and be useful for York Catholic, to improve data capture, financial reporting, and increase productivity while minimizing stress.

Why did you choose DonorPerfect?

Maida: As I reviewed what we had been spending for Raiser’s Edge, and what I felt was disappointing customer service, and realized that our staff members were creating manual work arounds, I knew we needed to change our fundraising software. I also wanted us to have fundraising software we could all quickly learn, which would be somewhat intuitive, and which would provide helpful training and good customer service.

I reached out to DonorPerfect’s sales team after numerous conversations with development colleagues at small and large organizations, many of whom recommended switching to DonorPerfect. I was impressed that DonorPerfect professionals were courteous, helpful, and candid about the software. Questions were encouraged and answers were provided. When I reviewed the two fundraising software products, our small budget, and our needs for a growing fundraising program, I advocated that we move to DonorPerfect.

Maida: Thanks to the talent and cooperation of DonorPerfect’s tech team working with our IT coordinator and an Advancement staff member, the transition to DonorPerfect was practically painless.

A small team comprised of our data entry advancement staff member, our previous IT coordinator, myself and a DonorPerfect implementation professional was formed. True credit should be giving to our advancement staff member, our previous IT coordinator, and the DonorPerfect tech team for great attention to detail, and terrific communication.

We reviewed the fields we had in Raiser’s Edge and determined what fields and information we wanted to capture in DonorPerfect. They truly didn’t mind any and all questions.

This process was incredibly helpful, because it caused us to really look at our data, how we were using it, where we were placing information for donors/gifts/etc., and what reports we were running versus what we wanted to be able to do. It motivated us to clean up our data, avoid duplicate records, and consider our gift codes to make better sense of our data and reports.

What do you use DonorPerfect for?

Alexandra: York Catholic uses the DonorPerfect software system pretty extensively, as it houses the Advancement database. Primarily, DonorPerfect is used to record donor information (i.e. donations and contact information, flags, etc.).

We reviewed the fields we had in Raiser’s Edge and determined what fields and information we wanted to capture in DonorPerfect. They truly didn’t mind any and all questions.

We also use the reports feature to produce both standard and custom reports very frequently. We like having the ability to set templates. This helps us frame, organize, and present various extracted data in useful ways. By generating these reports, we gain insight into our donor database and receive assistance with mailings, and get useful information that we apply to strategic advancement efforts going forward.

What are your favorite features?

Alexandra: I like having the ability to attach documents to records and import data into the system. I also like DonorPerfect’s reporting capabilities, screen designer, and the DonorPerfect Mobile app.

How does your experience with DonorPerfect differ from your experience with Raiser’s Edge?

Maida & Alexandra: The DonorPerfect team is always professional and helpful, offering useful user resources. We have found the DonorPerfect team responsive and professional, which has been a welcome change from the difficulties we had previously.

Has DonorPerfect enabled you to better communicate with your constituents?

Alexandra: Yes. Staying connected to our closest supporters, especially our alumni, is very important to us. Having a well-organized, clean system allows important information and history to be captured and viewed effortlessly. Having confidence in a strong database is essential to a robust advancement and school operation. DonorPerfect helps us to be informed, so that projections and decisions are grounded in historical data and context.

What mission-related goals have you been able to reach or pursue through your adoption of DonorPerfect?

Alexandra: As York Catholic pursues its mission to educate students honoring heart, mind, faith and family, a strong Advancement office supported by DonorPerfect will continue to make this possible by allowing us to reach more students and families.

“It’s been a great experience so far, and we look forward to partnering with DonorPerfect as our Advancement efforts and fundraising programs grow.” – Maida and Alexandra of York Catholic High School

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