February 1, 2022 | Categories DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, DonorPerfect Update, Featured, Nonprofit News

Full Speed Ahead: The Future of DonorPerfect

Lauren Sheehan, President of DonorPerfect

The DonorPerfect team is pleased to announce the promotion of Lauren Sheehan, formerly Vice President of Customer Care, to President of SofterWare. Lauren’s voice of leadership for our clients is what makes her the ideal candidate to champion your growth. As our co-founder, Nathan Relles, retires and passes on the responsibilities of President to Lauren, we are more excited than ever for the future of this vibrant DonorPerfect community.

Lauren Sheehan, President

As you take the reins, how do you plan to advocate for customer needs?

I’ve always viewed customers as our partners in helping to shape the future of our products and services. We’re always looking for new ways to connect with them. This perspective has spread throughout the company and really impacts how we do our work. It’s everyone’s job to advocate for our customers and to bring them into our development process, early, when we’re working on features that will make their work easier and their fundraising success stronger.

What have you learned from your predecessor, Nathan, about helping and advocating for our customers?

Understand their needs

Nonprofit professionals face some unique challenges – they are strapped for time and resources, which means that we have to make DonorPerfect, and doing business with us, easy… very easy. Always keep clients in mind and identify ways to help them meet their challenges. Clients will be more successful and we will all be more successful.

Be appreciative and empathetic

When customers face inevitable technology issues, they don’t want to be overwhelmed with complex time-consuming fixes. They want timely reliable courteous support. After all, “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Be accessible and be engaged

Never stop talking to customers about what they need to be more successful, where their challenges are, and what they are enjoying. Make it easy for customers to be able to connect with you.

How do you hope to improve DonorPerfect this year?

Our product teams have some exciting improvements and new features on the roadmap that are really going to be game-changers for our clients. Most of them are suggested by customers or by what we learn from them.

Our new online donation forms are really slick looking and easy to set up. Over the next year, we’ll be adding lots of functionality that our previous forms had and some new things like PayPal integration so that it will be the clear choice for their donation form.

Other projects, like enhanced email integration, multi-factor authentication, and a better way to track members of households, are well underway. We also are planning to further develop our DonorPerfect Insights product that was released late last year, which allows you to enhance and enrich your understanding of those in your database. That will enable you to personalize your interactions with donors and ultimately build better relationships with them.

How does your work-life balance keep you energized and engaged?

Personally, I try to stay healthy and active and maintain positive relationships with family and friends. Without that, there would be little purpose to my work. It also enables me to focus on my work and the people around me – especially those who are relying on my leadership to help them grow professionally. Working with nonprofits, in turn, has been gratifying personally beyond my professional career.

Which causes, missions, or organizations are near and dear to you?

I have yet to meet a DonorPerfect client whose commitment and passion for their mission haven’t inspired me. We’re also deliberate about ensuring that our staff has an opportunity to learn more about clients and the good work they are doing – it’s a huge sense of pride for the DonorPerfect team and it’s a great reminder and motivator to continue to do our best work.

Recently, I have had a particularly strong connection with causes in the environmental and education sectors. I’ve served on the Board of Pennypack Farm and Education Center since 2018 (coincidentally, they have been using DonorPerfect for almost a decade now). Several years ago, I co-directed fundraising in a community capital campaign that refurbished and expanded a large children’s park.

Nathan former president of DonorPerfect

Nathan Relles

Co-Founder and President Emeritus

What are you most proud of from SofterWare’s first 40 years?

My proudest moments have actually been about our employees’ involvement with local nonprofit organizations. Some are our customers, and some not. The time they have volunteered for one of our Gives Back programs, or their contributions to local fundraising efforts, for example, has been nothing less than inspiring.

Personally, I am particularly proud of a campaign I helped initiate with an organization on whose board I served. The organization obtained matching funds from a few individuals, which inspired a substantial increase in the number of donors who contributed, as well as the average amount of each gift. It was the first of several years that demonstrated the success of matching gifts.

My single proudest moment is probably seeing Lauren take on the challenging responsibility of guiding the success of our customers. Her commitment to their success and her unrelenting drive to make DonorPerfect an easy, enjoyable, and effective tool gives me every confidence that she will achieve those goals.

How do you hope DonorPerfect will continue to care for its clients?

I hope that we will continue to focus on ways that we can help nonprofits succeed. Nonprofits know that the success and sustainability of their mission depend on retaining donors, attracting new donors, and increasing donor generosity. They just want to know how to achieve that, and it’s our responsibility to make that easier for them.

How has your relationship with our community changed since 1980?

When I started the company and in its early years, I had a personal relationship with our customers – the individuals who used our products themselves as well as those who relied on them. As we have grown, that relationship has been “handed down” to others. While I miss knowing and working with each and every customer firsthand, it’s most gratifying to see how others have adopted the values that have sustained those relationships with the same care that I tried to practice.

What will you miss most about working with the DP community?

Helping our customers solve problems, and helping our staff find the best ways to help our customers address their challenges.

As you begin a new chapter in your career and personal life, what causes, missions or organizations will you take with you?

It’s always been my mission to help our customers and our staff grow, learn, and succeed. For customers, that always meant 1) making our products easy to use, so that they could achieve results as quickly and effectively as possible; and 2) providing a cadre of support staff that understands our customers’ challenges and obstacles, and can help them overcome those obstacles with patience and enlightenment. As my direct involvement in the company subsides, I’m very pleased to see my successors continuing to fulfill that mission, and I am therefore able to devote more of my time to helping the boards of several organizations that I have served for many years.

Written by Ally Orlando