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Success Story: How St Martin-in-the-Fields used Donorfy to raise a record-breaking amount with their Christmas appeal

Success Story: How St Martin-in-the-Fields used Donorfy to raise a record-breaking amount with their Christmas appeal.jpg

“Donorfy has been really great for us. I’m a fan and I’m not usually a fan of things like this, as they’re normally a bit of a pain. We’ve had a year since implementation, so it was a really good idea to go with Donorfy and we’re really happy with the choice.”

- Tim Bissett, Director of the St Martin-in-the-Fields charity

About St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity

The St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity is an organisation that supports people that are experiencing homelessness or are vulnerably housed. The charity is probably best known for BBC Radio 4 Christmas Appeal, which they run and manage every year. The money raised from that campaign supports The Connection, which is London’s busiest homeless centre.

St Martin-in-the-Fields also run the Frontline Network, which harnesses the energy and ideas of people working directly with the homeless and vulnerably housed, so they can be more effective in their role.

Tim Bissett, Director of the St Martin-in-the-Fields charity, explained more about why they started looking for a donor management CRM:

“The charity is only about three years old, but we get a lot out of the Christmas appeal and so it’s a focus for us. We had a legacy donor management system, but it wasn’t really a managed database and was just used to hold information. It was antiquated and horrible to use, so while it was good for its time, we needed to move on.”

A robust, highly-scalable and modern CRM

There are lots of CRMs out there, so Tim looked at the market to compare the different options available:

“We are a very small team here, so we went out to find a CRM that will provide us with a great platform for giving and that we could manage our supporter base as effectively as possible really. Given we are a BBC partner charity, the CRM also needed to be robust enough to handle the high volumes of traffic that the appeal generates.”

“We knew we wanted something cloud-based, that integrated into other systems we were already using - like Mailchimp and Eventbrite - which Donorfy integrates with. We found that there were a lot of amazing pieces of kit out there, which were really pricey. The likes of solutions from Salesforce and Blackbaud just felt beyond our reach and less costly solutions were not scalable in the way we were looking.”

Tim chose Donorfy as their new CRM as he had confidence that the Donorfy team would be able to make sense of the charity’s data and migrate that into Donorfy.

“We also had a realisation that our ongoing relationship in terms of support from Donorfy would come from people we knew and trusted - and that’s certainly been the case. We felt we wouldn’t get that level of support if you go with a big company.”

An intuitive platform from day one

Once the St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity had migrated their data to Donorfy, they were ready to start using the system and found it easy to work with.

“It’s very intuitive in kind of day-to-day navigating around and being able to look at the records of individual donors to be able to see their giving history. The major donor prospecting and opportunity work features are all terrific. I don’t think any of the team here have had any problems using Donorfy at all.”

One of the things the charity had concerns about was having thousands of current users on their website during the Christmas appeal and if Donorfy could handle significant levels of traffic in a short space of time.

“We’re a partner charity of the BBC, so one of their requirements before it goes live on a BBC platform is that the CRM is tested for high levels of traffic - load testing and penetration testing. The Donorfy team embraced this process, coming to any required meetings and were keen to make sure that Donorfy worked well.”

The team were able to test that Donorfy worked to the point where the BBC were happy with the system. Donorfy processed millions of pounds worth of donations throughout the Christmas appeal without a hitch.

“The team all really like Donorfy. We’re all absolute converts.”

Immediate benefits for both fundraisers and donors

Despite being live for less than a year, Tim can already see that Donorfy has enabled the charity to be far more timely with making valuable Gift Aid claims and accurate in making different claims, and that has led to an increase in the charity’s income.

“There’s no doubt that because of the way Donorfy has sped up all of our processes, this has been beneficial to both us and to our donors. We’re able to process donations and thank people incredibly quickly. The integrated Gift Aid pushed our Gift Aid claims up, so Donorfy has paid for itself in the first year, just because all our fundraising processes are better.”

Donorfy has also enabled the St Martin-in-the-Fields team to put in place all the processes for new fundraising regulations and GDPR, which will take effect in spring 2018.

“As we have to be compliant with GDPR, we’ve chosen to be completely opt-in. For some charities, that would be a risk. But as we have about 30% new donors every year, it’s easier for us to be fully opt-in.”

“Donorfy makes that really straightforward to do, so we’ve been able to create a form on our website that people can fill in. You drop that into Donorfy and you can see exactly when people gave you consent, then follow up in two years time to regain that consent. Donorfy makes that complicated workflow really quite easy.”

Find out how Donorfy can increase your fundraising, improve your data processes and make your charity GDPR ready. Get started with Donorfy now.