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Nonprofit Heroes: Ivan Wainewright, Charity CRM Consultant

Welcome to our Nonprofit Heroes series, where the Donorfy team interviews industry experts, successful proven fundraisers, and nonprofit heroes with stories and tips to inspire your charity to use technology to your advantage and do good, better.

The first interviewee in our series is Ivan Wainewright, Independent CRM Consultant at IT for Charities. Ivan has been working in information technology (IT) for over 20 years in consultancy, customer support, training and sales. He has worked specifically with the not-for-profit sector since 1994 (initially for a supplier of fundraising software) and as his own consultancy business since 1998. He  offers database/IT advice and consultancy solely to charities, the not-for-profit sector and membership organisations/professional bodies.

We asked Ivan a few questions about his career and what advice he has for charities looking to increase the effectiveness of their fundraising:

What was your first job?

Paperboy in North London… But my first ‘proper’ job was as a Software Support Consultant for an HR software company in Bradford.

How did you get into the charity sector?

In the mid 90’s, I applied for a job with a small company in Glasgow I had never heard of called GFI Solutions who sold something called The Raiser’s Edge… I was employee #7. They of course got bought by Blackbaud and the rest is history!

You’ve been in the field of charity tech for a long time now. Looking back, what would you say have been the most important tech developments?

You can’t really look past the growth of and ease of access to the web as one of the most significant, recent developments in our society full stop. Can you imagine life without it for our business lives?

I do think that the development of the “commercial CRM” systems such as Salesforce, Dynamics, Sugar etc for NFPs are important because they do offer new technology options to charities, in service delivery/support as much (or more so) than fundraising. But as I always say, there is no right or wrong system for charities: CRM/cloud systems [i.e. Donorfy] are just one fantastic option, but the traditional/proprietary fundraising packages are still absolutely an equally good option charities should consider if it fits their needs.

What do you see as the opportunities and challenges represented by the Cloud?

For the small to mid-size charity especially, it makes it so much easier for remote working and those with multiple offices around the country or around the world. Conversely, data integration between applications,  although integrations are improving, can still be difficult in the Cloud (and off-cloud too, to be fair).

Looking forward, what are the tech developments that charities should be looking to harness?

It’s already hackneyed to say, but digital and mobile are of course key. I think one interesting area is ‘off-site data capture’ on or through mobiles and tablets (whether that’s using NFC, apps or digital forms), which with better data transfer to central CRM systems will really help campaigning organisations (e.g. at events).

Data protection, opt in, Fundraising Preference Service - it's getting complicated for charities to keep in touch with their supporters and ask for support.

What have you seen charities doing to prepare and comply?

It’s so important that charities understand what is really meant by ‘Data Protection’, ‘Opt-in’ et al (and of course whatever Fundraising Preference Service / General Data Protection Regulation throws at us).

There is so much confusion and misunderstanding. So that’s the first thing. I have encouraged charities I have worked with to be able to record specific details (opt-in/out, date, source) on their fundraising/CRM database in these areas against each comms preference/channel/contact number, and to be able to show an audit of any such data collection.

All charities need to start thinking now about what their current fundraising/CRM systems can already do/record and what they can’t, and if there are limitations then how are they going to resolve them – it won’t be an option not to do so.

Here at Donorfy we’re all about making data management easier for charities. If you got your wish, what would you make easier than it is today?

Data loading and de-duping from third-party systems / files is such a time-consuming activity; the larger charities have more resources but it still takes time. For the small to mid-size nonprofit, anything which can improve that has to help.

And finally, the tech questions:

  • Mac or PC?


  • iPhone or Android?


  • Favourite app?

BeyondPod (I love podcasts)

Huge thanks to Ivan for joining us for our Nonprofit Heroes interview!

Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter so you don’t miss the next interview, and be sure to sign up for a free 2-week trial of Donorfy for your charity if you haven’t already. If you’d like to nominate an industry expert or nonprofit hero to be featured on our blog, contact us or tweet us @Donorfy.