A birthday wish

My birthday is coming up this week — Friday to be exact — and I have one wish: A new data management system for Simply Living.

When I became executive director of Simply Living, I came into an organization of wonderful people, but which had gone for three years without a director. The remaining staff, board and volunteers have done the absolute best they could to hold it all together, but they have been dealing with a significant impediment: the organization’s data management system.

Most nonprofits have a data management system that tracks things like when someone joins the mailing list, whether they have donated, whether we have talked with them on the phone, whether they have come to one of our events, whether they have volunteered, what issues are they care most about, etc.

This basic operating system allows the organization to serve its members and supporters effectively — and Simply Living’s system is horrible. It’s a free open-source software that was never installed properly and is full of bugs.

At any given time, our system will decline to send an email to two-thirds of our mailing list. The email module is so bad that we have to post our weekly newsletter as a page on our website and then send out a link. Donations through PayPal are not recorded automatically and must be uploaded manually.

If our members and supporters wonder why their contact with Simply Living has been spotty over the past few years, our data management system is the reason. And we must do better.

Contribute to Simply Living’s new data management system through my birthday fundraiser on Facebook

So my first major act as the new director of Simply Living is to move us to a new data management system. We have spent several weeks checking into the alternatives and found a highly recommended operating system that many other nonprofits use called DonorPerfect.

DonorPerfect fits our needs. It includes the popular email platform Constant Contact for creating weekly newsletters. It has an event management module. It even has an auction and marketplace module — and all for a reasonable price.

What we need to raise money for is the one-time cost for setup and data migration. We will have a project manager who will help us design custom fields for our data so the system fits our membership. Then we will have to migrate each entry from the old system to DonorPerfect.

An organization’s data management system is not flashy, but it’s critical for building a solid foundation to raise funds, apply for grants, and implement sustainability programs that provide a true value-added service for Central Ohio.

The one-time cost of data migration for DonorPerfect is $2040. There’s another cost of $745 for training our staff and volunteers. You can help us pay for this by contributing through my Facebook birthday fundraiser.

Help Simply Living move to a new data management system through my birthday fundraiser

If you contribute $25, you will be listed as a Simply Living member for 2021. If you contribute $50, you’ll get a household membership. Seniors can donate $20 for a membership, and students can donate $10. This is in accordance with our membership levels.

Of course you are welcome to donate more, and if you own a business, check out our business membership levels.

Simply Living is in a phase of rebuilding, renewing, and relaunching. That starts with building a solid foundation. Leaving behind our old, buggy, and non-user-friendly system in favor of a highly recommended system used by lots of other nonprofits will help us build that foundation.

I can’t offer you a physical brick, but if you donate to join Simply Living now, I can offer you a foundational membership. Thanks so much for considering this.

Facebook pays all the processing fees for you, so 100% of your donation goes directly to us.

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