When the National Constitution Center broke ground in Philadelphia, one organizational challenge was to get people from around the country to invest in something that they had never seen before, nor could readily conceptualize. At first, the organization was having trouble communicating to the public exactly what this building was all about. Many donors presumably wondered: What is a Constitution Center, anyway?
M.J. Dunion knew she had a mess to clean up six years ago when she was hired as director of development operations at Boston Medical Center, formed when a private academic medical institution and a city hospital merged. Her main task was to combine several departments that had been using different databases in fundraising efforts. She knew this largely was a matter of using the right technology as efficiently as possible.
The past few years have proven to be challenging for direct marketing fundraising. When you consider the 2001 terror attacks and the ensuing questions about dispersement of funds contributed as a result, Anthrax scares, the war on terrorism, corporate distrust, the recent Catholic Church opprobrium and the troubled economy, it’s no surprise that fundraisers have felt left out in the cold.
Information technology can be a very expensive endeavour. Nonprofit organizations often seek donations or grants in order to obtain the technology products and services that are increasingly becoming mandatory components of their operation. As with most things, though, the devil is in the details. Most people don’t realize that modern commercial software is rarely “sold” in the conventional sense, but rather “licensed”. Microsoft explains that this “is different than purchasing a car or house in that you have the right to run the software but there are ongoing requirements that determine how the software can be used.” The requirements of