Fundraising Systems are specialized Information Systems so the work of the system is to access, activate, and apply information to raise funds. This work occurs on three different system-levels: Transactional, Management, and Strategic.
If we think of a fundraising system as a Triangle, the bottom portion—the base—represents the Transactional level. Transactional activities include entering gifts and sending acknowledgment letters, capturing event attendance and volunteer activities, and recording a personal interaction with a constituent. Transactional-level activities account for the bulk of work within a system.
The Management level represents the work of assessment and evaluation. Management activities include evaluating performance compared to goals or comparing this year’s performance to last year’s. As the pyramid model implies, Management functions are built upon a solid Transactional base.
The top of the pyramid represents the Strategy level. Work at this level utilizes information from both the Transactional and Management levels, as well as applying information from sources external to the fundraising system.
How the application of data most significantly impacts fundraising activities.
Strategic Data Fundraising Types:
Management Data Fundraising Types:
Data refers to both the individual bits of information and the collective whole of information.
Data exists in the donor database and is also dispersed throughout the entire system, located within an email exchange, fundraiser call-reports, paper check copies and hard-files, in wealth screenings and subscription tools, and in the minds of people.
Processes are a series of tasks that collect, process, export, or apply data.
Processes may be pre-defined and highly structured, like gift entry or NCOA updates; or they may be non-routine and discretionary, like using fundraising performance data to project revenues.
Structures are how people organize around specific workflows. Structures are like constellations, and People, like stars in constellations, can be a part of many different structures simultaneously.
A common structure is staff hierarchy with executive leadership on top, managers in the middle, and administrative staff under managers, but there are many other structures operating with your fundraising system. For example, the gift entry structure may include all the staff members that open and sort the mail, enter gifts, review new gift lists, sign acknowledgement letters, create bank deposits, and reconcile the accounting ledger.
People are all the department’s human resources. We assess people’s performance in terms of their effectiveness (how well people achieve goals), and their efficiency (how many resources people require to achieve goals).