Heart's Home USA

Just two clicks: complicated reports made easy with CiviCRM

An interview with Heart’s Home USA

Heart’s Home is an international Catholic organization which fosters a culture of compassion at centers in 22 countries and across five continents. Their global network is comprised of volunteers who serve as missionaries to the disadvantaged and socially isolated. Heart’s Home USA became a CiviCRM user in March 2013 and recently spoke with Cividesk.

What were the specific needs of Heart’s Home which led you to consider CiviCRM?
Heart’s Home needed a secure and central location to store the names of contacts, or in our case, “benefactors”, and an efficient way to keep them updated. We were using an outdated database, along with Excel spreadsheets, and were not very happy with that solution for several reasons. The main problem was that all the data was stored on one computer and several staff members needed to access it; often at the same time. It also took several hours of time each month to prepare reports from Excel that we send to our volunteer missionaries. We wanted a system that would link our benefactors with our volunteer missionaries and manage recurring donations. Keeping better track of event attendees to send follow up emails and maintaining a history of who had been contacted were other key areas that needed improvement. Finally, we wanted to reduce the amount of time spent by staff on data entry.

Why did you choose Cividesk to help you in this process?
Cividesk was able to customize CiviCRM to fit the unique configuration needs of our organization. Each of our volunteer missionaries has three types of sponsors: prayer sponsors, sponsors who provide a onetime donation and those who give monthly donations. This information needs to be consolidated into one report that is periodically sent to each missionary. Before using CiviCRM, our staff would have to merge three different Excel spreadsheets into one to create these reports, a process that took several hours each month. Cividesk designed a customized report template in CiviCRM that streamlined this process which can be completed now with just two clicks.
The staff at Cividesk is also very professional and quick to answer questions. It’s nice to know you can call them for assistance and that the software will be configured correctly. We really appreciate Cividesk’s availability to help with questions, their follow-up and the assurance that you will have all the information you need. They are very reliable.

Could you tell me more about the implementation and training that Cividesk provided?
CiviCRM is user friendly and quite understandable; however, the more complex functions such as setting up event pages and managing our contribution page are not as obvious. We had very specific needs and there was quite a bit of customization that needed to take place in the beginning with our contribution page. We needed to have the names of current missionaries listed on the page so that sponsors could choose a missionary from that list. Cividesk did some custom development to make this possible. The training sessions that Cividesk provided were very thorough, however some advanced functions such as working with the html editor or scheduling reminders required more explanation, so it is great that the Cividesk staff is always available to answer questions.

Which CiviCRM functionalities are you using the most?
We use groups, smart groups and tags quite a bit to track and segment our benefactors and donors. The groups allow us to manage their profiles and to send thank you notes and tax receipts automatically, by email or generating a PDF file for those sent through the mail. The tags allow us to categorize the contacts and to export data based on these categories. We also use tags to track who attended events and to contact them for specific upcoming events. The on-line registration page saves lots of data-entry time for our staff and allows us to have more information about our event attendees since they enter the details themselves. We also used the campaign function to celebrate our 10th anniversary in the US.

What has been the impact of CiviCRM on a daily basis for Heart’s Home USA?
First of all, the accessibility of information by our staff has been a huge improvement for our organization. Before when we needed to know details about a certain donor, we would need to contact the staff person in charge of the database to get that information. Now we can quickly access the contact information and view all of the activities related to that contact: the complete history of the emails sent, events attended, phone conversations, etc. There is no longer the need to keep a paper trail, since the activities are automatically recorded in the contact’s history. This is especially important when sending receipts to donors, since this process has been automated. There has also been a reduction in the amount of manual data entry done in the office.

CiviCRM allows us to be more efficient with our time and to keep better track of all the information required to effectively manage our organization.

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