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Kate Mead
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SUCCESS STORY: How Missouri Botanical Garden Weeded through Member Data to Prepare for a New CRM


© Steve Frank / Missouri Botanical Garden

Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden (the Garden), is the nation's oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and a National Historic Landmark.

The Garden is a center for botanical research and science education, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis. The Garden offers 79 acres of beautiful horticultural display, including a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, Henry Shaw's original 1850 estate home, and one of the world's largest collections of rare and endangered orchids. Its mission is "to discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life."

EMBARKING ON THE PATH TO A NEW CRM

As the Garden was embarking on the journey of selecting a new Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) solution, they realized that before they could transition to something new, they had some data work to do within their current system. Over the years their legacy system, The Raiser’s Edge (RE), had become clunky and bogged down with inaccurate and mislabeled member data, making it harder to cultivate relationships and reach their fundraising goals.

“Within the fundraising unit, we knew we had quite a bit of database cleanup of member and donor records in our Raiser’s Edge database to be ready for a possible conversion to a new system (and frankly, to be more efficient in RE even if a CRM conversion did not happen). But, we didn’t really know where to start.” said Kate Gleason, Director of Membership and Development Operations.  

With the help of JCA, the Garden began a Raiser’s Edge reconfiguration project, to ensure a smooth transition to their future CRM.

WEEDING THROUGH THE DATA

JCA collaborated with the Garden staff to reconfigure member records to best meet the business needs and align with desired models. We first determined the criteria for record reconfiguration and then mapped data from the existing RE database to a “prospective” RE database, designed to separate existing household records into linked individual records.

During this mapping process, JCA worked with the Garden to develop and document clean-up rules for several record elements, including the following:

  • Create new constituent records for existing non-constituent relationships
  • Identify the Head of Household/Primary Member
  • Attribute/split the following data to individuated records:
    • Gift history and (newly created) respective soft credits
    • Event history
    • Notes, attributes, and actions
  • Update membership records and membership cards
  • Create/update addressee lines and salutations for individuals, households, and single and joint memberships

“JCA worked with us to define the right use of our time and resources to ready our data for a possible conversion,” said Gleason. “Once we identified a scope of work together, they helped us execute our cleanup plan. They guided us through all the right conversations about how we use our data (and how we could use it better).”

© Tom Incrocci / Missouri Botanical Garden

SOWING THE SEEDS

Once all the known data and reporting issues were reviewed, the main focus of the project became the elevation of spouses to constituent records. The cleanup provided more accurate spouse and relationship management for future usage or potential data conversion, clearing a path for more accurate, fruitful fundraising.

“With their help, we accomplished our goals: better organization of individual and households records in our database, cleaner tables, and a more functional membership module,” said Gleason. “I feel much more prepared and confident as we take the next big step towards our goal of an integrated CRM solution.  

GROWING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

JCA has been meeting with the Garden team monthly to talk through planning for their upcoming CRM system selection and implementation. The reconfigured data will be easier to convert and integrate with other systems, which means that less data transformation will need to occur during conversion, saving everyone time (and headaches!).

“Now, as we are narrowing down our vendor list for our new CRM, we continue to stay in touch with JCA. They are providing tremendous guidance and advice as we make our final choice and prepare for implementation—helping us think through not only the technical requirements of the project, but also the larger issues involved with choosing an integrated CRM solution and the organizational change that goes along with it. “

CULTIVATING YOUR DATA

Moving data to a new system can transform your organization. When it’s done well, your people adjust comfortably and thrive on the new system. When it’s not done well, you lose revenue, time, and credibility. JCA has decades of experience converting data out of and into a variety of CRM software systems. Thinking about a CRM move? Contact us for a data conversion with no surprises.

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