Case Study

Success Story | Protecting a Valuable Asset: Leveraging RENXT in Support of the Environment

Holly Parrish

Senior Consultant

Holly Parrish, a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) since 2004, has worked for more than 20 years in fundraising, public relations, and marketing.
September 02, 2022

How JCA helped North Florida Land Trust protect and preserve its RENXT database so they could raise funds to protect our environment.

North Florida Land Trust (Land Trust) is a small Florida nonprofit with a big mission to preserve and protect Florida’s irreplaceable natural environments. The Land Trust’s preservation work focuses on a seven county North Florida region, but also extends to other Florida locations, protecting Florida’s natural landscapes, vegetation, and wildlife. The Land Trust is responsible for conserving close to 27,000 acres of property acquired through both purchase and donations.

In 2021, after some staff turnover, the Land Trust hired a new Director of Philanthropy, Lee Anderson Louy, and Development Officer, Sarah Hande, to continue carrying forward the organization’s fundraising priorities. However, as Lee and Sarah jumped into their new roles, they started experiencing roadblocks related to getting reliable data from the organization’s Raiser’s Edge NXT (RENXT) constituent relationship management (CRM) system. Mailing lists required excessive manipulation and review, and reports just didn’t add up or appear accurate. To make matters worse, their database administrator support role was vacant. They were struggling to execute their work efficiently.

They quickly realized that in order to raise funds to support the Land Trust’s efforts in preservation, they were going to need some help preserving one of their own assets—their donor database.

And without any technical support within the team, outside expertise was critical to uncovering the cause of their frustrations, and, more importantly, helping to fix it. Their search for RENXT expertise connected them to JCA, and work quickly commenced on a system assessment and cleansing project.

Getting to the Root of the Issue

For North Florida Land Trust, the RENXT system assessment project was three-fold.

  1. JCA conducted a preliminary assessment of the Land Trust’s RENXT data using a Codes Frequency Report (CFR). The CFR identified every code used within RENXT and provided a count of how many times each code occurred. The CFR is the equivalent of running hundreds of queries in the database. When reviewing the CFR, JCA looked for common code issues like duplication and mixed-use codes that naturally occur over time, as well as opportunities to correct or standardize coding schemas.
  2. JCA analyzed groups of records within the Land Trust’s system looking for evidence of common data issues such as missing data, improper usage, and inconsistencies.
  3. JCA met with team members to understand current workflows, system usage, knowledge gaps, and pain points. This investigation led to further system exploration and discovery to get to the root of each identified problem area.

What’s the Diagnosis?

The initial system assessment, completed in January 2022, got to the root of several problems; including an issue familiar to many small organizations—inconsistent data entry. Many years of utilizing volunteers and support staff for data entry duties resulted in missing pieces of information or failure to enable certain functions within RENXT designed to maintain the integrity of data. With JCA’s help the Land Trust was able to identify problematic records and begin correcting primary address settings, duplicate organizational records, unlinked spouses, missing titles, and incorrect email types.

In addition to identifying problems with constituent records, the assessment clarified knowledge gaps and provided process improvement recommendations aimed at system optimization. JCA then worked with the Land Trust team to execute data cleansing and other improvements.

Key projects included:

  • Updating solicitor relationships and proposal records – JCA helped update old solicitor relationships and add new assignments to curate accurate portfolios for the new fundraising team.
  • Crafting protocols for constituent record management – To guard against messy data in the future, JCA helped the Land Trust clarify and document data entry procedures, ensuring records are consistently entered with appropriate codes, contact information, relationship settings, and attributes.
  • Reviewing Campaign, Appeal and Fund record usage – JCA helped the Land Trust clarify the role of each tracking area and determine appropriate strategy for use of campaign, appeal, and fund records to measure performance.
  • Creating a standard set of reports – JCA delivered a set of reports, lists, and dashboards that the Land Trust could confidently use to support ongoing work and report on performance.

A Sustainable Future

The true outcome of any assessment or cleansing project is to point clients toward a more sustainable future where data is protected and optimized. As Director of Philanthropy, Lee Anderson Louy shared, “JCA helped us leverage the resources and tools needed to build a solid foundation to provide direction, set expectations, and establish accountability for results within the philanthropic arm of our organization.”

The Land Trust was fortunate to hire a new database administrator, Abby Carden, midway through the data cleansing process. As a bonus, she had some Raiser’s Edge experience! Her position played a big role in completing data cleansing work. More importantly, JCA was able to effectively transition procedures, reporting tools, and maintenance expectations to their new owner. According to Abby, “Having JCA on board when I arrived at the Land Trust made my transition into my new role smooth and comfortable. It was incredibly reassuring to know that Holly was only an email or call away when I ran into a problem or encountered a new feature of RENXT that I wasn’t very familiar with yet. And JCA was skilled at keeping us on task and helping us figure out a plan, even when we didn’t always know exactly where we wanted to go.”

Do More with Your Data

From large organizations to small, JCA can lend a helping hand and provide technical expertise to get your data back on track. Your CRM is the foundation of your work, and we’re here to help you make the most of the tools you have.

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