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It was quite a star-spangled event, hosted by one of the premier nonprofit arts organizations dedicated to producing, performing, and promoting jazz. However, organizers of JAG managed their annual fundraiser events using basic spreadsheets, which created bottlenecks in their ultimate effort to meet the fundraising goals. Because they were using antiquated methods for keeping records, not only did the organizers omit crucial information, but it also caused numerous errors while recording donor’s data. Assigning bid numbers on the wrong line was a common error. JAG’s gala planner Kimberlee Goodman recalls that after the event, assigning bid numbers and processing the spreadsheet data delayed the payment collection significantly. This forced organizers to seek help from outside to locate guests and complete the transaction. Kimberlee sought to streamline the entire process, from payments to ticket sales and sponsorships. And this was when she learnt about Greater Giving.
The next year’s event was a different story for JAG. For the first time ever, JAG’s fundraising team was able to register attendees online. Throughout every step of planning and execution, the numbers stayed accurate. After using Greater Giving’s solutions, JAG’s team was surprised to find that the collection took a total of three hours instead of several days. The staff understood the process of handling registrations quickly with only sixty to ninety seconds dedicated to each guest who attended the gala. To top it off, organizers had their reporting data ready for the board to review. “We were able to exceed their expectations and help them surpass JAG’s fundraising goals,” enthuses Kyle Perez, Senior Manager, Product Management, at Greater Giving.
The success stories akin to JAG are the result of the innovative services provided by Greater Giving, a Global Payments Inc. company. Working exclusively with schools and nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and Canada, Greater Giving offers integrated technologies to help simplify event management, train volunteers, streamline check-in and check-out, and improve the event experience for the donors—all on a single user-friendly platform. Through its software packages and solutions, the firm is streamlining the fundraising efforts of different organizations.
Necessity Calls Innovation
The inception of Greater Giving dates back to 2002, and to Jeff Jetton, who was a regular contributor at community fundraising events. During a community fundraising event in Portland, Oregon, Jeff had to wait for a long time to check-out at the event’s benefit auction. Frustrated by the delay, he began considering ways to simplify and shorten auction check-out lines. The result was Auctionpay, a credit card processing terminal. The device offered features such as the ability to plug in a network of terminals, pre-swipe a credit card, enter sales information during the event, and hand guests an “ExpressPay” receipt at check-out.
When someone from our client service team gets a call and hears an issue, they don’t just write a ticket and move to the next call. They invest a significant amount of time and bring their passion for resolving that issue
"We follow a philosophy where security becomes the foremost priority; compliance will come along"
Overcoming Nonprofit Challenges
The landscape of auction software is dynamically evolving toward improving operational efficiency, increasing mission impact, and enhancing sector competitiveness. Gala auctions aren’t an exclusive event for the wealthiest individuals anymore— they’re open to all types of donors. The industry is also witnessing a shift from silent auctions to “Fund-A-Need only” events with a few big-ticket raffle items. Alongside, organizations also add online auctions and social fundraising into the mix.
Nobody understands this scenario better than Greater Giving, which brings to the table software solutions that adapt to the recent trends and suits any event. The company regularly engages with their customers, prospects, and partners to understand what they need to implement for successful fundraising. Greater Giving’s Event Software, along with Online Bidding allows clients to register and track guests; manage vendors, sponsors, and volunteers; organize item procurement; manage guest seating; send email communications; print night of event documents like bid sheets; and report and analyze event success. Greater Giving is a one-stop-shop that provides solutions for online registration, table assignments, event check-in with credit card readers, silent auction, mobile bidding, check-out, and payment processing, to name a few. Understanding the difficulties of schools and nonprofits related to their fundraising initiatives, the company also offers a donation page contest to help customers raise more funds.
Security Not a Choice
Although the nonprofit sector is not known for being particularly innovative, the rise of a massive amount of data calls for more sophistication in this sector. Moreover, new financial regulations and data security make the situation worse. “We follow a philosophy where security becomes the foremost priority; compliance will come along,” says David Hagland, Director of Infrastructure at Greater Giving. This means that besides ticking the boxes of compliance parameters, Greater Giving makes sure that the donors’ data is secure. A breach of donor data will lead to disastrous privacy issues that can affect an organization’s reputation and trust. To this end, the company leverages top-notch data protection tools and safeguards their client’s privacy. Greater Giving is a certified PCI Tier 1 Service Provider. “That’s the most secure and intensive credit card certification available in the market and with it, we take the security burden off from the nonprofit as possible,” says Hagland.
The company’s technology and processes are reviewed regularly for finding and fixing the errors. Greater Giving also conducts annual auditing by a PCI accredited 3rd party agency to ensure compliance. They also employ their merchant provider for payments, thus ensuring additional security in all financial transactions.
Caring for the Future
“Working at Greater Giving is not just a day-to-day job but rather, a humble yet big leap to make the world a better place,” mentions Perez. Greater Giving has a dedicated and focused team that not just works for the company but involves in all activities that support nonprofits. Participating in Giving Tuesday campaigns is an exemplary model they set to that end. Since 2012, Greater Giving has been a part of #GivingTuesday™ (#GT) - the global day of giving. Each team member takes the day to volunteer at a local nonprofit. “When someone from our client service team gets a call and hears an issue, they don’t just write a ticket and move to the next call. They invest a significant amount of time and bring their passion for resolving that issue,” adds Kyle.
Greater Giving works closely with their customers, partners, and employees and makes sure they offer the best in terms of technology as well as services. They employ a dedicated event support team for attending events and galas. The team also collects feedback about the solutions directly from the field. Besides that, the company hosts an annual “Thought Leadership Summit” where they elicit information on trends within fundraising and how customers can utilize their solutions. It is from programs like this that Greater Giving has built the foundation of their User Interface Redesign, which they’re launching this summer.
At present, the company is overseeing the fundraising efforts of over ten thousand schools and nonprofits in the U.S. and Canada. This includes small schools, national nonprofits, universities, and all types of nonprofit organizations. “By leveraging technology as well as innovation, we remain committed to fulfilling the mission of helping others in the communities where we live, and we do it for the common good,” asserts Perez.