Colgate University

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Higher Education Institutions
North America

Assembling the Right Team

Colgate University is a leading residential liberal arts college with a mission to provide an
educational experience to develop wise, thoughtful, critical thinkers and perceptive leaders.
Having experienced many limitations after outgrowing its antiquated legacy CRM system, Colgate made the switch and implemented Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT® to effectively reach and engage donors and operate more efficiently. While implementing new technology can seem daunting, the team at Colgate followed these three best practices to achieve a successful implementation.

IT and advancement leveraged their close relationship to successfully purchase and implement Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT. They also established an implementation committee that represented impacted departments across campus. The project plan was agreed upon, and committee members listed their required solution functionality as well as
how it would need to scale to meet growing needs.

“We wanted a solution that would fit all our needs across campus—from communications to advancement to development—and were diligent in our process to secure users’ buy-in before making our decision,” said Bridget Gaudreau, senior systems analyst and programmer. “After evaluating Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT, it was clear this is a cutting-edge solution that would provide our end-users much more than they had before.”

Taking a Collaborative Approach

Like most institutions, Colgate has unique complex data needs, so the team took a collaborative approach and brought in IT leaders to help consultants map data to the new system for a smooth implementation. The team made the implementation a priority, had the right people involved to ensure data was mapped accurately, and proactively helped end-users visualize how the database offers deeper insights and will help them achieve their goals.

In addition to sharing data across campus, the team addressed anything that campus partners accessed in the old system before taking it away. People were informed that they would be using a new solution and were given the chance to provide feedback on what information or access they need. This helped generate goodwill and trust across campus and departments.

“Being strong advocates for our data and taking a partnership approach helped lead to a very successful implementation,” said Gaudreau. “By preventing future issues, we established goodwill and exposed areas where we had opportunities to leverage data sharing even more.”

Culture of Change: Educating and Training Users

Upgrading to a new CRM system doesn’t occur often so it can be hard for people to adapt to this change. Educating their 100+ users and helping them understand how the new solution would provide them more opportunities was key. The team even removed access to the old system, making it a requirement for users to transition to the new system and ensuring users were accessing accurate and up-to-date information.

To further help transition end-users, the team also leveraged change management support. A team of specialists coached users through the journey and explained the present and future value the new CRM solution would bring them.

Key Benefits of Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT for Colgate University

  • The mobile access to data significantly improved gift officers’ stewardship efforts, giving them the pertinent insight needed to cultivate strong relationships with donors.
  • Gone are the days of requesting and waiting for donor reports. With remote access to real-time data, gift officers can easily self-serve and access data immediately.
  • It not only brings new data to gift officers, it gives them a 360-degree view of constituents.
  • Enabled seamless communication across different departments, creating a connected campus.
  • With the marketing analytics and tracking, the team can better understand their campaigns and appeals.
  • Prior to Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT, they conducted A/B testing which was very manual and complex but now they can segment and target people in the right way at the right time.
  • New insights into event data. Users can see who was invited to events and their registration status. They can easily view a person’s record and see their profile–before, it would have taken multiple uploads, as well as time and energy to accomplish a similar view.
  • The reduction in time and effort has been very helpful for gift officers. They aren’t struggling to find information and are now able to complete new tasks and be more targeted with specific work.

Looking Ahead

With the successful implementation behind them, the team at Colgate is looking forward to expanding their use of Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT and seeing the added benefits of reaching new supporters and engaging existing supporters, as well as streamlining data, reporting, and administrative processes.

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