The Community Foundation Herkimer & Oneida Counties

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North America

More than a Grantmaker: The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties needs agile solutions to achieve its mission.

The Community Foundation Herkimer & Oneida Counties makes social impact investments in its New York community with a goal of addressing the greatest needs. With the right solutions in place, the Community Foundation processed in a single month the equivalent of years’ worth of gifts.

The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties in New York state aims to not only be a grantmaking organization but rather an investor in its community, committed to addressing challenges. By supporting partner organizations, the Community Foundation powers real change in education, health, economic development, and arts and culture.

Although the Community Foundation prides itself on its flexibility and modern approach to serving community needs in real time, its technology lacked that same agility. The organization recently migrated to Blackbaud’s cloud solutions for fund accounting and fundraising and relationship management to give its team the tools to match its culture.

“Making the decision took longer than it took to implement Blackbaud solutions,” said Jacquie Klotzbach, director of systems administration. “It was a very smooth process from the time we signed our contract.”

Doing More—Faster

The Community Foundation team experienced an easy transition to Blackbaud’s cloud solutions and immediately tapped into a more intuitive experience with less effort. “It’s been incredible to be able to log into our databases from anywhere that we are,” Klotzbach said. “Being locally hosted previously presented challenges, because we have a very flexible work culture, and our technology wasn’t in line with that. The transition has really opened the doors to allow us to give our employees the flexibility they need to perform their jobs.”

In 2018, the Community Foundation ran a campaign that processed nearly 4,000 gifts in a single month—an amount the foundation normally would process in two or three years. “The efficiencies we were able to realize with Blackbaud is what made us capable of compressing our workload so significantly but still doing it accurately and meeting the donor demand,” Klotzbach said.

Taking on a Leadership Role

The Community Foundation made a conscious shift in its mission approach a decade ago from reactionary grantmaking to transformational community investor. Along the way, Klotzbach explained, the foundation recognized that it could play a role in uniting social good organizations to build partnerships and accomplish more together.

“We want to be the entity that can convene and engage those other organizations for that purpose,” Klotzbach said. “So, we see a lot of growth potential.”

She recognizes that taking on this leadership role inevitably will make processes more complex for the foundation and that having the right solutions in place will prove critical to  success.

“Being able to leverage our technology and use it to its fullest potential, we’ll create operational efficiencies and effectiveness that allow our frontline staff to return to the community,” Klotzbach said. “We don’t want our team behind their desks doing data entry and manual processes. The more time that we can have them in the community meeting with the constituents and our stakeholders, learning about the needs of our community and our donors, the more successful we’re going to be.”

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