ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter

The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the ALS Association Takes Online Fundraising to a New Level with Blackbaud NetCommunity

The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the ALS Association provides support and resources for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients, their families, and caregivers living in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. ALS is characterized by the degeneration of motor cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness and paralysis. Average life expectancy is 2-5 years from diagnosis, and there is no known cause or cure.

The Challenge:

The ALS Association organizes seven annual team fundraising walks that raise more than $1 million. A long-time Blackbaud customer, the Association uses The Raiser’s Edge, The Financial Edge, and The Researcher’s Edge to manage fundraising efforts and donor relationships but used Convio to manage online fundraising pages. The Association encountered many problems because the Convio database and The Raiser’s Edge were not integrated and the import/export function from Convio was far more complex and time-consuming than the IT staff could have imagined. Without integration, the development staff was unable to track and record online activities to the donor record. As well, the standard reports that Convio offered were inflexible and inadequate.

The Solution:

The ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter chose to replace its Convio website with Blackbaud NetCommunity to set up and manage team fundraising events and achieve a complete view of each constituent’s online and offline activity by leveraging a shared database with The Raiser's Edge fundraising software. Additionally, ALS Association chose Blackbaud OnDemand to host their website for remote access functionality, and the support and services offered by the Blackbaud Interactive team.

The Results:

In 2008, the chapter will run its seven walks through Blackbaud NetCommunity. "We migrated our entire website to [Blackbaud] NetCommunity,” said Nora Isaac, senior information technology manager for ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter. “We are able to do our donations and our team fundraising, and we have a community, an extranet for our employees, and targeted content available to our board.”

The completely integrated solution is user-friendly and allows teams and/or individuals to create personal web pages for events and encourage recipients to give online, register for an event, join an existing fundraising team, or even become a new team captain. The development staff can easily access online event dashboards and hundreds of performance reports because all transactions are tracked and stored in The Raiser’s Edge. Thus far, the Association is on track to increase participation rates, awareness, and financial support for their mission.

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