Operating with a small staff, we faced a constant challenge of finding efficiencies and being a good steward of resources entrusted to us by donors. Over the years, managing fundraising campaigns and meeting donor goals became increasingly difficult for a number of reasons.
Paper was one. Campaign documents, such as donation forms, donor demographic information and actual donations—checks, for instance—were sometimes disseminated across various offices, filing cabinets and on-site and off-site storage facilities. It was all too common for checks to be on someone’s desk, waiting to be deposited and recorded.
In addition, things would sometimes disappear or go missing. For example, somebody might need something from an accounting file and they’d pull it, but not tell us or, not return it in a timely manner. If the record was more than a year or so old, the file was probably stored at a remote location and we were paying for that off-site storage.
We started exploring options and found electronic document management as a possible alternative to our current way of dealing with documents and files. In addition to finding a solution, we were looking for an easy implementation. We don’t have an IT person, so we were looking for behind-the-scenes support to get it installed, up and running. In August 2010 we went live with the docSTAR electronic document management system.
The docSTAR system was attractive not only because of the document storage and retrieval efficiencies it would bring, but it also integrated with software we already used.
We started scanning pledge and payment documentation and later moved on to other business units. With front-end scanning, we capture, index and track existing and new campaign transactions and any supporting documentation. Donations packages that once were split between physical different storage areas are now kept intact with PackageWorks and are instantly accessible. That impacts the whole organization and that’s why we focused on it early on. Pledges and payments also represent the greatest volume of paper, and the information needs to be accessible by nearly everyone in the organization. Information is as close as a couple of mouse clicks and storage costs are down.
We are now able to easily access and sort all of the information we need to manage fundraising and campaign efforts. Access to data is controlled by docSTAR user permissions assigned by the local system administrator. We have seen improvement in campaign management processes, because campaign donor files have been consolidated.
We also have seen improved accounts payable process efficiency. docSTAR’s “Workflow Module” is used to route vendor invoices with purchase orders requiring approvals to various individuals. There is better cash flow visibility and control over the invoice process and costs.
Receivables have improved, as well. docSTAR lets us scan and record all incoming checks and payments and I get a daily report sent via internal e-mail that shows me all receivables. It moves everything along from daily postings to deposits.
We have also enjoyed reduced fixed and labor costs by eliminating filing cabinets and offsite storage. Using docSTAR will enable me to keep our staffing levels as they are, even as our transaction volume increases.
Another benefit came at audit time. It’s really nice to be able to pull up the docSTAR records the auditors wanted to review and send those along. When they were done with the document, we didn’t need to re-file anything.
Looking back, we are thrilled with the difference docSTAR has made. Using docSTAR has enabled us to respond much more quickly to our customers—and to fellow employees—when they need information from us.