Champlain College Success Story

In this client testimonial, Roland Palmer, Director of Engagement and Operations at Champlain College, highlights the outstanding results from DonorSearch while also emphasizing the continuous support from our Client Success team. He praises our platform for the introduction of AI and the seamless integration with Blackbaud Razers Edge. He also appreciates our family-oriented approach and recommends our tool for providing accurate, comprehensive, and actionable data to enhance fundraising and reach goals.

Interview between Cecelia Poplin and Roland Palmer

C: “Hi Roland! Thank you so much for spending some time with us today. We’d love if you could start by telling us a little bit about yourself…”

R: “Hi everyone. I am Roland Palmer. I am the Director of Engagement and Operations here at Champlain College located in Burlington, Vermont – I should say beautiful Burlington, Vermont! It’s a beautiful, sunny gorgeous day today, which we’re enjoying. We are a small, private higher ed institution but have a very large and growing continuing professional studies, which is basically online. I am an alum of Champlain College and I have… I am going on 17 years at Champlain College. It’s just a really special place and I really, really love it.”

C: “That was wonderful! Thank you. Thank you for that. So, now could you share with us a little bit about the successes you’ve had with DonorSearch at Champlain and maybe how you envision, you know, the future use of DonorSearch.

R: “When we started looking around for a company to partner with that basically would enable us to do screenings and be able to get some new insights into the data that we had. We had been on other, or we had partnered with other organizations and I happened to get an email from DonorSearch and decided to book a demo. Just had a great experience and was able to convince my team that this was the tool we needed. We were actually so excited with the partnership that we immediately signed a three-year contract. That contract is just about to be finished and we’ve already re-upped for another three years. That’s how much we love this platform. The platform was really easy to use, it was easy for us to get in and set up and do our first screening. We actually started out with a very large number of screenings because we hadn’t done a full database screening in a while and so we were kind of due for that. And so we did a very large screening, which, again, was amazing how quickly that all turned around. It took very little time at all. Once we had all the data uploaded, we were notified immediately – almost surprisingly – how quick we got the email notification back that everything had been done and kind of reviewed and checked. And one of the things that we immediately noticed compared to other products that are out there is that – how accurate everything was. So, the matching that happened was amazingly accurate compared, as I said, to other products – we had used other products in the past. We just really found that it was a great way to just kind of jumpstart. And then, of course, the fun part began which is actually looking at everything that DonorSearch sends back to you, which is just an amazing amount of data points and insights that we would not normally have access to. And, so, one of the early… some of the successes we found is we immediately had a plethora of people that came onto our radar that we probably wouldn’t have known was even existing in our database based on the initial screening. And, so, we started working as a team to kind of go through those and kind of build a pipeline. And then the other thing that we do with DonorSearch is they have the ability to not only batch screen, but you can do one-off screenings and we basically bought an additional yearly batch because each year we obviously have a new set of parents that come in that need to be screened, we also staggered out – as an alum comes to the ten years out… we send that class through. So, we are continually adding data into the DonorSearch platform to, again just kind of keep us informed and keep us kind of moving along. We are also in the silent part of… We are just recently starting the silent phase of a campaign and that’s another reason we decided to stay partnered with DonorSearch is we’ve just had such amazing results outside of the campaign that we knew it would only be to our benefit to continue that relationship as we move into this next campaign. So, we’ve really been excited to be a partner with them.”

C: “That is wonderful! That was a lot – thank you! I know no one is going to hear my voice, but thank you… thank you for sharing all of those experiences! So, as we move forward the next one would be – one of the things DonorSearch prides itself on is our commitment to our clients’ success. We want to do everything we can to help you achieve those goals that you have for using our solutions. So, can you talk a little bit about your overall experience with the DonorSearch success and support team?”

R: “Absolutely. So, another wonderful thing about DonorSearch that I found very different from other companies that I’ve partnered with is they have an amazing Client Success team. Right from the get-go, we were assigned a person on the team that basically trained us on the platform, made sure that we understood how the platform worked, all of the capabilities of the platform and, for some companies, that’s kind of it – you go through the initial training and then you are on your own. That is not the case with DonorSearch. DonorSearch reaches out to us constantly to say, ‘How are things going? Are there any questions that you have? Do you need any help analyzing anything that we sent you?’ So even the second you’re onto the contract, we were kind of running out of what we call the low hanging fruit and start having to get into a deeper level that team – our team – was right there to help us and say, ‘Hey, you might want to take a look at this score or this insight that we’ve provided.’ And they just kind of go through it all with you. The other amazing thing about DonorSearch is they are constantly… they have all of these amazing tools to help us all be better fundraisers. So, it’s not only the data and understanding the platform, they do a huge series of webinars –on-demand webinars—that are just around fundraising… how to be a better fundraiser, how to identify that stuff. They have blogs and podcasts, industry guides… Their website is this plethora of just really amazing, useful information. And, again, it’s not just any one industry. They are really committed to helping all types of nonprofits not matter whether you are a small shop or a really super large shop. They are there to support and make sure that you are getting every bit that you can get out of the DonorSearch platform. Which, again, when it comes to the end of the day after you make an investment, you know, you want to see that return on investment and we have seen it over and over again with DonorSearch.

C: “I couldn’t have written it better myself! Roland, thank you. That’s fantastic! Thank you for sharing that and I appreciate hearing that our hard work is reaching you. If you had one or two top points to share with organizations considering DonorSearch, what would those be?”

R: “If someone out there is actually considering DonorSearch, and, again, you don’t just have to take my word for it, but, again, we are very partial. A couple of things that really stand out, in addition to ease of use of the platform, how many different things… but DonorSearch is really committed to constantly improving. There are some platforms out there that are, you know, the same platforms – they never make any additions, there’s not really any upgrades, it’s like the same product that they’ve used for like five years –  that is not the case with DonorSearch. Two things that just recently happened… was they are introducing Artificial Intelligence and having that help inform additional data points that we now have within the DonorSearch platform, which is just amazing. I actually just attended another webinar on Artificial Intelligence and how that is the future of fundraising, it’s almost like having an extra person on your team that doesn’t need benefits and is actually up 24 hours a day looking at your data! The other kind of cool thing is we are actually a Blackbaud Razers Edge client as well and so when we first signed on, they were very clear about how… this is how you would get this back in to Razers Edge. Now, they’ve actually built the integration for us. So, the data can now flow back and forth from Razers Edge. They now have a tile that will come up right in Razers Edge and NXT that will get my whole team. In the past, there were just a few of us that would have log ins into the could version of the platform, but now, with this new integration, they’re literally bringing it right in front of my entire team. So, again, they don’t have to log into a separate platform, they don’t have to know a different password, they literally go to NXT, they go to the constituent record and if that constituent has been screened in DonorSearch, information on that donor from DonorSearch will actually be in Razers Edge. I just think it’s amazing and I really commend DonorSearch for trying to continue to improve their product because those improvements help us do our job better!”

C: “Thank you! So excited! It’s one of our most popular… clients get so excited about the integrations so thank you for sharing that. And then finally is there anything else that maybe I haven’t asked or anything else that you were thinking of that you would like to share about your experience with DonorSearch solutions?”

R: “One other thing that I would like to share about DonorSearch is I do appreciate that this is a company that is, you know, actually not too far from Vermont, that it’s a family business – not only family members but you can tell there is a family-feel to this company and how much they want their clients to be part of that family. So, again, I really can’t recommend them enough. I’m actually looking at a quote that I had seen from Bill, the founder, that basically said they basically founded DonorSearch with one goal: to provide more accurate, more comprehensive, more actionable data to help nonprofits of all types achieve better fundraising and outreach goals. And I can say, without a doubt, DonorSearch totally delivers on that!” 

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