New Leadership Expands Services and the Number of Children Served
In an eight-year period, Boys & Girls Clubs of Portand Metropolitan area went from serving 4,500 youth to serving 25,000, growing from four clubs and two extensions sites to six clubs and 11 extension sites. This remarkable growth occurred under the leadership of husband and wife CEO team Joseph and Lisabeth Marziello, who joined the Portland organization in 2002.
Over 60 Years of Service
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland (BGCP), founded in 1946, is committed to enabling all young people, especially those in greatest need, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The programs and services the organization offers range from education and career development to drug and alcohol prevention, homework assistance, sports leagues, and outdoor environmental experiences. BGCP strives to provide an environment that benefits kids’ entire health, building the character and leadership skills that one day will enable members to be in a position to give back to the
The addition of the Marziellos in 2002 had a tremendous impact. Beyond new locations and increased services, BGCP enjoyed many operational gains; administrative expenses were reduced from 18.6% to 8.2%, enabling more dollars to be allocated directly to programs and services for youth, while budgeted program dollars increased from 70% to 86%.
Fundraising in a Difficult Economy
When the Marziellos came to Portland, the annual membership fee was $20. To serve a larger population, they lowered the fee to $5 per year. This opened the doors to all young people, regardless of their economic circumstances.
Partly because of the low cost of membership, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland raises nearly 100% of their operating expenses through charitable donations. With Portland’s focus on the arts and the environment, there is stiff competition for donation dollars. That being said, according to Executive Development Officer Daniel Laurendeau, “The Boys & Girls Clubs
of Portland and their donors have proven themselves year after year.”
The Marziellos and their team use a consistent, personal, “hands-on” approach. The Marziellos invite donors into their home for dinner parties on a regular basis, making strong, personal connections. Each year, a few weeks before Thanksgiving, staff members and kids bake and deliver Christmas Cookies to top donors. Throughout the year, BGCP keeps donors connected to their mission and their programs with regular mailings.
In 2010, the Portland Business Journal presented awards to Oregon’s most admired companies. For their efforts with BGCP, Joseph and Lisabeth Marziello were awared CEO’s of the Year for the State of Oregon, and the organization placed 8th among nonprofits in the state.
Why BGCP Adopted ResultsPlus
Before coming to Portland, the Marziellos served as CEOs for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Green Bay, Wisconsin, where they first used ResultsPlus. They were so pleased with both the software and the outcomes they achieved with it that they brought it to Portland with them, believing it was the most effective way to ensure the future fundraising success of the Portland organization. The organization is currently using ResultsPlus to manage 18,000 constituent records, about 12,000 of which represent active donors.
ResultsPlus a “Smart Application”
Executive Development Officer Daniel Laurendeau joined the organization in 2004. Laurendeau has a variety of responsibilities including overseeing grant writing, developing donor relationships for special projects (such as capital campaigns), and developing special initiatives like literacy programs.
Laurendeau said what he likes best about ResultsPlus is its ability to track “the basics” as well as donor giving histories, queries and reports. These features enable BGCP to do mailings, holiday appeals, newsletters, and targeted mailings based on knowledge stored in the ResultsPlus database. He also appreciates being able to track pledges, record pledge payments, and generate progress reports for team members soliciting “in the field”. This information, he said, is invaluable to solicitors.
Laurendeau has found that ResultsPlus plays well with accounting. It’s important for the organization to reconcile accounting data with donor data on a regular basis. ResultsPlus makes that easy. “Our auditors are very pleased with all the information we’ve been able to provide them. They want to be able to see that what we’re reporting in the books is the same as what we’re recognizing donors for having given; it’s nice to be able to have a system that works so cleanly. This last year was the easiest audit we ever had; again they [Accounting] came to us and said they needed this information on the side of the donors and it was painless.”
Queries are also important because a few times each month Laurendeau receives a special request from a key officer of the organization asking him to provide specific data on a given area. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland covers a 45-mile region. To be able to drill down to specific communities and provide historical giving information for a particular area is very important. In one case they opened a club in a new part of town and were able to identify past donors by zip codes, enabling them to lay out a fine-tuned, targeted fundraising strategy. Laurendeau said, “ResultsPlus is extremely valuable that way.”
“When I worked in the hotel industry, I learned that it was absolutely essential to have historical information on guests,” Laurendeau commented. “ResultsPlus is a smart application; everything is there that you need to be able to track and compare year to year. Because you have this history, you can pull reports that show you the success of a particular event or campaign.”
To minimize operating expenses, BGCP runs a lean organization. Laurendeau said they could easily hire someone to just pull reports from ResultsPlus. “There’s so much that can be done,” he said. “ResultsPlus is like the human brain – we probably use only 10% of it. There’s only so much time in a day.”
Laurendeau said he recommends ResultsPlus to other nonprofits because it’s an ideal way to capture critical information, even if you don’t have the opportunity to use that information right away. “Once you’ve got your foundation of donors and prospects in the system, all you really have to do from that point on is make sure that as Joe Smith is sending in a gift, you enter it into the system. As long as you’ve set up your campaigns, funds, and appeals properly, that’s all you ever have to do. Even if you don’t pull out all the material you can extract from reports, the historical information will be there.”