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Client Story
A pin icon representing locationSan Diego, CA Icon representing the classification of this org Human Services

How Alzheimer’s San Diego Transformed their Recurring Giving Program with Neon CRM

Customer Profile

  • Solution Used:

    Neon CRM
  • Customer Since: 2015

  • Outcome: Built a thriving Recurring Giving program

Alzheimer’s San Diego is a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in San Diego County. 

Their mission encompasses community support and caregiver assistance—all offered free of charge thanks to their wide-ranging fundraising efforts and the support of their monthly donors.

Let Me Introduce You to the Alzheimer’s San Diego Team:

Eugenia Welch, President/CEO, brings a wealth of for-profit sector experience and focuses on organizational efficiency. This is her first time working with a donor database, however, having previously worked in the for-profit database systems.

Michelle Van Hoff, Director of Development, oversees all fundraising strategies and initiatives with eight years of experience working with Alzheimer’s San Diego. She was not involved in the initial process of moving records to Neon CRM, but acknowledges the benefits of now having everything in one spot.

Ginger Winters, Director of Marketing, leverages communication strategies to effectively and strategically engage donors. She finds Neon CRM to be one of the most user-friendly databases she has ever worked with.

Caitlin Wion, Senior Manager of Data Operations, has been the guiding force behind the organization’s utilization of Neon CRM for the past six years. She is a master at utilizing Neon CRM’s reporting and automation capabilities to better understand donors, deepen relationships and optimize operational processes.

With a small but mighty development team, every dollar raised by Alzheimer’s San Diego stays in San Diego County,  with the organization’s compact but formidable staff of 27 serving an average of 25,000 people each year.

One of the key factors powering their fundraising success and the growth of their monthly giving program? Their partnership with Neon CRM.

They Had Two Databases. They Needed One.

When Alzheimer’s San Diego first approached Neon One in 2015 to discuss their database needs, they were facing some pretty severe difficulties with their entire data infrastructure. 

Specifically, they were having trouble tracking donors versus clients. Since — many clients and client families are also donors, there was a huge overlap between the two groups. 

To make matters worse, they were using two separate databases. One for clients, and one for donors, with any and all coordination being a huge headache. 

Alzheimer’s San Diego was in need of a system that could combine both databases and provide them with a single source of truth. 

And that’s exactly what Neon CRM has provided for them. 

By combining their two databases into a single system and centralizing all client and donor data, the organization has seen remarkable outcomes. This seemingly dry operational upgrade has delivered significant real-world benefits.

With Neon CRM in place, they have gained the ability to customize their data collection to include information relevant to their organization’s unique needs, which aids in grant reporting and a better understanding of donor behavior. There is a strong overlap between clients and donors, and having the ability to have all data in a single system has given staff the flexibility and insight for better understanding their community at-large, and has saved countless hours of administrative work.

Neon CRM has not only enhanced their fundraising efforts, it’s also allowed them to deepen their donor and client relationships while streamlining many of their internal data management processes. 

But nowhere better shows off the power of Alzheimer’s San Diego’s Neon CRM system than their thriving (and growing!) monthly giving program.

“I have lots of lifetime experience with databases and CRMs, and Neon is by far one of the most user-friendly systems that I’ve had in my long career.”

–Ginger Winters, Marketing Director, Alzheimer’s San Diego

Neon CRM Has Powered Their Monthly Giving

In December 2015, not long after moving to Neon CRM, Alzheimer’s San Diego introduced a monthly giving option, marking a shift from event-centric fundraising to a broader fundraising strategy. 

The program launched by placing a monthly donation option on all their Neon CRM-generated donation forms, while also creating a dedicated giving form specifically for their recurring program. 

This new approach allowed them to run the program independently from other fundraising efforts.

Since its inception, the monthly giving program has sparked new campaigns and expanded to offer multiple options for monthly contributions like their Visionary Giving Circle whose members (called Visionaries) commit to donating either $100/month for a full year, or can give a one-time $1,200 donation. 

As a result of these efforts, recurring giving revenue has significantly boosted their overall fundraising income.

Monthly Giving Tips from Alzheimer’s San Diego

As they have built their monthly giving community over the years, they’ve accumulated quite the trove of learnings and best practices. 

Here are some tips that you can use to inform your own recurring giving efforts:

Use Donor Insights to Build Creative Segments

For the past six years, Senior Manager of Data Operations, Caitlin Wion has been the guiding force behind Alzheimer’s San Diego utilization of Neon CRM to better understand donors, deepen relationships and optimize operational processes. 

Wion is the “super segmenter” on staff, and is a master at utilizing Neon CRM’s reporting and automation capabilities to discover exciting ways to segment their donor audiences to craft personalized appeals that resonate with specific segments. 

By understanding the unique interests, motivations, and giving capacities of donors within their Neon CRM database, Wion and her team have been able to foster stronger relationships with their monthly donors (and donors in general), leading to increased loyalty and support over time.

Focus on Building Community

Alzheimer’s San Diego prioritizes the needs and perspectives of the community they serve – not just their clients, but also  their client’s families and friends who are also impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. 

Their community of monthly donors is extremely unique in that 60% are clients. 

“We get the privilege of donors often being people we’re interacting with in our services, so we know who they are and why they’re interested in us – we’re very lucky to be building a community, not just a donor base.”

–Caitlin Wion, Senior Manager of Data Operations, Alzheimer’s San Diego

To this end, Alzheimer’s San Diego uses newsletters to highlight monthly donors and how their gifts are making the kind of direct impact on services and care that drives real change.

Donor Appreciation Can Make a Difference

The Alzheimer’s San Diego staff is very mindful and intentional when communicating with their donors – and not just reaching out to them when they are making an ask. 

In 2023, for instance, they sent a direct mail letter to their monthly giving community that was a simple and heartfelt thank you, and no more—not an additional ask for money. It was simply a note showing gratitude for their monthly donors. 

This approach has been highly successful in their outreach efforts because it has paved the way for more meaningful connections and deeper relationships. 

For the donors in their Visionary Giving Circle, there are some exclusive benefits that the organization uses to express their gratitude. Visionaries are given special VIP invitations to events throughout the year, including the Annual Visionary Circle Luncheon & Auction. 

Every year, a single Visionary is selected and honored as Visionary of the Year.

Master the Art of the “Soft Ask”

Whether trying to bring new monthly donors aboard, or trying to sustain monthly donor relationships, the team has found a really good way to balance the beauty of the soft ask with the need for additional funds.

“We do something really unique in the fact that we’re thoughtful about how many times we are asking, while balancing that out with not being afraid to ask – because that’s part of it. That’s how we keep our services free. We have to make that ask, but we also don’t want to be in everybody’s inbox, seven times a week.”

–Caitlin Wion, Senior Manager of Data Operations, Alzheimer’s San Diego

With a system that provides them with a single source of truth and a thriving recurring giving program, Alzheimer’s San Diego stays organized and grows their revenue while freeing up time to focus on what’s important: Building their community.

If you’re interested in learning more about the tools Alzheimer’s San Diego has used to manage their data, drop into one of our group demos! They’re a great way to learn more about the platform without the pressure of a one-on-one conversation.

Find a time that works for you!

Schedule a Group Demo

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