The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (LASN NY) does invaluable work. They provide free legal civil services to 16 counties in New York, from the Catskills to the Canadian border. Every year, they work on approximately 11,000 cases that range from evictions to family law to Social Security and disability. The services they provide roughly impact about 21,000 people every year—and Jenifer Whitson, former Development Associate and interim director knew that working at that scale required finding a donor management system to support their efforts.
What Problems Did They Need to Solve?
While the organization is primarily funded by federal and state grants, they also rely on the generosity of both law firms and individuals to provide services to their community. Donations to LASN NY primarily come from law firms—which make annual donations as a business—and individual donors, many of whom are attorneys from those very same firms. LASN NY also raises money through traditional campaigns, like capital campaigns and fundraising events.
Using a variety of fundraising methods meant that Whitson and her colleagues needed a way to track their interactions with donors. Before switching to Neon CRM, the team used an accounting-based software called FundEasy, but the accounting-based software didn’t meet all their needs. “We saw that our challenges were better tracking, having full access to someone’s information, and being able to track when we’ve contacted them,” Whitson said.
They also needed a centralized place where multiple people could keep their notes from individual donor conversations. Being able to get a complete picture of each donor—both as an individual and as part of a larger law firm—was critical.
How Have They Used Neon CRM?
Now that LASN NY is using Neon CRM, Whitson and her team can track all of their development and fundraising activities in one place. Being able to look at all of their different development channels together and separately has given them an opportunity to reach out to partners at law firms and invite them to give on top of what their firm donated. “Being able to identify that and track things differently has been amazing for me,” Whitson said.
“I like being able to see the overall picture of somebody. I can easily see what events they’ve gone to, where they’ve chosen to donate their money, whether they gave through event donations or private donations,” she continued. “It gives me a really good picture of somebody before I contact them.”
Using Neon CRM has given Whitson and her team the ability to simplify their communications, too. Since changing systems, the organization has switched from using Constant Contact to using Neon CRM’s email features, which gives them the ability to track their interactions in the CRM while simplifying the number of platforms they use every day.
“Honestly, the support has been amazing. I’m absolutely thrilled with that part as well. All the support has been great.”
–Jenifer Whitson, former Development Associate and Interim Director, LASN NY
What Was Switching Systems Like?
Because their previous solution—FundEasy—wasn’t a true CRM, Whitson and the rest of the team at LASN NY used lots of workarounds to make it do what they needed. It worked for a while, but it meant their data was messy.
Whitson and her team worked with Neon CRM’s implementation team to get their data cleaned up, organized, and imported into their system. “We were escalated a couple of times because it was so difficult,” Whitson said. “It took a lot of back and forth and us looking at spreadsheets together.”
Because of their data’s complexity, they upgraded their support options—and they get a ton of value from it. “We have a certain number of hours [of hands-on support], but we’ve been able to kind of stretch those out as long as possible,” said Whitson.
Even after their onboarding and implementation period drew to a close, Whitson and her team work regularly with Neon CRM’s support team to answer questions and find new ways to use their system.
Looking Forward with Neon CRM
Today, Whitson and her team can use Neon CRM to see complete pictures of their donors and track their communications and interactions. As they grow, they’re exploring new ways to use Neon CRM to simplify their day-to-day operations. Right now, they’re exploring using Neon CRM to track and manage the many volunteers who offer their services on a pro-bono basis. And, as they grow, the team at LASN NY knows Neon CRM is always evolving to meet their needs. “Honestly, most of the suggestions we’ve had [for new features] have already been taken care of already.”
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