Just over two decades ago in his hometown of Bradford, northern England, John Kirkby started Christians Against Poverty (CAP). Bradford remains the home for the CAP head office, but the impact of CAP has spread far beyond Bradford’s city limits.
“We work with a lot of nonprofits and see first-hand the positive impact they have,” says Stefan van der Knaap, Product Manager at FinDock. “But when two of our developers visited CAP, they were unexpectedly, and deeply, moved. They came back changed after seeing the hard, in-the-trenches work CAP is doing to fight poverty.”
Just in the last 10 years, they have grown from 100 church based centers to over 600 today. Dan Kingsley, Head of Fundraising Operations and Product Owner of CRM (Salesforce) at CAP says the changes have been breathtaking: “We have seen exponential growth in all aspects, including donations, and this has had an impact on everything we do.”
Since their humble beginnings in Bradford, CAP has established operations throughout the UK as well as internationally in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and then since 2019, also in the US.
With growth comes the need to evolve operations and systems to be able to keep up. CAP had been relying on bespoke IT solutions built by internal developers. They kept these systems working for a good long time, even using them to support international operations. Their crown jewel is their debt counseling software.
“No one else does debt counseling exactly the way we do it at CAP,” explains Dan. “So we continue to maintain and develop that solution. On the fundraising side, however, we were falling behind. We knew, for example, that we were missing opportunities around personalising donor journeys.”
CAP decided to go with an off-the-shelf CRM, selecting Salesforce NPSP (and Pardot). “Our bespoke system had served us pretty well,” says Dan. “But as a fundraising organisation, we wanted something new and better, something that would serve us as an organisation, not limit us.”
In August 2018, the CAP UK Salesforce org went live. With Salesforce, Dan expects to be able to continue rapid growth while allowing their international offices to adapt Salesforce for their specific needs.
CAP’s integration partner made the initial suggestion to look at FinDock. “The main reason we got interested in FinDock was that they had a roadmap that would give us both Direct Debit and Gift Aid processing in one solution,” adds Dan. “We had not seen anything off-the-shelf that would do both of those for us.”
FinDock was still quite young at the time CAP adopted FinDock. The cooperation with CAP really helped FinDock grow and mature. “Looking back, I think one of the key things for us is that the FinDock team has always been really responsive and transparent,” says Dan.
Having worked closely with FinDock over the past two years, Dan has been pleased by what he sees: “FinDock’s vision for their product and their ability to move on that vision has been great to witness. We definitely wouldn’t hesitate to speak highly of FinDock.”
During the fall of 2019, Dan and Chris (CAP’s Salesforce admin) came to FinDock for a co-creation workshop to further develop the Gift Aid for FinDock package. “We saw this also as a recognition on FinDock’s part that they didn’t know everything there is to know about Gift Aid,” notes Dan. “I think that is really healthy. We could tell that FinDock wanted to learn from us.”
“It was great to see some of our ideas come to fruition in FinDock’s November 2019 release update. For me, the Nov. 19 release is a great release. To see that level of development is really exciting.”
CAP is FinDock’s biggest Gift Aid customer. A method for reclaiming taxes on donations, Gift Aid is essential for UK nonprofits and forms a natural part of the donor journey.
Knowing the donor’s Gift Aid declaration status is part of the customer 360 view in Salesforce. Managing those declarations with FinDock means that even donations not directly processed by FinDock can be included in the Gift Aid claim. Given the myriad of payment methods CAP donors might use in the future, this 360 management will become even more important.
With FinDock CAP now also has the ability to use a single mandate for multiple direct debits and one-time gifts on top of direct debits. This Christmas they were able to give donors the option to make a gift donation using their existing mandate. This meant they did not have to provide us any further details, making giving easier for the donor and also making processing much faster.
“In addition, we used to have separate Direct Debit lines for each service that a partner church was running,” adds Dan. “With FinDock we can now use just one line with recurring donations in different amounts, all getting properly reconciled into different service streams for our own needs, which is perfect for us.”
Ready for the future
Dan says he sees more opportunities and efficiencies with FinDock that they expect to ramp up in the near future. Today CAP relies mostly on regular givers via direct debit, but they anticipate more single donations and more giving through social media channels.
“Digital per se is not new, but we know we need to start thinking differently about digital opportunities. It wasn’t that long ago that we used to call all our donor appeals ‘mailings.’ Paper and direct mailing is still the biggest fundraising method, but changes are coming. We need to have multiple channels to our donors – email, phone, social media and text messages.”
“It is one of the biggest challenges we face, probably all charities face – the change in donor preferences. We have a growing number of donors who, for example, only connect with us via social media. We need to make sure we are where they are. With Salesforce and FinDock, we are now able to think about how we can do something different with our fundraising and know that the tech we are using will help us do that.”