Examples of our work

From its start YOBC was a volunteer-run organization that operated strictly on its tuition-based budget. When the founder retired in 2006 the new Board president made it a priority to professionalize the group to ensure its continuity. We hired a full-time executive director and part time office and development staff. Membership growth and expanded programming required new development and fundraising efforts. Our five-year strategic plan identified as a planning priority developing an IT strategy to serve the overall needs of the organization. Our website and existing database were all maintained by volunteers.
 
YOBC is sponsored by Bucks County Community College which provides rehearsal space, but no office space, so we are run from the home offices of our staff and volunteers. Membership records were complete and up-to-date, however the database we were using was not internet-based and had become obsolete. For several years we explored and tested various solutions that were either too limited or too costly. None of the solutions interacted with our Joomla-based website...or with each other.
The specific requirements of our organization were difficult to customize in many of the products we tried. We need to track somewhat unique data for our students: school district and school music programs, instruments played, private music teachers, ensembles they participate in, and parent volunteer commitments, among others. This does not even delve into the fundraising and development aspects which we are still exploring. Things reached a critical point when data ended up stored in multiple systems: one for general membership information; one for bulk emails, one for attendance, one for emergency phone calls.... If a student moved mid-year from one ensemble to another, there were eight places where we needed to update their record -- not to mention the individual spreadsheets our various volunteers may have had on hand.
 
Last summer we began using CiviCRM to provide the overall IT base for the youth orchestra. We have only begun to exploit all of its possibilities but are pleased with the results so far. Working with BackOffice Thinking we customized our data fields and imported current membership data and have been working with the database throughout the first half of our 23rd season. To date, we have used it to track overall and individual ensemble memberships and create rosters and directories, to track parent volunteer commitments, and to register participation in various events--field trips, benefits, and our 2014 International Tour. We have also used it to track contributions in the form of event fees (concert CD/DVD purchases and tickets) and program ads.
 
This spring we are looking forward to incorporating CiviCRM into our auditions process: from registration through the audition results, conversion to membership status, tuition payments, and incorporation into our ensembles. We also plan to use it for our annual campaign both in preparing the mailing and tracking contributions. We are still cleaning alumni data, but foresee CiviCRM as a valuable tool for helping to develop an alumni association for future events and development efforts. As we approach YOBC's  25th anniversary we hope to be able to update many of our old records. At some point we may consider incorporating weekly attendance records into our database.
 
CivCRM provides a versatile and highly robust program that suits the specialized needs of our nonprofit youth orchestra. The more we learn about how to use the program, the more ideas we have about how we can make it work for YOBC. We have benefited from the expert advice of the people at Back Office Thinking who have taken the time to appreciate our specific needs and requirements and to help us work out solutions. We look forward to continuing to refine and perfect our database and to making it available to benefit more of our volunteers and staff. It has helped satisfy our strategic planning goal and create a strong piece of foundational infrastructure for YOBC's continued growth.

DVGBC partnered with us to provide support to their CiviCRM/Drupal implementation.  At the time they were well behind  on updates with significant data and had performance issues.  DVGBC chose us because of our relevant business and technology experience and our ability to forward think.

After several years as their technology partner we have formed a great working relationship.  

  • We have regular support meetings and together manage a tight support budget while continually improving their technology and training their staff so that they can better serve their constituents.
  • We have upgraded Drupal and CiviCRM
  • We also performed a significant website redesign which included significant changes to the information architecture and improvements to their social media, membership directories, and event search/ registration.

We began work with ecoAmerica through our partnership with APGA to build the YOUtopia website.  We worked with EcoAmerica on the information architecture using a responsive Drupal 7 theme, with their designer Larry Gieger and then built the site.  

Two interesting features of the site are:  Find a Garden and the Commitment Feature

Homeless Voice (HV) came to us to help them with their WordPress/CiviCRM implementation.  We were able to move HV to a better hosting enviroment (CiviHosting -- a great/best hosting facility for smaller non profits) and help them to design and think through their donation, receipt and thankyou note strategy.

We would love to take credit for their phenomenal website design, but that was all done in-house by Homeless Voice.

Ransomed Heart Ministries gave us the opportunity to become their part time CTO and technology implementation team.  At the time we engaged, Ransomed Heart had a lot of technology challenges and it took us quite a while to right their ship, but now their technology is a real strength and growing stronger each month.  Some examples of work we done includes:

  • Cleaning up their Drupal and CiviCRM implementations
  • Creating a powerful event registration that can take reservations at a very high rate; Ransomed Heart's bootcamp events are wildly popular and once the events open people rush to register
  • Cleaning, scrubbing their data
  • Implementing  a powerful social media strategy.
  • Implementing a world class online bookstore with Magento
  • Implemented an Allies network, a network of like minded groups to engage with each other and like minded people 
  • Implementation of Jasper reporting for their adavnced reporting needs