Using technology to make fundraising more efficient

From the beginning stages of the fundraising cycle to stewardship, technology can help build relationships by granting immediate access to information and resources

fundraising-northwester-onbaseNorthwestern University officially announced We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, a University-wide, multiyear effort that will support fundraising initiatives across campus – thanks to the help of technology.

To help meet our  goals as a result of receiving resources provided by campaign gifts—uniting as a community, shaping the world, broadening the University’s base of annual support—Northwestern’s Alumni Relations and Development (ARD) team is leveraging technology specifically to enhance efficiency through the use of  OnBase by Hyland, an enterprise content management (ECM) solution.

This solution will work as an archive for all files related to alumni and their giving. ARD is also implementing workflows to support one of the most critical components of fundraising: the gift acceptance process.

How technology can help ease fundraising processes

Track the donor cycle

Alumni Relations and Development places a high priority on relationships. Staff  who interact with alumni and other constituents must have easy and immediate access to documentation detailing the development of these relationships. Preparation and access to information are essential for gift officers and support teams alike when raising funds to support the University’s mission.

Following are the typical stages of donor interaction and accompanying materials:


Often the first step in acquiring a new philanthropic gift is the process of identifying, through investigation, research, and analysis, the individuals and organizations that appear to be the most promising prospects. Materials collected during identification are archived in OnBase, along with the biographical and capacity summaries developed using those materials.


During cultivation, ARD staff engage and build the involvement of prospective donors in the University’s programs and mission. All correspondence that takes place during cultivation, including letters, memos, and hand-written notes exchanged between prospective donors and Northwestern, is archived.

(Next page: Soliciting, stewardship, and managing the gift acceptance process)