Mel Trotter Ministries (MTM) exists to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ, through rescue and restoration for anyone experiencing hunger and homelessness. The work they do spans from addiction to behavioral issues to homelessness and hunger.
Finding new and better ways to meet the needs of the Grand Rapids Community has always been the goal of MTM. They found ways to assist publicly intoxicated people by taking a leading role in the Grand Rapids Public Inebriates Task Force. Thanks to the program, intoxicated people are no longer brought to expensive hospital emergency rooms. They’re brought to specially equipped facilities at our shelter, where trained staff can monitor and assist them.
To help live-in recovery program residents, MTM offers free or greatly reduced dental, vision, and chiropractic services from local medical professionals. This strengthens their ability to become healthy, self-sufficient and productive. Moving forward, they continue to find effective new ways to help the hurting and homeless of our community.
When Beth Fisher arrived at Mel Trotter Ministries, the very first question she asked the team was, “can I see the systems?” After 25 years as a CMS professional, she understood the necessity of a software that solved problems for the staff, rather than created extra work.
What she saw was 18 years of workarounds. Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge couldn’t address their specific needs as an organization. Processes were disparate, with some teams completely removing the platform from their workflow in order to accomplish their responsibilities. Within three months, Beth knew they needed to make a change now in order to sustain and grow.
Beth and the entire MTM team felt supported, heard and understood by the Virtuous team. Prior to adopting Virtuous, the team paid an “exorbitant amount of money to a third party that was 7 hours ahead of us.” To this day, Beth says she has never heard anyone say Virtuous wasn’t available with the right answer and the best next steps for their objective.
By day 2, Mel Trotter Ministries was ready to set up an automation workflow to contacts in their database. That single send led to 26 new donors. Instantly, Beth and the entire team saw the ROI of being able to see all their data in a single place and create meaningful engagements based on donor personas.
“We’re process-obsessed at this point,” Beth said when describing the new ways the team can be effective using Virtuous. Mel Trotter Ministries immediately implemented automated welcome series, first-time gift follow up, thank you calls from the CEO based on anniversaries and more.
The added bonus from Virtuous is the Mel Trotter Ministries team can “use workflow for data clean up. We don’t just use it for interacting with donors, we also use it to tell our team what their next best tasks are.”
With the help of Virtuous Automation, Mel Trotter Ministries is already brainstorming new subscription-based fundraising and other ways to keep in touch with donors throughout the year.
One of the most important features Mel Trotter Ministries needed from their new nonprofit CRM was a better user interface. Many on the team found Raiser’s Edge to be impenetrable. As soon as they migrated over to Virtuous, the very first observation was how clean and accessible the data was.
“I remember saying it’s here. Everything is here. It was the smoothest transition I’ve ever been a part of.” And it continues to work for her team as they create new donor experiences and better engagements that lead to improved retention.
Virtuous stood out as the right choice to Beth and the entire Mel Trotter Ministries team because it responded to what they needed and the way they need to use their platform. She said, “other CRMs had their playbook and their processes and said ‘good luck’. They wanted us to fit into their model. Virtuous isn’t like that. We were always listened to.” Not only did that communication help the migration process, but it also helped more team members get on board much faster.
Her advice to other nonprofit professionals looking to make the switch: “really make sure you’re being heard and being understood in terms of how you plan to use a software platform. It could be the one you will use for the next 18 years, like Virtuous is for us.”
“We’re process-obsessed at this point. We don’t just use [Automation] for interacting with donors, we also use it to tell our team what their next best tasks are.”
–Beth Fisher, SVP & Chief Development Officer