“They’re one of us. They see the world the way we see it.”
Picture this. It’s 2006, and Lynne Wester is working at Rollins Collins. She is deep in the process of doing what she recalls as “one of the most painful things in the world:” endowment reporting.
Here’s how the endowment reporting process worked for Lynne at Rollins circa 2006:
- The fiscal year books closed on June 30th. Four months later, Lynne would receive the “holy grail” (the endowment report spreadsheet) from Rollins’ finance office.
- The endowment report spreadsheet was huge. Like, double-letter-columns, need-three-screens-to-view-the-whole-thing, huge.
- Then, Lynne would receive a second colossal spreadsheet from the Financial Aid office with fund codes noting which endowed scholarship accounts were awarded to which students.
- And, there was a third spreadsheet that contained donor contact and giving information from Rollins’ alumni database.
- Beginning in early October, Lynne would dig into these three spreadsheets. There was tons of sorting and filtering. There were pivot tables. There were a couple of near heart-attacks.
- After a few weeks, Lynne would submit a fourth spreadsheet back to the Finance Office, the work of her painstaking Excel acrobatics and an attempt to align Fund ID with Donor and Scholarship Recipient. With bated breath, she would ask, “Is this right?” And often the Finance Office would reply, “No, you missorted.” And the process would begin anew.
Anyone who has survived “Endowment Report Season” is familiar with this story. But as Lynne rightly points out, the delays and pain points in this process aren’t because folks don’t work well together. Endowment reporting just deals with such highly sensitive information. The Finance Office wants to make sure the fund data is accurate. Donor Relations wants to make sure they have permission to release the numbers. Fundraisers are eager to get reports to their managed prospects, but they’re not fluent in fund management and distribution.
And then… Lynne went to a conference. And she saw a presentation from Fundriver.
Lynne learned that Fundriver’s endowment management software linked together the disparate spreadsheets, took care of the sorting and filtering, and produced a comprehensive endowment report for each endowed fund. Automatically.
Lynne and her fellow donor relations colleagues at the conference were stunned. “So, you mean we don’t have to do all of this in spreadsheets?” Collective awe.
Lynne eventually left higher ed and went on to serve the industry through her work with the DRG Group. All along the way, she has been driven by her former Rollins self, the eager new donor relations professional who loved her work and was passionate about showing donors the impact of their giving, but sadly got swallowed up by the tedium and toil of endowment reporting.
Lynne had kept in touch with Steven Kapor, the CEO of Fundriver, since she first learned about their automated fund management and reporting. After ThankView and ODDER (Lynne’s pride and joy) joined the EverTrue family, the full picture of an all-in-one donor relations solution really started coming together and it looked something like…
Fundriver automates financial reporting. Then donor relations folks send out beautiful, personalized, on-demand impact reports through ODDER. And THEN fundraisers deepen relationships with their top donors by tracking digital engagement and new giving behaviors in EverTrue?
Lynne saw a matchmaking opportunity, and she got to work.
She connected Steven Kapor with Brent Grinna and JD Beebe, and, well, you might say that the rest is history. Fundriver recently joined the EverTrue family, and we are uniting fund accounting, internal report creation, external report delivery, and personalized outreach to create an end-to-end stewardship cycle that saves your team time and delights your donors.
For 15 years, Steven bootstrapped Fundriver with the vision of lowering the pain points of endowment reporting and the amount of time spent on minutiae so that donor relations professionals can focus on what they really love about their work: telling donors what their money did and sharing with them the stories that move us all to emotion.
By uniting Fundriver and ODDER under the EverTrue umbrella, we are aiming to change the slogan of endowment reporting season from “I can’t do this another year” to “I have the tools I need to make sure my donors know how important their investment is, and I enjoy the process of telling the story.”
The future of donor relations is fewer spreadsheets. Bridging disparate data sources. Less need for donor relations therapy. And, ultimately, a radically elevated donor experience. Tune in to below to hear how this vision is coming together.