Keeping Up With Growing Business
Ducks Unlimited’s data needs include tracking fundraising programs as well as detailed project and financial information for land purchases and restoration efforts all over North America.
“We have more than 50,000 volunteers and run 4,000 fundraising events each year,” says Amy Batson, the organization’s chief fundraising officer. “There are 700,000 active members and 6 million donor records in our database.”
Govan Hornor, who joined Ducks Unlimited as its CIO six years ago, describes the technology at that time as “a couple of millennia” in the past. Recognizing the need to modernize the data management and analytics systems, Hornor and his team chose Microsoft Dynamics 365 to better gather and analyze data for the internal functions of finance and operations.
They soon found that they could use Dynamics 365 to handle the organization’s growing number of land projects — just one aspect of its complex portfolio of programs.
“Initially, we thought our land portfolio module, which includes both public and private land projects, was going to be small, but we got a large grant, and it expanded quickly,” says Hornor. “We did a deep dive on what Microsoft Dynamics 365 could do and we felt confident it could take care of the details.”
Use Data to Drive Up Donations
Hornor and the team at Ducks Unlimited now use Dynamics 365 to track and analyze real estate transactions, land prices and nesting and wintering grounds — all to help the organization plan for the next big project. The data is always in real time, providing the conservation team with the tools to do its own analytics at any time without asking IT for a report.
On the fundraising side, Batson worked in lockstep with Hornor to develop a customer relationship management system within Dynamics 365 to track and maximize donations and events.
“We’ve always been very science-based, starting with our conservation efforts, so it makes sense to rely on technology systems as much as possible to manage the business,” says Batson.
Together, they employed additional Microsoft tools, including Power BI, to create budgets, modeling, direct response campaigns and even staff evaluations. It’s helped them build valuable reports for internal executives as well as donors.
“The reports help us communicate back to donors how their money was used,” says Batson. “We wouldn’t be able to do that without connectivity between revenue and delivery systems. And that’s a hugely important part of stewardship and earning and holding our donors’ trust.”