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Gilda's Club of Western Pennsylvania


Gilda’s Club Western Pennsylvania has multiple events running concurrently every year to support the variety of services they offer. The organization provides a meeting place and activities for people affected directly and indirectly by cancer. Debra Markovich, Executive Assistant at Gilda’s Club Western Pennsylvania uses FundRaiser Professional on a daily basis.
To help keep information on the events well organized and easy to access, Debra finds the Campaign Management module particularly helpful. “I use it a lot. It really works well,” she says.

Deb Markovich at Gilda's Club

Making campaign tracking easier

“Last year we had two big campaigns going on all year. One was a mortgage reduction campaign, and the other was an annual fundraising campaign. In the Campaign Management module, I set up a new campaign for each.”

Under each main campaign, Debra sets up sub-events that cover the different initiatives within those campaigns. “If there is a sub-event that is just intended for the mortgage reduction campaign, it goes under the “Mortgage Reduction” campaign, and is entered as a restricted gift for the mortgage. All the events related to annual fundraising go under that campaign. This lets us easily see how much money we raise from each activity,” says Debra.

She has sub-events for
  •  Direct mail
  • Club-sponsored events
  • Third-party sponsored events (for instance where a business like a restaurant coordinates the event.)
        • Walk-a-thon,
        • School Bake Sales
        • Etc.
  • Foundations
  • Grants
  • Memorials
  • Red Door Society (individual donation of a minimum of $1,000 per year)
  • United Way.

“When Development Committee wants a report on any of the sub events, I just need to print it out. The information is all there,” says Debra.

Keeping tabs on campaign progress

“Development Committee might have a target for what they want to raise in a campaign, so I enter a target amount for certain campaigns. I give them a report to show them how they are doing. Maybe they want to raise $20,000. If I give them a report to show them they are at $10,000, they make decisions on how to take action. It lets them see what’s working and what’s not working,” says Debra.

Tips on setting up sub-events

When asked what one thing she would want to share with new users of the Campaign Module, Debra was quick to mention a couple of details she has learned from her extensive use of the feature:

“When you first start with the Campaign module, think through your sub-events. Make sure that, if you want to be able to know the amount of money raised from a certain initiative, it is listed separately,” suggests Debra.

“You may need to set up some categories under the sub-events. Don’t just enter donations into the top level, or it will be harder to report on what money came in and from which event or sub-event.”

“In my sub-events, I have club-sponsored events and third-party events. Under both of those, I have what the actual event is. It makes it a lot easier for reporting. The people I report to like to know the raffle brought in so much and the cook book sale brought in so much,” says Debra.

Easier to make coding consistent

Debra also recommends using the code set up feature. “Being able to set a default code is very helpful. When you use it, you don’t have the tendency to put the same thing under different codes at different times. Before I used it, I’d think ‘where should I put that?’ Sometimes I’d choose one thing, and another time, I’d choose another,” says Debra. Keeping codes consistent makes reports much easier to produce, and is important to keep the data useful over the long haul.

Planning for even better fundraising next time

Having the ability to report on the status and effectiveness of past campaigns is very useful for future development. “The Development Committee makes changes based on reporting from prior years. They decide which areas need to improve or haven’t made as much as they’d like. They use it to reflect on what the next year’s budget will be,” says Debra.

Help with “affiliate group” reporting

“Gilda’s Club Western Pennsylvania is an affiliate of Gilda’s Club Worldwide (GCWW) and we are required to prepare a monthly report on membership,” explains Debra. “We’ve designed our FundRaiser coding to get that information out every month.
We have set up special groupings that match the report our Program Director needs to submit. I’ve designated spare fields for ethnicity, marital status, gender, and so on to let her easily do that,” says Debra. “Each month I update the groupings and then fill out an Excel spreadsheet so that we don’t send the members names out.”

Big mission and good tools

“When we first established Gilda’s Club, we knew we were going to grow. We started out with the FundRaiser Basic program, with the intention of moving up to the other programs,” says Debra. “At the beginning, Basic was enough. We moved up as we needed additional modules,” says Debra. “It was very easy to do. We didn’t have to enter new information or create a new wheel. The upgrades were very smooth.”

“Usually, if you outgrow your software, you have to go into a whole different program. You have to learn something all over again and set up new systems. Others programs we looked at before we bought FundRaiser were way too complicated for us at the beginning, and you had to buy the whole thing, right from the start. With FundRaiser, we could buy what we needed at the time and add on as we grew,” says Debra.  

With the love and skill of the staff and good tools like FundRaiser Software, Gilda’s Club of Western Pennsylvania is making sure that people touched by cancer can receive social and emotional support they need.

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