Developing a Unique In-House Solution: Fund Ledger/Awards Management

Developing a Unique In-House Solution: Fund Ledger/Awards Management
Best Advancement Services Initiative Gold Award - 2015 CCAE Prix dExcellence

Date(s) Thursday, January 28
Time 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Fees1 $150 - Member
$200 - Non-Member

A major function of the Vancouver Island University Advancement & Alumni Relations office is to raise funds for direct student support (scholarships, awards and bursaries). Software such as Raiser’s Edge works well for managing donor relationships and documenting/receipting gifts. However, tracking gifts through the complete cycle of managing the creation and disbursement to students is beyond its capabilities. This process involved staff from several departments, duplicate data entry and many manual processes.

The Fund Ledger (FLedger) was developed to link donor and gift information from Raiser’s Edge to the university’s in-house Financial Record System (FRS), Student Ledger (SLED) and Student Record System (SRS), and to facilitate cooperative work with the Financial Aid & Awards office and the Financial Services department.

The availability of staff in the Information Technology department, combined with positive working relationships, enabled the formation of an in-house team to design and create FLedger. Team Leaders were Advancement’s Donor Relations Manager (design) and IT’s Systems Development Manager (implementation). Other team members included end-users in the Finance and Awards offices, as well as Advancement awards staff.

We are not aware of any similar system in use in Canada or elsewhere. This project was a creative response to a specialized need that was not being met in the marketplace, and that in the face of budget constraints did not permit staff to seek an “off-the-shelf” solution. Excellent communication between end user needs and technical expertise enabled a highly successful solution that could be duplicated at other universities with similar needs and resources.

Susie Caswell, Manager, Gift Planning and Donor Relations
Susie has been working in Advancement for more than 15 years. Like many others, Susie came to fundraising with varied experience and education, including small-business ownership and working in the architectural design industry. She applies her technical, financial and people skills to build relationships with donors and see that they receive the information they need. In the past decade at Vancouver Island University, Susie has been responsible for many aspects of the Annual Fund and Planned Giving programs, including Fund Management, Donor Relations and Donor Services. Her current responsibilities include managing the Advancement Services process of student awards. Her most notable recent achievement in this area is driving the creation of FLedger.

Andrew Speed, Manager, Systems Development
Andrew has been a member of the Information Systems team at VIU for almost 27 years, developing and supporting software for all aspects of VIU’s operations. Andrew enjoys finding technical solutions to support the university’s operations, and is particularly proud of the FLedger project for the Advancement Office. Besides working at VIU, Andrew has spent 18 years as a volunteer firefighter, the last 10 serving as Deputy Chief of the local volunteer fire department. Andrew retired from the Fire Service 4 years ago to focus on his new passion, Ironman triathlons and long distance cycling events.

Jennifer Jensen-Richards, Coordinator, Financial Aid and Awards
Jennifer has worked for VIU for more than 12 years. She has served as an Intercultural Program Coordinator, Manager of International Education Contracts & Group Programs and, for the past 3 years, as the Coordinator for Financial Aid and Awards. Her educational background includes a Trade Certificate and a Bachelor of Business Degree, and she is currently working on her Master’s of Education in Educational Leadership. Jennifer is passionate about Student Success and finding resources for students to overcome financial barriers education. Her recent involvement in the implementation of the VIU online application Scholarship, Award and Bursary system is one positive example of assisting students with financial resources.