How Goodheart used Beacon to save half a day of admin every week

Goodheart Farm Animal Sanctuaries was founded by David and DJ with a view to improve animal welfare. They were particularly interested in caring for often overlooked farm animals. They operate a sanctuary in Worcestershire which is home to over 300 animals.

The sanctuary is open to the public in the spring and summer months. They host school trips, sanctuary tours, and even “pignics”. They also run larger fundraising events both on and off site.

They had been using eTapestry as their CRM. They were struggling with the lack of functionality and wanted a system that could handle everything from animal adoptions to mailing lists to event tickets. 

Blackbaud now seems to me to be a very dated system. It had so many fields and you couldn’t hide any of them. It was lacking features we needed, but it also just wasn’t easy to use. When you could get hold of their support, they didn’t seem to know how to use it themselves! In contrast Beacon and their team are absolutely brilliant.

One of Goodheart’s principal income streams are animal adoptions and memberships. Supporter engagement at every stage is key to success in programmes like those. The membership needs to be worthwhile, and the supporter needs to feel connected to the animal they have adopted.

The method of starting the process, like a website form, should be easy to use and responsive to mobile. It should be customisable to clearly present what they are signing up for and to allow for only the relevant information. This will help the potential supporter connect with the goal and understand what is expected of them.

We used to get daily calls asking for help. It always turned out to be a technical issue. A phone call is really rare since we switched to Beacon, and it's usually something happening on the customer side rather than ours. The functionality is so much better.

Just as important, with memberships and subscriptions, is the response and ongoing management of those relationships. Goodheart needed a robust system that was clean and easy to use. Beacon’s Subscriptions and Forms provided most of the tools they needed.

Goodheart were able to create reliable and accessible forms that present just the necessary information. The forms allow the supporter to efficiently choose the options they want or just enter their membership number to renew their current subscription.

Submissions directly populate the records in Beacon and trigger the next step in the process. In most cases, Beacon pushes an update to a matching record in Mailchimp, so the supporter receives an acknowledgement and follow up engagement immediately. Workflows automate the tasks that follow ensuring every step of the process happens as expected.

Another benefit is that Beacon connects to Google Analytics, so we’re able to see the results of certain actions. This sort of intelligence can make or break a campaign. And even a whole charity. The difference between negative ROI and positive ROI can be small but it will build over time. Being able to see and understand the results as they come in and adjust your strategy accordingly is key. The necessary data is available in most, but just because the data is there it doesn’t mean it’s accessible or useful.

For Goodheart, making use of that data in their legacy CRM was all but impossible. They frequently resorted to exporting to spreadsheets. Cross checking with other platforms – like Mailchimp – and manually analysing that data. That’s painstaking work that took a lot of time and created opportunities for errors. At a minimum, this slowed their donor journey to a crawl.

It was costing them supporters and fundraising opportunities as well. By streamlining and automating their processes in Beacon, Goodheart have saved time, which has been redirected to boosting their fundraising. As an added bonus, the Beacon implementation showed thousands in Gift Aid that had not been claimed due to the difficulty of processing it in the previous system.

We claimed a bunch of extra Gift Aid and the workflows and simplified processes have saved us three to four hours of admin every week. But what I really love is that Beacon aren’t just pushing for new customers. They’re really trying to make the best for the organisations that have already joined. That customer service combined with how customizable it is means that it genuinely does feel like a CRM system that's been made just for our charity.

Here’s a video demo on how Beacon might help your charity manage its memberships or try it for yourself for free.

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