UK-Med are a Manchester-based charity who’ve been responding internationally to health emergencies caused by disasters and disease outbreaks for the last 30 years.
They took on their current shape in 2015 when they recruited and trained 150 medics to work in treatment centres in Sierra Leone during the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. They are currently engaged in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also partners in the UK emergency medical team, which is the UK government’s response to humanitarian crises overseas.
They were prompted to search for a new CRM due to a growth in the organisation’s activities and programming. Also, in addition to their grant-based funding, they’d moved into public fundraising. They had an old database, used only for storing members of their organisation, that didn't have any scope for fundraising and was proving cumbersome to maintain.
This gave UK-Med a complex set of requirements: to find a CRM capable of not only handling fundraising activities, but to manage the recruitment, training, and global deployment of clinicians.
Once they switched to Beacon they were able to use their CRM to store information about all their different kinds of contacts in one place.
“Our donors - individual givers, our members, our community practice members, and people who volunteer with us in a fundraising or events capacity.”
The UK-Med team worked closely with Beacon's Customer Success team to configure their Beacon database to fulfill their complex needs. Beacon also provided on-site training for the UK-Med team to get everyone up to speed and comfortable using the new system. Now data is stored in a clearer and more consistent way across all parts of the organisation. For example, accurately recording donor information is now much easier for the fundraising team.
“Being able to log donor information in a more consistent, systematic way is really handy. That's a huge functionality that just wasn't available to us before.”
UK-Med have found Beacon useful for building deep relationships with their volunteers. Often someone will engage with the organisation in one capacity (for example as a donor) and go on to become a volunteer or fundraiser. Storing volunteers, donors, and fundraisers in one place allows a better understanding of these relationships.
“Volunteers come to us as one thing, but then they get involved in lots of different ways. It's helpful to be able to build a comprehensive picture of their involvement with us. We are able to see our relationship with them over a long period of time; that's really valuable.”
With a large and diverse team working in many different capacities it was crucial that the right people had access to the right parts of the system. UK-Med use Beacon to store a lot of sensitive information so Beacon's Roles and Permissions system is used extensively both for security and convenience.
“We can clearly delineate who can see and edit which information on the database. We're able to control who has access to that information within the organization so that people are able to see the information that they need.”
UK-Med's favourite Beacon feature is the dashboard, which shows real time visualisations of their data, for example, the percentage of a target reached for donations. For an extremely dynamic charity like UK-Med who are responding to emergency situations, it’s important that they have a dynamic database to fulfil their requirements.
“There is top level reporting. It’s constantly updated.”
Working closely with Beacon's in-house Customer Success team means that UK-Med know they can rely on Beacon as a long-term technology partner.
“From the setting up of [the database], supporting with the training of staff, and day to day queries, if we spot something or someone has a question about some of the functionality, the day-to-day support that we get is really helpful. That’s been a really positive experience.”
Well, we do try our best!
You can find out more about Beacon's features as a fundraising CRM here.