Buckingham Browne & Nichols School (BB&N) is a pre-K through 12 independent day school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The school adopted Veracross as their student information system in 2020 and has been using it for advancement operations since 2021.
Prior to Veracross, BB&N relied on multiple systems to store student and family data. Each department had its own data that lived in a different location, making it hard to see the full picture. For advancement specifically, these siloes limited the office’s ability to make meaningful connections with potential donors.
Meg Macri, Director of Advancement Services & Campaign Operations, recalls:
“Because of these siloes, information sharing wasn’t as easy to do… it was very process intensive. It was harder to see how all of the data made us a stronger advancement operation.”
Macri had a vision for school-wide advancement: a fundraising approach in which every member of a community is responsible for institutional advancement. The primary goal is to meet donors where they are — watching their kids play sports, attending parent-teacher conferences, remembering their own time as a student.
When BB&N implemented Veracross, it was the perfect time to start cultivating a new culture of school-wide advancement. The data already existed — but now it was in one place.
Previously, the advancement team had to rely on other departments to maintain their own set of data. They then had to locate the data in a separate system, export and import it to another, and set up a new code schema for each report. This was a tedious process that took valuable time away from fostering donor relationships. Even more, manually importing and exporting data opens the door to typos and other mistakes.
Now, the school relies on a single database with Veracross. Advancement no longer has to wait for other departments to share information; they can access it right away. There’s no need for manual import or export, which saves valuable time and eliminates inaccuracies in the transferred data.
In Veracross, a shared system, it’s much easier to get information. We used to spend so much time in the summer transferring data, reviewing, and rejiggering reports. Now, the advancement office can access data early on!
Relying on a single database has opened countless opportunities for advancement to meet donors where they are. For Macri, it’s all about building bridges and knowing where the donor is in relationship to the school. Here are a few examples of how advancement offices can utilize data bridges:
- Athletics: your long-time soccer coach is retiring at the end of the year. With Veracross, you can pull reports on the students he coached and invite them to a celebration event. If the coach was a teacher, you can also pull a list of students he taught.
- Admissions: an incoming parent mentions they are interested in volunteering. The admissions team can note this detail in Veracross, and advancement can use that data to make a targeted ask about an upcoming campaign or philanthropy need.
- Academics: parent-teacher conferences are tracked in Veracross. The advancement office can check in with the teacher afterwards to see if there are any concerns or noteworthy details that came out of the meeting. Note: you don’t need specifics! This information will help you avoid tricky situations as you plan your outreach.
By connecting advancement campaigns to a point of impact, it’s more likely for the donor to respond in a positive way. In turn, these data-driven inquiries result in sustainable relationships that continue to build with time.
Veracross and Buckingham Browne & Nichols Today
Creating a culture of school-wide advancement doesn’t happen overnight. “This is a long-term investment, what we’re doing… moving from just data to reviewing data in a strategic way,” says Macri.
The adoption of Veracross as BB&N’s school-wide system has helped departments collaborate in new and exciting ways. There is more appreciation for one another’s work, and a greater sense of community for those working together towards a shared goal.
For more information on BB&N’s experience using Veracross to power their advancement office, watch this on-demand webinar.