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softwarereview-150SofTrek Corporation’s ClearView Fundraising Application Review ClearView is a fundraising application that has been designed and redesigned for fundraising officers in large nonprofit organizations.

Created by SofTrek Corporation, the goal of the system is to provide a single platform for approaching just about every task a major gifts officer would expect to perform as a course of the job. It’s a particularly complete system that seeks to offer considerable flexibility and interactivity, as well as comprehensive reporting and strategic planning opportunities.

In Use
ClearView has been specifically upgraded as a result of the advances of the Web 2.0 environment. It has been designed to be intuitive to the user, not to mention highly customizable. This is clear from the fact that the workspace can be configured to include multiple panels reflecting the most used aspects of the program by that particular user. Multiple dashboards can be created for access to relevant information without the need to dig several layers deep within the application to find the appropriate screen or form.

Clearview_dashboard_VF

Users can also expect a visual experience in which all manner of data are communicated through graphs and charts for at-a-glance tracking and projections. This provides a handy overview on topics that range from a single donor’s giving history to annual trends for the entire fundraising department. While the amount of data available through both your organization’s database and connected outside sources (such as GoogleMaps, Wealth Engine, and even a contact’s local news and weather, for example),the system’s search function provides a manageable way to drill down to the pertinent information for a particular action.

In addition to the more typical donor database information, ClearView also implements what are referred to as “opportunities.” This allows the user to analyze a wide range of data related to a specific donor in order to determine the most effective methods for approaching him or her with the right “ask.” Some considerations include giving history, interests, income, types of gifts preferred, etc. The fundraiser is able to develop a more meaningful relationship with the potential major donor through thoughtful, strategic planning.

Technology Employed
The ClearView system is generally cloud based and can include access to a variety of outside resources. For example, if the organization issubscribed to Wealth Engine, ClearView can pull in information from an additional 45-50 databases. Because ClearView users tend to be large organizations such as hospitals, there is occasionally a need for the system to be more self contained for HIPPA or other regulations. In those cases, the company works with the customer to install it directly in-house.

Clearview_summary_VF

The interface has been designed to allow access from virtually any type of device. From desktop and laptop machines to tablets and smartphones, users have a variety of options that make it relatively easy to take notes, make contact, or reviewdata even while in the field. The fact that the dashboards are so highly customizable supports this by ensuring that the user can create a configuration that reads easily on his or her device.

Ease of Use, Configuration, and Deployment
For those organizations choosing the cloud-based version of ClearView, there is very little effort to get set up and running. If the system needs to be in-house, there is more time and effort involved, but SofTrek is fully involved in the installation. As mentioned, the interface is highly customizable, which provides for ease-of-use down the road but will require additional time at the outset with likely changes and updates as users become more familiar with the application and what they need from it on a daily basis.

There is also an administrative component that can be setup with limited access to approved users.

Recap
The system overall seems to be extremely comprehensive, and considerable thought has obviously been put into developing a user-friendly atmosphere. There are small, but very helpful, touches throughout, such as having a donor’s contact information appear by hovering over an icon on the same page where you would input notes about that conversation. Without being overly distracting, the application is able to provide a wide variety of information without requiring the user to click through multiple sections of the site and collect it on his or her own.

This 2.0 version has been significantly upgraded from the previous incarnation, based on user input and tech developments in the industry. SofTrek is launching the newest version later this month.

Advantages/Disadvantages
The most obvious advantages of ClearView include:

  • It is very comprehensive, allowing you to track every contact with a donor, to project future giving opportunities, and to get an accurate overview of the organization’s fundraising efforts.
  • It has been designed to be used on the go so that those in the field can access the information they need while networking, attending events, or soliciting donations; as well as from the comfort of the office.
  • The system was described as “an authentic decisionmaking tool” due to the fact that it is not necessarily tied to just one organization’s database.
There are some potential disadvantages, as well:
  • The system is complicated. It’s geared directly toward the major gift officer who is able to take the time to learn and integrate the application into the organization’s fundraising program. It is not intended for the volunteer who does routine data entry.
  • While the customization is likely very helpful in the end, what seem like limitless choices could prove to be overwhelming in the face of learning an entire new system.
My Opinion
I was quite impressed with the capabilities of the ClearView fundraising application and can see the overall usefulness and functionality it has to offer. It’s the kind of tool that would not only replace a more simplistic way of doing things (such as an existing donor database), but would also introduce new avenues for the organization to explore (through the opportunities capabilities, for example). It would definitely be on my list of options to explore if my large organization were looking for a more streamlined way to collect and use fundraising data. Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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