Case Study: Bellefaire JCB

Bellefaire JCB

The Challenge: Bellefaire JCB needed a software partner to help create a more streamlined solution for its 1,500-child holiday wishlist program into a reality.

The Solution: Big River brought the solution to life through our giving catalog platform, moving the program from boxes of color-coded paper to an automated online system.

The Result: Bellefaire JCB was able to run a more organized holiday wishlist campaign, attract more people to get involved throughout the region and outside of Ohio, and build a customer database with the information they collected.

The Challenge

Bellefaire JCB had created from scratch a holiday gift-giving program for the children in their facility with the goal of giving them a better holiday experience. The holiday wishlist program allowed their local community to participate and give back, but with so many children with wishlists to manage, the process wasn’t as seamless as they wanted.

As one of the largest children and family agencies in the country, Bellefaire has around 1,500 children staying in their different facilities. At the start, they had each child write down what they wanted for the holidays on a piece of paper and that became the document donors saw and used to choose which children they would support. Donors could purchase gift cards in a child’s name, and the Bellefaire team would purchase the gifts, or donors would give what the child asked for directly.

The system was organized by color-coded paper based on which part of the facility the children were staying, and everything was kept in file boxes. Interested donors then physically came to Bellefaire’s location in Shaker Heights and were matched with a child based on what they were interested in giving. The wishlists they chose were scanned and emailed to them by hand. The entire process was cumbersome and lacked effective tracking mechanisms, so much so that Bellefaire worried details might be overlooked.

“It was a huge box,” said Jill Sadowsky, Director of Volunteer Services and Jewish Big Brother Big Sister Association. “I worried a child might be missed.”

As tedious, time-consuming, and labor-intensive as the wishlist process was, the impact was great and Bellefaire wanted to make it better. The idea surfaced to move the process online, but they thought they would need a unique system that matched their needs. Unfortunately, most places they approached were unable to create a custom platform within their budget — that is until they talked to Big River.

“I was looking for a place that was able to put together this crazy idea we had. I had called all sorts of development places to see if they were able to do something like this for us,” said Mandy Kwait, Director of Care Coordination. “Big River was the only team ready, willing and able to work with us.”

The Solution

With Big River’s open, flexible solution, Bellefaire was able to create the giving platform they needed to organize all their children and their wish lists for a broader community to participate. Rather than organizing papers and distributing information, Bellefaire was looking for one centralized location where they could store and display information to make it easier on their team and their community to provide holiday gifts for children.

Big River’s giving catalog was configured to provide an easy-to-use platform that simplified the entire process and is now easier for Bellefaire to keep track of information, and for the community to select children for gifting. Through the new online platform, Bellefaire employees, as well as the children’s therapists and caseworkers, can upload a child’s wish list and categorize them by gender and age. All the information needed is included on the child’s page and donors can access the wishlist on any device from anywhere have everything they need without having to physically go to Bellefaire. Everything is posted to their giving catalog automatically and is live and selectable for donors.

“We started from scratch, and it was something they created for us that didn’t exist before. They made it appealing and easy-to-use for the public,” Kwait said.

Big River provided support throughout the process and helped the Bellefaire team set up and learn about the new system. Big River made sure Bellefaire got what they were looking for and meet all objectives.

“It’s been easy. Donors have been helpful and receptive, and I can’t imagine doing this program without it,” Sadowsky said.

The Result

Big River’s online holiday gift catalog helped establish a stronger, more reliable, and fully self-service system for Bellefaire’s holiday gift-giving program. By moving everything online, they were able to eliminate their color-coded paper processes and build a system that housed all the information necessary to ensure the community was able to find and be matched up with children, and that children received the holiday gifts they hoped for. Even better is that by going online, donors have an opportunity to take multiple wish lists in a single transaction — all through a beautiful online platform that creates a meaningful experience for the donor.

Bellefaire was able to bring their idea to life with Big River’s help, and they were able to accomplish a few other goals along the way.

“We were able to post it online, and people could go in and grab wish lists,” said Sadowsky. “It really is simple. You don’t have to get a full account, you don’t have to get a password and a login. You get your sheet, and it’s emailed to you. It really makes the process seamless.”

The online nature of Big River’s platform grew Bellefaire’s donor community. With the information online, donors throughout the Northeast Ohio region and across the country could now help. Awareness for their annual campaign has spread and has helped share their mission with a much wider audience.

Moving online also helped improve the information in their donor database with new, engaged donor/prospect contacts and their giving record. Correct email addresses are now captured through Big River, which weren’t captured in the former paper process. With this information, they can spread awareness for other agency events.

The Big River platform has also provided Bellefaire with advanced segmentation technology, opening the door for greater communications, database management, and more. Near the end of the wish list campaign, Bellefaire can quickly and easily generate a list of the remaining wish lists to focus efforts around them and get them claimed. This segmentation technology also allows Bellefaire team members to create custom email messages tailored to specific kids, gifts, statuses, and more.

The Big River platform’s reports also enabled Bellefaire to track progress in real time, instead of keeping track of who brought back gifts and who hasn’t, all by hand. New dashboards allow Bellefaire to easily determine which children’s lists have been claimed by donors as well as enjoy greater operational efficiency, internal communication, and peace of mind in knowing children’s wish lists are being seen and claimed. Therapists and caseworkers also receive custom landing pages, allowing them to share their respective children’s wish lists in other channels.

“We’re able to watch percentages, how many wish lists are checked out, what we still need — things like that we’re now able to take care of,” said Sadowsky.

Ready to learn more about the Big River online giving platform and how we support other organizations like Bellefaire JCB? Contact our team or request a demo today.