Harlequin company round-up: 2014 reflections and looking ahead to 2015
2014 has been another successful year for Harlequin seeing us secure 36 new customers, win two major accolades, support 12 sector conferences, upgrade our brand and website, and pilot new-style workshops for clients. And while this was happening, our development and services teams have been busy installing new systems, training and supporting users, and continuously improving our software – resulting in us maintaining a 100% client retention rate for 2014.
Growth in 2014: we were delighted to welcome 36 new organisations to the Harlequin community. To name just a few, recent clients include Associated Country Women of the World, Buglife, Down Syndrome International, e-Learning Foundation, Hereford Cathedral, HMS Warrior, National Museum of the Royal Navy, Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust and Ripon Cathedral. Seven more hospitals invested in Harlequin including Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust.
Accolades and awards: we were incredibly proud to be voted ‘Best Database Supplier’ in the Institute of Fundraising’s Partners in Fundraising Awards 2014. Keeping up the momentum, we have been shortlisted for the 2015 award being announced in January. We were also thrilled to top Civil Society Media’s Charity CRM Survey 2014 for the fourth consecutive year.
Personnel: our new starters, Gemma and Mike, have settled well into development and support – and we have another programmer and two additional support desk professionals joining in January. Martin our Head of Business Development celebrated 17 years at Harlequin, and Duncan our Head of System Development celebrated 16 years. We will continue to grow the team in 2015 to ensure high levels of customer care.
Client roadshows: in 2014 we successfully piloted two specialist workshops that incorporated user group sessions: one was for hospices, the other for major donor fundraisers. In 2015 we will expand on this format organising more user groups and visiting more regions. Focusing on specialist groups we believe delivers targeted learning and encourages best practice and knowledge sharing across the user-base.
Supporting the sector: to demonstrate our commitment to the sector, Harlequin has long sponsored and exhibited at a wide range of conferences. In 2014 we supported 12 events, including seven Institute of Fundraising annual conferences, NHS Charities Conference, National Association of Hospice Fundraisers Conference, Institute of Development Professionals in Education Conference, Charity Technology Conference and CHASE – the Charities and Associations Exhibition. In 2015, this level of support will be maintained.
Roadmap: early in 2015, the roll-out of Harlequin 5.5 will be finalised and work will commence on enhanced integration between our CRM and finance systems. In addition, we will deliver extra specialist modules, starting with Grant Giving. We are also employing a new working methodology in our development team that will see the release of smaller, more regular software updates and patches to enable us to issue key enhancements that have true business benefit more quickly.
Strategic partnerships: to ensure our clients have access to best-of-breed software and integrated solutions, we have been actively seeking to work alongside other market leaders. In 2014, Harlequin and Rapidata joined forces to offer Direct Debit payments, online fundraising and mobile services to users of Harlequin software. More partnerships will be announced.
All the team at Harlequin would like to extend our thanks to our clients, advocates and suppliers for their continued support. 2015 will see another year of steady growth for the company to ensure we keep client care, personal relationships and a specialist understanding of the charity sector central to how we operate.
Warm wishes for the festive season!