Over and Above Case Study Interview

Over and Above Case Study Interview

Over and Above manages third appeal with Harlequin software along with 90 funds.


Ian Roome, Head of Fundraising and Volunteering at Over and Above started using Harlequin CRM in 2011. He shares how the charity is benefiting from the system and why he feels Harlequin is “by far the outstanding database company” on the market.

What were your business drivers for investing in Harlequin CRM?

In 2011, we launched a major appeal to raise £2.2M for our new chemotherapy and day treatment unit. We did not have a CRM and fundraising system so it was clear - to maximise the success of our appeal - it was time to look at the charity database market.

Why did you choose Harlequin?

We liked Harlequin as it is a family business with a core set of values in how it operates. They care about their customers and are dedicated to what they do. Also, the software came highly recommended by other hospital charities; it is user-friendly with good functionality and integrates with the Harlequin Charitable Accounting system. I think it is unquestionable that Harlequin CRM is the best value for money and best fit for any SME charity.

How do you use the software?

Our Harlequin CRM system has a live link to Harlequin Charitable Accounting. We manage with absolute confidence our 90 separate department and ward funds. We also process Gift Aid claims more easily. The CRM functionality enables us to nurture donor relationships and log all donation history and communications. We also manage grant applications and legacies. With the Promotional Items tool we track collection tins and buckets. For Appeals, we use the in-built Campaigns functionality to keep track of income streams against our overall target. We report on progress and analyse data. We also have the Events module, which helps with the organisation of our Scrumptious Croyde Trail, a 10 mile event that attracts 300 participants, and our annual Big Purple Day.

“Our Harlequin system is important in the strong governance of the charity.”

What are the key benefits?

Data security is crucial, so having information in a central system ensures we can implement robust procedures. We all work in a unified way on the same system and are committed to its upkeep. We can set alerts and allocate tasks. Also, the fundraising and finance teams can support each other more effectively. For enhanced governance, we can provide clear and accurate information and report on all financial interactions. When it comes to being audited, we are fully prepared. The reporting tools enable us to have visibility of ROI and the progression of Appeals. We can understand our income with more clarity and segment data. The system underpins good ways of working; supporters feel more valued, thanked and engaged.

What are your plans for the future in relation to Harlequin?

We continuously grow our team’s knowledge of the system to use it to its full potential. For example, we will be using the GDPR consent tool that has been rolled out to all Harlequin CRM customers. As we progress with our North Devon Cancer and Wellbeing Centre Appeal, the system will be our all-encompassing Appeal hub.

“Harlequin is by far the outstanding database company. It gives you the personal touch instead of a corporate organisation.”

What advice would you give to a charity implementing a new CRM system?

Select software that is the best fit for your size of organisation and is therefore good value for money. Invest in a system that you can financially justify, now and in the future - one that will also evolve in line with changing charity regulations. You won’t go far wrong with Harlequin.

What three words best describe Harlequin?

Flexible, personable, approachable.