Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities

RMHC fundraisers and staff from the Ronald McDonald Houses all connect with Harlequin CRM software.


With the Harlequin database, the organisation has a joined-up network of Ronald McDonald Houses, offices and contacts. This has boosted fundraising and enhanced the family experience when booking in.

What did you want to achieve with a new CRM system?

The vision was of an easy to use, flexible database that everyone would use every day: a central pool of data, holding all our contacts and used as an essential tool for a variety of purposes by House teams and fundraisers. It was imperative we found a partner who would adapt to us with easy-to-use software that was not extortionately expensive.

Why did you choose Harlequin?

We had confidence that the Harlequin software and their friendly approach best suited RMHC. Unlike the other suppliers we met, they listened to us and were able to offer (at a realistic price) an integrated system for our head office, Houses and fundraising team.

"We had confidence that the Harlequin software and their friendly approach best suited RMHC."

How do you use your Harlequin?

Families who stay in our Houses, supporters & prospects, McDonald’s restaurants, franchisees and suppliers are all entered on the system. Each House has a tailored, secure view of the database showing their relevant contacts. Head office staff and managers have a complete view of the system to oversee communications, extract strategic reports, produce Gift Aid claims, analyse data and manage national campaigns. As families arrive, staff record details and allocate rooms. We also track when families move to other Houses and hospitals. All communications are logged and each House despatches a newsletter and manages their local events. All donations are logged on the system. Each type of fundraising is managed by relevant features and modules: events, major donors, community and corporate, grants and legacies.

What are the biggest benefits?

A more joined up service for families. More robust funding applications, reinforced by figures from the system. Integrated data, streamlined processes and a more unified organisation. Strategic insights help with management planning. Improved donor development with more accurate profiles. Gift Aid is managed efficiently.

"Harlequin offers an excellent solution for forward thinking not-for-profit organisations."

What is customer service like at Harlequin?

The support is excellent; the team are highly responsive and friendly. Harlequin has a real customer care ethos, which is refreshing in the software world.

What advice would you give another organisation looking for a new system?

Be realistic about your size and what you want the database to do now and in the future. Some systems have been designed with the Top 50 charities in mind and may leave organisations with smaller workforces with a sprawling, expensive package and superfluous functionality. Choose an established company with a strong user group and software that will progress and not hold you back.

Do you have any examples of best practice to share?

From the outset, we created a group of key people from each team to keep the project moving forward. To encourage widespread ownership, a commitment to use the database is included in all relevant job descriptions and endorsed by senior management. When new people join, we train them quickly, using standard training exercises which are tailored to their role (and they can’t access the system until they’ve been trained). We’ve produced a user guide which has our own screen shots and step-by-step details using our vocabulary – this underpins common ways of working.

What three words best describe Harlequin?

Responsive, reliable and adaptable.