SpecialEffect Case Study Interview

SpecialEffect Case Study Interview

SpecialEffect has consolidated service delivery and fundraising data into one easily accessible system.


SpecialEffect's Barry Floyd has worked in the third sector for 25 years and has extensive insight into the technology on offer. He shares why Harlequin has impressed him so much in the two years since they went live.

What were your business drivers for investing in Harlequin CRM?

The installation of Harlequin CRM was a final part of an infrastructure upgrade and a progression from the charity using Google Docs. We had a set plan to consolidate our data from the service delivery and fundraising teams. This would enable us to see the full picture - of the people we help and those who support us. We needed a system that could deliver this at a price we could justify.

Why did you choose Harlequin?

From day one, there was a real match of ethos between our organisations. Similar to us, there is a family-run element to Harlequin and they have real pride in their software and passion for what they do. Tom and Dom delivered a strong demo and convinced us they could cater to our needs at the most cost-effective price.

How was go-live?

Previously, I have been involved with go-lives that have gone well and others that have been challenging. With Harlequin, the roll-out was as smooth as it could possibly be. The data in Google Docs presented us with a puzzle to work through with the Harlequin team; we mapped the data together and cracked it all quickly.

“We have easy access to full donor histories across the team.”

Who uses the charity software?

12 staff members use Harlequin. We have different access rights to the data across the service delivery and fundraising teams.

What are the key benefits?

We have increased confidence in our data security and processing - plus the new Consent feature is helping us to address GDPR. In fundraising, we have easy access to full donor histories across the team. Service delivery is more streamlined: we can approve work with confidence with ready-access to detailed information.

"The roll-out was as smooth as it could possibly be. Delivering good customer service is at the core of Harlequin’s business."

How do you use Harlequin?

It is used across the charity and assists our fundraising and service delivery teams. We capture contact details and have at-a-glance visibility of all communications with everyone we have a relationship with. Our occupational therapists and technology advisers use the system to run the equipment loan library and StarGaze project. Sensitive medical information is restricted to these service delivery professionals. The fundraisers use Harlequin to track all income and nurture UK based individual givers and major donors. They also manage trust, foundation and grant applications. Harlequin is proving especially useful in building our international network of corporate supporters. One Special Day is an amazing annual event where many gaming companies donate the day’s profits to us. We record critical information and use the relationship functionality to stay connected to key supporters as they move roles and organisations.

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

As we did, put in the groundwork beforehand; get the data mapping right from the outset if you are migrating data across. Moving forward, make one person responsible for the charity’s database overall. Very quickly data can vary in quality, which will dilute the value of your information. Ensure to undertake regular quality control checks and encourage consistency.

What three words best describe Harlequin?

User-friendly, responsive, thorough.