Customer interview with Anne Goodall, Development Officer at Preston Park Museum & Grounds.
What were your business drivers for investing in Harlequin CRM?
I was appointed to the new role of Development Officer in 2015 as part of a project funded through Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund, which looked at ways to strengthen the museum offer and make it more secure for the future, as local authorities across the UK are facing budget cuts and difficult funding decisions. I carried out an audit of the existing business systems and processes around using, storing and analysing data and looked at ways to improve efficiency and share knowledge through better use of IT and software functions.
Originally, we explored establishing a charitable trust to fundraise for aspects of the Museum and to establish a public membership scheme. I began searching for fundraising CRM software that could enable us to pool our shared information on all areas of the business and also future-proof us to some degree for fundraising, marketing and commercial activities.
Why did you choose Harlequin?
I met Tom and Dom at an Institute of Fundraising conference in Leeds when I was researching CRM databases and EPOS software. They provided an overview of Harlequin CRM, answered questions about its functionality and security, and also gave me chocolate!
After lots of desk research, discussions with colleagues and visits to organisations in the North East of England to see a number of different CRM systems in action, I arranged six demonstrations, including Harlequin, in order to make an informed final decision. Tom and Dom both came up to visit our site and patiently answered our many questions. Harlequin CRM was able to offer us a flexible and intuitive interface that would mean the migration of our data would be straightforward, and would enable fundraising, marketing and commercial functions to be more in tune with each other.
After further discussions and research, and after following local authority purchasing and procurement protocols, we eventually had Harlequin CRM along with additional Events, Bookings and Volunteer Management modules to enable us to sharpen our internal business processes.
How do you plan to use the software?
As a local authority run venue there are established administration systems and processes in place that we must adhere to, so the installation of the software involved working closely with a number of different IT departments. Tom Ellis kept in regular contact and offered advice and help as required.
During this time there was a shift in business planning decisions and it was decided to not progress with the charitable application process at the current time. This meant the fundraising elements of Harlequin are not currently required but, due to the multi-functionality of the system, we have been able to migrate data and begin using the CRM database and the Events and the Bookings management modules. It is hoped the Volunteer Management module will soon be in regular use for planning and organising our 200 strong volunteer workforce too.
More about Preston Park Museum & Grounds
Preston Hall is managed by Stockton Borough Council. The Museum houses a varied collection of exhibits with its own Victorian street circa 1895 plus a restored Walled Kitchen Garden. The grounds contain public parkland and facilities include a café, adventure playground, Skate Park, woodland and riverside walks. Run by a small team of staff and over two-hundred volunteers, the museum offers a curriculum linked education and learning programme, working closely with local schools and colleges. As well as being a wedding and conference venue, they also host varied events from talks and walks, to theatre and live music performances, to heritage crafts and family play sessions.