Top Team Peak Performers 2021: Development Information Services, Health Foundation
While every team member in the Health Foundation plays an important role in helping our community connect with the Cook Children’s Promise, it’s the efforts of the Development Info Services team that ensures everyone within the health foundation can achieve success. The entire DIS team, including Itzayana Aguirre, Teresa Bingham, Carol Childress, Julie Dowell, and Betsy Wilson, work across the CCHF departments creating systems to streamline recording donations and making solicitations.
When the Child Study Center joined the Cook Children’s Health Care System in December of 2017, it meant the Cook Children’s Health Foundation added an additional database for managing donations for the Child Study Center. While this might not seem like a challenge, it created additional expenses for vendor costs and staff time to manage two databases. From 2018 and into early 2020, CCHF worked to understand how best to combine the two databases. It was throughout 2020, much of which the DIS team spent isolating and working from home, that Julie and Betsy spearheaded the merger of the two databases, migrating the Child Study Center’s data into CCHF’s donor database. This project took 160 workdays—just shy of 1,000 hours to combine the two databases. This was on top of their regular daily work! The team merged the information of 14,541 donors into the health foundation’s database. This means that they reviewed 225,343 rows of data, comprised of more than 25 million data fields! Thanks to the consolidation of the databases, the health foundation now saves roughly $15,000 in annual vendor costs and hundreds of hours of staff time every month in financial and operating reporting, prospect research, and portfolio management.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected many aspects of fundraising for the Cook Children’s Health Foundation. All of our annual events became virtual and many other donor opportunities transitioned to web-based interactions. This would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the DIS team, with Itzayana creating over 50 new webpages to support events that suddenly converted to virtual. One such website was the CCHF’s Fund-A-Need initiative, created in partnership with the Communications team, led by Cheryl Clark. This brand new crowdfunding program raised nearly $30,000! And Itza’s efforts were key to enabling CCHF’s pivot to a successful Blast and Party on the Patio, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars despite being converted to virtual events. Her work was supported by Julie and Betsy ensuring that the target audiences for these events and initiatives were up-to-date and accurate in our database systems.
In 2020, CCHF raised a record of $573,000 online from a record of 3,489 online gifts. This influx of online gifts was enabled by the digital infrastructure created by the DIS team. Their work benefitted other program areas of CCHF such as the Doctor Society, Experience The Mission, Peter Pan Birthday Club, Special Events, Blue Peak Giving Circle/Seventh Ave, and Annual Giving, all of which raised money from webpages and donation forms created and maintained to suit their changing needs in an unprecedented year.
With the wonderful increase in gifts, came the increase of donations to be recorded and processed in the CCHF database, and the increase in donors to receive thank you letters for their contributions. In FY 2020, the DIS Gift Processing team, led by Carol and Teresa, processed nearly 50,000 donations while working a hybrid schedule of work-from-home and in-office. Each DIS team member worked a rotating in-office schedule for as long as it took to complete tasks which could only be done in the office. This meant that on any given day we had 1/3rd of our DIS Gift Processing staff in office. In December of 2020, a time when many within Cook Children’s are taking time away from work, the DIS team processed the most monthly gifts ever—5,811! In a typical year, this would be quite the achievement. Under all of the circumstance that 2020 presented, this was a herculean achievement the entire CCHF team is proud of.