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Information Systems & Management

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Vetting Vendors
CURRENTS Article Today, advancement services professionals are inundated with requests to consider products or accept meetings from companies ranging from startups to familiar names that have expanded their product lines. There are at least 20 different companies offering giving day, mobile giving, and annual fund services; dozens of email platform vendors; and several database companies. Advancement professionals say they're seeing more donor stewardship products to help them capitalize on engagement; more back-office solutions to synchronize or standardize data and sources, manage projects, or marry multiple platforms; and more cloud-based services that make advancement systems available anytime on any device.

Getting Your Metrics System to Work for You
CURRENTS Article From 2012 to 2016, Reggie Bustinza and Joe Volin were tasked with tracking engagement for the nearly 37,000 alumni at Lewis University in Illinois. They got big results, and their system continues to live on after their time at the institution. Here they share their secrets for taking alumni metrics to the next level.

First Class
CURRENTS Article In 2015, CASE added the Platinum Categories to its Circle of Excellence awards to recognize the best-of-the-best practices in educational advancement publications, programs, and projects through a tournament-like competition in CASE's eight North American districts.

Talking Points: The Bandwidth Battle
CURRENTS Article Net neutrality will only become more important as new technologies transform education and the economy. Higher education institutions and libraries must remain vigilant and defend the need for an open and neutral Internet. We can do this individually or through our professional organizations and by reaching out to our members of Congress and the FCC. Preserving the free flow of information over the Internet is critical to our educational purpose and mission.

Odds and Ends: Investigating Inventiveness
CURRENTS Article Walter Isaacson on technology—and why smartphones won’t make us zombies

Use of Technology for Development and Alumni/Constituent Relations among CASE Members, 2012
Report This research explores the role of "advancement-enabling" technology in helping institutions meet their development and alumni relations goals. The report also looks at trends since the first study was conducted in 2010 and offers advice for dealing with technology-related advancement challenges. Isurus Market Research and Consulting analyzed the data for CASE and Ellucian, which fielded the survey.

Out of Thin Air, an Alumni Database
Article,  Community College News Article When the Northwest Technical College Foundation was established in 2005, it had a problem. The small Bemidji, Minn., institution and its predecessor colleges had never kept track of alumni data in their 40-year history. In 2009, the foundation set about the tall task of compiling its very first alumni database. And it found a significant number of alumni by asking local businesses for help in the search process.

Rising Above
CURRENTS Article This article highlights eight of the 2010 Circle of Excellence Award winners. Each year the awards recognize the best programs and products in advancement services, alumni relations, communications, marketing, and fundraising.

Use of Technology for Development and Alumni Relations among CASE Members
White Paper This research explores the role of "advancement-enabling" technology in helping institutions meet their development and alumni relations goals. It includes data on how technology is being used, barriers to effective use of technology, and strategies for effective deployment of technology. The report is based on data provided by 357 advancement staff in higher education institutions and independent schools. Isurus Market Research and Consulting analyzed the data for CASE and SunGard Higher Education, which fielded the survey.

Tech Support: Laptops Required Here?
CURRENTS Article Advancement officers can be important partners in forming and implementing a laptop policy

Tech Support: Scheduling in Cyberspace
CURRENTS Article The pros and cons of online calendars

Winning Ideas
CURRENTS Article This article gives in-depth profiles of eight of the 2008 CASE Circle of Excellence Award winners. These winners were chosen to represent a wide range of types of institution as well as each aspect of advancement: fundraising, alumni relations, communications and marketing, and advancement services.

Newer Digital Tools Bridge Data Divide
Article,  BriefCASE Article The latest constituent relationship management technology is transforming the ability of advancement professionals to capture and analyze information about donors, both on campus and on the road.

Other Programs: Rollins College - Silver Medal
Best Practice The advancement services department at Rollins College is primarily responsible for the technical training of employees within the Division of Institutional Advancement. During the fall of 2006, staff saw an increased demand for SCT Banner and Nolij Web training and developed a Training on Demand program featuring custom Web videos.

Research Services: University of Colorado Foundation - Bronze Medal
Best Practice Staff of the University of Colorado Foundation conducted an audit of all projects to identify aspects of their work that could be automated. They spent a great deal of time producing "biographies" of current and prospective donors who attend athletic and other social events, which were used primarily by the university president and chancellors, the foundation president and their spouses who attend these events. Automating the biography function has exponentially benefited the organization and its fundraising operation.

Information Systems: McMaster University - Silver Medal
Best Practice When McMaster University decided to embark on its most ambitious fundraising campaign ever--a comprehensive campaign that would more than double the amount to be raised each year in 2006-2009--it needed to expand performance management and benchmarks for fundraisers beyond the number of completed visits. Stakeholders collaborated to create a Performance Management Report based on data in the institution's Advance C/S database.

Tech Support: On the Same Page
CURRENTS Article Intranets--one-stop online communication centers that bring together calendars, office discussion boards, and documents--can improve internal communications in advancement offices. Universities with large or decentralized advancement operations use intranets for coordinating scattered staff and projects, while smaller institutions may also find them helpful for sharing resources and managing schedules. The article offers advice on creating and maintaining an intranet.

Tech Support: Special Delivery
CURRENTS Article Push technology, a means of retrieving online data by subscribing to services that send desired information directly to your computer, can enable advancement officers to request updates on donor prospects, to track what's going on in specific industries, or to monitor institutional mentions in the media. Most push services require online registration, but many are free or low-cost. The article lists five sites providing push technology services useful to advancement officers.

What's In the Cards?
CURRENTS Article Professionals who work with advancement information systems offer predictions for the field in the next five years. They foresee: 1) easier access to development systems, particularly via the Web; 2) integration of small, separate systems into single, large databases; 3) personalized entry points and reports; 4) improved automation that will anticipate what users want and help them get it.

Tech Support: Protect Your Computer from Viruses
CURRENTS Article Computer viruses can destroy software and stored data. The first line of defense is to make regular backups of vital data and to invest in an antivirus program. Goldsborough, a technology columnist and author, summarizes the potential risk of common computer uses and tells how to distinguish between a legitimate virus warning and a hoax.

Manager's Portfolio: Dogs Watching Television
CURRENTS Article Development head Helm describes lessons he learned after overseeing a database conversion at Colby College. He notes that the characteristics that make a good development officer -- such as optimism, outward orientation, a generalist background, diplomacy, and the ability to delegate -- can interfere with effective technology management. He offers some suggestions on managing technology: 1) Establish a good relationship with the information services staff. 2) Invest in training. 3) View technology as an operating cost, not a capital investment. 4) Value and nurture technology gurus.

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