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ACE Implementation

October 2022 Update

At the end of September nearly 50 UT employees participated, either virtually or in-person, during our three days of meetings to kick off the Gifts sprint. This sprint covers fund management, receipting, pledges, intentions, DAFs, planned gifts, matches and grants.

Sprint 1: Demo Bio

We are tying up loose ends on the first and most complex sprint. In the year-and-a-half since our original needs assessment, we’ve identified 247 requirements for Demo Bio. The final stage of this sprint is deciding which of the 247 can be canceled because they are no longer deemed necessary, and then guaranteeing that all remaining requirements pass two stages of quality assurance testing (design and configuration) and are signed off as “Build Approved.” Only a few requirements remain to be finalized.

Sprint 2: Campaigns

In ACE, a Campaign is a tool that allows users to create a static list of constituents who have received a touchpoint (an appeal, a newsletter, a stewardship piece, etc.). We’ll be using them for two main purposes: to perform some of the functions of our current appeal codes and to track certain types of communication. This is a relatively small sprint (only 28 requirements identified so far), but it has generated productive conversations about how to streamline this process and improve reporting.

Sprint 3: Prospects

The Prospect sprint kicks off on August 16, with three days of in-person meetings in Knoxville. After working with our implementation partner for nearly two years, we’re finally going to meet two of our Huron colleagues face-to-face. Our goal is to host ten sessions that will include more than a dozen fundraisers from throughout the UT System and leadership of the central Prospect Development team. The agenda includes contact reports, proposals, strategies, research requests, profiles, pipelines, and wealth ratings. It’s a lot of ground to cover—125 requirements have already been identified, and the list is guaranteed to grow.

Data Integrations

The #1 priority that emerged from our original needs assessment was improved data integration—with enterprise systems at UT and with key vendors and third-party applications. Our current list of integrations includes nearly 30 different data sources, but we are focusing for now on finalizing a project timeline for the four highest priorities: Banner, IRIS, payment gateways, and our data warehouse. We plan to begin work on Banner in the coming days. For data integrations, which is expected to last at least seven months, we will be leaning heavily on our long-term partners in the UT System’s Department of Technology Solutions.

Portal and Online Giving

As we transition to ACE, we will also be transitioning away from iModules/Encompass for our online giving and user portal solutions (and also email marketing, events, and web content management, which will all be addressed in future sprints). These functions will now be handled by Salesforce Experience Cloud. The Portal and Online Giving portion of the implementation isn’t a sprint because we will be evolving these tools over many months as we finalize other parts of ACE, beginning with constituent data and then adding gifts and reporting. We plan to begin this part of the project by the end of August.

About ACE

ANDI, the mission-critical data system that drives nearly all of the University of Tennessee’s fundraising and engagement efforts, is built on aging technology. We’ve reached the point in its life cycle when it no longer makes good sense to invest significant resources in small upgrades. Instead, we have begun the process of transitioning to a new Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) tool—a new ANDI.

After a year-long evaluation process, including a comprehensive needs assessment with feedback from 125+ key stakeholders, more than 60 hours of vendor demos, conversations with colleagues at two dozen peer institutions, and 350+ survey responses, the CRM Evaluation Committee recommended Salesforce and UC Innovation’s Ascend platform. The recommendation was approved by the Foundation Board in November 2021.

Timeline: The CRM implementation officially began on February 1, 2022, with an anticipated completion of February 1, 2024.

Fun Fact: UTFI employees nominated 74 names for our next ANDI. After the CRM Committee narrowed the list to nine choices, more than 60% of staff cast their votes. And the winner was … ACE: Alumni & Constituent Engagement.