“The very ambitious Access thankQ implementation project at Chichester Cathedral has been a great success and this is due in no small part to the skill and expertise of everyone in the Access project team. Without exception, every person we have come into contact with has impressed us with their detailed knowledge of the product, their understanding of our requirements and their personal skill in delivering their part of the process. Well done everybody!”
Steve Holloway, Database Implementation Project Manager at Chichester Cathedral
Chichester Cathedral is a living, working place of worship that has been at the centre of life in Chichester for over nice centuries.
Within the cathedral, there are three registered charities: the cathedral itself, the Restoration and Development Trust organisation, also the fundraisers for the Cathedral and the Friends of the Cathedral membership organisation. So Steve Holloway, Database Implementation Project Manager at Chichester Cathedral was tasked with managing the database project and bringing together data records from the three main parts of the organisation.
The main objective of the project was to bring together two databases used by the organisation, but also to find an affordable system, able to handle fundraising, membership and general other sorts of recordkeeping and event management.
The Cathedral has over 600 volunteers so managing volunteers was very important. The organisation chose Access thankQ because "it was affordable, it really covered all of our requirements and in particular, fundraising, volunteering, membership. And the other thing that was driving this was that the implementation of GDPR, which is something which is absolutely crucial to all organisations that deal in contact data and this we needed something that would provide a good infrastructure for that.”
Chichester Cathedral decided to go for a very aggressive schedule, they began in September and really wanted to have the back of the job broken by Christmas. So they had September through December to try to get this into shape.
“This would not have worked if we had not had the Access project team actually driving the project. And very early on, working with the project manager, we put together a plan which would deliver the basic things we were trying to do by Christmas. Our Project Manager then put that plan into action by assigning Access resources to it and by making it very clear who did what and when it needed to be done by. And we stuck rigidly to the plan. And I'm absolutely convinced that the discipline of that plan, which was put in place by Access and driven by them, was the key factor which enabled us to achieve what we did achieve by December,” Steve said.
“All the training was done using Access’ online resources and we also had about half a dozen face to face, although they were obviously conducted remotely, sessions on particular topics: finance, membership, volunteers, and reporting, so topics that people felt would be helpful to have more information about.”
“And I have to say that all of our users rated the training and all aspects of the training, the videos and the meetings, the face to face meetings, very highly. They look forward to them. And they always said afterward how much they had not only enjoyed them, but they'd learnt a lot from them as well. So we now have expert users in the different areas who can help bring on other users. So that's the approach we've taken,” Steve said.
“ThankQ is very modular and so the modular approach makes it ideal for a situation like us where we have these very distinct activities like volunteering and fundraising within the overall organisation. So it does enable us to look at those and deal with those sorts of activities separately, but on the same base of data. And that's what's important to us, because a single person could be a volunteer, could be someone who donates to the cathedral and could be someone who attends a concert and could be someone who comes to a service on a Sunday. So the same person can come into contact with the cathedral in all sorts of different ways and what thankQ does is it enables us to keep one record of that person, but to use that record for all the different activities that could be engaged in,” Steve explained.
Steve said: “I've been very impressed with working with Access and all the staff that we've dealt with, the consultants inside the project team and the technical consultants who have got involved in sorting out our data and various other issues. I've been very, very impressed all the way along that they've always taken a genuine interest in what we're trying to do. I've always felt that it's just as important for them that we got it right as it was for us that we got it right. And I've always been impressed with their knowledge of the product and their ability to understand what our requirements were and to map those against the product and what it can and what it can't do. So I would say altogether it's been a very, very good experience. I know not everyone has good experiences with the suppliers on projects like this, but we had a very good experience.”
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