Solutions

Lutheran Church Extension Fund Manages $113 Million in Donations Using FileMaker Pro

The Lutheran Church Extension Fund

A church is more than just a building — it's a group of people united by a common belief, working together toward a common goal. That's the philosophy behind the Capital Funding Services program administered by the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, a program which depends on the impressive information–tracking abilities of FileMaker Pro — the award–winning database software application from FileMaker Inc.

Overview

  • The Lutheran Church Extension Fund helps congregations raise money for projects as diverse as construction, expanding ministries and reducing debt. Initially relying on Excel spreadsheets to organize their efforts, The Lutheran Church Extension Fund soon realized they needed a cross–platform database. They tried FileMaker Pro, and liked it — the single database they used initially has expanded to an entire solution of 18 databases.

Industry

  • Non–Profit

The FileMaker Pro database was shared from the beginning across all our computers, no matter what they were, and we were able to share all our data among all our users.

— Lori Deffenderfer, Communications Assistant, LCEF – Capital Funding Services

Business Challenge

'Capital Funding Services began eight years ago in response to a need from the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod congregations to raise money for building projects, expanding ministries, reducing debt, and increasing giving among parishioners,' explains Communications Assistant Lori Deffenderfer. 'These congregations felt they could raise money on their own instead of borrowing all of it, but they lacked the guidance. So the LCMS Foundation created CFS to fill that need.'

At first, the CFS staff got by with a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet containing the most basic information about congregations using the office's services. But as the demand for services grew and the needs of client congregations increased, it became obvious that a more powerful information tool would be needed. That's when CFS turned to FileMaker Pro. 'Our Office of Information wanted us to use Microsoft Access,' recalls Lori, 'but our platform of choice was Macintosh, and Microsoft Access is not cross–platform. Little did we know we had dodged a bullet! The FileMaker Pro database was shared from the beginning across all our computers, no matter what they were, and we were able to share all our data among all our users.'

Successful Solution

From its simple beginnings in 1997, the FileMaker database at CFS has grown. 'At first the congregation database did little more than allow the support staff to find out if a congregation had contacted us,' remembers Lori. 'Then we added the ability to track contacts — the Prospect Database. To the Prospect database we added payment information, invoice templates, and mailing labels — all this was done without even looking at the templates available! It was so easy to use and change and expand. Before long, we had a Fulfillment database, a Staff database, and an Emphasis database — we can track the entire campaign from initial inquiry to the end of the three–year giving period.'

All these databases take full advantage of the relational power of FileMaker Pro. 'What started out as a single user with a narrow focus,' explains Lori, 'had become the way to feed ten hungry users with many needs! Because we were able to demonstrate the value of quick information retrieval, even the Vice President of Congregational Services — an admitted computer novice — can navigate the database and find information with ease.

Thanks to FileMaker Pro, we can track over $113 million in commitments and over $69 million in giving from 215 congregations. We couldn't dream of an easier way to do it.

— Lori Deffenderfer, Communications Assistant, LCEF – Capital Funding Services

Customer Benefits

The growth continues. Recently, the CFS database was rewritten from the ground up — restructuring the system into a smooth–flowing information package that provides quick access to eighteen individual databases from a single Main Database. 'In only two and a half years, the CFS database has gone from a single–user time saver,' sums up Lori, 'to an enterprise–wide way of doing business. Thanks to FileMaker Pro, we can track over $113 million in commitments and over $69 million in giving from 215 congregations. We couldn't dream of an easier way to do it.' United in philosophy — united in purpose.

And united by a database.

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For LCEF – Capital Funding Services:

Lori Deffenderfer
Communications Assistant
LCEF – Capital Funding Services
314-965-9000
lori.deffenderfer@lcef.org