British Science Association
How Purple Vision helped the British Science Association select and implement a new membership system
The British Science Association is the UK's nationwide organisation dedicated to connecting science with people, so that science and its applications become accessible to all.
With a key strategic aim of becoming much more supporter-focussed, the British Science Association needed a system that would help them maximise the potential of corporate, trust and major donor fundraising initiatives. This change in emphasis required a system that could help nurture relationships, and provide the management information to inform decision making.
Although unsure whether they needed a bespoke system written in Microsoft Access, or an industry standard system provided by one of the many suppliers in this area, the British Science Association knew that they needed to replace their mix of outsourced and in-house database systems with a new system capable of managing both membership and fundraising activities, and so they approached Purple Vision for help.
Philip Wilson, Director of Development at the British Science Association, knew that outside assistance would be required to help the British Science Association get a new system up-and-running:
“The selection of a new supporter database system is an important one for any organisation. The cost is not only the price of the system but, perhaps more important, the investment of staff time and resources in training and learning how to use the system to best effect. We thought that some experienced, impartial advice as to the best way forward would be useful.”
There were 3 key challenges to overcome to get a new system up-and-running for the British Science Association.
- the team at the British Science Association needed expert advice in specifying, identifying and selecting the system they needed
- with a deadline to implement a new system within 4 months there was little time in which to complete the project.
- staff changes meant that the British Science Association did not have staff available to manage this project
The British Science Associationdecided to engage Purple Vision to provide some insight into the different options available, and provide recommendations as to how they should move forward in this area.
“Purple Vision worked with us for a day finding out about our organisation, listening to our business needs and concerns, and discussing the background to our requirements,” said Philip Wilson. “It was clear that they had experience of many similar situations. We also felt they had good insight into the different options available to us.”
Purple Vision recommended that the British Science Association invest in a well-recognised, industry-standard, membership and fundraising system, but also simultaneously invest in developing in-house skills in database management and customer care.
Purple Vision then worked swiftly with the British Science Association to specify their exact requirements, and issue an ‘Invitation to Tender’ to some of the key suppliers in this market.
The team quickly reviewed the responses to the tender document, and met with the supplier that provided the most likely fit to the British Science Association’s requirements. However, it was vital to keep in mind the longer-term goals, alongside the urgency to move ahead with the process.
Having made the selection, the British Science Association decided to retain the services of Purple Vision to oversee the implementation, and went live with their system – Progress from Fisk Brett – on time as planned.
“Purple Vision certainly delivered,” said Philip Wilson. “In the timescale available this project was a challenge, and we have now not only got a system that gives us control, but greatly improved skills in managing it effectively.”