Streamlining Donations at The Christian Center of Park City, Utah
A blend of poverty + affluence
Park City, Utah is a unique community in that – according to Tyler Otto, CFO of the Christian Center of Park City, Utah – it comprises both “the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor.” Thirteen years ago, the Christian Center of Park City, Utah started as a food pantry for people in need, and has now grown to a $4 million a year company with 24 employees, and 3 retail stores. Two of the retail stores are what can be considered “high end” thrift shops – shirts sell for $40, and suits sell for $100 – while the third shop is more like a dollar store. This is in part where Park City’s combination of affluence and indigence comes into play – because all of their merchandise is donation-based, the Christian Center receives a combination of high-end items and items of lesser value, providing them with plenty of merchandise for all their locations. As Tyler noted, “Many celebrities and athletes with homes in the Park City area have cleared out large amounts of furniture and clothing to give to the Christian Center.”
Manual entry headaches
Before implementing Revel, the Christian Center was running “old school, manual entry cash registers.” Although this system was admittedly simple, it left a lot to be desired in terms of tracking sales and donation information. According to Tyler, paper receipts were “one of the biggest problems,” of their old system, and severely hindered attempts at categorization and organization. Previously, they would take the paper receipt, give it to someone who would take down the information on the receipt, add the value of the item purchased on a spreadsheet, import that sheet into Excel, and then in turn import that Excel spreadsheet into their donor database. Quite understandably, the Christian Center wanted to “trim down” that process, as well as glean valuable data from their day-to-day sales. “We needed to track sales and see where profits come from,” said Tyler. They needed more than anecdotal evidence of what was selling and what wasn’t, and needed insight in order to inform business decisions, such as whether or not they should keep a men’s department.
In addition to looking for the kind of register that would provide valuable sales data, the Christian Center also needed a platform equipped for accepting donations in their soon-to-be rolled out receiving area. They needed an in-depth customer database, not only for keeping track of sales, but in order to track food given to individuals, which in turn needed to be reported to the Utah Food Bank. They needed to know, for example, how often donations were being received and made, and how much. Tyler said that Chris Ciabarra, Revel’s CTO and co-founder, worked with the Christian Center on a report that would allow them to easily export all the items that individuals and companies donated and then import them into the donor database, which in turn would streamline their end of the year ‘thank you’ programs. Specifically, they needed to know – and export – what someone donated, when it was donated, and the value of that item. “Chris had the report up and running,” said Tyler, and they have already rolled out the new report in their new receiving area. The Christian Center also needed to automate its manual entry of donation information, a process that Tyler estimates took 15 to 20 hours a month on the old system. “With Revel, we now spend an average of one hour a month inputting information into our donor database,” Tyler said. This has streamlined the way their data is handled, as Revel “automatically values and records the information in a usable format,” making it easier than ever to input information, and saving them an average of 20 hours a month. This translate to 240 hours of labor costs per year, funds which can be directed towards further improving and streamlining operations.
Tyler said that Revel is “amazing overall.” He loves how Revel is constantly updating its features – “every two weeks you add a new cool tool that makes life easier,” he said. “We ask for something and in a short time it becomes available.” Most recently, Tyler has been impressed with Revel’s Auto Apply Discount feature, and the increased customizability of user access roles. For Tyler, “the continual improvement of the [Revel] system has been the biggest asset.” That, and Revel’s stellar customer service: “The majority of the time we just shoot an email to Jessica, and my goodness, that girl is on top if it – the response time has been great,” Tyler said. Overall, the Christian Center has been pleased with Revel’s rapid response time and adept account representatives: “With Jessica, we get kick-butt service,” Tyler said.