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Thomas Jefferson Didn’t Have a Database…

Thomas Jefferson, a gifted inventor and architect, acquired the largest personal collection of books of its time in the country, established West Point, founded UVA, abolished the slave trade, doubled the size of the United States, and somewhere in there, served as our third president.

According to his grandson, he was an “absolute miser with his time” who spent every moment in pursuit of knowledge.

And yet, he never owned a database (an electronic one, anyway.)

And right now, HEAV doesn’t either.
Just 26 days before the convention, the words “Termination Letter” appeared in my inbox. Shockingly, the company providing HEAV’s customer management system was terminating our account on June 30th. Why? Because they weren’t earning enough money from HEAV.

No extension of time to find a new system. No appeals heard. No mercy given. It didn’t matter that 12,000 of our nearest and dearest friends were coming for a weekend in June or that we were already short-staffed and under-budgeted. “Oh, and it will be ‘just’ $4800 to send you your files. Hope you have a nice life.”

Someone said, “Anne, since we’ve had so much trouble with this system, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.” You may be thinking the same thing, or wondering, “Why do you even need this kind of system?

Well…if you’ve ever tried to register for the convention, add a family member (horrors), become a member, find a support group, access your benefits, or look up a field trip, you know the value of a system that works quickly and easily (…and the pain and awkwardness of one that doesn’t–like ours).

So in our “spare” time (while getting ready for 12,000 of our nearest and dearest), we prepared for the closing of our account and searched for an affordable, dependable, and efficient solution. Many options exist, but with little to no budget, they are not within reach.

ENTER SALESFORCE
Salesforce, the premier name in customer solutions, has expanded its free platform for nonprofits–yay!

I’ve been told the free version of Salesforce is like being given a brand-new Ferrari. All the parts are sitting in my garage—I just need to assemble them.

Ha!Ha! So it’s not really “free,” but it is a great deal!

We’ve already assembled a team of expert volunteers, contractors, and staff to make this work, but knowledgeable developers, integration software, and a support package are all needed. We are estimating the cost will be $17,900 if all goes well.

Can you help us with this unforeseen, un-budgeted expense?

Oh, and while we are not Thomas Jefferson, there ARE some similarities:

  • Jefferson would have had an iPad, according to the Washington Post. (He loved STEM. One of his favorite devices was a rotating bookstand that could hold five books at once. Kind of like having five windows open on your computer.)
  • REALLY loved books (‘nough said)
  • Loved to write letters (note the length of our emails)
  • Was frugal both with his time and resources.

We had our budget reviewed to see where we could save money. The reviewer said he couldn’t believe we do all that we do with so little — “I’ve never seen a more a frugal organization.”
We’ve made cuts to meet this unexpected expense–and still, we’re falling short of what is needed to get a new system up and running.

Please consider donating to help HEAV continue the work of equipping and encouraging homeschool parents efficiently.

With so much appreciation,

Anne Miller
President | Executive Director

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