Judson Center Technology Transformation

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Judson Center
City & State:
Royal Oak, 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The mission of Judson Center, a non-profit, human service agency in southeastern Michigan, is to help children, adults and families improve their lives.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Judson Center is a private, non-profit agency, incorporated in Michigan in 1924 to provide for the needs of children without available parents. Guided by our mission to help children, adults, and families improve their lives, Judson Center provides quality human services to southeast Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens. From humble beginnings as a small orphanage, the Center evolved into a comprehensive community-based human service agency that has been recognized for superior management and innovative programs. Our core services now include family preservation programs, foster and residential care for at-risk youth, community living support for adults and children with disabilities and their families, Autism Connections, and adoption and counseling services. Last fiscal year alone, Judson Center provided more than 360,000 direct services to 4,167 children and families in need.


As a multi-county agency with an annual operating budget exceeding $20 million and more than 450 employees, our databases are crucial for managing client and employee information, tracking financial records, generating reports, and building and maintaining effective organizational processes. Keeping these systems in top shape demands ongoing management and upkeep as technologies evolve. Judson Center understands that our commitment to technology means we must be prepared to invest in equipment and software, however, as a nonprofit we must act as a responsible steward in managing our limited resources. Even with careful budgeting and strategic planning, changes in technology can require expensive upgrades that are simply beyond our means. Judson Center experienced such a situation in 2006 when The Raiser’s Edge software we use required an upgrade to Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (SQL). Judson Center began using The Raiser’s Edge by Blackbaud in 2003, building a complex database with information related to all facets of development activities, including grants, special events, and donors. With an annual fundraising obligation exceeding $1.3 million dollars, our ability to accomplish our mission is directly related to our ability to raise funds. The usability of our donor-management software is critical to the effectiveness of our fundraising efforts. When The Raiser’s Edge announced its move to SQL, we needed to find a way to acquire the software, and TechSoup was the answer. In September of 2006, Judson Center acquired two copies of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 via www.techsoup.org, paying only a nominal fee for processing our order. The new software has enabled us to optimize mission delivery and increase the effectiveness of our organization in these specific areas: 1. SQL allows us to continue using The Raiser’s Edge software, providing more flexibility in managing our donor database. Our fundraising outreach is dependent on this database. Without SQL, we would have lost the ability to update and use the most current version of The Raiser’s Edge. 2. The effectiveness of our donor database has also been enhanced, allowing us to increase the range of donors, volunteers, and friends. Reports can now be generated for appeals that are highly customized, increasing the effectiveness of our campaigns. For example, Judson Center recently launched our Hope Begins Here Capital Campaign to raise funds for a new state-of-the-art Autism Center and support our capacity to serve ten (formerly six) counties. The flexibility available to us by moving The Raiser’s Edge to SQL has streamlined Campaign fundraising in coordination with other Development initiatives. We are creating tailored plans for each of our donors and volunteers, remaining sensitive to unique interests, needs, and abilities. With SQL, the effectiveness of our Development Department activities is maximized. We are optimizing fundraising initiatives critical to our mission delivery and expanding our reach to hundreds of new donors. 3. The move to SQL allowed us to bring on additional applications. We are now using monitoring software (T1, internal data lines, server status, service status), that uses SQL to store information about our connections. Our backup strategies have also been improved through the use of Symantec's Backup Exec System Recovery, which requires SQL. Without SQL, we could not use this monitoring and backup software. 4. SQL enabled us to install and operate anti-virus software that requires SQL, including McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO). As a human services agency, there is highly sensitive information stored in our databases. Security is a priority, and SQL enables us to incorporate features that include data-level integration between end points, networks, web, and email, streaming threat and vulnerability information into a single, central management hub. Security software that would not be available to us without SQL is now providing powerful cross-product integration, unified management, and reporting/auditing features, providing optimal security protection. 5. By moving The Raiser’s Edge database to the new server, we have freed up space to operate our interactive agency web site. Judson Center’s Intranet is used by the more than 450 employees to access policy and procedure documentation, communicate via the Message Board, and submit HelpDesk Requests to Human Resources and MIS, among its many features. The Intranet is improving communication and the exchange of information within the agency, enabling us to share internal agency information in a non-public way. 6. Judson Center greatly values the position of trust we have earned in the community. Our CFO, Executive Team, and the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees work closely with the Accounting Department to ensure agency compliance with all governing laws and regulations. Key to our ability to responsibly manage our resources is an efficient, flexible and reliable automated accounting system. Judson Center’s Accounting Department uses Solomon Software, which relies on SQL as the database technology. SQL allows our Accounting staff to obtain the maximum benefit from the Solomon Software while supporting the changing needs of our agency. SQL supports our commitment to safeguarding assets and managing resources in a consistent, efficient, and thorough manner. In sum, without the donated Microsoft products offered by TechSoup, our donor-management software would have become outdated and inflexible. With the donated software, we are not only enhancing the results of our fundraising initiatives, we have upgraded our accounting systems, improved our Intranet web site, and enhanced our security and backup procedures. The combined impact is significant and ongoing, enabling us to optimize our mission delivery and better serve the people of southeast Michigan.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Project Image