Success Story

FRONDS at Descanso Gardens

FRONDS logoAt Descanso Gardens, FRONDS enables the staff to interact more effectively with their membership of 18,000 people. FRONDS at Descanso Systems is known as “DGES,” an acronym for “Descanso Systems Enterprise System.” That moniker hints at the advanced capabilities of FRONDS, that is can do more than just manage donors; indeed, it runs the Point-of-Sale in the front office Visitor Center as well as the membership renewals and ID card printing in the back office.

Prior to the installation of FRONDS, Descanso Gardens utilized a mix of disjointed software applications to manage donor, membership and operations. Donor management was provided by DonorPerfect, membership workflow was processed through a series of Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word documents, and operations was being tracked through the use of receipts and cash register printouts that were later manually transcribed into Excel workbooks. Accounting issues were difficult to resolve, and there wasn’t any visibility as to which members were visiting on which days for marketing and fundraising purposes.

Today, having their donor management, membership workflow and operations all centralized in FRONDS save the staff tremendous time, freeing them up to address more important issues. Because of the depth of integration and compatibility with their workflow, FRONDS enables Descanso personnel to take advantage of a number of features that previously were not available to them. For example, FRONDS’ System Dashboard shows the staff the current weather conditions and real-time visitation and sales figures, and compares them to the same day of the week of the previous year.

FRONDS Dashboard

FRONDS Dashboard

Besides providing web-based donor and moves management functionality, FRONDS prints membership cards, each one with a unique member name, ID number and scancode which is scanned when the member visits the Gardens. Now, Descanso knows when their members visit and can use this information to improve the member experience by intelligently promoting events that they know their members will enjoy. Because Descanso is a botanical garden, FRONDS taps into a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) feed to collect local weather information that is analyzed against attendance to accurately estimate future budgets.

Descanso Gardens sample ID card

Descanso Gardens ID card

A concern of the Descanso Gardens staff when switching over to FRONDS was how to coordinate the printing and distribution new ID membership cards. FRONDS made this easy by allowing the staff to set up multiple ID card printers that printed all 18,000 cards over just a few days. After the cards were printed and distributed, the staff now only has to print a couple thousand cards a month, a comparatively easy task, and can offload some the ID card printing to the Visitor Center when people who sign up can get their ID card instantly.

Descanso executives wanted just one type of Point-of-Sale device in their Visitor Center that could handle cash and card transactions, membership, class, train & tram, and event ticket sales. FRONDS has a built-in interactive Point-of-Sale (POS) cash register that is 100% web-based and compatible with all major web browsers including those for iPads and other tablets and which is also touch screen and barcode scanner enabled.

FRONDS Point-of-Sale Screen

FRONDS Point-of-Sale Screen

The POS screen is highly customizable, and Descanso is exploring plans for additional revenue opportunities.

Descanso Gardens executives report how FRONDS is already proving its value:

  • Instantaneous reporting that will help us manage our enterprise better
  • Tracking member behavior, which improves our knowledge of a key, core constituency
  • Integrates POS with membership management
  • Provides us with much more powerful tools for member fulfillment and satisfaction:
    • instant enrollment and addition to the database
    • near-instant fulfillment of membership cards
    • much faster renewal process
    • better “member experience” at check-in
    • much better control of entrance gate
  • Much simplified and more user-friendly donor tracking, moves management, reporting system that is also much less expensive than the current systems in wide use such as Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge and DonorPerfect

Even though they had been using a different commercially available web-based donor management package, they will still realize a 25% savings in overall work effort by using FRONDS which aligns more closely with their fundraising and membership management requirements.

DataPlex FRONDS in the Descanso Gardens Visitor Center

FRONDS at work in the Descanso Gardens Visitor Center

FRONDS is based on DataPlex’s AmpUp rapid development enterprise software platform that reduces the amount of time and cost to get a state-of-the-art web-based platform up and running. Many standard AmpUp features are available in FRONDS such as flexible searching, Excel/OpenOffice exporting, letter and document mail merging, and consolidated “one button” month end reporting. More of FRONDS’ capabilities are listed on the What is FRONDS? webpage.

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