Minerva blasts off into not-for-profit space

Its name may sound out of this world, but a new software application known as Minerva is aimed at helping the cash-strapped, not-for-profit sector in Canada.

Responding to the demand from the non-profit community, Toronto-based Inquiry Management Systems (IMS), recently unveiled the software. Minerva is a Web-based application that processes incoming mail, handles banking issues such as collecting money and issuing receipts to donors, captures all pertinent information on each individual donor and will even send a thank-you card to boot.

“It’s really a focused piece of software, it’s a donor management system and a system of evaluating your promotional activities to make sure that you’re spending your money wisely,” said Martin Hochstein, president of Inquiry Management Systems in Toronto.

The product, developed in-house at IMS, took nearly three years to complete. He stressed that the demand for the software came from the non-profit community, where many organizations were experiencing difficulties managing their database operations.

Licensing fees for Minerva vary depending on the size of the company. For example, an organization such as the United Way, with hundreds of thousands of donor names, would pay a fee of around $10,000. But for a smaller organization of less than 2,000, the licensing fee would be waived. However, regardless of size, a processing fee of up to $4 dollars is charged per donation, Hochstein said.

One such organization currently in the process of implementing Minerva says a cost-benefit analysis made the purchase decision easy, especially since there are few point solutions aimed at databases for this group.

“One of the things that have been a repeat problem for us is trying to figure out within our donor base when a person is making us money and losing the organization money. We needed a program where we could actually gather than information so that (we’d see) all the costs to acquire that particular person, and all the revenue that was generated for that person,” said Elizabeth White, director of the Animal Alliance of Canada in Toronto, which processed approximately 15,000 donor transactions last year.

White said IMS has supported the implementation process to date, and characterized the solution as a “point and click” system. The organization expects to have the system fully operational by spring.

Inquiry Management Systems in Toronto can be reached at http://www.ims.ca

The Animal Alliance of Canada in Toronto can be reached at http://www.animalalliance.ca