Charity Operations Platform –Architecture Development

Design and implementation of change management strategy

Open Doors is a global charity operating in over 60 countries. It’s major mission is to support Christians who suffer for their faith providing practical support and emergency relief, as well as supplying Bibles and other resources, and training church leaders globally and in the UK and Ireland Open Doors works to raise awareness of global persecution, mobilising prayer, support and action among Christians.

Background : 

The organisation had previously instigated a project with another supplier to unify the charity’s key operations on an MS Dynamics platform, deployed on Microsoft Azure Cloud. However, since the project’s inception the regulatory environment in which the organisation has been operating has undergone significant changes including the introduction of new data security compliance regulations(GDPR). The organisation itself had also witnessed a growth in the scale of financial, marketing and other processes involving relationship management. In addition, challenges remained in terms of adoption and integration of the MS Dynamics platform within the organisation as a result of both real and perceived issues with its existing deployment and feature-set.

The challenge : 

The initial design of the platform incorporated mainly the processes coming from financial processing, marketing & communications side of operations, while all other teams continued to rely heavily on spreadsheets and other independent systems to manage their day to day operations. This resulted in the following complexities:

  • Significant downtime resulting from various team members across the board gathering, inputting and maintaining the same supporter data in different locations.

  • Lengthy search process for supporter data while responding to incoming communications.

  • Out-of-sync& inconsistent data coming from different teams, affecting the quality of supporter interactions with the organization.

  • Report generation processes out-of-sync causing disparities in understanding of process impact, thus reducing the effectiveness of the organization’s operational strategy.

  • Manual process management of key operations relating to high value donors, volunteer fund raising and event management consuming unnecessary resources in terms of time and effort.

In addition to the above, the GDPR legislation which took effect in May 2018 required the demonstration of the ability to search and gather specific supporter data rapidly within a stipulated time window. Failure to execute this requirement posed a significant amount of threat to regular operations in risking a loss of revenue from penalties or limitations imposed on day to day operations.

The solution : 

Using the above challenges as an opportunity to take the organisation to the next level, Blackwater Tech partnered with the leadership team at Open Doors to develop a high-level IT strategy aligned with overall enterprise strategy. The solutions developed were aimed at advancing key impact parameters, while minimising disruption of day to day operations.


Proposed solutions were further refined by closely engaging stakeholders through an on-site consulting model including workshops, one to one meetings and interviews. Through this stakeholder engagement, process objectives were analysed in view of aligning them with business objectives as well as integrating them with objectives of every other team drawing from the same supporter data source, in order to create an optimal solution architecture.


The design eliminated the need for secondary systems and spreadsheets, by bringing processes previously conducted outside the CRM into the platform ecosystem, ensuring workflows proceed on one set of master data. Sources of data error and duplications were identified and thereby eliminated, as well as significantly improving the ease of compliance with data security requirements. User interfaces with supporter data and processes were developed to be customised to each team’s needs whilst creating a unified back-end.

what we did : 

what we acheived : 

Produced a development blueprint to develop the business strategy

  • Reduces data errors and inconsistencies in key reports.

  • Allows fast and easy search capabilities of data allowing organization to respond accurately to the inspiration expressed by the supporter base through phone, web or postal methods.

  • Synchronizes various team objectives like fund raising, finance, marcomms and relationship management without conflicts.

  • Achieves strong and compliant levels of data security and controlled data visibility throughout the organization.

  • Maintains team-level control, customizability and flexibility.

  • Enables a superior staff & supporter experience.

To ensure efficient uptake by end users, the enhancements to financial processing and relationship management features were designed to deliver a rich user experience in a controlled format. This design was specifically intended to keep control in the hands of the end users, facilitating change management by allowing them to adopt new workflows, thereby allowing for change management, whilst minimising time to learn the new system and boosting team confidence. Further, a process has been laid out to allow users to interact with the system in a meaningful way to stimulate them to independently explore opportunities to optimise their daily system usage.

Future-proofing development : 

All aspects of the design have also been developed to enable a seamless migration in view of upcoming updates in the pipeline from Microsoft, allowing the organisation to grow with every release.

conclusion : 

By developing and deploying the delivered enhancements according BlackwaterTech’s design blueprint, Open Doors is set to make a leap into delivering an enhanced user experience for both supporters and the teams working with them. By further synchronising the teams and processes, the organisation is set to deliver a spike in efficiency and individual team member impact, while reducing frustrations and minimising the overall cost of operations.