Arctic IT Empowers Humanitarian Relief Non-Profit by Drastically Reducing Software Costs

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Medical Teams International (MTI) is a humanitarian relief and development organization committed to helping people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world. For more than 30 years, MTI has mobilized expert volunteer medical, dental and support professionals, shipped donated medicines and supplies and created health programs with lasting impact. To save and improve the lives of millions of suffering people, MTI relies on donations and grants to assist with the funding required to fulfill its mission, which includes ongoing support of various programs and teams of volunteers around the world.


For several years, MTI had been using a well-known nonprofit software application suite for their donor management, financial management and fundraising. While targeted to nonprofits, the technology only offered limited core functionality and little to no ability to make any customizations. The lack of web-based capabilities presented frustrating disruptions and lagging communications for branch offices including those located in other countries. Without an integrated platform, data was trapped in silos, forcing staff and volunteers to constantly work around a bulky system to access critical information.


With an aggressive plan for growth, MTI’s team knew they would require scalable technology that could enable, and sustain, that growth. Limited by an aging system that didn’t align to their business processes and growth strategy, MTI also faced the rising cost of licensing and maintaining software that was becoming severely outdated due to a lack of improvements and R&D by the software manufacturer. It was obvious their existing technology did not, and could not, provide MTI with a solid foundation to reach their goals.


The MTI team began investigating a long-term solution wherein their IT investment would provide a scalable and sustainable platform that would allow them to remain agile in a highly competitive nonprofit landscape. This platform would have to be cost-effective, yet still provide state-of-the-art business applications with maximum efficiency and seamless integration. They first considered upgrading their existing system to the latest version, but when they learned of the hefty price tag for a system that would still be lacking in several areas, they knew a Microsoft solution was the perfect fit to streamline their operations and provide a rapid return on investment.


With a thorough evaluation of which Microsoft products would best satisfy their needs, MTI management and IT staff chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM for their Donor and Volunteer Management System and Microsoft Dynamics GP for their Accounting and Financial Management, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services for Business Intelligence, with a SharePoint 2010 Management Platform to integrate it all.


By moving to a Microsoft solution, MTI was astounded by the low total cost of ownership as compared to their existing system. Not only would they gain the flexibility, integration and reliability they so desperately needed, but their Microsoft solution would cost only 25% (5 year TCO) of what it would cost to upgrade their existing system, which still couldn’t match the benefits offered by Microsoft. Beyond substantial upfront savings, MTI would save an additional $50,000+ per year in licensing fees alone, and that amount will increase by 10% year over year.


With a decision on the technology nearly finalized, MTI evaluated several Microsoft partners who could help them define their requirements, implement their software and customize their applications to meet their unique needs. MTI was impressed by Arctic IT for a number of reasons, including their diverse competencies across the Microsoft ecosystem and their experience working with a variety of unconventional nonprofits. Of particular interest was Arctic IT’s proven expertise with the CRM architecture and their ability to transform Dynamics CRM into a fully tailored and customizable solution for MTI, managing everything they needed without having to build a new program.


MTI is in a fortunate position of having highly trained IT professionals on staff with the experience and expertise to not only support new business applications, but to learn how to customize and extend the functionality of those tools themselves. MTI was hoping to find a consulting partner who would also be willing to work collaboratively with their team so they could utilize their internal resources and control expenses as much a possible.


“We knew going in that our request was unique and the partners we talked to might not respond favorably since it wouldn’t be a highly profitable project, but Arctic IT welcomed the opportunity to help us and they’ve been amazing to work with,” says Matt Turkington, MTI’s Director of Technology & Information Systems. Arctic IT worked alongside MTI providing hands-on guidance and extensive training so they could eventually take over the customization, maintenance and ongoing support of their systems.


Arctic IT consultants worked with MTI’s IT team to gather all of their requirements and build out a well-defined blueprint of their entire solution on paper so it would be much easier to estimate and execute the project. Among the objectives for the project were implementing, configuring and integrating their systems and data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM, GP, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Office. Arctic IT CRM specialists extended CRM functionality into a fully tailored program that is easy for staff and volunteers to work in, add to and modify on their own.


MTI now has a fully integrated and user-friendly system designed to automate, track and manage all of their unique processes, including:

  • Donor management
  • Volunteer management
  • Gift management
  • Event management
  • Marketing
  • Operations management
  • Accounting management
  • Financial management

MTI management has a 360 degree view of the entire organization with meaningful and measurable insight and improved reporting capabilities. Accounting has a streamlined system for financial management with automated features. Staff and volunteer teams have more efficient access to information and new remote capabilities that have accelerated productivity and service in their domestic branch offices. And through hands-on training by Arctic IT, the MTI team is now equipped to manage and maintain their new solution as a self-sufficient, collaborative and empowered team.

by Arctic IT

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