Canadian not-for-profits turn to Best for accounting

A Vancouver-based not-for-profit organization is adopting the first Best Software solution to cater to Canadian taxation regulations.

PacificSport, which is a philanthropic

organization that provides support for athletes, coaches and sport development within British Columbia, opened its doors in January and started using Best’s MIP Fundraising Paradigm 5.0 last month.

Since January, PacificSport has gone from zero to 450 donor records, with the majority of its funding coming from the endowment legacy fund from the 1994 Commonwealth Games held in Victoria. PacificSport has two national training centres and seven regional centres around the province.

“”There has been no funds development ever. We’re starting from square one and Paradigm is our key starting partner,”” said Chris Spicer, director of advancement at PacificSport.

PacificSport said it plans to upgrade to the version 5.1 when it’s released next month.

Aimed at the small nonprofit organizations like PacificSport, MIP Fundraising Paradigm 5.1 was announced along with 19 other product updates at Best’s Insights 2004 conference last week in Orlando, Fla. MIP was acquired by Best two-and-a-half years ago to expand the software firm’s reach into the nonprofit niche market. Paradigm is part of Best’s portfolio of MIP Fundraising products, which also includes Gt-Pro for mid to large organizations and Millennium for large organizations like hospitals and higher education institutions.

“”Nobody has a foothold in this market,”” said Kent Hollrah, senior vice-president and general manager, nonprofit and government solutions, Best Software mid-market division. He added it’s a good opportunity for Accpac partners to expand upon their accounting solutions. Best acquired Accpac from Computer Associates International Inc. last December.

The first Canadian version is 5.1 and includes Canadian-specific features such as receipting that follows the guidelines of Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.

“”We want to be able to have that capability within the program so at the same time you can track in the donors’ records that you printed the receipt and you can track what it was other than having a separate record,”” said Spicer.

“”The Canadian government has very specific guidelines for tax receipts,”” said Hollrah. “”It opens up a fabulous opportunity for partners.”” This year’s conference marked the first for Accpac partners.

The software allows organizations to manage contacts and donors, send out solicitation, manage events and to track volunteers and funds from government grants and private donations.

New features include, a new Quick Gift entry feature, receipting capabilities, an enhanced data import utility and native PDF output.

Before PacificSport, Spicer worked at an independent school in Victoria where he used KTS Systems Group Inc.’s giftTRAQ.

In February 2003, Best acquired Toronto-based KTS, which is a developer and vendor of fundraising solutions for United Ways, Jewish Federations and other philanthropic organizations across North America. KTS now operates as part of Best’s nonprofit and government division. Spicer first heard of Paradigm from KTS and after going through the introductory disk, he was sold.

“”We’re absolutely over the moon about it,”” said Spicer. “”It’s a really easy program to figure out and to use in a fundraising funds management sort of way.””

Spicer said recently hired a teacher of 22 years who had no background in data management and within a week she was running Paradigm.

Paradigm 5.1 has a starting price of $2,900.

Best will also be launching a new version of MIP Fundraising Rainbow 3.1, which is a fundraising solution specifically for United Way chapters. It will allow users to integrate workplace campaigns and all donor, company, prospect and volunteer contracts. New features include integration with MIP Fund Accounting products.

Tom Stewart, director of finance at United Way of London, Ont., said his chapter, which is currently running 3.0.4, will upgrade to the new version next month. Like Spicer, Stewart finds the program easy to use and doesn’t anticipate any hurdles when updating his software. United Way pays an annual maintenance fee for the software that includes upgrades.

Stewart hasn’t seen the software yet but expects it to be similar to previous versions. KTS, which sells the solution to United Way chapters here and in the U.S., employs user groups to determine what features customers would like to see on new versions.

The charity uses the program to manage automatic deductions from company’s accounts and to track which person at each company is responsible for the United Way campaign at that particular company.

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