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  • 1.  Lockbox

    Posted 12 days ago

    We are investigating getting a lockbox to improve efficiencies for both gift processing and finance, and I would like to hear how you've approached getting it established, both in terms of cost and improved processes. What were the pitfalls and what did you wish you knew? How long did it take you to get it set up and feel comfortable with the process?


    I've seen it work successfully – but need some assistance in bringing that understanding to our team.


    Our challenge is we are launching a lot of efforts on the annual giving side and will be also doing a lot of acquisitions – and want to ensure our gifts processing area is best positioned to handle increased volume, as well as streamline/improve efficiencies for finance as well.


    Our digital marketing strategy will also increase – but at this time we have a very low all-over number of emails, so our outreaches will largely be mailed. Donors will have the option, of course, to make their gift via remit/check or online. But there will always be checks.


    Thanks so much!




    Robin L. Onsa

    Prospect Research and Management Officer

    Catholic Charities San Francisco


    Cell:     (415) 606-8134


  • 2.  RE: Lockbox

    Posted 12 days ago
    We've helped others with caging/lockbox setups. The key issues involve time lag between the donor sending the gift and receiving an acknowledgement. Choices about how to direct mail and processing frequency will have a big impact on this lag. It also requires much more process discipline and documentation, with more detailed exception-handling procedures. Gift officers have also expressed frustration b/c it's harder for them to check in on an expected donation - they can't just duck their heads into the gift processing area and ask if a check came in.

    An alternative to consider is implementing AI for gift processing automation. An AI can be trained relatively quickly on specific reply instruments, and the work can be reviewed by a human for exceptions and errors. There's a capital investment, but this is an area we're exploring with great optimism. 

    Happy to speak further offline, feel free to reach out or book a time using my link below. 

    Thank you,
    Isaac Shalev
    Data Strategy Expert
    Sage70, Inc.
    (917) 859-0151

    Schedule a 30-minute consultation now:

  • 3.  RE: Lockbox

    Posted 11 days ago
    Hi Robin, my team migrated from one lockbox to another last fall, in pursuit of securing additional services to streamline our work as our org grows. One of the additional services we will be exploring this spring and summer will be their taking over sending acknowledgments on our behalf for annual giving donors, while we'll continue to create acknowledgments in-house for portfolio donors or for any gift over a certain size.

    Feel free to reach out to me directly and we can set up time to talk with our Senior Manager of Gift Administration. She joined my team in fall 2020, and was coming from an org that had never used a lockbox before, but was about to start an implementation before she left. 


    Tracey Mullane
    Director, Development Operations
    Partners In Health

  • 4.  RE: Lockbox

    Posted 11 days ago

    I inherited the lockbox service at my current organization. After managing this team for 2 years the only bright spot that I have found in using a lockbox service is that we were able to continue processing gifts without skipping a beat when the world shut down. Which is a very bright spot indeed. With that said, here's my personal list of pros/cons. 


    • Enables remote gift processing workforce
    • Checks are deposited quickly 
    • Reduces time required to process gifts (the bank does the scanning) 


    • Bank makes the deposit no matter -- we even had a check deposited that was not written out to my organization 
    • When there is paperwork that accompanies a gift that has to be signed and/or requires other action the quality is poor and we are left with a copy, not an original 
    • The check is deposited in a bubble -- often there is a subsequent treasure hunt for the rest of the gift documentation 
    • Processing delays: when faculty or staff receive a check and then mail it to the lockbox, days or weeks are added to the processing timeline. For example, at our law campus the receptionist mailed 2021 checks to the lockbox last Tuesday. We have still not received those checks to the lockbox. 
    • When credit card information is mailed, or corresponding gift documentation is sent to the lockbox it is stored separately from the check. Creates a bit of a pin the tail on the donkey scenario and sometimes credit card gifts are missed

    A lockbox might be a good solution for annual giving -- when there is a clear solicitation and response and nothing else.

    Cameron Alzubi
    Director, Gift Administration
    Illinois Institute of Technology