The Challenge

Connect data from disparate systems to support a complete 360-degree view of constituent relationships with Ailey's diverse program activities.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo by Andrew Eccles 2

Photo: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo by Andrew Eccles

The Starting Point

For over 60 years, Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation has sustained the artistic and cultural vision of its founder through its electrifying repertory performances as well as through dance education and community programs in New York City and beyond. As Ailey's reach continued to grow and expand, so too did the number of systems, databases, and spreadsheets used to manage and track its constituents. 

As part of a larger digital transformation roadmap developed in partnership with Ideal State, staff across Ailey recognized the need for a holistic view of their core constituents. Needs ranged from understanding patterns of engagement over time to streamlining and personalizing marketing and fundraising operations. The best system to handle such a task? An enterprise CRM like Salesforce. Ideal State led the strategy, design, build, and launch of a new Salesforce CRM by:

  • Leading a virtual future-state vision workshop to help Development and Marketing staff define the critical questions they sought to answer using constituent data and design dashboards to support their goals
  • Meeting with fundraisers to understand their internal business processes and redesign workflows to take full advantage of Salesforce capabilities
  • Selecting and managing a Salesforce implementation partner to identify, map, and migrate or sync data from 15+ systems, databases, and spreadsheets into Salesforce
  • Providing detailed end-user and admin support materials and live training sessions to support a smooth transition to the new CRM as soon as it was launched
  • Supporting the development and rollout of additional tools such as Salesforce Accounting Subledger and Pardot to further streamline financial and marketing processes.


The Result

The introduction of a new enterprise CRM has allowed Ailey to:
  • View all constituent interactions and manage all marketing and engagement efforts in a single place
  • Automate business processes and data analysis, allowing staff to refocus on engagement strategies
  • Reduce the total number of systems used for fundraising, marketing, and other engagement activities from seven to one, saving thousands of dollars in maintenance and licensing fees and greatly simplifying system management and use
  • Deploy centralized, automated reports that Ailey's leadership team can use to make strategic business decisions

Key Insights:

Over 360,000 contacts migrated or synced from existing systems

Replaced Raiser's Edge, SQL database, and 15+ Excel spreadsheets with Salesforce CRM

Leveraged real-time data from existing systems to centralize constituent activity

"Ideal State has been a fantastic partner from discovery through launch, acting as an extension of my team and providing top-notch project oversight." 

Chad Sutton Director of Information Technology Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Chad Sutton headshot