REVIEWER: John Newman, director of applications development, Museum of Fine Arts Boston

BACKGROUND: The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world. The original MFA opened in 1876 in Boston’s Copley Square and was then home to 5,600 works of art. Over the next several years, the collection and number of visitors grew exponentially, and in 1909 the Museum moved to its current home on Huntington Avenue. Today, the collection encompasses nearly 450,000 works of art and welcomes more than one million visitors each year.

PLATFORMS: The Museum is currently using Windows 2000/2003 operating system and is running Experian QAS Pro with multiple systems: Enterprise C/S in its membership and development offices, Jenzabar in admissions and financial aid at the School of the Museum of Fine Art, and Paciolan in ticketing.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The MFA has a membership of over 80,000 and mails Preview Magazine to those member households every two months. Various departments also send thousands of letters each month for fundraising. With hundreds of pieces of mail returned each month, the MFA was wasting valuable budget and human resources. Each time a piece of mail was returned, the constituent was flagged in the system and communication was stopped until the contact data was corrected. While this practice avoided additional wasted resources, lack of communication was preventing possible donations and participation in museum events. Signing up new members was also a problem. Address entry was lengthy and sometimes inaccurate. With individuals leaving static phone messages, quickly filling out Web forms and hand writing paper applications to submit contact information, addresses are often hard to decipher and manual entry was tedious and flawed. The incorrect addresses led to an elongated member signup process where new member cards were not received until as much as a month after sign up.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: QAS Pro is used to validate addresses as they are being entered into each database. Each address is then standardized according to MFA regulations and validated against the USPS data file. By starting with the ZIP code or city and working backward, address options are narrowed down with each keystroke in QAS Pro. With this entry method, the MFA is able to capture a 30- to 40-keystroke address in just 10 or 11 keystrokes, cutting the necessary data entry time in less than half. One of the biggest benefits of the software for the MFA is the increased timeliness of mailings. With a correct address entered on the first attempt, members are able to receive communications more quickly and potential donors receive development letters on time. In addition, the accurate data also conserves the museum postal and mailing budget.

STRENGTHS: The product was easily integrated with all applications used at the MFA. In addition, with QAS Pro’s frequent data updates, the system stays up to date with the USPS data file. QAS Pro has also been very easy for staff to use. Many of the employees are students and part time employees and the MFA has never had a problem with employees learning how to use it.

WEAKNESSES: QAS Pro does not allow for an individual to type in an address and automatically populate the phone number and email for a contact at that address. However, the company, through additional products, has the capability to verify email addresses and phone numbers when those are entered.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The MFA did not look at other product offerings. We were approached by Experian QAS and, after a product demo, decided that the product could immediately assist in reducing their pains with regards to returned mail.

DELIVERABLES: The product corrects and standardizes address data according to MFA standards and pastes the correct fields into each underlying application.

VENDOR SUPPORT: It was very easy to deploy the software. With some help from Experian QAS, the documentation provided and a demonstration, the MFA was quickly able to get the software working on the first application. Subsequently, the company came on site to ensure the product was working properly and up to MFA standards each time a new application was integrated.

DOCUMENTATION: Experian QAS provides a complete implementation guide. QAS Pro is a very easy-to-use product. The implementation guide contains text directions and screen shots of the product. The MFA implemented the software based on the guide and trained their staff based on the documentation and demonstrations received from an Experian QAS sales representative.


Experian QAS

125 Summer St., Suite 1910

Boston, MA 02110

(617) 385-6700

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