Lebanese American University

Update: Advancement

From pounds to dollars

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The records of LAU supporters kept in the university’s donor database are as diverse as our worldwide family, with donations being recorded from friends in Lebanon, the Gulf, Europe, North America and beyond. The computer database, which is used by staff members in Lebanon and the United States, is the backbone of LAU’s efforts to raise support from around the world. 

More than ten years ago LAU’s database Raiser’s Edge (RE), which is supplied by the organization Blackbaud, was installed using the Lebanese Pound (LBP) in order to keep in line with LAU’s default currency at that time. In 2003 LAU decided to adopt the United States Dollar (USD) as the default currency of the university and soon the Advancement Services team began working with the IT department and Blackbaud to provide a solution for making the conversion. 

The initial part of the plan involved converting gifts that had already been recorded on RE from the year 2000 onward, as well as gifts that were made on the previous database system in use prior to 2000. This was a massive undertaking that involved many complex situations and calculations. 

Last summer, after the project had been put on the back-burner in favor of numerous other priorities, things got going again. The decision was made to outsource the conversion process to Blackbaud and with over 13,000 entries to convert, they are currently halfway through the process with an expected completion date in the fall. 

This is a major project for the Advancement Services team,” says Amal Abdel Massih the team’s director. “But it will facilitate access to gift history by all RE users and help us all run more effectively and efficiently.”


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