Like most good ideas, Fargo-based Allegiance Software was created out of necessity.
It was in the late 1970s when officials at Prairie Public Television and North Dakota Public Radio – like other public broadcasters across the country – began searching for computer software that could help them better manage fundraising operations.
“There were programs available that helped broadcasters with certain aspects of fundraising, but there wasn’t a comprehensive tool that could help manage the entire process and that could be easily integrated to work with other database systems,” said Allegiance Software Sales and Marketing Director Sue Guttormson.
Prairie Public Television and North Dakota Public Radio teamed with computer programmer Sonja Jensen in 1977 to develop fundraising software they couldn’t find in the marketplace.
After nine months of research and development, Jensen and Lois O’Meara, then-coordinator of Prairie Public’s member services, completed work on a comprehensive software program that is the basis of Allegiance Software’s sophisticated fundraising tools.
Sonja and Mark Jensen, computer science graduates of Minnesota State University Moorhead, have since grown their company from a two-person startup to filling a south Fargo office building with 18 professionals in software development and customer support.
Supplying 35 percent of the market, Allegiance Software develops the most popular fundraising software system among the nation’s public television and radio broadcasters.
Allegiance Software’s commitment to customer support and its daily product enhancements are major selling points that help drive the company’s success, company Vice President Mark Jensen said.
With 99 percent of Allegiance Software’s revenue coming from outside North Dakota, the Jensens, who live just south of Fargo in Prairie Rose, N.D., bring new wealth to the state every day.
And company officials say their market opportunities continue to grow as Christian broadcasters and other nonprofit organizations look for ways to improve their fundraising programs and increase donations.
Allegiance also is working with the North Dakota Trade Office to market its fundraising and traffic software around the world.
“Allegiance Software currently exports its products and support services to customers in Australia, but we believe there is much more potential in the international arena simply because the software offers tremendous advantages in fundraising and traffic management,” Trade Office Account Manager James Burgum said.
Providing excellent customer service begins even before broadcasters buy from Allegiance Software. The company analyzes fundraising data provided by prospective clients to determine if their software can help make fundraising events more successful.
“After careful analysis, we usually determine that a return on investment is very positive,” said Mark Jensen, Allegiance Software’s vice president.
“We can guarantee an increase in revenue if they use our software system,” Mark Jensen said. “It’s shocking sometimes – the amount of additional funds they can be collecting.
“It almost always covers the cost of the initial investment in the software so we write them a fundraising guarantee,” he said.
Allegiance Software covers all aspects of fundraising – from a high-speed data entry system for fundraising campaigns to generating analytical reports and year-end tax records. The software system includes a main fundraising and membership system, traffic software that tracks donor information, an auction system and a scheduling tool to manage campaign volunteers.
Once Allegiance Software’s products are installed, the company provides unparalleled technical, operational and fundraising support, assisting customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“Allegiance does it all for you,” said Krista Bergren-Arneson, membership manager for North Dakota’s Prairie Public Television. “It allows you to put together customized reports to analyze results.
“With other systems you have to do some custom programming to extract the information and analyze the data,” she said.
Bergren-Arneson said Prairie Public Television and North Dakota Public Radio have about 15,000 regional members.
The Chicago-based Moody Broadcasting Network, with more than 1 million listeners a week, relies on Allegiance Software to manage its fundraising programs, Moody Vice President Wayne Pederson said.
Using Allegiance Software products, Moody Broadcasting recently raised more than $250,000 for Hurricane Katrina relief.
“The software has revolutionized the way we operate our fundraisers,” Pederson said.
“It helps us not only during actual fundraisers, but also allows us to track information that is important in planning for these events,” Pederson said.
More information about Allegiance Software can be found at: http://www.allegiancesoftware.com