Many nonprofits we work with don’t have a strategy for tracking and managing contact with their current and potential donors, volunteers, and members. Nonprofit CRM, or Constituent Relationship Management, is a technology (usually a part of your website!) that centralizes all your contacts and constituent data to help you track and manage all these relationships easily and intelligently. With a click, you can view any contact and see a record of all their past interactions, donations and communications with your organization.
Do you find yourself or your organization losing time and resources in the following ways:
- Do your team members have multiple excel tables or access databases containing constituent data?
- Do you waste time struggling just to know who your constituents are much less how they have interacted with your organization?
- Do you have the same data or contacts stored in multiple services or systems?
- Do you have a system for managing constituents set up by a volunteer who left some time ago?
- Do you waste hours collecting data from multiple places when preparing reports or grant applications?
CRM Can Help!
A good Constituent Relationship Management system implemented with a clear strategic vision of your goals can help you with these struggles. Done well, such a system will help you in the following ways:
A CRM will give you good visibility into your existing donor relationships. It will accept and manage online donations as well as recurring memberships or subscriptions. This can streamline renewals and facilitate member and donor retention. Additionally, by helping you understand and communicate with your donors it can help you increase your average donation size and donation frequency.
Many organizations struggle to register event participants smoothly, manage registrations, collect event fees and publicize their events. Often organizations use a third party platform for managing events. This leads to an important pool of your data about event participation in a separate silo from your other data related to your members and their activities, interactions and donations. A good CRM will keep event data integrated with all your other contact and constituent data. It will also allow for seamless integration with the rest of your website for online registration, payment and internal management of the event.
By giving you better visibility into your volunteer relationships and facilitating communication with them, a CRM will help you mobilize volunteers and track their contributions to your success. Additionally, you will be able to identify potential volunteers or individuals among your existing contacts who may have the skills to serve your organization on your Board of Directors or on an important committee.
By allowing you to create, publicize and understand polls and surveys and push them out to your audiences online and via social media, a good CRM can help you understand public opinion on key topics of interest to your organization and mobilize awareness around these issues. It can also help you better understand your member's key concerns and their top priorities so you can focus your activities on areas of highest impact to your community.
Keys to Success
A CRM is not just a tool you bring into your organization and magically problems are solved. To use it well requires a clear strategy, buy-in from organizational leadership, and an understanding of all your organizational processes and workflows. To do this well your leadership needs to know exactly what their goals for the CRM are:
Are you looking to:
- Increase donation size/frequency?
- Better retain existing donors?
- Reduce staff time on data entry and double entry of data in separate systems?
- Facilitate online donations?
- Automate/manage event registration?
- Better manage and activate volunteers?
- Make metrics of your success clearer and more readily available for publicity and grant writing?
- Give greater voice to your members and constituents via polls/surveys?
- Empower your volunteers to communicate your key messages on Social Media by communicating with them more effectively?
Any of these, and more, are possible when you understand your constituents and have great tools for communicating with them. But the tools alone are not enough for success - you need a plan and leadership buy-in behind your CRM strategy.
Want to learn more about Nonprofit Constituent Management and about how to put together a strategy for success? Look out for our next post: “Nonprofit CRM; Building your Plan” and subscribe below to be notified when our next post is published!