When your organization started—with noble intentions and a small donor pool—an Excel spreadsheet was probably the perfect place to manage donor data. Now your organization has grown, and while its intentions are no less noble, those spreadsheets are overworked and busting at the seams.
It’s time to upgrade your technology and, consequently, upgrade your nonprofit’s capacity. The right nonprofit customer relationship management (CRM) system can revolutionize the way your organization works.
Think about the upgrade like the switch from a flip phone to a smartphone.
Both work as phones, but the flip phone’s abilities basically end at making and receiving calls. They functioned for the time being, but now that you can check your bank statements, text your spouse, beat the next level in Candy Crush, and tinker with your fantasy football lineup all on your smartphone, chances are, you don’t miss the flip phone.
You’ll feel the same way about your nonprofit CRM. Once you have your new CRM, it’s time to realize its potential. Your smartphone can complete dozens of tasks beyond making phone calls that help make you more efficient. Your CRM can do the same for donor management.
Here we’ll talk about 3 important features you should be looking out for in your software that can help your nonprofit streamline your operations and improve your stewardship and fundraising.
Of the long list, here are three of the most important ways technology will change the way your organization operates for the better.
Fundraising events are a great addition to any fundraising agenda. For every type of nonprofit, from the smallest to the largest, there’s an event fundraiser out there that’s ready and waiting to help you maximize your fundraising and steward your donors.
Events can make just the right splash in your annual campaign calendar, but they do take skill and dedication to execute. Utilize your CRM to help with the planning and implementation side of things duringyournext event.
Using event management software, which is a popular component in most nonprofit CRMs, you can:
- Enable donors to register online.
- Design event tickets.
- Manage reservations.
- Generate reports for analysis regarding event registration and finances.
And those are just a few of the many event management features available to you through your CRM!
Bonus: Check out Neon’s Annual Fund guide!
In an ideal world, nonprofits would instantly have any relevant information they need about a given donor. Although that’s not exactly possible, technology has helped us get much closer.
Traditionally and logically, nonprofits learn information about donors as they build relationships with them. Organizations can even perform wealth screenings to fill in any gaps in data. (To learn more about wealth screenings, check out this resource from DonorSearch.)
However, that information is rendered useless if it isn’t properly stored, frequently updated, and easily accessible to the people who need it. That’s where your CRM enters the equation.
Your CRM will not only keep track of any details that you directly input, but it can seamlessly record and organize data that gets funneled in from your various campaigns, emails, and donation pages.
When it’s time to put all of that in-depth data to good use, your fundraisers need to be able not only to work with the information, but work with one another as well.
Fundraising is a team effort and your technology can be a big asset to the team.
With your donor management technology, your staff will have no problem:
- Tracking all constituent data you receive.
- Using a calendar to keep tabs on fundraising.
- Knowing which team members are assigned to each task.
- Recording and tracking interactions with donors.
- Universally accessing donor data.
- And much, much more.
It’s easy to build a relationship with a donor and forget to track it. The member of your fundraising team knows the key donor information, but if that individual isn’t available, another member of your staff will have to take the reins.
If you have a CRM managing donor data, there’s no need to worry about a new fundraiser taking on the role. The valuable details are already downloaded from the previous fundraiser’s brain and waiting in the donor database.
More importantly, since you can track all of your donor data in the platform, all of your data sources can communicate with you to give you the deepest insights into your donors.
You’ll be able to better personalize and target your outreach to see more loyal donors and improved fundraising results!
We’re sure you’ve heard the adage, “Communication is key.”
Well, it’s an adage for a reason. Communication is the basis of the donor-nonprofit relationship, and its significance cannot be overstated.
Anything that assists in bringing accuracy and efficiency to your donor communications should be welcomed. And CRMs do that in spades.
Perhaps the biggest value is the automation of the process. Automation reduces the time and energy needed to send out correspondences, with the added bonus of minimizing human error.
As donors respond to and interact with the various communications that are distributed through your CRM, the system in turn tracks and catalogs each donor’s behaviors, storing the information back in your database. And with that you can see what techniques are working and what communications need some reworking.
The more customized and specific you can make your communications, the better chance you’ll have of retaining your donors.
Who would say no to that? Say yes, and start making the most of your CRM!
The trick to succeeding with this technology is learning what it can do and how to utilize it effectively.
When fundraisers have to spend time organizing information and correcting mistakes, that’s time they could have spent cultivating relationships with your valued donors and prospects.
Make your organization more efficient. Let your CRM take care of the busy work, so your staff is free to do the work that needs a human touch.
To learn more about CRMs, make sure to check out Neon’s donor database guide.