The nonprofit world is all about creating and managing relationships with its constituents. So, why is it that some nonprofits don’t spend more time and focus on developing new and existing relationships? Maybe it’s because many nonprofits are simply complicating the matter and need the help of software automation such as Customer Relationship Management to assist in developing their programs. Below you will find several simple ways using a good CRM system may help develop relationships at your nonprofit.
The Secret of CRM is Building Relationships
1. Consolidate… Avoid Disparate Data Syndrome!
This article posted some time ago underscores the process some nonprofits use to manage their relationships. The results are alarming:
Over half the small to medium-sized nonprofits who responded said they store information about contacts in more than four different places. In fact, 20% said they store it in more than ten places! Many of them use solutions that make it hard for the whole staff to access it – 58% used Excel, 52% used a personal contact manager like Outlook, and an alarming 55% reported using slips of paper.
Storing information in 10 places and using slips of paper is a really bad idea. All of that information represents a valuable relationship and connection you have with someone who believes in your mission. A CRM helps you treat each of your constituents as a whole person by allowing you to see how they have engaged with you in the past while also showing the many ways they relate to your organization. When you have all of their data in the same place, you can clearly see who people are, thank them for their previous donations, and facilitate a deeper relationship between your organization. Do not minimize the value of those relationships with sloppy Customer Relationship Management business practices.
2. Relationships matter:
It almost sounds like a cliché, but it’s still true; a solid service relationship matters. If you want your donors and friends to continue to champion your cause with their friends, you have to go above and beyond normal service. Consider this story as an example:
A widow learned about a particular charity through a friend. She decided to donate because she was so taken with what the organization did for physically challenged children. She gave $50 online at the organization’s website. She got a minimal receipt by email but never received a thank you letter in the mail nor any other communication from the organization. She never donated again.
How much time would it have taken to pick up the telephone and contact a first time donor? At the most, five minutes. If the organization would have investigated a little more deeply, they might have learned about the widow and her connection to the organization. As it stands now, the organization will never know, and likely not grow their donor base. Look for ways to make small “touches” that will yield second and third conversations with your donors. You will double and triple your returns. How can you keep tabs on all of those “touches”? Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to know the digital foot print of your constituents? A small investment in a software system may make your Customer Relationship Management more manageable.
3. Time is Money:
One of the common objections to Customer Relationship Management software is the cost. Does it really save you in the long run if you don’t have an efficient system in place? You spend countless hours tracking down people who know “something” about donors, and then cobbling their memories together to try to build solid connections with your donors. And, what happens when your development officer who know everything leaves your nonprofit? Your nonprofit pays employees to do the work at hand, however, the intellectual capital stored on each donor, volunteer, or vendor doesn’t have to go when he/she does.
The reality is this, cost should be a small obstacle to overcome in comparison to the relationships you potentially harm because you do not have a “single version of truth” in a quality software program. Your time is valuable. Your mission is critical, and no one is making it happen if you are always spending your working hours trying to decipher someone else’s handwritten notes. With Customer Relationship Management, people in your organization start to get on the same page, thinking similarly about business practices, using the same tools and building relationships with the same constituents. Building stronger relationships is the secret to increasing your chances to grow your donor and member population.
To talk more about how Customer Relationship Management Software can play a significant role in your nonprofit, please Contact Us.
Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.