Virtuous CRM Software For Nonprofits Review

Virtuous CRM Software Review for nonprofits

Isn’t it time to drop kick your outdated donor management software system for something virtuous!?  If so, the team at Virtuous CRM For Nonprofits believes that they have the best All-in-One donor & fundraising CRM for your nonprofit.

Virtuous CRM Software Review

In our ongoing “Search of a Nonprofit CRM Software Series”, we have prepared a quick look at Virtuous CRM, a nonprofit Constituent Relationship Management Software. This tool helps charities create personal relationships, reduce costs and maximize impact. For those interested in learning more about Virtuous CRM, we are available to share with you are thoughts about the donor fundraising software and how it fits in the donor database software market today.

In addition, we have curated, interviewed, and prepared more detailed information for executives employed in the not for profit industry to set up a time to discuss as well. Our agnostic insights and software reports are designed for those who would like fair and objective insights into the capabilities of this CRM software for nonprofit program.

Introduction to Virtuous CRM Software:

The needs of the modern nonprofit have changed just as much as the software industry in the last two decades. Unfortunately, charities are often asked to to accept an archaic donor management systems or traditional CRMs built for sales instead of generosity.

With so many donor database software programs in the market today, it is often hard to discern the best fit. The good news is that nonprofits don’t have too. Virtuous is the nonprofit CRM helping charities raise more money, inspire more action and do more good. With Virtuous, they aim to help accelerate a charity by helping them see donors as relationships instead of transactions.

When asked about the name, here is the response from David Cady, CRM Evangelist, at Virtuous:

“We believe that fundraising and the nature of what we support is a high-calling and endeavor to admire. With our name we wanted to bring a human and compassionate element to donor management software”.

From all accounts, Virtuous provides an elegant and easy-to-use donor software designed to serve your entire staff – but feature-rich enough to meet even complex fundraising needs.

An example of going beyond the options in the market, Virtuous CRM contains marketing automation features. These features are designed specifically to help nonprofit staff reduce costs while increasing generosity using best practice templates and the ability measure & optimize. Simply put, unlike many other donor databases which have email marketing, Virtuous goes beyond just email to provide full moves management-style email automation PLUS the ability to automate tasks, tags and other data.

Virtuous CRM Marketing Automation Examples

Another advanced aspect of this tool is the blending of Social and financial data inside the analytics. Users can see how they’re connected to givers geographically or by social network. Using this data, the Virtuous CRM dashboard will suggest next steps with each giver based on financial data and relational data. So, Virtuous Software will suggest when to ask for a gift, and what amount, but it could also suggest you invite someone to a fundraiser or informational meeting. Cool stuff!

Purpose Statement from Virtuous CRM: 

Virtuous is set out to fundamentally change how nonprofits interact with their donors. Their software can enable you to tell your story at scale. You are able to make personal connections with your next 10,000 donors in the same way you did for your first 10. Virtuous does this by taking givers financial data, social data, and giving patterns to intelligently recommend the next best ask for each giver. This allows you to intelligently manage your interactions so your fundraising effort creates the most value for the organization. Virtuous creates an accountable and sustainable environment that fosters human connections and a relationship first organization.

“Their relational tools allow you to understand your donors and where you have common interests, based on publicly available information as well as the information gathered over the relationship as it’s been built,” said Tj Abood of Access Ventures, and investor in Virtuous Software.

Key Functional Areas of Virtuous CRM: 

All the functional areas of Virtuous CRM are developed with the following benefits in mind: save staff time and grow giving, allowing your organization to get to know your donors, tracking engagement, and getting the data your executives need to make decisions better.

The three main functional areas of the CRM system are:

  1. Donor Management for Elegant and easy-to-use donor software designed to serve your entire staff – but feature-rich enough to meet your complex fundraising needs.
  2. Marketing Automation / Moves Management: Marketing automation platform designed specifically to help nonprofit staff reduce costs while increasing generosity.
  3. Online Giving: Virtuous includes several options for a fully-integrated, digital giving experience. From complex giving requirements such as in-kind donations and stock gifts, to simple forms to accept credit cards at an industry low cost.

Key Features of Virtuous Fundraising Software: 

  • Suggested gift asks – and suggested ‘relational’ asks – help prompt you to make the right ask as the right time
  • Full Marketing automation to personalize donor communications and outreach based on unique donor profiles
  • Social media scraping with social profiles embedded
  • Donor scoring based on relational and giving capacity
  • Impact updates for projects – Track funding goals/impact, and even expenses, for projects you fund
  • Identify givers by their passions, persona, group affiliations or communication preferences

Where does Virtuous CRM Fit?

The company is targeting nonprofits between with $500,000 to $1 million in revenue. In other words, the “SMB” of nonprofits.

When asked where Virtuous fits, the response from David Cady was the following:

We work exclusively with nonprofits, and the best fit is organizations who have a variety of funding sources, but most importantly a diverse amount of individual givers.

Virtuous Fundraising Software Visual: 

Virtuous CRM for Nonprofit Review

Is Virtuous The Best CRM Software? 

We don’t espouse to the belief that there is “one best CRM” for everyone. But, Virtuous CRM may very well be your best fit.

However, to answer this question with certainty, we need to know more about what makes you unique. And, discuss other insights about this platform which we have curated, clients interviewed, and discuss more detailed information beyond just this summary.

Please know that our detailed analysis and expertise is available upon request. To be sure, our software analysis is not a “pretty brochure”, “marketing noise.” or a “sales pitch.”

Rather, we provide a free objective dialogue and insights designed to help nonprofit executives make a smarter software business decision.

If you are interested in some help with reviewing your options and comparisons, please check out our “vendor matching” services here.

Want More CRM Software Reviews?

Please stay tuned to our ongoing “Searching for A Smart CRM Software” where we will continue to provide further insights into membership database software options designed for our 501(c) 6 membership focused organizations.

For the most recent published reviews, please click below:

And, to obtain a sample list of the database software reviews we have, you may follow the link here 

If you work for an AMS or CRM database software system and you would like us to include your firm in our software review process, please contact us.

Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind. Happy Software Buying!

virtuous crm software review for nonprofits

 

Super Tip: Join The Software Users Group

Database Software User Groups

In our search to secure the best software database, we tend to seek just the right features to help achieve our mission. Right? We buy software so that we can increase efficiency, improve our ability to serve our members and donors, and gain measurable results. Surprisingly, support, documentation, culture, and community are far down on the list. In this article, I discuss the impact of a software users group in order to increase the happiness of users and their productivity.

The Impact of Software Users Group

Software Users Groups include people meeting and discussing how they use their software solution. Whether it’s a simple online forum or a large event where your surrounded by like minded individuals, you will derive measurable value in participating in the community of your software. The medium may be an in-person meet-up, conferences, training sessions and boot camps.

In my 20 years of experience in the software industry, I have seen the net benefit of software users groups on the entire community. Although anecdotal evidence, here is what I believe is the impact:

  • Users are much happier and more engaged.
  • Users use the tool more often and also get more value out of the product.
  • Users become more efficient and produce higher value with using the software.
  • Users have better expectations with regards to the software capabilities now and in the future.

Obtaining Support & Answers From The Software Users Group

It doesn’t matter what software you use. We all from time to time get frustrated, right! With access to a software users group, before picking up the phone and paying for tech support again, a software users group will provide you a third level of support to answer your question. At a bare minimum, an online community provided by a software vendor or independent users group can help you find an outlet to get situations resolved independently.

There is an interesting thing about online communities to note. You will find software users there but you may also enjoy the value of knowing that a software support team is also likely lurking to help answer your questions too. So, if you are having a tough time convincing your Executive Director to pay for membership to a software users group, tell him that one call or tip could save the organization several hundred dollars each year.

Professional Development & Education via The Software User Group

The software users groups mission is primarily to provide a means to be educated and develop your skills with the software. Like iron sharpens iron, so to do users sharpen themselves with training.

A larger convention form affords you one to one direct interaction with fellow software users from other organizations faced with similar challenges but provides access to industry experts to provide you with the training, education, and tips to save both you and your organization time and money.

Beyond the conference, many offer onsite training throughout the year. Higher Logic User Group (HUG) has frequent activities on a regional and national basis. Their group fosters and online and offline community to help users solve problems, network and improve productivity via training.

NiUG International, iMIS user’s group, hosts both workshops and conferences each year in various locations throughout the US, Australia, Canada, and Europe. The format for training usually includes a curriculum for learning in the form of in-person training classes, followed by the users conference which consists of several general breakout sessions on topical issues surrounding iMIS and related products which may be used by the community too. They have awards and after hour events for all to enjoy!

Informz,marketing automation software provider, has their own SuperFan Summit. They provide a two day educational forum for users. I was informed (pardon the pun) that this year, it will include three tracks on one session day — marketing, design, and tech — and a full day of hands-on training on day two.

From online, local, and conferences formats, professional development and education by users for users is critical to software success.

A Direct Voice to the Software Vendor 

Make your voice heard! While performing a software assessment, I hear often, “I was told the software couldn’t do that”. I play devils advocate quite a bit in the software assessment process because I know that often times organizations desire to drop kick their existing system before they have all the facts. Participating in a software users group provides you with a direct line to the software vendor to know what is on the product road map but also affords you the opportunity to ask for a feature too.

Some software users groups have a formal Product Advisory Committee (PAC). This group usually has a great working relationship with software vendor. It is generally thru this type of relationship; participating members can impact and make changes and enhancements to their product- maximizing their investment.

Recent Experiences at Users Conferences 

This past month, I was grateful to be invited to “Xperience 2016”, YourMembership’s Annual Users Conference in Florida. At this particular conference, attendees participated in multiple sessions on upcoming features and product road map announcements. The education sessions were great. Every session was packed and the questions were always applicable to almost everyone in attendance. I even overheard several folks say, “I wanted to go to that session, but I just didn’t have enough time”.

YourMembership’s company leaders were available for everyone to mingle with and talk to. So, every participant had a direct line of communication to the CEO and other Executives to voice their opinion on what was important to them. This is valuable access which will provide ongoing success for all parties participating in such a venue.

Earlier this year, I was also thankfully invited to attend the Abila Users conference in Austin. Abila’s conference was filled with complimentary software vendors who supported their product lines, training tracks for the various products, & general sessions comprised of company news and product road map announcements. At the end of the product road map session, Abila had a live “voting” for the top product enhancements expressed by the attendees along with a piece on “what items were completed” from last year.

Personally, I was pleased to go to Act-On Software, marketing automation software provider, “iHeartmarketing” users group. It gave me the opportunity to network and mingle with other Act-On users and success managers, so I could sharpen my own skills.

I am looking forward to attending Nimble Users, Nimblepalooza, Bloomerangs, BloomCon, and many other software user conferences in the future. I hope to be able to go to more!

Super Tip, Community Collaboration Counts

Yes, the features and capabilities of the software are important in your software search. I understand. But, I believe with many others that there is more to a successful software match than just the features found on that comparison score sheet.

Looking for signs of commitment by the software vendor should be equally important in your search for a partner. It is so incredibly important to look at a vendors support, documentation, community & even involvement of the software users. In my opinion, a software users group (supported by a software vendor or independent) is good evidence of long term viability and continued maturation of a software database.

Super tip: Don’t overlook the power of a software users group!

For more information, please contact us. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Membership Software Reviews

Membership, Marketing, & Communications Alignment

Sales and Marketing Alignment in Nonprofits

Does alignment between your membership, marketing, and communications departments impact your effectiveness? There is much discussion in the for profit community about sales and marketing alignment. In this article, I outline some key points from a white paper which sparked my thoughts here on the importance of alignment as it may apply to the nonprofit community.

The Need for Alignment In Your 

Nonprofit & Association 

“Highly aligned organizations achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth – while less well-aligned companies reported an average 7% decline in revenue.” Aberdeen

As mentioned, I recently read a white paper produced by bpmonline, a commercial Customer Relationship Management software provider. The white paper is titled “Connecting the Dots Between Marketing, Sales and Service to Nimbly Manage a Complete Customer Journey”.

In short summary, the white paper outlines how a for profit company’s sales and marketing teams often have a complex, sometimes contentious, relationship with one another. On one hand, both sides realize that they need to work together in order to meet their demand and revenue goals. On the other hand, many sales and marketing teams barely speak to one another – never mind working together.

3 Takeaways on Alignment Between Sales and Marketing 

Granted, this argument and suggestions are focused on suggestions for the for profit business world, but as with some situations the message can be applied to the nonprofit community too. Here are my three key takeaways:

  1. Blended processes improve performance – Blending sales, marketing and service into a single process ensures that performance numbers continue to improve. For nonprofits, this means membership renewals, new memberships and similar metrics improve.
  2. Integrating on a single platform is crucial – Integrating sales, marketing, and service creates a better experience for customers. The same should be true of members and donors.
  3. Make better use of current resources – Increase the reach and effectiveness of current marketing efforts by running a unified marketing communications strategy. This is the ideal way to attract and keep members and supporters.

Statistics seem to support the value of investing resources to align marketing, sales and service. Here are a few more statistics which resonated with me most:

  • Businesses with optimal alignment realized 50% more growth in sales-ready leads
  • 33% of organizations cited stated a lower cost for each lead.
  • Businesses with integrated marketing, sales and service were better at keeping customers. In fact, 82% of customers whom thought about leaving but stayed.
  • The same report indicated that 72% of clients made more purchases.

What about Alignment in Nonprofit Organizations? 

Think about this for a moment in terms of the benefits which may apply to your nonprofit but substitute the nomenclature (Ex. Sales professional for membership/development) a bit and focus on the key performance metrics which matter to you most in a 501(c)3 or Association.

  • What if your association could grow your membership by 50%?
  • What if your nonprofit could attract more donors for less marketing spend?
  • What if your association could retain more members due to better alignment?
  • What if your association could improve your non-dues revenue purchases?

Alignment is about one thing: communication. If sales and marketing (again substitute membership for sales) can’t learn how to work together as a single team, speak the same language, and exchange information freely, then all the technology in the world won’t make a difference.

What Should be Considered to Attain Optimal Alignment in Nonprofits? 

How do industry experts suggest that alignment may work in the real world?

  • Personas: As with others, I believe everyone needs to have the same idea on your ideal profile of a donor or member type. This is the first step.
  • Messaging: Everyone needs to be on board with your message. It must be tight, focused, and personalized. You may need to review every touchpoint a constituent has with your organization- across departments and channels, get your teams together, identify them, and write down in chronological order how they move through the join process, event notifications, etc.
  • Metrics: Monitor and measure the important things.
  • Handoff: When does membership or development staff get involved in cultivating a new member or donor. Who is responsible and when? The role for each department needs to be understood and managed.
  • Follow up: I have worked with many marketing, membership, and development officers over the years and it’s amazing to me to find how there is a disconnect on workflow and processes on the simplest things like follow up. When someone joins or donates, what type of follow up is in place to engage them and continually cultivate existing members.

What Technology Should be Considered in Your Nonprofit? 

While the key performance indicators are certainly different in the nonprofit industry, I believe that proper alignment is warranted in a nonprofit too. And, this goal may be realized in some degree by the pursuit of a unified and integrated membership system (CRM software) to assist in keeping everyone on the same page; looking at the same records, history, activities, communications, website activity, & even standardization of the agency messaging.

The mere fact of using the same technology platform, your association may be better prepared to recruit new members, keep current members happy, and retain members. Software tools such as CRM and likely even more importantly Email marketing or Marketing automation software may help establish enterprise wide alignment via a centralized database & unified messaging policy to help bring harmony and inner peace to all. Kumbaya!

If you would like to know more about technologies which may help in achieving better alignment at your nonprofit, please contact us. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Marketing Technology Tips for Alignment in Nonprofits