Do NonProfits Need Customer Relationship Management Software?

Customer Relationship Management software, CRM for Nonprofit, is important to your Nonprofit.

The customer relationship management software (CRM) market has been growing at a fast pace over the last several years. In this article, we wanted to focus on a few reasons why you may consider CRM software in your nonprofit.

Does your Nonprofit Need CRM Software?

CRM tools have been around since the middle 90’s. Before that, we referred to them as contact managers (ACT! & Goldmine) and Salesforce automation (led by Salesforce.com) tools. For someone like me (with not much gray I might add!) who has been through the evolution, it’s been fun to watch the buzz of CRM in recent years in the nonprofit industry.

Why Customer Relationship Software?

I believe that there has been a convergence in the mentality of traditional for profit businesses and nonprofits due in large part to what some experts call Buyer 2.0. Most businesses today are in need of growing, developing, and supporting a community of loyal customers similar to what a nonprofit association has provided for years. And, conversely, the Nonprofit world is competing against other nonprofits (and for profits) in order to remain viable in today’s economy which expects us to move quickly, to deliver solutions and results almost immediately. As a result, many forward thinking executive teams and boards must be prepared to arm their staff with different technology which are capable of providing a competitive advantage.

A CRM solution helps an organization recognize the value of your customers and improve relationships within your business community. The better you understand your members or donors, the more responsive you can be to their needs and ensure they are served in the best possible way. With the right people and processes, the proper CRM tool can help boost marketing efforts, enhance member or donor services, increase revenue, improve productivity, & reduce costs. In other words, CRM isn’t just a “nice to have” for nonprofits anymore rather a “must have” in order to develop, maintain, and grow relationships with their donors, members, and customers.

Customer Relationship Management Saves Time

Everyone has to do more with less and nonprofits are the poster child for that “way of doing business”. At the core of traditional CRM software is task management. And, due to the nature of business today, everyone needs to plan their day and share it with others. CRM helps tremendously in this area. Further, if your non-profit relies on employees or volunteers to manually process donations, reach out to potential donors or stay in touch with repeat donors, CRM can help you save a lot of time as well. A good CRM tool can be used to automate certain processes such as a receiving donations or sending automated messages to potential or repeat donors. You can then have employees or volunteers focus on more important tasks.

CRM Will Facilitate Communication With Your Donors

The ability to share automated and personalized messages with your donors will make sharing information a lot easier. You can use a customer relationship management tool to provide donors with a better experience, for instance by sending a personalized thank you message after they make a donation or by sending automated messages for birthdays or holidays. You can also rely on CRM to share updates about your activities and make your non-profit more transparent. The communication between your staff and donors is critical activity history which should be stored and recorded for easy look up. CRM tools can and should be able to integrate and capture emails and phone calls made on all devices used by your staff (Outlook, Gmail, Mobile).

CRM Software Can Help You Generate More Donations

The CRM system should be viewed as a living & breathing entity for your organization. Automating interactions with donors makes it easier to stay in touch with them and provide them with information they are interested in. A donor who keeps receiving relevant automated messages about your non-profit will be more likely to donate again in the future than someone who has lost interest in your non-profit or who does not have access to relevant information.

CRM Software Helps You Improve Your Strategies

In addition to being a blessing to the staff, your Executive and board will benefit as well. Using a CRM tool to interact with donors and receive donations means you will have access to detailed reports on how much money was received and which strategies helped generate donations. You can then review these reports to determine which strategies were the most successful and find the areas that need to be improved. On the long-term, the right CRM tool will help fine tune your approach to managing donations and interacting with donors in a much more educated fashion.

To sum it up, Customer Relationship Management is a process of managing your donors, members, & customers in a strategic and systematic manner. And, we believe CRM Software should be considered as a competitive enabler in order to facilitate your mission. If you are contemplating ways to do things differently in your nonprofit, we have experience in both the industry and CRM software to best help you understand how CRM solutions may help your nonprofit. Contact us today for your free consultation on which tools may best suit you!

Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

We provide a free list of Nonprofit CRM & Best of CRM software for you to begin your search!

Customer Relationship Management Software is about relationships!

CRM For Nonprofit Organizations, CRM for Nonprofit, Not for Profit CRM, Best CRM Nonprofit is about Relationships,

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.

CRM for Nonprofit free advice and consultations

The Modern Rules of Donor CRM Software

CRM Software for Nonprofit Organizations is huge in developing stronger donor and member relationships!
There was a time when tracking donors and members required little more than a fresh supply of 3×5″ index cards. If you were fancy, you got a special filing cabinet for them, and maybe went up to the 4×6″ size.  Of course, there was a time when getting online involved a horrific screeching noise, but only after you made sure everyone else was off the phone first. Do you remember that?

Simple Yet Profound Benefits of Modern CRM For Nonprofits 

Since then, technology has advanced considerably, and what it can do for a nonprofit is amazing. Indeed, the benefits of CRM and donor management software will make you wonder how anyone ever survived on notecards alone. Modern Donor management software (CRM software for nonprofits) allows an organization to keep all their information in a central database.

Smart Benefits of Nonprofit CRM Databases

There are several key benefits to one centralized CRM database, including:

  1. No more having to keep a separate spreadsheet for donors, volunteers, cash donations, donations of goods, pledges, etc.
  2. Generating reports across multiple sets of data no longer requires labor-intensive integration.
  3. “The left hand will know what the right hand is doing.”  In other words, changes made by one staff member or department will be seen by everyone else (donor name changes alone can be very time consuming).
  4. Improve customer satisfaction by allowing your donors/members of the foundation to transaction online 24×7 with one system.
  5. With orders online and ability to pay for multiple purchases online via one system it eliminates the need to rekey data into two or more financial systems.
  6. No more asking what the password is for the staff member on vacation; any information he or she has about donors isn’t locked away in their computer.

The Value of a Central Repository of Data 

Donor management software will save you an immense amount of time, and will allow you to not only focus more on doing the good your nonprofit wants to do, but to maintain your relationships with your existing donors.  You could get donor management software that not only allows you to track their donations and volunteerism, but you can also take the time to add their birthdays, the names of their spouses and children, their interests and goals, and on and on.  With all this extra information located in a central database, it becomes much easier for everyone in your organization to interact with your donors on a personal level, giving you a chance to express your thanks and remind them that they aren’t just a set of deep pockets.

When you are ready to take a look into which donor management software is right for you, or if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.  We offer valuable assistance in guidance in finding the right tools based on need.

And then you can save the notecards for something else. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Not for Profit CRM Guide