Using Social Technology to Unlock Value & Productivity

Social CRM and Community Management Software

Every non-profit organization has one thing in common with commercial enterprises – they want to achieve more with less. However, that may be where it ends because at the end of the day a for-profit enterprise wants to maximize its profits by delivering the greatest value-for-money to its customers when they buy its products and services. While a not-for-profit enterprise wants to maximize its value to its constituents by providing the most use to its members, volunteers, staff, via their participation, dollar and cents are not the primary objective for sure.

In this article, I outline the value of social technology today in the nonprofit sector.

Change with Social Technology

I read an article written by IBM some time ago that stated that over one and half billion people visited a social media site. And, you can be sure that a lot of them had something to say whether good, bad, or indifferent. Social media now affects virtually every area of life from sporting events to world politics and most certainly business. Social media has changed the relationship between nonprofit organizations and their constituents, sponsors and even employees. If you are in need of some more ammunition, here are some figures I picked up on the web that provide a sense of the present scale of the rapidly growing social media phenomenon:

  • 1.43 billion people worldwide visited a social networking site last year (Worldwide Social Media Usage Trends)
  • Three million new blogs come online every month (The Latest 27 Social Media Facts, Figures and Statistics )
  • Last year, one million new accounts were added to Twitter everyday (3 100 Fascinating Social Media Statistics and Figures )
  • Facebook has 850 million active users every month (4 Facebook Marketing Infographic: 100 Things you Need to Know )
  • 80 percent of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook
  • 65 percent of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services (6 Nielsen Social Media Report)

The most recent knock in the head about this topic came the other day when I reread a report published by McKinsey Global titled The Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity Through Social Technologies shares amazingly useful research about how non-profit organizations can make best use of social technology. And, describes exactly what social technology is and how nonprofits are benefiting from it’s use today.

What is Social Technology?

In a nutshell, social technology refers to any information technology (IT) products and services that let people work together. People, in effect, become members of an online community (or more than one community). The community exists so they can share ideas, thoughts, knowledge, projects, processes, etc, with other community members. Everyone can then learn from, add to, modify and use the information being shared.

Communities can be ‘closed’ so only certain individuals can join, contribute to, and benefit from the knowledge, or they can be ‘open’ so anyone who has a good reason to join may do so.

The McKinsey report emphasized the commercial value of social technologies, but recognized that the benefits were not limited to for-profit enterprises. Just for some background, its research indicated that:

  • 1.5 billion people use social networks, and that 90% of all businesses said they benefited from communicating with their marketplace.
  • Knowledge workers spend about 28 hours every week searching for information, writing emails about information and collaborating with others who are involved in similar activities.
  • Knowledge workers could improve their productivity by 20 – 25% just by improving how they collaborate with each other, and their customer base.
  • Social technology enables faster, cheaper and more accurate communication between company employees, themselves, and between employees and customers. The result is more ideas, greater accuracy, speedier product development, faster distribution, better customer service, improved loyalty, lower costs, and higher margins.

How Can Non-Profits Benefit from Social Technology?

Every organization can create online communities, gather and share ideas, and increase efficiency and effectiveness by making it easier for everyone to:

  • Communicate with each other, both inside and outside the organization.
  • Share ideas, thoughts, worries and problems.
  • Improve on past and current ways of working.
  • Events and Education.
  • Mentoring and Volunteerism.
  • Bringing local groups, committees and chapters together.

This broader and easier way to communicate – and to advertise –  means that non-profits can continue the efforts of engagement beyond the physical to:

  • Gather information about what it does, how it does it, who does it, and who they do it for – and how to do it all better.
  • Educate the public more easily about the organization, its activities, its successes, and its needs.
  • Crowdsourcing funds gets easier and cheaper because as more of the public learn about, become interested and get involved in things, there is less need for hard copy newsletters, direct mail fund requests, traveling to groups to give talks as part of bringing in new funds.
  • Volunteer networks can be expanded more easily.
  • It is easier to manage volunteers when they get and share detailed information that supports efficient action.
  • Having the information makes it easier for them to manage themselves while keeping supervisors informed.
  • Engage people more easily and more frequently.
  • Make more use of that increased engagement – for funding and volunteer support.
  • Spend more time improving the organization so it does achieve more.

Can Social Technology Replace Face to Face Interactions?

Certainly, face to face social interaction will never go away. But, I believe the key is that it doesn’t have to be disconnected once the interaction face to face stops. In other words, social technology can continue the dialogue before, after, and ongoing for your mission. Further beyond the collaboration, the richness of social media data found in networks, communities, blogs, forums and comments on the web and within your private domain can provide exceptional business analytics too.

As the McKinsey report outlines and supported by many other studies over the recent years, the social economy unlocks great value and improves productivity through best use of social technologies. And, building and maintaining a common community becomes so much easier when non-profits use social technology well to extend the life of those interactions.

If you would like to learn more about Social CRM and community management software, we can help guide your search.

Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Kick LinkedIn Groups Out Now for private community software


Social CRM: Are You Listening to Your Constituents?

CRM Software For Nonprofits should have social listening tools

Social CRM is often used by “for profit” organizations to improve business relationships, increase customer retention, and today help employees actively listen via the various social media channels found on the internet; Facebook, LinkedIn, & Twitter etc. In this article, I outline a relatively new “must have” feature of CRM software which could prove to be very valuable to your nonprofit organization; Social Listening.

Social Listening In CRM Software For Nonprofits

Any successful organization must spend time developing relationships with their constituents. They listen and respond to what their customers are saying and they often use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool (Membership Software, Donor Database Software) to manage these relationships.

From my work with nonprofits, I see that many successful non profits are gathering information from online conversations (Social Listening) and sharing this information internally, and in turn they are converting these online prospects into members and donors.

According to analyst firm Gartner, by 2018, one and a half billion people will use social media networks.

This means more customers of successful companies are gathering and conversing on social media about what is important to them, who they want to collaborate with, and where they want to place their hard earned dollar and time. Social media is an important communications outlet for everyone today. However, I see that less than five per cent of the associations and nonprofits I visit with today, use social media effectively as a tool for identifying new members and donors today. Your staff must be able to benefit from these facts and find donor database tools and membership systems which have these social features (or integrate with a best of need solution).

While many nonprofit executives have not embraced the need, many marketing and communication experts at non profits have recognized a need to get closer to relevant online conversations. However, they have yet to figure out a way of combining their CRM tool (Membership Software/Fundraising Database) with social media intelligence tools like HootSuite, Buffer, Awareness Hub or SproutSocial. This is due in large part to the fact that many legacy member or donor systems simply do not have a solution.

What is Social CRM? 

First, let me define the term Social CRM. In my mind, Social CRM is a business strategy that enables the forging of richer, deeper and more intimate relationships with constituents and prospects. It takes the valuable customer insight and conversations you may be gathering on social media and member communities, and it layers them on top of emails, sales calls and customer service interactions, which you have stored centrally in your CRM solution.

No doubt it is important for nonprofits to take advantage of social media and use it as a channel for extracting donor insight. By understanding donors’ digital footprints, a nonprofit is able to figure out when and how is the best way to communicate. For example, young donors want to give money, but they want the process to be convenient. Social CRM software consolidates data from the four main categories so both “for profit” and nonprofit organizations can continue to grow their reach and engage their audience effectively and efficiently.

How is Social CRM Different Than Traditional CRM? 

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has been around for a long time now. In short, CRM is a method for managing your constituents, marketing and constituent service interactions with current and future constituents. Typically, this method involves using a technology tool like Salesforce or Microsoft CRM to store information about your constituents in one place.

Social CRM (sometimes features in CRM) is more than simply monitoring what people are saying on social media, and it’s not just about storing social intelligence but other pertinent information too (profile, activity, history). Social CRM is a strategy that combines CRM tools and social media technologies with the workflows and processes of a business. It makes constituent conversations and interactions on social media as much a part of a non profit as more traditional business activities.

The Magnitude of Using Social Intelligence in Nonprofits Today

Monitoring what your contacts are doing on social channels is every bit as important as reading their emails in Selling 2.0. In my opinion, if you are not using Social Intelligence to grow your association, you are not playing on a level field with your counterparts. Social Intelligence, if used appropriately, will enable users to see events in people’s lives and to use that data to make stronger and faster connections.

Last year, I read recently a great book called Pick up the Damn Phone by Joanne Black . In it, Mrs. Black cites a staggering Aberdeen study which shows that those who leverage social intelligence get some pretty impressive results, including:

  • Dramatically greater improvement (21.4 percent) in top line revenue each year, compared to 16.4 percent for all other business
  • A 9.5 percent annual increase in the number of salespeople who make quota, vs. 3.4 percent increase for other companies
  • A customer satisfaction rating that improves at nearly twice the rate (5.8 vs. 2.1 percent) of other organizations

While this is underscoring data found in the for profit world, I believe that the data is significant in the nonprofit world too.

Social Intelligence Use Cases for Non Profit Organizations 

In my opinion, most organizations need an intelligent relationship platform (ideally integrated) that will look at the digital foot print of a person, be able to read their social signals, identify ones that matter, pull them into complete records and relevantly use the information. Then, as Mrs. Black proclaims, “Pick up the Damn Phone to call them” to ask for the donation or engage your members with the knowledge about what interests them. With Social Intelligence in use, the staff is able to unlock relationship insight which may help you get a good a read on what your members care about that day, what they want you to provide them, send them, and personalize content based on predictive analysis.

Social Intelligence Features in the New Age of Non Profit Engagement

Recently, I have spent a great deal of time reviewing many leading advocacy and social intelligence software tools. And, is consistent with software, there are diverse capabilities in the market today. However, in most use cases, you should look for the ability to easily personalize messages, asks, and ads based on what your members are doing and saying across the social web.

You should look for specific features which allow you to build rich social profiles across social media channels. layer social data over list segments, identify “influencers”, re-engage contacts, find out which networks are most popular among your audience. create and manage keyword monitors that listen for conversations, automatically capture conversations & certainly listen for any conversations over a specified period of time. In addition, you need to have either plug and play CRM integration or innate features.

With Social Intelligence features in CRM, you gain insights about the people in your network—to drive deeper social media relationships and more profitable campaigns.

Moving from Like to Have to Must Have? 

I believe that Social Intelligence features found in CRM tools will become more and more of  a “must have” in the list of features in the modern rules of engagement today. There are only a handful of donor and membership software vendors on the market who can proclaim with integrity that they can do this today. And, quite frankly, the built on top software vendors have an advantage here due to their ecosystem of third party options and open API’s.

I know. Social media is a comparatively new channel for organizations, and new networks may yet emerge while others could fade away. In other words, there is no gold standard for social media. There will always be a place for traditional public relations and marketing activity within a business, but social media cannot be ignored. The sooner you integrate it into your wider strategy, the more successful your business will become.

Whatever you believe about the importance of social media, the new “socially intelligent” development officer must be armed with the latest tools to be successful. The old school legacy systems of yesteryear must adopt these social intelligence features or fall behind the leading CRM options on the market today.

Want to know how CRM software can specifically benefit your nonprofit organization? Contact us today!

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Engage Donors with Social Intelligence using CRM Software

Donor Management can benefit from Social Intelligence

You don’t have to worry about Donations or Dues income, Right? Not likely. As donations dwindle due to economic downturns and government officials continue to cut funding, securing donations for your nonprofit is as important as ever. Although most nonprofits are loath to admit it, competition between nonprofits to secure funding closely resembles the competition businesses engage in to attract customers. In this article, I discuss how using social intelligence along with other data (like Financial, CRM, Profile) can used as a competitive advantage in your nonprofit organization.

In order to adapt to this business mentality, nonprofits must get any advantage over competing organizations they can. At a minimum, your nonprofit could obtain an advantage over the competition with the use and practice of customer relationship management software for nonprofits. 

Today, one of the least known components of some CRM software tools is the ability to utilize social intelligence insights. Social intelligence insights identify a potential donor’s digital footprint. In other words, this allows you or your staff to connect with the people most interested in your nonprofit in more meaningful methods through “listening” to their feeds on various social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).

The Advantages of Social Intelligence

There’s too much data

Social media is huge, and donors realize this. Many foundations and other large donors utilize social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter. And of course, many potential donors such as individuals also use these platforms. The sheer amount of social media users makes it impossible to gain any real insight from social media sites without storing the data in a customer relationship management software program for nonprofits.

Social intelligence insights doesn’t just rely on hashtags

Social Intelligence goes beyond hashtags. While searching for hashtags and keywords related to your nonprofit helps narrow your data, it may narrow your search too much: a 2015 study found that nearly 66% of social media posts during the Superbowl had no hashtags or relevant terms related to the game. Imagine how losing 66% of potential donors could affect your organization.

Location Based Donor Campaigns

Since funds are limited, you want to get the most out of any fundraising campaign. Using social intelligence insights software, you can map out where social media posts regarding your mission most often made. This enables you to target areas for potential fund-raising events to maximize the amount of money your organization raises.

Influencers Engagement

Armed with Social Intelligence, you can find existing influencers based on network reach, topic relevancy, prior interactions. With these tools, you are able to see what your influencers are saying in real-time about your campaigns on social. Further, you may monitor for opportunities and engage at the right time. Also, know which terms, hashtags and media and your influencers use most. With engagement history of influencers you can tie this into your CRM segmented groups such as current donors, past volunteers or recent event attendee. Yes, engagement is real-time value!

A Few Social Platform Players

Sadly, most donor database technologies and membership systems are falling behind in this area. But, there are many best of breed social intelligence tools on the market today which may still help. Therefore, you may find value through using a Social CRM tool like Nimble CRM in your donor or member acquisition efforts which could be integrated into your programs and campaign efforts with minimal effort.

Alternatively, one intriguing announcement, Attentively, is now integrated to Wealth Engine, a leading provider of predictive marketing analytics and audience development services. Through this relationship, Fundraisers will now be able to leverage rich social behavior and proprietary wealth insights to segment donors, personalize messaging and inform donation requests.

In my opinion, the use of tools such as these offer very fascinating and beneficial insights. In a nutshell, Fundraisers and Development Directors could potentially have access to both WealthEngine and directly into an organization’s CRM for Nonprofit platform. Thus, allowing fundraisers to identify the best supporters and create compelling, personalized, and targeted messages to boost the reach and impact of their donors and retention strategy.

For more information about how customer relationship management for nonprofits along with social intelligence can increase your organization’s ability to raise funding contact us. Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

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