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Fundraising Published Date, 2022

Seven Ways To Make Your CRM Work For Your Organization

Created By: Abby Carlson
February 24, 2022

Customer relationship management tools, known as “CRMs”, can be confusing, time-consuming, and inefficient if you don’t know what you’re doing. However, if done right, they can be valuable tools that will not only help your staff be more coordinated and strategic, but can also serve as the driver of your organization’s growth. From Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce, below are some helpful ways to make your CRM work for your organization.

  1. Incorporate any CRM integrations that your organization uses regularly.

Many CRMs can connect to Outlook to easily log email correspondence, or with marketing tools like Mailchimp or Constant Contact to help segment different audiences for email blasts. Additionally, research resources or wealth screening tools may also connect to the platform to easily help qualify donor prospects and import data into the platform. If you are already utilizing these tools, see if there is an easy integration feature that can help bridge the data gap between your existing technology and your CRM.

  1. Highlight the CRM throughout your organization’s internal processes.

How does your organization communicate on donor prospect meetings, phone calls, and other engagements? Ensure that you are including language that focuses on your CRM. Follow up with your fundraisers to ensure that they are logging these important meetings and calls in your CRM as they report out. When you host meetings with your fundraisers, include reports and dashboards directly from your CRM to show that the platform should be at the center of fundraising. Make it a point that if the information is not in the CRM, it doesn’t exist!

  1. Schedule your CRM’s “spring cleaning” every year to ensure accurate information in your database.

Donor and prospect information is constantly changing, including emails, mailing addresses, titles, and board lists. Before you know it, your database may be outdated. Ensure that all relevant information is up to date in your CRM by enlisting a vendor to produce a National Change of Address (NCOA) system every year. Task your staff with reviewing their portfolios/pipelines to spot-check the information. Check in with the accounting team to do a “mini-audit” – does the fundraising revenue align with their records? Are there any duplicative records or missing data? The more proactive you are with maintaining your CRM, the more efficient and accurate your data will be year-after-year.

  1. Get to know the ins and outs of your database by producing a data analysis.

Every year, your organization matches its progress towards its fundraising goal. But your organization’s CRM can tell you a lot more than just dollar figures. What questions does your organization need answered through data? Think of metrics such as the number of donors, number of asks made to donors (and the amount!), number of lapsed donors, renewed donors, recurring donors, etc. How does your data compare to the last fiscal year? What data points surprised you? What do you think could be the reason for progress or decline in the data? By producing an in-depth data analysis with help from a CRM, you can better identify areas that need more attention or can be amplified for further growth.

  1. Nominate CRM-minded staff members to be “Champions” of your database.

Does your organization have 1 or 2 staff members who are well-versed in operating CRMs? Do you always find yourself asking these individuals for help when utilizing the system? Nominate these staff members as CRM “Champions” or start a CRM Committee dedicated to ensuring that the organization is operating the CRM fully and efficiently. The “Champions” can be a resource for any and all questions regarding your organization’s platform. Ultimately, this will help instill a culture that values and leans on your CRM.

  1. Utilize any training opportunities available to your users.

Does your CRM provide online resources, virtual classes, or one-on-one training? Encourage your staff to learn more about your CRM or host an all-staff training session. By promoting learning, your staff will feel more confident about using your data platform.

P.S. – Orr Group can help you in coaching your staff in Salesforce to boost fundraising! Learn more about our services

  1. Create a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) specific to your organization.

Each organization’s CRM is different and customized to fit their specific needs and processes. While there may be many resources out there to help you best utilize the system for your unique needs, some of your CRM’s “rules” are internal and cannot be learned via Google. Create an internal standard operation procedure (SOP) for your organization that can be accessed by all users. Ensure that the SOP includes your organization’s specific language and mirrors the way your fundraising staff operates. As your CRM goes through any additional customization or new processes are created, ensure that the SOP reflects these changes. Include the SOP in onboarding materials for new employees/users. Treat the SOP as the knower and holder of all truth with your CRM!

Altogether, you have to actively and continually work with the CRM to make the CRM work for your nonprofit. It might take time and effort to set up a system that functions efficiently for you, but it can ultimately take your organization to the next level in fundraising and strategy!

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