Customer relationship management systems (CRMs) have become standard in the nonprofit industry, and for a good reason. No excel sheet can do what they do. A robust CRM with supporting powerful donation and marketing tools will not only organize your constituents but optimize your fundraising efforts for more funds raised and happier donors.
But if you want to make the most of your system, you have to know how to use it. As an expert in donor management, we put together our top CRM tips that will help you optimize your data for better fundraising. It's not just about organizing your information but how you adapt the platform’s features to compliment your nonprofit's needs and unique functionality.
So let's get started!
3 Nonprofit CRM Tips For A More Effective Database
1) Know What Donor Data Is Most Relevant To Your Nonprofit
Before you begin to get the most from your donor management system, you have to know what information is most relevant to your organization's goals.
At its core, your database should be helping you organize and accept information to fundraise smarter and build stronger relationships with your donors, so make a note of anything that can help with that! Collecting data like your donor's birthday, email address, occupation, or gender, can be a big help to your organization by understanding and taking action around your supporters. But every organization is different and demands different things from their CRM, so think about your needs and how your software can serve them.
If you need some help creating a list of must-have information, we recommend tracking :
- Basic biographical information like your donor's preferred name, date of birth, and preferred pronouns if necessary.
- Contact information such as a phone number, home address, email address, social media handles, and occupation.
- Previous giving history: dates, if they contributed to specific campaigns and gift amount.
- Volunteer history, including when they've volunteered, how many hours, for which campaigns, etc.
- Past attendance at any of your events or programs.
It's important to not only record necessary information like their demographics and contact information but also record anytime a donor or volunteer had a meaningful interaction with your cause.
Your CRM should be able to tell a story about your donor, Explain what motivates their decisions and allow you to create segments or qualify prospects easily.
2) Segmentation Is Your Friend!
This ties into the last point, but personalization matters! To build a relationship with your constituents, you have to make your messages relevant and meaningful, requiring segmentation.
Look into your database and begin to group donors by critical factors such as the programs they have been a part of, the type of donor they are, their giving history or demographics. It may help to also look at the relationships donors have with each other. Do they have a spouse? Or work in the same office?
Here are some segmentation ideas to get you started:
- Building segments off of RFM: donation recency, frequency and monetary value
- Marketing segments based on interests, values and past giving patterns
- Volunteers and event attendees
Understanding the relationships within your database can help your team create more thoughtful and more effective asks. For example, notice you have a lot of donors working at the same company? It may be beneficial to approach the business to consider implementing a matching gift program.
Leveraging your data helps to minimize guesswork and put the power back into your team's hands. Data doesn't lie, and segments are a way to identify patterns and habits that motivate giving.
3) Create Opportunities For Capturing Data
To get the most out of your donor management system, you have to be adding to it!
Look to create opportunities to get to know your donors better and track that information in your system. Getting feedback from your supporters is a great way to do this because you can better understand your constituents while showing that you care about what they have to say.
A robust CRM platform with the right integrated tools will help automate the tracking process, from filling out their first donation form to responding to an email. Powerful software crafted specifically for nonprofits’ needs can transform your approach to fundraising and cut down on manual data entry.
Here are a few ways to improve the donation process:
- Remember to include essential information on your forms like name, date of birth, etc.
- You can also use digital petitions or downloadable content to collect emails and grow your mailing list
- Send donors surveys online, or consider calling some of your donors to ask questions about their giving experience
- Don't forget to collect feedback from your volunteers, donors and other supporters through surveys
The more opportunities you have for capturing donor data, the more comprehensive your donor management strategy will be. Keep in mind you have to find a balance between collecting necessary information and making sure that the form is short enough to be convenient to fill.
What Should Your Nonprofit Software Be Capable Of?
- Your CRM and integrated digital platform is the heart and soul of your foundation and should be helping you save time and create more meaningful relationships with donors. A robust CRM will be able to
- Be flexible and intuitive, allowing you to track and monitor the success of your campaigns
- Have a customizable dashboard so you can easily access the data you need when you need it
- Integrate with other features of your site into your record to seamlessly record and collect information
- Have an intuitive user interface that is easy to learn