Gretchen Barry, the Director of Marketing and Communications for NonProfitEasy, guest blogs today on maximizing fundraising efforts with CRM Software. NonProfitEasy is a Bluefin integrated software partner, providing an all-in-one data management software platform for small to mid-sized nonprofits, including integrated payment processing by Bluefin.
Fundraising is not all about asking for money. Monetary asks might be your final task, but managing donors, events, data, and more all play significant roles in determining how much money your nonprofit will raise.
CRMs give nonprofits the power they need to easily manage all of their fundraising tasks. Task management plays a large role in helping nonprofits to raise money. If fundraisers can act in a more timely manner, and with more accurate data, then nonprofits stand a greater chance to raise more funds.
Here are four ways CRM software can help your organization raise more money effectively:
#1: Plan ahead
Your nonprofit is a team, and everyone needs to work in harmony in order to attain success. With online fundraising at an all-time high, your organization needs the best systems in place to raise money from plugged-in donors.
CRMs make it easy for all your fundraisers to track donor communications inside of the same system. This means that any and all communications are easily available when any one staff member needs them.
Equally as important, CRMs provide consistency as to how your staff tracks communications and other data. This consistency ranges from file types to file names to how certain files are formatted and more. CRMs make it easy for fundraisers to institute guidelines that make data easily searchable, recognizable, and useable for all.
For example, a botanical garden is trying to raise money and has several donors it needs to follow up with about recent donation conversations. Fundraisers will save time when they can quickly access all the donor information they need, including contact information and notes on the previous conversation, to make fundraising a more efficient process.
Bonus resource: Use a CRM to take advantage of the boom in online fundraising.
#2: Receive larger donations
Fundraising is all about landing donations, and you want those donations to be as big as possible. It’s well documented that a person’s first donation is rarely his largest and that donor attrition is always a looming risk. How do you keep donors and get them to give more?
A CRM keeps your fundraising organized, which means that moving donors along a defined fundraising path gets easier. In this case, the defined path is a journey to larger gifts that is led by the guiding hand of more accurate ask strategies.
Ask strategies really do matter, and CRMs make them easier. Asking donors for the right amount of money and through their preferred communication method (phone, email, etc.) can make a huge difference. CRMs store all of your donor information, so it’s easy for fundraisers to see where donors are in the donation process and to cater their communications to the current state of the relationship.
Fundraising tends to improve when nonprofits take the time to personalize communications. You can do that with the help of a CRM, and likely score bigger donations.
A big part of convincing donors to give more is discovering who may be inclined to give more. Prospect research helps nonprofits to identify major gift prospects, but it also returns a lot of information. A CRM keeps all of that information organized, so you can pursue more major gift prospects in a more efficient manner.
Bonus resource: Learn the top five signs of a major gift prospect.
#3: Stay in touch
Donors want to feel the love, but bombarding them with too many communications can lead to them growing annoyed and ultimately losing their support.
Questions that help fundraisers to gauge when and how to communicate with donors:
- Why did he/she last give?
- Did he/she give through a phone call? Online donation? Mailed a check?
- How often does he/she donate?
Smart fundraisers figure out how donors like to be contacted, how frequently they’d like to receive communications, and how often those communications should be conversations about donations versus other information that the nonprofit has to offer.
CRMs make donor retention easier by bringing simplicity to email. You can create email campaigns, track your messages, and view the effectiveness of your email marketing. You get to do this all inside of the same system. Email may be the easiest way to stay in touch with donors, which means that continuing conversations with donors and keeping them around gets a whole lot easier.
CRMs also make retention easier by storing all the communication info that fundraisers need, such as phone numbers, event information, and more. The more donors your nonprofit retains, the more money you’ll raise. Retaining donors gets easier will help from a CRM.
#4: Use all of your tools
You can’t build a house with only a hammer. Likewise, you CRM shouldn’t be used as a one-trick pony.
Don’t just use your CRM to track data, send emails, or manage events. Use your CRM to do all of that and more. Not only will you get value out of all the tools for which you’re paying, but fundraising should get easier as you learn how to automate certain tasks or simply do them faster with the help of your powerful software.
Don’t just track donor information, but analyze it for importance and assess donors to know who’s worth going after for a major gift versus a matching gift.
CRM tools could include:
- Quick views of donor trends
- Email templates
- Campaign creation customized to each donor
- Event management
- Payment processing
- And more!
It will take some time to learn how to use them all, but most CRMs include a plethora of tools for a reason. When you get all the parts of the system up and running in harmony, your nonprofit stands to make fundraising more efficient, which should result in more funds raised.
A CRM is a fundraising tool, but it should also be thought of as a way to maximize your revenue. CRMs make fundraising easier, and when fundraising is easier, it’s simpler for nonprofits to raise more money.