What Is Donor Management Software (or Nonprofit CRM)?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Nonprofits use CRM software – also known as Donor Management Software – to capture, track, and manage key information about their donors.
Modern cloud software has changed the way nonprofits fundraise. And modern donors expect a personal connection with their favorite charity. A great Nonprofit CRM and nonprofit marketing platform can help your organization drive down back-office costs, increase data visibility and drive huge increases in giving.
Over the last 15 years nonprofits have become increasingly disconnected from the donors they serve. From the donor’s perspective, nonprofits are facing the following problem:
Modern nonprofits are telling their story using traditional marketing practices in a world saturated with data and competing choices
Modern donors are receiving incredibly personalized and relevant communication from Amazon, Facebook, and even their favorite local pizza spot
In order to succeed, nonprofits need to tell their story and build personal relationships with more than just their top 100 donors – nonprofits need to personalize communication with their entire database
A good nonprofit CRM and marketing platform can be the difference between a nonprofit dying or flourishing. But most nonprofits are stuck on legacy platforms that leverage traditional, institutional one-to-many communication strategies
Who Should Choose Your Nonprofit CRM
The most common mistake we see when charities make their CRM purchases is designating WHO is responsible for the decision. For organizations to be successful the person making the Nonprofit CRM choice must fully understand the generosity goals of the organization. We find that the following principles are helpful in understanding who should make your CRM decision:
Your fundraising software is NOT a Finance Department decision!
Your fundraising software is NOT an IT Department decision!
The owner of your Nonprofit CRM decision should be in marketing or advancement with support from your CEO or Chief Strategy Office (if you have one)
The staff members who own the fundraising goals should choose the tools to achieve those goals. This is an ROI-based decision!
Everyone should have access to CRM data… but the decision SHOULD NOT be everyone’s to make
How You Should Choose Your Nonprofit CRM and Marketing Platform
The second area where we see consistent problems for nonprofits is in the CRM implementation process. In order to be successful, nonprofits need to start with their end goals in mind. Establish your fundraising goals and let your desired outcomes drive your decisions.
The following 4 steps are a helpful framework in successfully choosing and implementing a new platform:
STEP 1 - SET YOUR GOALS
Write down your fundraising and marketing goals (new givers, engagement, constituent advocacy/education, retention, etc). Setting your overarching fundraising objectives creates clear evaluation criteria.
STEP 2 - PRIORITIZE ROI
Evaluate CRMs based on their ability to help you accomplish your specific goals. Your decision should be based on ROI created for your organization.
STEP 3 - SET A GO LIVE DATE
Set a hard "go live" date when you'd like to start raising more money and getting traction toward your goals. Staying focused on that date provides clarity for your team.
STEP 4 - CREATE MILESTONES
Finally, map out key steps/dates needed to starting to see value. Your CRM decision and launch plan should be locked into those dates. Milestones should be based on getting budget and explicit buy-in from the the right stakeholders.
Key Tools and Features
The remainder of this guide outlines common features that you should expect when evaluating a new nonprofit CRM. Not every feature is necessary for EVERY organization – but this list is helpful in establishing a baseline for your donor software decision. We have divided this guide into three sections:
Core Donor Management – traditional features for data management
Donor Management 2.0 – modern CRM to server modern donors
In today’s world we believe every nonprofit should have an integrated cloud system. 2.0 features focus on taking your data out of a silo and integrating with other modern fundraising activities.
Integrated online giving
Open API and web integration
Social media integration
INTEGRATED EMAIL MARKETING
Full email marketing and segmentation features
Integrated with Gmail, Outlook, etc
Open and click tracking
Mobile apps for fundraisers
Push notifications to prompt real-time
BEYOND CRM: Tools to Multiply Giving
Personal Connections with Nonprofit Marketing Automation
Marketing automation allows nonprofits to automate and measure marketing activities and workflows. Key automation actions include emails, calls, thank yous, direct mail etc.
With marketing automation your constituents get the right call or email – at the right time – based on their individual preferences or behavior. A greater level of personal touch translates to dramatically increased giving.
The end result is increased personalization, operational efficiency and revenue growth.
Clicks/opens tracked at donor level
Behavior driven actions (gifts, form fills, etc)
Multi-channel (email, phone, call, etc)
Automate data updates
Integrated email builder with merge fields
Email versioning and testing
Donor Journey mapping (Moves Management)
BEYOND CRM: Tools to Multiply Giving
Lead Scoring and Predictive Analytics
Lead scoring allows nonprofits to rank donors and prospects based on their relational or financial value to the organization. The lead score is used to determine how and when to engage with each individual. Cutting edge nonprofits using lead scoring have seen 3-5x increases in campaign results.
Social media data
The lead score is used to determine how and when to engage with each individual. The leading edge nonprofits using lead scoring have seen 3-5x increases in campaign results.
BEYOND CRM: Tools to Multiply Giving
Social Scraping and Geo-Location Analytics
Automatically pull in publically available social media data, location data and wealth indicators to a provide holistic picture of your donors and prospects.
Grab social profiles based on email address
Scrape demographic and employment data
Scrape pictures of the donor from public sources
Map donors based on address
See nearby donors based on distance and giving capacity
Find density of donors in an area for event planning
Overlay wealth/giving data with location data
Beyond CRM: Tools to Multiply Giving
Impact Tracking and Reporting
Modern donors are distrustful of institutions and want a real connection to your cause. Creating transparency and accountability with projects is the first step to improving engagement. Impact Tracking tools can help you:
Set and track impact goals for each project (e.g. school desks purchased, kid scholarships, etc)
Collect stories and videos at the project level
Track donor communications to the fields (letters, encouragement, etc) and communications from field staff to donors
Provide donors with impact updates specific to their gifts
Track project expenses, funding goals and ROI
Assign project ownership and accountability
Need a desktop checklist to guide your CRM selection process?
“Virtuous is the perfect tool to manage my day. At a glance, I can quickly see how I've connected with our partners in the past, what they're passionate about and start conversations that will have a lasting impact on our communities.”Terrilyn MillerDirector, CityServe AZ