Do You Have a CRM? (Guest Blog)

This is the 1st part of a 5-part blog series from our partners at Keela, centered around the question: "Does my nonprofit need a CRM?"

Part 1: Do You Have a CRM?
By Phil Manzano, Head of Marketing and Communications at Keela.  

Sparking innovation in the nonprofit space is an important job. Pillar has done an amazing job of creating and curating content that strengthens the overall impact of the sector. One of the key ways to make a bigger impact within your nonprofit, is to start embracing technology.

As the nonprofit landscape gets more and more complex, relationships with donors gain even more value. Being part of a nonprofit software team has given us some great insight about what questions to ask when considering a technology change.

A few thoughts will likely come to mind when you think about a CRM:

  • How much is this going to cost me?
  • Do I really need it?
  • We’ve been doing things the same way forever. Why change now?
  • I’m not technical. How will I learn a new system and still make an impact?

In this series, we’ll be unpacking some of the most common objections to adopting a CRM system at your nonprofit, including answering some of the most pressing questions you might have about the process. Ultimately, we want to help you get to a place where your organization can feel comfortable taking the leap and investing in a CRM.

Let’s start with the basics.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. At the most basic level, it is a system to hold information about the people who interact with your organizations. And while this is important, the magic is what you can do with the information.

CRM systems can help you work faster, by consolidating all of the information you need in one place. Depending on the sophistication of your chosen solution, you may be able to find a tool that tracks, automates and reports all of the relevant fields to your work.

This translates into a few different things for you:

Save time.
Having all of your contact information in one place will save you tons of time. For example, a CRM system can automate the interactions that you have with a contact. All the time that you spend updated records or transcribing from notebooks or post-its can now be used elsewhere. This streamlined approach will also translate into the way you keep records, because you can start to take advantage of all the other things that CRM automation can offer you and your team.

Build deeper connections.
In the nonprofit sector, it can be argued that you are not just fundraising. You are relationship raising.

The more you know about the people who interact with you, the more opportunities you can take advantage of to gain support. CRM systems have a great way of capturing tons of information – and in many cases, they capture fields that you can define yourself.

This means that you can get a pretty in-depth snapshot of your contacts, held within a system that highlights trends, similarities and has the capability to sort. You can find out things about your donors that you might have missed before, because of having information stored in different places. With a CRM, you are able to see the whole picture, and this is particularly important in the nonprofit space, where you try to create long-term relationships with your donors.

Make data-driven decisions.
A CRM system empowers your organization by allowing you to make smart decisions, rooted in data. For example, when you take a look at your donors, and the relationships that connect them – you may see a common theme. You might be able to create a customized appeal, just for these individuals, because you see that they all are interested in the same thing.

This means that you waste less time and resources You’re no longer sending generic messages, but catered, focused messages. And this helps with conversion to donation. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the types of decisions you can make within CRM.

Now you know some of the basics of what a CRM can help your nonprofit do. Next time, we’ll take a deeper dive into the ways each team member can benefit from a contact management system.

Until next time!

                                             Part 2 >>>

Keela is also facilitating a "Building Resonance through Data-Driven Storytelling" webinar on May 10. Learn more here

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