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What is Institutional Knowledge and why is it Important? (Guest Blog)

This is the 4th part of a 5-part blog series from our partners at Keela, centered around the question: "Does my nonprofit need a CRM?"

Part 4: What is Institutional Knowledge and Why is it Important?
By Phil Manzano, Head of Marketing and Communications at Keela.  

Over the last few blogs, we have been tackling some of the deepest fears that organizations have when it comes to adopting new technology – and specifically a CRM, and the cost of investing in one.

Today, we are going to talk about the importance of institutional knowledge. But let’s start right there. What is institutional knowledge?

In the simplest terms, this is knowledge that an organization gains over time. This can be contact information, certain processes, and even donor history.

The reason that this is important for nonprofits especially is because of the funding structure behind nonprofits: some positions are transient and dependant wholly on grants. It’s a difficult truth.

So, it’s important to have an easy way to transfer knowledge from one person to the next, without skipping a beat. It’s important for that information to be housed somewhere that is accessible – and in other words, it’s important to have that information in a place other than a human being’s head.

Enter the CRM.

CRMs can act as a digital brain that helps organizations house their institutional knowledge. That means any person who ends up working for the organization can have access to the information that the people before them had. And this also helps to ensure that anyone leaving the organization isn’t also taking with them the valuable information you need to accomplish your work.

Picture this scenario:

A trusted volunteer has been helping your organization out with data-entry. They have been helping you for two years and have participated in several events, met tons of donors, and developed a bunch of relationships. After two years, they decide to pick up and move and can no longer support your team.

Since your organization was super smart and decided to invest in a CRM, all of the information that volunteer captured now lives within your system. Anyone can pick up where that volunteer left off. Further, anyone in the organization can continue to build on those relationships, seek new opportunities or even target lapsed donors. The work doesn’t stop.

In the nonprofit world, time isn’t money -- time is lives changed. The stakes are a bit higher -- and that’s why efficiency is of utmost importance. Having a CRM can save you days of frustrating searching and correspondence just to find information.

<<< Part 3                                              Part 5 >>>

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