Why it's Costly NOT to have a CRM (Guest Blog)

This is the 3rd part of a 5-part blog series from our partners at Keela, centered around the question: "Does my nonprofit need a CRM?"

Part 3: Why it's Costly NOT to have a CRM
By Phil Manzano, Head of Marketing and Communications at Keela.  

Over the last few blogs, we’ve talk about how great CRMs are. And don’t get us wrong – they’re pretty awesome. Whether it’s a robust program that gives you all the bells and whistles, or a smaller program that enables you the basics of contact management and note taking – each one is able to benefit the organization.

We even spent some time breaking down how each member of your team could use this software for nonprofits differently. But one of the things that we haven’t spent much time on has been cost.

CRMs, just like any piece of technology you are able to get your hands on, cost money. And that’s a tough pill to swallow for any organization – but especially for the nonprofit sector. Any extra money you get goes directly towards your mission.

More resources, more people power, more impact.

Cost cutting is the name of the game. And if you truly do subscribe to this type of thinking, then you should listen up: it’s actually costing your organization money not to have a CRM.

With a CRM in place, you are able to unearth tons of opportunities that would otherwise be missed. We will outline what some of those opportunities could look like, and then finish off with what a potential cost-savings could look like for your organization.

Lapsed Donors
A very common scenario within the nonprofit sector is having lapsed donors. Lapsed donors are those individuals who have donated to your organization in the past, and just decided to stop – for one reason or another. Bigger organizations are able to strategize around this, creating processes and plans specifically around this segment.

With a CRM, you can easily see who these people are, find out trends and other factors that link them together, and make a smart decision on how to engage them. It can be through a specialized marketing campaign. It can be a stewardship play, where your development team is able to roll out the red carpet and woo them back.

There are tons of opportunities, but none of them exist if you can’t see them.

Increased Giving Potential
Another great way to find more money in your database is by trying to find out who is ready to make a bigger gift. CRMs are a great tool to have for tracking information.

Has this contact attended an event? Have they contributed to a campaign? Have they volunteered for us?

Finding these highly engaged individuals is very important for creating advocates of your cause. A CRM can point them out to you.

When individuals are this engaged, there’s a stickiness that they have to your organization. They’re invested, in more ways than one. And this could mean that they are ready for a bigger ask. They see the value you bring to the community, and they keep coming back. Now is your time to be bold. But, you wouldn’t know who they are unless you had a CRM in place to give you the information that you need.

Leveraging Deeper Connections
One of the best functions of a CRM is the ability it gives you to actually map out connections. You’d be amazed at how connected your donors are. They could work at the same place, or attend the same events. Their spouses could volunteer together; their children could play on the same soccer teams. You might even find that 5 of your highly engaged donors are connected to someone you have been trying to cultivate a donor relationship with.

Every single one of these scenarios is an opportunity to strengthen a relationship and build a road to a solicitation.

If you don’t have a system in place to track these complex relationships, then it would be a time-exhaustive exercise to map them out yourself.

When you add all of these opportunities together, you have quite a hefty amount of potential. These can lead to more money for your organization – all found within your current database.

Trying to cut costs by not having a CRM actually equals losing out on all of these opportunities, placing even more pressure on your development team, and making your organization rely even more on grants. And in terms of sustainability and growth – that’s not where we want to be.

Next time, we’ll take a look at the power of institutional knowledge, and how CRMs can help you maintain strong relationships in turbulent times.

<<< Part 2                                              Part 4 >>>

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

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