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managing your nonprofit data

Managing Your Nonprofit Data: 5 Key Features of Your CRM

If your nonprofit has invested in a top-of-the-line CRM software, it’s reasonable to expect some ROI in terms of donation revenue. But in order to get the most value out of your robust donor management software, you have to make use of all the resources it offers. CRM software can be finely tuned to meet your nonprofit’s unique needs, so don’t let ignorance of the features cause you to miss out on them.

If you use it right, your CRM can help with everything from online donation tracking to email marketing. A general best practice is to visit your CRM brand’s website to develop a deep knowledge of the product, but with all that information, you may not know where to begin.

Start with these essential tools to get the most out of your CRM right away:

  1. Track finance information and export it to your accounting program
  2. Use all the facets of your CRM’s donor profiles
  3. Segment your donor list
  4. Boost staff efficiency processes
  5. Track important success metrics

Unleash your CRM software’s potential by enabling these time-saving features so you can spend more of your valuable time working for the causes you support.

1. Track Financial Data and Export It to Your Accounting Software

Keeping robust financial data is important for any organization—especially so for nonprofits. Having a CRM that integrates the collection of that data with your organization’s everyday activities can add convenience to that process without sacrificing thoroughness.

Here are some types of data you should be tracking if you aren’t already:

  • Type of donation. Whether you received a payment by check, cash, wire, or online payment, you can record the payment in the appropriate way so you never lose track of funds. Use this information to improve the areas of your fundraising that are lagging behind.
  • Tax deduction. As a nonprofit, your organization complies with a complicated tax code that can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t have your information well organized. Make sure you don’t miss out on the tax breaks you deserve by tracking your donation data and exporting it to your accounting software.
  • Organizational costs. Track expenses associated with specific events, campaigns, or marketing initiatives to improve your spending and do more for your cause.

By connecting your finances to your donor profiles, the best nonprofit CRMs let you analyze your fundraising progress and strategize for the future. Take a look at Salsa’s nonprofit CRM reviews page to find the best software for your organization.

2. Use All the Facets of Your CRM’s Donor Profiles

The better you know your donor, the more likely you are to foster a positive, long-lasting relationship. But with so many donors to keep track of, it can be hard to feel a personal connection to each one.

Make full use of your CRM’s donor profiles so you always have the necessary information on hand.

  • Personal data beyond contact information. A good CRM gives you lots of room to store data about your clients that goes beyond their basic contact information. Incorporate stats such as philanthropic interests, giving history, wealth, and preferred outreach method so your outreach can be catered to each donor.
  • Association and household data. Everybody hates getting duplicate mail, so make sure your automated mail outreach isn’t annoying donors who work in the same company by including association and household data in their profiles.
  • Relevant documents. Rather than keeping documents such as past correspondences, donation receipts, and membership forms in a separate hard drive or file system, CRM lets you keep these items attached to the relevant donor for ease of access.
  • Photos. If there is a photo of your donor available online, keep it attached to their profile to avoid a snafu at your next fundraising event.
  • Custom fields. Don’t restrict yourself to the data fields provided by your CRM. With custom fields, you can add room for any relevant information your software may have missed.

You may have thought in the past that keeping extensive and robust donor profiles is cumbersome, but if you are interfacing with dozens of donors per week, you know that every bit of information can be helpful. Keep it organized with the profile features offered by your donor management software.

Bonus! Use a prospect research tool such as DonorSearch’s wealth screening service to help fill out your donor profiles.

3. Segment Your Donor List

All this detailed information means new opportunities to segment your donors into relevant groups.

How you build your segmented donor lists will depend on the details of your organization’s unique marketing strategies, but some common segmentation markers include:

  • Gender
  • Professional industry
  • Region
  • Religious affiliation
  • Political affiliation
  • Giving channels

If you have a long list of donors, keeping track of them manually can become an unwieldy task. Building segmented donor lists lets you automate your engagement efforts and relieve some of the strain of keeping your donors organized. For instance, creating a list of donors who prefer to use online giving pages for their donations allows you to save money and time on unnecessary snail mail solicitation.

Take advantage of your CRM’s segmenting or grouping feature and you’ll soon start reaping the benefits of more successful email marketing and event registration.

4. Boost Staff Efficiency Processes

The best donor management software offers much more than just a database. By making use of your CRM’s staff efficiency features, you can cut down on the tedious daily activities that use lots of time without furthering your goals. Free up your staff for the things that really matter with the following features:

Unify your CRM with your other software

By integrating your CRM with the other software your organization uses on a daily basis, you can reduce the time spent transferring data between software and make it easier to reference different data varieties for a holistic and productive experience.

Your nonprofit’s online fundraising software is a good place to start—combining it with your donor management tools allows you to incorporate your segmented lists and personalized data for better marketing automation, online fundraising, peer-to-peer fundraising, online event registration, and social media scheduling.

Your online fundraising software can also reciprocate the process by automatically populating data from new donations into the database. Everything stays automatically up to date, so you can spend less time updating databases and more time helping your cause.

Improve day-to-day productivity

Some CRM software can also be used to improve efficiency in your staff’s day-to day tasks.

With custom workflows, priority settings, ownership settings, task reminders, and templates, let your donor and fundraising data combine with your daily work processes to optimize productivity and accelerate fundraising growth.

By taking full advantage of your CRM’s productivity features and letting it work together with your various nonprofit software tools, you can reduce the tedious work that bogs down your organization and take bigger strides toward reaching your goals.

5. Track Important Success Metrics

Combining your CRM software with integrated fundraising, marketing, and advocacy tools as well as other nonprofit software, you can track, store, and visualize the metrics that measure your fundraising success.

If you’re always aware of what is working and what isn’t in your organization, you can be proactive about making changes that will ensure the donations keep coming in. Keep tabs on metrics such as:

  • Frequency of contact. Know how often is too often to contact your donors. You want to make sure they never forget about your cause but you should also avoid messages that feel unnecessary or insubstantial.
  • Email conversion rate. Similarly, keep track of which emails lead to conversions and which ones don’t. If you run multiple marketing campaigns or strains, this metric can show you which ones are the most successful and which ones need improvement.
  • Email opt-out rate. Email opt-out rate is the rate at which people exit your emails without even clicking on one of the included links. This will show you which of your emails may not offer enough content to your donors.
  • Donation page conversion rate. Know what proportion of visitors to your online donation page actually become donors, and improve or modify your page accordingly.
  • Donation page bounce rate. Similar to email bounce rate, this figure tells you how many people leave your donation page without clicking a link.
  • Event participation rate. How many tickets did you sell to your last event, and how many people actually attended? How many became donors or members?

Taking advantage of your CRM’s features to track and organize success metrics will lead to improved donor engagement and let you devise new strategies to optimize your fundraising.

A CRM offers lots of useful features, but the usefulness starts to dwindle when you use the software like any old database. Start getting the most out of yours by implementing the above features first, then dive into the more advanced stuff. Soon you’ll be using your CRM like a pro!

About the Author

Gerard Tonti is the Senior Creative Developer at Salsa Labs, the premier fundraising software company for growth-focused nonprofits. Gerard’s marketing focus on content creation, conversion optimization and modern marketing technology helps him coach nonprofit development teams on digital fundraising best practices.