What is a CRM?

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a system for managing a company’s interactions with its customers and leads. It involves using software to help sales people with Sales Automation and Opportunity Management activities. It can help busy marketers with Marketing Automation and Campaigns. For Helpdesks, Customer Service, technical Support, email and live chat, it can help have happy customers which lead to better sales.

According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, “the generally accepted purpose of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is to enable organizations to better serve their customers through the introduction of reliable processes and procedures for interacting with those customers”.

And as we know there are 3 major areas a successful nonprofit usually works on; Donors, Fund raising events and grants paid from governments or philanthropic resources. Let’s talk about each one of them and how a CRM can help you manage them better.

Better relationships with your Donors:

To a nonprofit, donors and members are the backbones of its activities. Those supporters are the real pushers to the nonprofit dynamic wheel with their donations or membership fees.

As a result, nonprofits are under enormous pressure to connect with donors in order to build relationships and fund their cause.

Another major fund resource to a nonprofit is governments and philanthropic organizations that finance different charity works with grants.

With a deeper look at those fund resources you normally categorize them into different levels according to the amount of funds they provide, their field of expertise and their major interests and concerns that may benefit the charity organization activities somehow. With those different segments you sort your contacts in; you can select which agent of your support team to follow up with for better understanding and more sufficient communication results.

That logically leads to the need to create a profile for each one of them to start with; on that profile you would fill in different kinds of information in which you mention various details such as interests, job description, previous donations, conversation history and many more.

This is exactly where CRM is a huge help, CRM is basically a smart tool designed to deal and work on enormous numbers of contacts. CRM establishes contact profiles, sort those contacts into different segments and give you the ability to not only recall those different segments through smart filters, but also to create automatic reminders so you never fall out of touch and stay connected to each part of your network.

 

Engage your supporters with Marketing Automation:

We know that donor engagement is a key element to a solid fundraising strategy. By utilizing automated nurture campaigns as part of your marketing strategy, you can keep your supporters engaged all year round.

Keeping your supporters ‘warm’ to your cause will prevent a donation ask from seeming like it’s coming out of the blue and of course will help your donors to make the donation decision much faster.

 

CRM can help Marketing for your fundraising events:

In nonprofit world, events are a huge fundraising tool. In order to organize a successful attractive event you have to target the right segment of your enormous lists of contacts, for example, if you’re having an event to forbid whale hunting, you need to make sure that you are inviting the contacts who are interested in this cause instead of inviting contacts who are interested in funding schools.

The second thing a CRM helps you with is how you market your event, you need to create an email marketing campaign to address your contacts, informing them about your upcoming event and you may need to remind them several times so that you get their attention and guarantee their attendance.

Have a Clear overview of Your Grants:

Running a nonprofit means you have to depend heavily on donations and membership fees. CRM applications make communications and marketing less expensive.

Think for a while, what CRM software does in general is keep track of new deals, keep your correspondence organized and saved to related contacts and deals, and sales forecasting.

Let’s think about how this relates to nonprofits’ goals. Charity organizations mainly addressing  different governments asking for funds to its charitable activities, approaching  philanthropic organizations requesting for grants to support its cause or even connecting with individual donors and members to gain donations and fees to keep things rolling.That means you need to keep track of your grants requests (deals for business), keeping your proposals and email history saved to relevant supporters or grants, and keep an eye on your grants request process to determine an accurate forecasting of available grants and donations, use all that to come up with clear visions and plans for financing nonprofit cause.

As you see, the three magic words managing a nonprofit are data, data, and data. That’s why you need a CRM system. And of course tons of Excel spreadsheets won’t do it. Neither will those sticky notes filling your walls and your monitor.

As a final thought, if you believe that a CRM has no place in your nonprofit, you are surely missing on more opportunities. Charity organizations always look for ways to bring more people to their cause, more people means more data which means managing this data with a strong professional software; CRM.