Donors, volunteers, partners, and sponsors are considered the "life blood" of nonprofit organizations and foundations. Therefore each individual relationship, interaction, and correspondence with these supporters is vital to a nonprofit's overall sustainability.
Celia Astheimer, a CRM Consultant at Tech Impact, helps nonprofits find sustainable solutions for managing their growing supporter database. In the beginning, nonprofits might only have a few supporters, who can be easily tracked in an Excel spreadsheet. However, as marketing strategies begin to pay off, and more consumers and businesses are growing interested, many nonprofits find the need for a constituent relationship management (CRM) system, which is Astheimer's specialty.
"A CRM system is not just a database, it's a tool for managing the various relationships your organization has with businesses and community members," Astheimer added, "It can be a transformational way to manage processes and see your interactions on a global scale."
Identify individuals and organizations
Imputing information on a specific donor, volunteer, or affiliated business is the first step to creating a matrix of interactions and a database of useful information. What is the person's name? How old are they? Where do they live? Why are they a supporter?
Collect profile information with technology resources
Populating a profile with information from a web-based donation form, supporter survey, mobile app, Facebook's open graph, and text message subscriptions or donations can help you build unique profiles and really understand your audience. A CRM system that can integrate with these digital resources will automate the process.
Adhere to preferred contact methods
A donor, volunteer, or a corporate executive likely want to keep in touch with a nonprofit they invested money or time into, however contacting individuals too much, or by an preferred method could decrease supporter retention. Allow your supporters to specify a preferred method and frequency of contact when it comes to email subscriptions, calls, texts, and moderate how often your post on social media. Make every message count and keep a record of each individuals preference.
Supporters might involved in more than one way with your nonprofit. For instance, a donor might have volunteered with your organization, and is on the corporate board of a partnering company. This type of information is crucial to know and will help you make more personalized appeals or connections.
Track leads and opportunities
This feature in a typical CRM system is used by nonprofits for tracking funding sources such as grant, registration fees, donations, and sponsorships. Again, cross-referencing individuals with organizations can create opportunities to make a more personalized connection.
Create a process for "big fish"
Supporters that top donation amounts require special attention and their profile should reflect appeals, frequency, amounts, and next steps for securing another large donation. Did an executive at your nonprofit take one of your biggest donors out to dinner to update them on the organization and thank them for their loyalty? Details such as that will make it easier to personalize communication with a donor and make them feel appreciated.
Are your donor profiles increasing the number of returning visitors? Is there a potential audience you are not reaching? What do donors, sponsors, volunteers, and partners want to learn more about? Analyzing the analytics from a CRM can help you identify trends and gaps in your data. A robust CRM system for nonprofits will integrate with email marketing analytics, web analytics, and social analytics, in addition to providing informative data about the supporters in your database.