3 Reasons Why Your Donor Database Should Be Used By Multiple Employees

Steven Shattuck is VP of Marketing at Bloomerang. As a HubSpot Certified inbound marketer, he is a contributor to Nonprofit Hub, National Council of Nonprofits, Ragan, Social Media Today, Search Engine Journal, The Build Network, HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute and Business2Community. Steven has spoken at national and local conferences including Cause Camp, and is frequently interviewed by media outlets for his expertise in digital marketing.

Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Nowhere is this concept more apparent than at a nonprofit, where a collection of passionate individuals work together for a common cause.

Unfortunately, the day-to-day work of managing fundraising efforts often falls to one person who is the sole user of the donor database or CRM software. Here are three reasons why everyone in your organization should have their hands in the donor database regularly:

1. Centralized Communication and Task Management

A full-fledged nonprofit CRM should be the one and only place where all of your fundraising efforts are tracked and stored. When you have a system that everyone uses, there is no danger of separate calendars, to-do lists and notes that exist in several different places with limited or no access to those who may need to know that information.

Think of your donor database as your centralized fundraising war room. You want all of your troops present! After all, teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.

2. Major Gift Impact

It’s no surprise that direct fundraisers and especially executives within a nonprofit organization have the biggest impact on major gift success. They’re on the front lines, taking meetings and making phone calls. As they’re generating new interactions, it’s important that they be the ones entering notes and tasks into the system.

As important as major donors are, you don’t want anything to slip through the cracks or get lost in translation through delegation to a sole database administrator. Plus, your executive team will be more aware of overall organizational health as it relates to revenue and donor retention.

3. Turnover Protection

One danger in assigning all database management tasks to one employee is the possibility of that individual leaving the organization. If no one else within the organization is familiar with how the database works and what processes are in place for inputting gifts and communicating with donors, your fundraising processes may break down, leaving a large void while a new employee tries to pick up the pieces and learn the system.

Often, we see database tasks assigned solely to an administrative, non-fundraiser or intern within the organization. This is particularly problematic because they are least likely to be enthusiastic about managing the database, and may be eager to move up within the organization.

Having administrative redundancy in place will ensure that your fundraising efforts don’t miss a step should someone exit the organization.

It’s important to maintain standardized processes if multiple people in the organization are using the CRM. The benefits of doing so far outweigh the investment it takes to make it happen. How many staffers in your organization are responsible for the donor database? Why? Let us know in the comments below.

3 Reasons Why Your Donor Database Should Be Used By Multiple Employees

Steven Shattuck

Steven Shattuck is Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang and Executive Director of Launch Cause. A prolific writer and speaker, Steven is a contributor to "Fundraising Principles and Practice: Second Edition" and volunteers his time on the Project Work Group of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project and is an AFP Center for Fundraising Innovation (CFI) committee member.

February 27, 2014

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