Jay Love is a guest contributor for Nonprofit Hub. He’s currently the CEO and Co-Founder of Bloomerang and the Senior Vice President of Avectra—both organizations serving the nonprofit sector with cutting edge technology tools for fundraising and communications.
One of my pet peeves over the three decades I have been providing Nonprofit CRM systems (we used to call it Fundraising Software), is watching an extremely powerful tool being used by a single person or a very small group of people rather than everyone. Back in the 80s and even the 90s, I could see how that could happen because in some cases the higher management did not have or was not the most adept at using a computer. There was no such thing as a smartphone or tablet to access data for fundraisers in the field.
Well folks, it is now 2013 and unless you are working in a third world country fulfilling your nonprofit’s mission, I am betting you have access to a laptop, smartphone and/or tablet computer. In fact, many of you reading this probably have all three with 24/7 access!
Access to Valuable Donor Data
There is no reason for the valuable information regarding your donors, board members and prospects to be unavailable to you as you interact with all of your constituents. The days of systems so complex they required five eight-hour days of initial training laced with plenty of Red Bull to allow you to attempt to absorb them are over. Yes, I know such older systems are still in use by many organizations. And yes, I know some of the leading vendors to this market still are selling such complex systems requiring a week or more of initial training. Can you believe it?
Capturing Every Single “Touch”
The newest systems like Bloomerang are designed to be used by every employee of any charity that ever “touches” any constituent in any manner with little or no training required. Intuitive is the key focus in order to make it happen. Let’s define touch. A touch is:
1. Any communication with
2. Any meeting with
3. Any transaction with
So you can see such a definition brings nearly every staff member and certain key volunteers into needing to use the valuable information in the CRM system and much more importantly, constantly adding to it. Unless you are being supported by and communicating with fewer than 25 constituents, such information needs to be properly kept in the CRM/database.
I cannot even imagine communicating with any financial supporter or future financial supporter of your organization without knowing the following:
1. What communications we have already had
2. What was discussed in previous calls, events or other meetings
3. What financial transactions have happened
4. What their monies were focused on supporting and what results have happened
Notice the majority of the four items just above are almost identical with my definition of “touch” earlier in this post. That is not a coincidence!
Nonprofit CRM Used by Everyone
Making the CRM/database come to life rather than being held hostage by the system administrator requires constant daily use by everyone. It must become a tool nobody of the staff could go a day without, instead of a tool everyone complains about or worries about what they will do if the key single user is off sick, or heaven forbids—leaves.