How to increase use of your CRM within your non-profit

Business Customer CRM Management Analysis Service Concept

Imagine you spend a year building out your CRM and taking the solution live. Doing so costs staff time (money), consulting fees (money), energy (money) and morale (money). Now imagine there is little usage of the CRM after Go live. That’s a lot of money spent for little return. As managers, we have a responsibility to provide the best tools and we also have a responsibility to ensure those tools are well utilised. You can buy someone a Mercedes Benz, but if they do not know how to drive it, do not drive it, and do not like to drive it you have wasted your money and effort.

So, what do you do now?

There are four things you must do to turn this around:

  1. Conduct an analysis of use. Use your CRMs internal audit systems to see who is logging in, when they are logging in, how often and for how long. Most CRMs in the market allow administrators to view usage in these terms. Measure and monitor weekly.
  2. Conduct a survey of use. Understand what the users like, what they find clunky, and what they need now. Perhaps you did not consult with the end users when you designed the system? (That was a mistake). Perhaps you have a new team and their requirements and ideas are different than the previous team? (That’s natural). Perhaps your business requirements have grown and your system has not grown with the business? (That’s a good thing).
  3. Create a policy, which states only activities recorded in your CRM count towards performance evaluations. If activity is not recorded in the CRM and, instead, on an Excel sheet or in diaries, the activity did not happen. Your major gifts offices might conduct 10 donor visits in a month. If only one is recorded in the CRM, the major gift officer only conducted one visit.
  4. Implement the “phase II” items you never got to as part of the CRM implementation project. Every project has items that are not a priority at the time, but are placed on a “phase II” bucket list. Well, it is now phase II. It is sort of like the three cardboard boxes you moved house with, did not unpack the week you moved, and are still in your spare bedroom or garage. Unpack them!

All of the above might be prevented through the original implementation of a CRM. Maybe or maybe not? Nonetheless, when the issue of lack of CRM use surfaces, you must get on top of it. Like any issue unattended, the issue only gets worse. It is at that point you become the issue.