Invest in your non-profit’s constituent relationship management (CRM) solution

FundraisingForce receives a telephone call or web enquiry every 7 days asking for assistance with a non-profit’s CRM. The caller typically suggests one of two issues: 1) the CRM is the issue; or 2) the database administrator is the issue.

While issue #1 or #2 certainly might be true, there typically is a third issue: the non-profit organisation failed to make an annual investment in the CRM.

Investments Needed

Non-profit organisations often times fail to invest in the CRM and to budget for this investment on an annual basis. Organisation’s certainly budget for licensing costs, but the investment usually ends right there. Instead, your organisation needs to invest in the following:

  1. Data health.
    • Performing data cleansing on your CRM on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis is a prudent investment.
    • Train and encourage staff to CEE every record.
    • Establish data hygiene queries and reports in your CRM and handle the issues at the end of each week or month.
    • Hire data experts to perform national change of address (NCOA) on your file on a routine, or at least annual, basis.
  2. Solution upgrades.
    • The CRM you bought is not the CRM in existence today.
    • Suppliers invest in research and development.
    • New technology and functionality is added to your CRM routinely – sometimes quarterly, sometimes annually.
    • If your organisation does not accept the upgrades from the supplier, you are missing out.
  3. Business processes.
    • Develop business processes for your team.
    • Review business processes at least one time per year to ensure they are the most robust and efficient possible.
    • When business changes, ensure the business process is documented and up to date.
    • Train on new business processes.
  4. Training.
    • Train your staff, retrain your staff and retrain them, again.
    • Offer training at Go Live.
    • Offer training for new hires as part of their on boarding process.
    • Offer refresher trainings.
    • Offer morning teas or brown bag luncheons focused on one business process at least one time per month.
  5. System Administrator.
    • Hire and fully train a system administrator.
    • Hire the best of the best.
    • Invest in the system administrator allowing them to maximise their professional development.

It’s easy to blame the software or blame the database administrator on your issues. And, while not every software is perfect and not every staff person is a rock star, think of your new CRM the same as a new homeowner. Anyone who has purchased a new home knows the home will require maintenance each and every year. The roof will not need to be changed for 10-15 years and the air conditioning will last 10-15 years, as well. But, the house will require painting, patching, and other maintenance on a routine basis. The house does not care for itself and neither does your non-profit’S CRM.

For more information, contact us.