It’s not an understatement to say that your donor data is the lifeblood of your fundraising efforts – it helps you keep track of who’s supporting you, their demographics, their giving patterns, and so much more. Successful fundraising in the digital age relies on managing your data to help you track donors and donations, perform analysis, and communicate efficiently. If you want to grow your nonprofit year over year, you should be looking at your methods for storing – and reading – your donor data.
However, if you’re working with outdated software or obsolete systems, you could be missing out on all the analysis and stats that good donor management software can provide. That’s why it’s important to not only invest in an up-to-date CRM, but also know how to utilize it to its full ability.
We’ve got a few tips to help you manage your data better so it can perform more efficiently and help you raise more money!
Assign different roles to different team members
Maintaining and managing a great CRM can involve a lot of effort, and it can be tough to put it all on one person. Understandably, not all nonprofits have enough overhead to hire a specific person for the role, so instead they split up the job between multiple team members. If good communication isn’t kept up, it can be a case of broken telephone – and that definitely impacts the efficiency of your donor management.
When the work is divided, make sure that the various tasks are specifically assigned to different individuals, with no confusion or overlap. This will help reduce duplication of data and can allow you to make sure that everyone working with your database is properly trained for the tasks they need to complete.
Some CRMs let you assign these roles directly. By doing so, you can be sure that the person or people you want to perform certain tasks, such as adding donations or sending communications, are the only ones able to do so. It doesn’t hurt to break up the donor management among a number of team members – just make sure that everyone’s on the same page about what their responsibilities are.
Schedule periodic data clean-ups
Donor management is handy, but it isn’t infallible – there are still errors that can happen within your database, even with top-of-the-line software. And if these errors are left unchecked, they can develop into huge problems that skew how your donor data is read. The last thing you want is for any analysis to be off when you’re making fundraising projections or determining demographic marketing!
Luckily, some CRM tools can help you identify common problems, like duplicate donor listings or inaccurate addresses. The former can be a huge issue, especially when an individual has been entered in the database multiple times. A good CRM will be able to identify this error and merge the profiles together quickly and easily.
In other cases, basic reports can identify donors or donations that are missing information like ZIP codes or phone numbers, while simply taking a scan through small groups of data can help you find common errors like misspelled names and incomplete profiles. All this can give you a better, more accurate picture of your donors!
Perform regular security tests
A nonprofit’s worst nightmare would be to have its donor data breached by a hacker. Any old, outdated CRM might be vulnerable to attacks that allow criminals to get ahold of financial or personal information – a disaster when it comes to sensitive data that nonprofits keep records of. That’s why it’s so important to have a software vendor that performs penetration tests to see how well the CRM reacts – or if there are any weak spots that need patching.
Schedule regular tests – think monthly – with your software vendor to ensure that any vulnerabilities are patched up and any required updates are applied. Making sure your donor’s data is absolutely secure is a huge part of your donor management software, so you ought to put data security front and center. It’s key to managing your data – and it helps you sleep better at night, too.
At the end of the day, your donor data is incredibly valuable when it comes to understanding your supporters – which is why you need to read it correctly, protect it, and make sure it’s working as it should at all times. Take care of your donor data and it’ll take care of you!
Caitlin Hotchkiss is the content and social media manager for FrontStream, covering all the best and latest news and tips for fundraising success. With many years as an online influencer, she works to stay ahead of the trends by keeping one eye on upcoming online tools and the other on established favorites, spreading the good word of charities and nonprofits across the digital landscape.