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By Ryan Ponzurick

Your nonprofit’s CRM is a goldmine for important information regarding your nonprofit’s constituents. Without this important software solution, it would be incredibly difficult to keep up with fundraising outreach or to establish an effective engagement strategy for supporters. Despite having access to this important tech solution, have you ever looked at your nonprofit annual report and seen holes in your own fundraising strategies? Many of these holes can be filled through better organization of your nonprofit’s CRM data. The best way to improve your data management for more strategic fundraising efforts is making the best use of your donor database measurements. You’ll need to know what measurements to keep track of, how to best track them, and how to read this important data. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding data management, all of which can be answered by making better use of your CRM.  

How do I streamline data collection?

Too many nonprofits manually transfer data from one software solution to another. Doing this takes time and energy that could be better spent on efforts more related to that nonprofit’s mission. Throughout this process, they have to choose which pieces of data are important to transfer and which are irrelevant for future efforts. The best solution to this problem is to automate the transfer of information from your collection sources into your CRM. Look at the functionality of your CRM to see if you also have access to fundraising and data collection software such as donation pages, surveys, and other tools. Don’t forget that even the best CRM software might not offer these functions, but may integrate with other software solutions that do. Some of the important information you can collect from your CRM or integrated software includes:
  • Online giving information. Your CRM should store details about the gift information when someone donates to your nonprofit. Your CRM should automatically pull and store information from your donation page software about each donor’s gift amount. Then, you’ll have access to the average amounts plus a historical timeline of giving for each of your donors.
  • Matching gift eligibility. Ask donors about their employment on donation or survey forms. When this information is added to your CRM, it’s easy to check matching gift eligibility from a matching gift database.
  • Donor communication metrics. When you can connect to your donors through an email service within your CRM, it’s easy to streamline the flow of important metrics such as open and click-through rate. Plus, you can auto-populate the names and contact information of donors into templates with this feature.
For more features and integrations to look for in your donor database, check out Bloomerang’s guide to find the best nonprofit CRM.

How do I track multiple methods of engagement?

There are so many opportunities for engagement offered to your donors through your nonprofit. They can come to events, donate, post to social media, read your newsletters, visit your website, and more. While you could go through and check each of these metrics individually in your CRM, wouldn’t it be easier if there was a single engagement score that measures all of these things? That’s exactly what Dr. Adrian Sargeant asked himself and why he came up with an algorithm to measure overarching donor engagement for individual donors. The algorithm he developed creates a composite engagement score for each individual donor according to multiple engagement metrics. In Bloomerang’s CRM profiles, this engagement level presents itself as a meter measuring an individual’s level of engagement as “cold,” “warm,” “hot,” and “on fire!” When you have access to the engagement metrics for individual donors, you can more easily:
  • Search for major giving opportunities. The donors who are heavily engaged (or “on fire!”) and also have good wealth indicators are likely to be good candidates for major giving in the future.
  • Plan for future engagement opportunities such as #GivingTuesday, year-end giving, and upcoming events. You can create different marketing materials depending on donors’ current engagement scores to best appeal to them.
  • Identify other potential opportunities for support. Some supporters may have high engagement rates, but may not have the financial capability to give regularly. Reach out to these people as potential volunteers, influencers, or advocates.
Maintaining engagement is a key method for improving your donor retention rates. You can use the donor engagement data to identify signals of potential disinterest or disenchantment with your organization. These signals can then be addressed with more engagement opportunities and fewer supporters dropping off your list of actively engaged constituents.

What if I want an answer to a quick question?

Accessibility to important information at a moment’s glance can help you to keep an eye on the important metrics about your fundraising strategy. The best donor management software will make it easy to interact with the data that you find most important, from your donor retention rate to your latest fundraising campaign. You should have access to this information at a glance instead of searching through long comprehensive reports every time you have a quick question. For instance, Bloomerang’s interactive dashboard makes it easy to get a quick comprehensive view of the incoming donations for the week, month, and year. On top of checking in on retention rates and fundraising campaigns, you can also build “to-do” lists to keep yourself organized. Interactive dashboards are great for daily check-ins on your organization’s overarching goals. It’s important that you have access to to both at-a-glance information about your organization and donors individual donors as well as detailed reports for a more specific view. In addition to a customized dashboard, make sure your CRM also offers:
  • Detailed constituent profiles. Comprehensive profiles help you to easily find important information such as giving history in each of your donor profiles.The engagement and generosity scores available in each profile on Bloomerang’s CRM makes it easy to glance at a donor and see in general how they interact with your organization.
  • Smart reports. Look for a system that uses segmented lists any custom information to create comprehensive reports tailored to your needs as an organization. Rely on these reports to get regular, updated information in real-time when you need more details about your organization’s latest actions. 
Be sure to choose a CRM software solution that can generate an answer to any question you may have. Keep track of the ongoing concerns on an interactive dashboard, and use detailed reports to get a more in-depth look at your activities when more specific questions come up.

How can data management save me time in the future?

Keeping a well-organized and well-maintained database will helps organizations to access important information more quickly and to, therefore, make faster decisions for the good of the nonprofit organization. In addition, one of the activities that nonprofits tend to spend quite a bit of time on is prospect research. Organizations will conduct prospect research and skip straight to their major gift requests, but won’t continuously update information about prospects. Then, when it’s time to ask for more major gifts, they need to do all of that prospect research over again. However, when you use your CRM to its maximum capacity, you can save relevant prospect research information for future reference. Plus, some software will help do some of this research for you, so that you’re constantly up-to-date. DonorSearch integrates with Bloomerang, helping Bloomerang users to stay on top of their prospect information through a generated Generosity score. Using DonorSearch’s database, each donor profile has a Generosity score attached, indicating their potential for giving according to various philanthropic and wealth indicators. Then, you can visit DonorSearch to get a more detailed report about these indicators for each prospect. While these questions are some of the most common, you’re likely to crave more information about your software solutions, especially when it comes to choosing a new CRM. For additional guidance in making these important decisions, check out DonorSearch’s expert advice on choosing nonprofit CRM software.

Author Bio

Jay B. Love is a Co-Founder and current Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang. He has served this sector for 33 years and is considered the most well-known senior statesman whose advice is sought constantly. He is a graduate of Butler University with a B.S. in Business Administration. Over the years, he has given more than 2,500 speeches around the world for the charity sector and is often the voice of new technology for fundraisers.
Your Nonprofit CRM: A Q&A Guide to Improve Data Management