Who says that customer relationship management is just for businesses? For-profit businesses, we mean. After all, a CRM can be just as useful for a nonprofit organization—and if you run a nonprofit that isn’t using one, then you’re likely missing out on many opportunities.
CRM tools and technology are so popular with businesses because they allow you to streamline your processes and keep all important data in one spot. It’s part digital storage, part artificial intelligence, and a complete game-changer for busy individuals who are trying to be efficient. After all, when you have contact information, payment information, budgets, and calendars all on one platform, and a lot of your busywork becomes automated, you suddenly have the mental bandwidth, the energy, and the time to focus on the things that matter—like your organization’s mission.
In fact, we know so many nonprofit organizations that benefit from CRM tools that we’ve compiled four crucial steps to your success you can improve upon when you have a CRM helping you. It sounds great to say that a CRM will help you develop a budget or schedule a project, but unless you’re able to get specific about what that looks like, it’s difficult to understand the value of streamlining these tasks.
Here are the four ways you can use a good CRM tool to help your nonprofit maintain relationships:
1) Identify The Right Prospects
Getting in touch with people—and staying in touch with them—can be tough sometimes. When you’re a nonprofit seeking support, there’s always that one person within an organization who will be your go-to point of contact. This is the person that makes the decisions pertaining to your needs, whether it’s a financial donation or some other kind of contribution. The challenging thing is that the person who fills this role might always be changing, whether because they were promoted to another position within a company or because they left to work somewhere else. If your contact information is out of date, you might be reaching out to the wrong person—but if you maintain a relationship, then that point of contact can introduce you to the new person who will be stepping into their role.
Demonstrating your credibility when you connect to this person and receiving a warm referral instead of cold calling when possible, will make a big difference in establishing a strong relationship right from the very beginning.
2) Nurture Prospects And Build Relationships
On the subject of those relationships, it’s important that, once you’ve established them, you keep them strong. If the person you’re working with is like most people, they’re dealing with distractions all day long—emails, phone calls, text messages, Slack messages, and so forth. It’s hard for any of your correspondence to stand out. But the best way for you to catch their attention is to be personal. It’s easy enough to ignore a formulaic message, but as soon as somebody is speaking to you directly (and maybe even following up, because your response is of genuine value), then you start to pay attention to what they have to say.
3) Capitalize On Opportunities To Convert
Ever notice how it’s harder to say no to a good friend when they ask you for support than it is to say no to a total stranger? Remember this when you’re approaching donors for your nonprofit’s mission. It’s not enough to present them with all of the reasons to support your cause (though all of those reasons are indeed important). Instead, you need to make sure you’re maintaining a relationship with people. Having a vibrant relationship will also prepare you to approach them at the appropriate time—for example, hitting them up during a busy season will turn you into a nuisance they don’t want to deal with. But if you hit them up after the busy season, when things are slow and they have just brought in a lot of profit, then you are more likely to get a positive response.
Similarly, you want to maintain a relationship with the people who are beneficiaries of your mission. You want to understand their goals and challenges so you can continue to meet their needs.
4) Deliver Relationship Sales At Scale
If it feels intimidating to think about maintaining this kind of personal relationship with everyone who has a stake in your nonprofit, don’t worry—you aren’t the only one who feels that way. And that’s why a CRM is so important. It allows you to manage all the data related to those donors, volunteers, and beneficiaries so you can remember when to reach out, what their communication style is like, when their busy season is, what their donating habits are like, and so much more.