Is the secret to growing your fundraising hiding in your CRM?
It just might be!
Your nonprofit CRM is much more than a storage space for addresses and phone numbers. It’s a powerful tool for managing and growing relationships with your supporters. The data in your CRM can help you raise more money, improve your donor retention, and even attract new supporters to your cause.
Here are three top ways to get the most out of the data you already have.
1. Segment Communication
Your supporters are individuals with different reasons for giving, different levels of involvement, and different ways they want to connect with you. But too often, organizations try to reach everyone with the same message.
When you segment your communication to speak to each group of supporters individually, it becomes more interesting and relevant to the individual. This boosts engagement and response rates and helps create authentic relationships.
Are you using one master email list that includes your monthly donors, volunteers, everyone who’s ever made a gift at any level, people who attended your annual event once, and people who signed up to get your emails on your website? In an age of hyper-personalization, sending the same message to everyone just isn’t effective.
There’s too much information coming at your supporters every day; they have to prioritize the most relevant and personalized messages just to keep up. Generic, irrelevant messages often get skipped. Moreover, if you’re trying to form personal, authentic relationships with your supporters, your communications should feel personal and authentic. Segmenting your list can help make this possible.
Segmentation lets you personalize your communications so that each group receives the most important and relevant information. There are many ways to segment your supporters: by giving level, involvement, interests, history with your organization, active vs. lapsed status, volunteers, advocates, and past board members. Truly, the sky’s the limit with segments.
As you look at the data from your email list, you might decide to segment it into:
- Monthly Donors
- Event Attendees
- General Audience
With this kind of segmentation, you can acknowledge the commitment and insider familiarity your volunteers and monthly donors have shown while introducing your organization more thoroughly to your newer supporters and working to build on those relationships. Each group gets relevant, engaging communication, which sparks interest and goodwill instead of feeling bored, out of the loop, or anonymous.
2. Build Supporter Journeys
A supporter journey is the series of interactions a supporter has with your organization. It includes both your appeals and general communications and their actions and responses. Obviously, you can only control one side of that. Your supporters are ultimately in charge of their own journeys, but you can certainly take action to influence and guide them.
For example, think about what happens after someone makes their first gift to your organization. Do you have a planned next step for them? Planning a series of steps to engage your first-time supporters with your organization increases the likelihood they’ll remain engaged.
The data in your CRM takes the guesswork out of relationships because it allows you to track and manage interactions with your supporters. As you look at your data, you’ll find trends that help you create your journeys and measure the success of those interactions.
For instance, you might find that people who are invited to an event after making a gift are more likely to make a second gift within the calendar year. In that case, you might create a journey that looks like this.
- Supporter gives a gift
- Organization sends thank you email
- Supporter is enrolled in a new donor welcome email series
- Organization asks questions to learn more about supporter via a survey
- Supporter is invited to an event
- Organization follows up with an ask after the event
- Supporter gives their second gift!
- Organization sends thank you
- Supporter joins a new segment, “repeat donor”
You can create supporter journeys for every segment within your audience, to respond to special events, or promote specific campaigns. These journeys work best when you carry them across all your channels, including direct mail, email, social media, in-person events, digital ads, and more.
3. Learn What’s Working and Plan Efficiently
How do you know what’s resonating with your supporters? How can you tell if you’re actually growing and deepening your connection over time? Once again, your CRM data is here for you. Tracking past donor behavior and engagement can help your team understand where to put your efforts, what to leave behind, and where there’s room to expand.
To get started, take a look at:
- Past campaign performance: How did the campaign perform last year? Who participated? Who didn’t? Were there any trends or timelines you didn’t expect? How can this data inform what you do this year?
- Demographics of donors who engaged with particular campaigns or events:
Did people of a particular age group, gender, or type of involvement at your organization dominate? Were other groups under-represented? Why might that be?
- When first-time givers make a second gift: How long is the average time between first and second gifts? Do any activities from your organization seem to precede these gifts? For example, if people who receive a postcard within 30 days of their first gift are more likely to give than those who don’t, you’ll know to start sending those cards!
Data-Driven Constituent Relationship Management
All of the data and details in your CRM are about people. People who are in some way interested in your mission, cause, and organization. When you use your CRM data effectively, you can communicate more relevantly and personally, lead each supporter to their next best step, and improve your fundraising efficiency and effectiveness. Most importantly, you can create better, deeper relationships with the people represented by the data in your CRM!