One of my pet peeves over the three decades I have been providing Donor CRM software, (we used
to call it Fundraising Software), is watching an extremely powerful tool being used by a single person
or a very small group of people rather than everyone. Back in the 80’s and even the 90’s, I could see
how that could happen because in some cases the higher management did not have or was not the
most adept at using a computer. There was no such thing as a smartphone or tablet to access data for
fundraisers in the field.
With technology where it is, unless you are working in a third world country fulfilling your nonprofit’s
mission, I am betting you have access to a laptop, smartphone and/or tablet computer. In fact, many of
you reading this probably have all three with 24×7 access!
Access to Valuable Donor Data
There is no reason for the valuable information regarding your donors, board members and prospects to
be unavailable to you as you interact with all of your constituents. The days of systems so complex they
required five eight hour days of initial training laced with plenty of Red Bull to allow you to attempt to
absorb them are over. Yes, I know such older systems are still in use by many organizations. And yes, I
know some of the leading vendors to this market still are selling such complex systems requiring a week
or more of initial training. Can you believe it?
Capturing Every Single “Touch”
The newest systems like Bloomerang are designed to be used by every employee
of any charity that ever “touches” any constituent in any manner with little or no training required.
Intuitive is the key focus in order to make it happen. Let’s define touch. A touch is:
1. Any communication with
2. Any meeting with
3. Any transaction with
So you can see such a definition brings nearly every staff member and certain key volunteers into
needing to use the valuable information in the CRM system and much more importantly, constantly
adding to it. Unless you are being supported by and communicating with fewer than 25 constituents,
such information needs to be properly kept in the donor CRM/database.
I cannot even imagine communicating with any financial supporter or future financial supporter of your
organization without knowing the following:
1.What communications we have already had
2.What was discussed in previous calls, events or other meetings
3.What financial transactions have happened
4. What their moneis were focused on supporting and what results have happened
Notice the majority of the four items just above are almost identical with my definition of “touch”
earlier in this post. That is not a coincidence!
Donor CRM Software Used by Everyone
Making the CRM/database come to life rather than being held hostage by the system administrator
requires constant daily use by everyone. It must become a tool nobody on the staff could go a day
without instead of a tool everyone complains about or worries about what they will do if the key single
user is off sick or, heaven forbid, leaves.
Speaking of leaving, my next post in this mini-series about the evolution of Fundraising Software to
Donor CRM will explore why donors leave and compare it to why customers leave in the commercial
sector. It will contain a brand new infographic based upon the research of our Chief Scientist Adrian
Sargeant. You will not want to miss it!
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.