by Marisa Porter and Kelly Kulp

One.

Understand your target market. Demographic. Constituents. Donors, contacts, whatever you call your people. They’re the ones who care and give. If your approach to contact management is haphazard and disorganized, your engagement and donations will be haphazard and disorganized.

Two.

Keep all your contact data in the cloud, to be accessed from anywhere. And we’re not just talking about access, but emailing, engaging, the possibilities are endless. Organized contacts give your nonprofit a huge advantage when it comes to communication and donor engagement.

Three.

Volunteer data makes you powerful. If you understand what your volunteers are actually interested in, you will be able to ask for their involvement in the very interests they’ve expressed a passion for in the past. This will not only beef up your ask, but it will help when requesting for funds from the board as well.

Four.

Donors respond better to asks and campaigns that appeal to their specific interests, areas that they have a heart for. A CRM can help nonprofits better track conversations about interests, previous involvement or engagement, and other connections that a contact has had. Don’t waste time putting out non-targeted appeals to your donor base and inundating or numbing your contacts with appeals. Segment your list with the help of your CRM, and get better results from your asks.

Five.

Nonprofits often only have one or two people who are experts in using their CRM or donor/contact tracking system. Other employees often have to go to these few people to get answers about donors and contacts from the system, since they don’t know how to pull complicated reports or navigate their way around the software, taking more valuable time from both parties than seemingly necessary. With a simple CRM, more employees can access the information they need about the organization’s contacts and donors.

Six.

Stop guessing when it comes to donations. Create groups of people who fall into categories like—$0-$500 in donations, $500-$1,000, $1,000-$10,000, and $10,000 and above. You can even give these tribes helpful, creative names like Fans, Supporters, Loyal Givers, Major Donors. These groups will help you quickly match your communications (including your exuberant thanks), to your donors in a way that honors them and moves the relationship in the right direction. With a combination like UkuuPeople + Give, you can give your donors more love!

Seven.

Do even more with Tribes (groups). Create Tribes based on your contacts’ interests. This saves time when you want to create communications because you’re not suddenly polling or surveying people. A CRM will help you capture this data early on to use when crunch time comes.

Eight.

Report, report, report. Reports can help you create better campaigns based on the relative success of previous campaigns. Find what works and do more of that. For example, if you notice peak donation times based on season or event, you can capitalize on those seasons. This will save you time by letting you put more of your time into things that generate the results you need, and less (or none) of your time into failed email campaigns, low-turnout events, or weeks that were the toughest to generate donations. Instead, put your effort into events and communications that give you more ROI. It’s like the old saying, “Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it,” but on a smaller scale. Learn from what you did last year to make this year incredibly better.

Nine.

What happens to your donor relationships when you have organizational turnover? Humans respond best to relationships where trust has been established. Having reliable, thorough information about your contacts and their interactions with your nonprofit can help maintain trust, and can poise your new staff for success as they serve the organization well.

Ten.

Don’t waste your time guessing who to ask for that special project or big gift. It’s rare that donors will start giving large gifts to your nonprofit when they first engage. They usually start giving at lower levels in response to specific appeals or organizational needs. But don’t stop there. Some donors have the capacity to give in greater ways, and often will after trust has been built with your nonprofit. A CRM can help you track your donors’ giving habits. What sorts of asks do they respond to? What volunteer opportunities have they participated in? What are their interests or passions? Utilize this information to help you better plan when a donor is ready to be asked for that big gift, or when you have that perfect opportunity that fits their passions.

(Eleven.)

Let’s talk manual entry. How much time does your staff spend manually entering information into your database or CRM? Many CRMs these days have add-on options that connect your CRM with resources that your nonprofit is likely already using (like Give, MailChimp, Gravity Forms, etc). Many CRMs can now automatically capture that information, saving your staff loads of time when it comes to manual entry.

Don’t contact blindly. UkuuPeople can help you acquire new contacts and love the ones you have.

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