21 Different Things You Can Do with a Donor Relationship Management Tool
Welcome to DRM land, where possibilities abound.
Your nonprofit is unique. And that’s especially important to remember when choosing donor relationship management (aka customer relationship management) software.
There are plenty of systems to choose from, so whether you’re switching from spreadsheets to CRM or you’re starting fresh, the place to start is assessing your needs and your wants, your must-haves, and your deal makers and breakers.
In short, do your internal homework before even starting the search. Get your team together to suss out their needs and ensure they’re all into the idea of using a CRM.
For more information about CRMs, or if you prefer, DRMs, check out our totally free and pressure-free (read: non-salesy, seriously) demos from our partners at Bloomerang, Kindful, and others.
What is a Nonprofit CRM System?
A nonprofit CRM system, or DRM (donor relationship management), is a tool to help your nonprofit organize information. Whether it’s donor information, communication among staff, volunteers, and donors, or something else entirely – most of it can be done with a nonprofit CRM.
Why Should a Nonprofit Consider a Donor Relationship Management Tool?
When nonprofit information is spread out and chaotic, there’s less of a chance it’s used properly and to its full advantage.
So rather than getting caught up in repetitive, daily tasks, your nonprofit professionals can use a CRM tool to automate and systematically access data.
And when nonprofit professionals cut down on time spent doing those administrative tasks, they can dedicate more time toward their mission. That might look like actually putting boots on the ground and fighting the good fight. Or it could mean building healthier, stronger relationships among supporters.
Either way, nonprofit CRM systems help organizations streamline and automate daily tasks. And that, ultimately, is what leads to nonprofit growth.
Are Nonprofit CRMs Good for Small Nonprofits?
Perhaps, as a small nonprofit, you’re thinking a donor relationship management software isn’t necessary yet.
Sure, you can get by without using one. But starting with a nonprofit CRM tool is a great way to build a strong, sturdy foundation for your nonprofit. And as you grow, you’re already set up for success. Your donor relationship management software can grow with your nonprofit.
We recommend using a nonprofit CRM, even if you’re part of a small nonprofit. It can still streamline and automate your tasks, which frees you up to do other things you need to get done.
It’s almost more important for small nonprofits to use a CRM because, generally, smaller nonprofits have smaller teams. And that means you need to devote more time to your mission. There isn’t one person who can dedicate each day’s work toward administrative tasks.
Instead, your nonprofit CRM tool can act as another team member, and do all of the admin tasks for you.
If you’re a part of a small nonprofit, we recommend finding a donor relationship tool that fits your size. Using a complex tool like Salesforce or NeonOne may not be the best option for you (yet).
But having a nonprofit CRM like Bloomerang or Kindful may very well work for your organization. And they’re more affordable, so they can fit within a tighter budget.
Not All CRMs (or DRMs: Donor Relationship Management) Are Made the Same
While there are some pretty standard features, additional features vary from system to system. Here are 21 of the features you can expect to find in most donor relationship management systems. Although, this list is not by any means representative of everything you can accomplish with a CRM/DRM:
A CRM can help you quickly and easily create fundraising campaigns, integrate them across your communications, track their success, and give you insight into how your donors are interacting with them. Most DRM tools offer:
1. Online donation pages. Create customized, branded landing pages where your donors can make online donations.
2. Online donation forms. Perhaps you need a small form somewhere on your nonprofit website. You can create customized donation forms straight through your nonprofit CRM tool.
3. Donation buttons. Sprinkle impactful donation buttons throughout your nonprofit website or online donation pages to encourage action.
4. Recurring giving opt-ins. Donors can add their information and opt into scheduled recurring donations, making creating a monthly donor program much easier.
5. Peer-to-peer fundraising. Many nonprofit CRM tools include peer-to-peer fundraising so your supporters can start their own campaign on behalf of your organization. All of the donations and information they collect automatically sync to your software.
6. Event registration. Whether you’re hosting an in-person or a virtual event, you can set up event registration straight through your nonprofit CRM.
7. Text-to-give. One of the newest fundraising strategies is available through many donor relationship management tools. Collect donations straight from supporters’ texts.
8. Wealth screening. You can access public records of your donors to understand their giving potential and history.
Most CRMs allow you to automate receipts and thank-you notes for donations, as well as coordinate direct mail, email, and social media communications. Stay in touch with your donors by:
9. Auto-sending emailed receipts. No more manually sending out emails with donor receipts. Instead, your nonprofit CRM can do it for you!
10. Sending newsletters and fundraising emails. Email marketing is such a huge part of nonprofit fundraising. But you can send out major emails through your DRM tool. Or you can integrate your tool with your nonprofit email marketing software.
11. Viewing communication history with donors. Pull reports on how you’ve communicated with specific donors in the past and when the last time you were in touch with them.
CRMs make it easy to keep track of donor giving, and spot both day-to-day and big-picture giving trends. Most donor relationship management tools allow you to:
12. Track pledges. See who’s pledged a donation, who’s given, and when to collect.
13. Create donor contact profiles. Keep records of information for individuals who’ve supported your nonprofit. This includes email, birthdate, phone number, and communication history with your nonprofit.
14. Segment groups of donors. Separate your supporters based on certain filters, like event attendees or online donors.
15. Set reminders. Never fall out of touch with donors by setting tasks and reminders to contact them regularly.
Analytics and Reporting:
CRMs make easy work of building, saving, and scheduling reports gleaned from donor information to make tracking – and acting on – trends more efficient. When it comes to analytics and reporting, be on the lookout for:
16. Donor analytics. Pull reports and insights on your donors and how they give to your organization. This includes things like, where did they find you? What did they do on your nonprofit website? What method of payment did they use?
17. Scheduled reports. Maybe you need to know how many donations you received last quarter? You can schedule reports so you have them automatically when you need them.
Integration with Other Nonprofit Tools and Tech:
There are a myriad of other considerations to think about when comparing donor relationship management systems, as well, such as pricing, of course, along with the capability to integrate with tools you’re already using like payment processing, email providers, accounting software, etc. But many donor relationship management systems allow you to integrate the most popular nonprofit tools and tech right into your software. Usually, that includes:
18. Nonprofit accounting software. Sync your accounting software to your DRM so new donations, transactions, and any other financial information go directly to your books. No manually having to plug it in!
19. Email marketing software. Connect tools like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Emma, or Flodesk to your nonprofit CRM. Continue with your regularly scheduled email marketing, and the data will automatically connect to your CRM.
20. In-person or virtual event fundraising. If you need to integrate data from your latest event, you can sync your event platforms to your CRM tool.
21. Payment processing. Whether you use Stripe, Square, or PayPal (or another tool!), you can integrate it with your nonprofit CRM. All of your donation information will be in your software.
There’s a world of features waiting for you out there in Donor Relationship Management land. Get to know your organization’s needs before starting down the path, then step out and see what’s possible.
And when you’re ready, we’re proud to offer several free, on-demand trainings for multiple donor relationship management tools at Nonprofit Library.
We’re sure you’ll find one that fits your nonprofit’s needs!
Thanks for reading!
– Your friends at NonprofitLibrary