The Power of One for Your Nonprofit

The Power of One for Your Nonprofit

Note: this is a summary of a blog post that originally appeared on the Avectra blog.

Many of today’s nonprofit organizations continue to acknowledge growing financial pressures due to increased competition for funds and other constraints. Having organizational data spread among multiple systems only compounds these challenges. Access to complete and up-to-date donor information is a “must have” when it comes to improving your staff’s ability to build personal relationships with donors and potential donors, positively impact donor retention and increase the amount of funds raised.

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Using CRM and a Narwhal Effectively

This is not the narwhal of which we speak.

One night when I was discussing databases with a friend at a bar (yes, this really does happen in San Francisco) he mentioned “Narwhal,” the database the Obama reelection team created to keep track of supporters for the 2012 election. Later that evening I did some research and discovered two interesting facts: (1) narwhals actually do exist (they’re a type of whale), and (2) the database that the Obama campaign named after this sea beast was the basis of a CRM system and strategy so sophisticated that the campaign raised $2.4 million in ONE DAY through a single, well-researched, well-executed email.

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Avectra, Fundraising, and the Power of CRM

Team Heller and Avectra discuss CRM and fundraising.

One of the hottest topics today is how use CRM to raise more money for your nonprofit. If you are going to the Avectra Users and Developers Conference March 3-5, you will get a chance to hear Heller Consulting and netFORUM experts from Avectra to talk about the CRM tools and techniques you can use to boost your fundraising success rate. Here are a few more details:

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Adopting a More Coordinated and Effective Approach to Fundraising

Health System Database Merger Case Study

Managing disparate donor databases typically leads to one thing: inefficient fundraising. Merging donor databases across your nonprofit  — whether yours is a single location, a primary organization with multiple chapters, or a healthcare system — helps you streamline internal development operations, reduce the risk of duplicate or inconsistent donor communications, and, ultimately, improve overall fundraising performance.

Here’s just one example: A prominent health system worked with Heller Consulting to merge 11 separate donor databases into a single system for more efficient and effective fundraising.

Following are some of the results:

  • Increased efficiency — The main database administrator can now run reports for individual medical centers, freeing development staff time.
  • More effective fundraising — The system no longer competes over shared donors, dual development officer assignments are minimized, and officers are closing more gifts.
  • Improved performance — The consolidated database paved the way for processes that manage and track development office performance.

Find out more about this success story here:

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What is CRM and what does it mean to nonprofits?

 

Questions Concept Blackboard

 

For the past couple of years, I’ve been hyper-focused on CRM. Changes in the technology landscape and nonprofits’ engagement with their constituents have converged to present exciting opportunities to effectively meet the needs of contemporary nonprofits via CRM. But what is CRM? Three simple letters but often a Pandora’s box full of responses when you start asking. However, I am willing to take a swing at it.

First, the basics. In the nonprofit sector we talk about “Constituent Relationship Management” (in the commercial sector it’s about Customers). To dig deeper, I’ll pull on our firm’s experience designing and implementing CRM environments at many nonprofits large and small, and our conversations with many more organizations.  For our 2012 white paper “Insights into Nonprofit CRM” , we interviewed CIOs at 30 of the largest nonprofits in the country.  In the course of these conversations, three definitions for CRM emerged: CRM as a System, Service and Strategy.

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