A Complete CRM Vision: Don’t adopt CRM: Make Your Own Lines

complete crm vision

As your organization prepares for a CRM deployment, DO NOT discuss an adoption strategy; it’s the wrong conversation. Rather you should define and agree upon what constitutes CRM use and then make those processes mandatory. This is second in a 3-part series, “A complete CRM vision” – designed to help you plan your CRM.

  1. On July 21, I covered “From beginning-to-end staffing models
  2. CRM ROI. Stay tuned, this will be the final post – it will not be what you expect
  3. How to define what constitutes CRM use, today’s topic.

CRM Adoption. Why spend millions on a project to either have nobody use it OR have people use it in an unstrategic manner? Right. But forget about adoption, adoption in itself doesn’t mean anything. The larger and more interesting question that naturally will address “adoption” is “how do you want to use it?” This question – actually it is a series of questions including targeted follow-up questions – should be asked of senior management when CRM is merely a dream. This will give direction to your users upon go live and also ensure the work being done is strategic.

A CRM has an overwhelming amount of data points that can be captured. What I’m about to pose is heretical: Not all of the information you gather and input is high-value data. Organizations tend to spend the most data management time on low-value donors and data – this is because you have the least amount of data on these constituents and/or the data you have is unreliable. It is enticing to fill in those blanks but a donor who gave $25 ten years ago doesn’t merit the same focus as a $10K donor of last year or a $100 three-year repeat donor. Admitting this and talking through it is a great way to prioritize your staff’s data entry efforts and will result in the CRM seeming less daunting. Consider your staffing and this “high value” concept.

How do you want to use your CRM?

Your value proposition may look like this:

  1. Engage in segmented multi-channel communications and fundraising
  2. Manage prospect pipeline on your top prospects (moves management)
  3. Build and develop your pipeline of opportunity through taking some sort of action on your points of entry

And these are some high-value data points that support the above:

  1. Connection to cause / organization
  2. Most successful points of entry (initially likely based on anecdotes, ask your prospect researchers or Development Directors)
  3. Name, address, email, possibly DOB (for Planned Giving purposes)
  4. Moves management / account plans for top prospects and donors
  5. Recent giving history / appeals (beginning when? Upon go live or will you migrate historic data? Sidebar, consider not migrating old data, leads to a lot of clean-up and in the scheme of things, may be low priority)

As your CRM settles and you start to exploit the data you can expand the list of what you collect (remember, you may have to expand your staff or outsource); tie every data point to your value proposition. Knowing someone has green eyes and is left-handed is lovely but likely will not further your business or support your CRM value proposition.

Your CRM vision (how you want to use it), will determine what data you NEED to collect. You need a pro – a deployment partner or a seasoned internal staff member with cred – to ask these tough questions of Senior Management and business owners. They must buy-in to their own definition of CRM use.

In my experience, the best thinking doesn’t stay in-between the lines. However, when defining CRM use, you have the opportunity to make you own lines and serve the ball there. Make your CRM use (as you define it) mandatory and you have an ace.

Lisa Fay Wellek

About Lisa Fay Wellek

Lisa Fay Wellek has worked in the nonprofit sector for 20 years with focus on integrating CRM with fundraising. She is the owner of Philanthropy361 LLC, which consults with non-profits about how to best implement and strategically use CRM. She is a frequent project member with build Consulting. She was with JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) for 10 years in various roles including Chief of Staff for Development and most recently, National Director of CRM Strategy. With Lisa Fay’s leadership, JDRF launched LuminateCRM - a Blackbaud product that uses Salesforce.com as its development platform. She believes that in today’s fast paced tech-focused world, non-profits must invest in the right infrastructure and staff in order to be sustainable (let alone grow). Previous posts include: Stevens Institute of Technology, KPMG Consulting and University of Connecticut Foundation.

One comment

  1. Susan Kenna Wright

    Strong, collectively agreed upon reports definitely boost adoption.

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