In the last century, if you wanted to verify user information, you could hop on a phone call, or opt-in for physical meetups with a client. However, as technology has evolved to make client data easier to manage, CRMs do have the disadvantage of being difficult to monitor. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have made exponential progress as one of the most commonly implemented digital tool kits across nonprofit organizations. As an organization grows, the need for CRM software to make data have high quality and integrity has also increased.

Why being transparent with your data is important

As experts in the nonprofit sector, sharing information from your data can say a lot about your organization’s growth. Data transparency externally and internally empowers employees to work in unison to improve the quality and speed of decision-making amongst each other and with clients. Adopting it into your CRM processes will benefit your work within the organization and establish trust and credibility with donors and supporters.

If you’re setting up a new CRM, having transparent data helps create new insights from the previous data within the old system. It’s not that you couldn’t find much needed answers from a previous system, but more so those answers weren’t available to discover! So after investing into a new system and implementing it into your organizational strategy, the opportunity for data transparency increases exponentially! And last but not least, transparency breeds trust from donors when executives openly share the financial impact of fundraising efforts. Having access to clear data will help you monitor the outcome of your fundraising and serve as a catalyst for upcoming operational decisions. To sum up, data can help you interpret your communicative efforts and impact externally and internally.

Approval processing in CRM

To add an extra layer of data protection, organizations can add approval processes as part of their data management. Let’s take Salesforce for example. You have an audit coming up at the end of the quarter and you want to make sure that it’s presentable to your donors. You say, “Hey, I need a process put in place where it’s confirmed someone has reviewed this information.” What can happen is you build up the process that’ll require a “approval” or “dismissal” and other triggers to complete its cycle. You’d be able to adjust the process accordingly to the content you want to see within the audit. By the time it’s finalized, your organization has the necessary material, donors are satisfied with the presentation, and you have a system in place for validating your data’s integrity.

Implementing data integrity with your CRM

A big part of building donor relationships is ensuring your data remains consistent and accurate over the course of that relationship. Your organization relies heavily on data to make strategic decisions. You also have to consider your organization’s reputation when making data-based decisions. The quality and accuracy of client and donor data in the CRM system will impact a consistent, error-free way to enhance the client experience. For example, eliminating duplicate entries will reduce marketing costs by preventing duplicate marketing mailings, advertisements, and emails.

To validate the strength of your CRM data, take a few steps to keep it polished and free from errors. Remove any unnecessary or duplicated information to ensure you have data that displays honesty and trustworthiness. After each session, don’t forget to back up your data. This could look like saving it on a file or sending a copy to yourself. It’s always good to keep a backup. Also, try doing an audit trail periodically. With an audit, you can learn firsthand on how to spot a problem so that you can provide a proactive solution. Instill these practices so you’ll never worry about your organization’s credibility!

Still not sure where to start in securing your CRM transparency? Our team at Tackle would love to help you increase your data integrity. Contact us today to get started.

The end of year is upon us and Giving Tuesday is weeks away, appeals are getting sent, and special events are wrapping up. With all of these pushes, reporting becomes critical in measuring the success of your fundraising efforts.

I also know from personal experience that reporting is not usually top of mind when you are in the EOY fundraising flurry. There are letters to write, lists to pull, Giving Tuesday graphics to design… Reports are for later, right?! (Spoiler: they are not.)

For EOY reporting most people are looking for two things—measuring results and monitoring progress.

You want to know the final results like response rate, revenue, number of new donors, but you also need to know things like if people are finishing filling out donation forms or clicking on emails and if you might need to pivot if something is not working like intended.

This year, set yourself up for success and add reporting to that to-do list NOW and not later by asking yourself these two questions before you even get that end of year ask in inboxes.

  1. How do I know if what we are doing is successful or not?
  2. Are we set up to measure that thing?

Knowing your goals is important, but knowing if you met those goals is even more critical. Make sure you are keeping record of data that is tracking your progress. For example, if you sent out a test version of your EOY appeal, is the gifts processing team making note which version when they are entering the donation information into your database? Same for A/B testing for an email?

If you don’t make this plan ahead of time, this data will get lost. So take a few minutes today and think through these two questions and save yourself some reporting headaches later.

One last bit of advice, these two questions should be on your EOY planning each year. This is not a set it and forget it kind of thing. Every year your reporting should be more comprehensive than the year before. Your goals can change too. Make it an annual process to review your reporting and what information you would like to know going forward.

And if after you ask yourself these two questions you find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed with all that duplicate data or feeling a little lost navigating your CRM, I recommend checking out our EOY Reporting Tune-up package. Right now we are offering this service for only $2,499 (regularly $2,999) so it’s a perfect time to let Tackle take the reins and get your EOY reporting in top shape so you start the new year off right!

With end-of-year planning in full swing, don’t forget to add data cleaning to your checklist.

You want your technology systems to be in their best shape before your “busy” season begins, so making sure you start putting some processes into play now by practicing good data hygiene so you can guarantee your campaign will run as smoothly as possible.

Jeff Miller, our in-house data management guru, gives three recommendations for maintaining good data hygiene that you can start doing today.

1) Keep addresses up-to-date and in a consistent format.

Make use of address standardization and validation services offered as part of your CRM or online fundraising system, including CASS certification and NCOA address updates.

Consider adding a front-end address validator, like SmartyStreets, to donation forms and other web forms where addresses are collected.

2) Stop ALL bad data at the source.

It’s not just bad/incomplete addresses that can be stopped at the source. Consider all the sources of incoming data—web forms, data entry forms, system integrations, import/exports—and make sure that they’re consistent with each other and capturing the information that’s really needed.

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