Now, I know what you may be thinking: Why the hecks does my overworked team need yet another acronym? Actually, if you are reading this, your first thought might be: What the hecks is a CRM? (We’ll talk about your grammar later.) If you are a nonprofit, CRM stands for Constituent Relationship Management. In the world of business, it stands for Customer Relationship Management. But the basic idea is the same. You have people, and you want to take care of those people. You need to take care of those people. But you are also human — a wonderful, magical, fallible human. You need tools to help augment your maxed out synapses. That’s where CRMs come in.
Reason #1 — Redundancy
Remember that time you needed that file, but it was on Tammy’s desktop, and Tammy was out of the office? Not only did you lose valuable time trying to find that important file, you also had to be that jerk who called Tammy on maternity leave and asked her to give you her password. Congratulations! You just scored an ethics, labor, and security violation all in one!
Redundant processes are generally terrible. But redundant information is vital. Too many small teams fall prey to the problem of important knowledge only existing in people’s brains. If a piano were to fall on you today, your team should be able (after an appropriate period of mourning) carry on without you. A CRM makes that possible by putting what you know and were doing out into your office’s operational ecosystem.
Reason #2 — Efficiency
Nonprofits often do not like the word “efficiency.” It feels too businessy, too assembly-line. But here is another way of thinking about it: every minute you waste is a minute stolen from the people you serve. That does not mean you need to spend every minute of the day frantically clacking at your computer. People are not robots. Social interactions, small talk, and the occasional office prank are essential to having a functioning work culture. But on the point about not being robots, staff do not need to be wasting valuable time doing tasks that involve a lot of switching between windows and copy-paste operations. A decent CRM can automate a lot of tasks, generating reminders and executing pre-defined workflows. Efficiency is stewardship. If a CRM can give your talent more time to focus on the people you serve, it would be negligent to dismiss using one.
Reason #3 — Data
Data is just another word for information. The opposite of informed is ignorant. So, if you are not making decisions informed by data, you are making decisions informed by ignorance. The problem is that most small teams do not have time to gather as much data as they need or would want. This is where a good CRM can be extremely helpful. If a CRM is used effectively and properly integrated into your office processes, then it will gather data for you. Generating reports can happen in a few clicks. Most CRMs also come with dashboards to help you stay in the loop in real time. Note the stressed words above. Effective integration into your team’s processes is the key difference between a CRM that is doing its job versus a CRM that is just another expense. The human element always matters most. See below.
But…a CRM is Not Enough!
Honestly, hand to God [*looks overhead for pianos*], if you have never really used a CRM, or used a CRM well, you need to pull in some professional help. Technology is just a tool. It does not solve problems (though it can create them). People solve problems with technology. Selecting the right CRM, configuring it to match your operations, coming up with rules and conventions, and regular maintenance to ensure data integrity — these are vital to making a CRM do everything it is supposed to do for your team. Otherwise, you are basically just holding a tool and swinging it wildly. (Here comes the advertising part of this blog. Get ready…)
If you are considering getting a new CRM, or just want to make better use of the one you have, you should book a discovery call with us. The call is free. We don’t do sales. We just want to know if we can help you, and if we think we can, we will guarantee our work. So go ahead, click the red button below. You know you want to.