Technology, like just about everything else in life, has dramatically changed the electioneering landscape. Every single campaign activity was done with pen and paper until personal computers and spreadsheets allowed for information digitization; every note from a door knock had to be hand entered at the end of the day until smartphones allowed data to be collected at the doorstop; every single donation had to be in the form of cash or a check that you physically had to take to the bank until web solutions allowed for personal credit and debit card processing.
The newest technology to revolutionize campaign and non-profit fundraising is known as Customer Relationship Management, or CRM.
The word “customer” is used because CRM got its footing in the business world, where its modern use has been utilized since the mid-2000’s. Though we will continue to use CRM throughout this post, you can simply replace “customer” with “volunteer,” “donor,” or “voter” depending on the circumstance you are using it for.
What is CRM?
If you have ever tried to manage a group project, you know that information tends to sort of just...collect. You try putting it into places that make sense: spreadsheets, word documents, email contacts, and post-it notes. You’ll do your best to remember it all, but things will always slip through the cracks. If you are lucky, all of this information is actually in one spot but, let’s be honest, it never is - and if you are not the only person looking at this information, the information can quickly become a chaotic mess.
In the end, no one quite knows where anything is, and the information you have collected is not as useful as it could be. This is where CRMs come in.
CRMs act as a one-stop-shop for creating, housing, and using information about your current and prospective donors. Specifically, CRMs help you track information related to interactions you have had with individuals (in this case, with donors and volunteers) in order to effectively and efficiently engage, target, and follow up with them based on the criteria you are considering.
Benefits of CRMs
CRMs allow greater automation and customization of activities. For example, a CRM can generate a filtered list of people you need to call based on whatever reason you have decided upon, call that person with the push of a button, note the result of the call (if they didn’t pick up, it was a bad number, or if a conversation took place), record when the call took place, and allow you to add notes with keywords that you can search for later.
Suppose you wanted to contact people you spoke with months ago, but perhaps they haven’t donated or followed up. Now, a CRM can generate this list but it can note that you already talked to a person about a $500 pledge they made earlier in the week, so you don’t need to call them again about a new donation. Instead, you should try to close the pledge.
But it doesn’t just stop with phone calls. Emails, text messages, thank you letters, and in-person interactions all can be tracked with CRMs. CRMs ensure that you are not oversaturating your donors and volunteers by giving you the tools to effectively filter lists with just a few clicks.
Also, let us not forget that institutional knowledge is a useful but fickle thing. If you hire a campaign manager that has implemented a tracking system that works perfectly for them but makes no sense to anyone else, you will quickly be in a world of hurt if that manager decides to quit. All of the information is...just...gone. Instead of having to piece bits and pieces of information together, CRMs allow you to have a unified and standardized system that allows any authorized individual to access and update important information at any time.
Finally, CRMs can help you manage your finances to ensure that you are meeting internal goals and reporting information to officials with ease. The reason for this is that financial information is centralized and easily tracked; some processes, like electronic donations, are even automatically updated in the system without you having to lift a finger. This alone can make CRMs a lifesaver for your campaign during crunch time.
In short, CRMs can save you quite a bit of time and energy when collecting all the necessary and important information related to your campaign. It really is the best of both worlds: automation AND personalization.
How to Get Started
By now, the benefits of a CRM to your campaign should be clear - and FundHero has its own integrated CRM system that is designed specifically for campaigns. This powerful tool is just part of what FundHero has to offer your campaign and we are happy to schedule a demonstration to show you just how big of a game-changer our CRM system is. Contact us today to get started!