In a 3 part series, we've been explaining how to use Google and Outlook calendars with Blackbaud CRM™. “Why would I want to do this? Isn’t there a calendar in CRM that shows me all the events that are going on already? Can’t I look a a dashboard and see what interactions I have coming up that I need to take action on?”
Yes, that is true. There is a master calendar in CRM where you can see all kinds of events and filter on them. And there can be all sorts of events that get created in CRM: board meetings, fundraisers, social events, cultivation and stewardship events. They may involve members of the immediate advancement or fundraising team, or they may involve people across the organization who are not necessarily CRM users.
Having these events on a calendar that is accessible to a wider audience, when desired, provides visibility into what is taking place for the whole organization. It can fit the events from the fundraising area into the overall context of the organization as a whole.
Fundraiser dashboards provide excellent information about your activities as a fundraiser and about what’s past-due, upcoming, where you stand in the cultivation process overall with your prospects. But, there’s a value in having interactions appear in Outlook or on Google Calendar. Most of us plan our days and our weeks based on all the things we have to get done, not just the set of work items or just the personal ones.
For example, I start my day looking at my appointments and to-do list and it may look like this:
9:00 am Conference call
10:30 am Dentist
3:00 pm Staff meeting
Review draft blog posting
Call to set appt. to get car inspected
There are things that are personal and things that are work-related, and they are all housed in one place, because I need to do them ALL. If you are a fundraiser, some of these could be coming from CRM, and some were put directly into Outlook/Google when you scheduled them.
As noted in the other posts, it is up to the organization or the user what to “share” and how to handle information changes. But the capabilities are there. It’s about using CRM as a fundraising and cultivation tool AND about integrating it with the other tools used by your organization or that you use to get things done.