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Maximizing ROI for CRM Initiatives: Part 2 Data Collection

Organizations across all industries are investing millions of dollars in CRM initiatives. The trend is also present within the nonprofit industry. Whether an investment in a system conversion or upgrade, organization leaders and stakeholders are trying to identify ways to maximize and track their return on investment. ROI for CRM is challenging to analyze as true benefits are indirect and span over a period of time. Traditional cost analysis models do not work for CRM initiatives but it is possible to track ROI. Through this series of 4 articles, we will explore measuring success, data collection, fundraising, and actions that can be used to maximize the organization's return on investment for CRM initiatives.

Data Collection Overview

CRM should be the 360 degree view of the constituent. Knowledge of the constituent is essential to maximize donor experience, and provide high quality, robust data for fundraising/marketing efforts. Data collection and data entry are essential to this goal. In addition, CRM also provides processes to increase efficiency and productivity. The following are a few of those processes for data collection and data entry that can help to increase ROI.

Constituent Information

Discovery of constituent information happens with every constituent interaction, whether at an event, or in a phone call. “Golden nuggets” of information should be entered into CRM to be used in further data mining. Every staff member should understand the importance of collecting constituent information and have the ability to enter it into CRM (or a process to get it entered into CRM).

With the entire staff collecting data and entering it into CRM, the wealth of data increases and can be used to enhance other efforts and increase effectiveness.

Constituent Communication

An organization should be committed to CRM being the constituent database of record. Therefore, all constituent communications should be entered (or imported) into CRM to ensure an accurate 360 degree view.

Communication trends (positive and negative) are essential to marketing analysis. Are constituents more responsive to a financial ask after a certain number or types of interactions? What is the number of constituent interactions where signs of donor fatigue are present? These questions can only be answered if all (or almost all) of the interactions are in the database.

Efforts should be made to integrate third party communications into CRM. Although it may not be possible (due to time/money) to import every detail of an interaction, indication the interaction took place and the type is beneficial. It is crucial to have all financial asks in CRM.

Within BBCRM there are several processes that can be used to manage constituent communications.

  • Single Constituent Interaction (email/phone/mail)

  • Add an Interaction

  • Write a Letter

  • Send an email (integration with email system)

  • Group Interaction

  • Event Invitations

  • Manage Correspondence Processes

  • Add Constituent Interaction Global Change

  • Marketing

  • Acknowledgements

  • Reminders

  • Appeal Mailings

  • Direct Response Efforts (mail, email, phone, and public media)

Communication Processes
Manage Correspondence Process

BBCRM Manage Correspondence processes allow users to identify a group of constituents meeting specific criteria to send some type of communication. The process can provide an export, mail merge, or an email file. In addition when the process is run, the process updates the constituent record with an interaction automatically.

The BBCRM Manage Correspondence feature provides all the steps necessary to send and track a constituent communication in one process. The process can be reused for repetitive communications, i.e. birthday messages. This process will increase staff efficiency and ensure the accurate data collection of the constituent communication.

Add Constituent Interaction Global Change

If constituent communication occurs outside of BBCRM an interaction can be added to a group of constituents using the Add Constituent Interaction Global Change. This global change can be run for a selection of constituent lookup IDs. The lookup IDs can come from a query within the system or an imported list from outside the system. The Add Constituent Interaction Global Change can be used to keep constituent communication records updated with interactions that occur outside BBCRM.


BBCRM offers an excellent reminder process which allows organizations to be more specific with pledge and recurring gift reminders. Organizations can use BBCRM and the reminder process to increase collection rates.

A key to increasing collection rates is to remind the donor of what moved them to make the pledge or recurring gift commitment. Using the appeal, marketing effort, source code, or designation to track the original fundraising message, organizations can create a specific reminder template for a constituent (or group of constituents). In addition, studies have shown including relevant pictures and messaging of how the money has been used will increase collection rates. The BBCRM reminder process can be used to send specific reminders to multiple groups of constituents and use multiple templates.


Acknowledgements are a great constituent relationship builder and can be used to provide soft marketing messages (planting seeds) to assist with later marketing efforts (the harvest). BBCRM has several features to manage tax receipting and acknowledgement processing.

Receipts and standard acknowledgement processes, and tribute acknowledgments are efficient processes in BBCRM. BBCRM also offers Marketing Acknowledgments which can be segmented and provide more specific templates/messaging options should an organization desire a more robust acknowledgement process.

Data Enrichment

Staff discovery and entry of constituent information is the main way to increase the wealth of data in BBCRM; however, data enrichment services from other parties can also be beneficial. BBCRM offers exporting/importing features which facilitates supplementing data from other sources. Data enrichment can be helpful to gain insight into constituents and/or fill in any gaps of missing data. Common data enrichments services include:

  • Email/Phone Appends

  • Wealth Overlays

  • Demographic Overlays

  • Indexs

Data Health and Maintenance

Data health and maintenance is an ongoing investment and should not be overlooked. Database hygiene increases accuracy of direct mail, telemarketing, and email campaigns; in addition to, reducing costs associated to bad addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses. Some hygiene processes can reduce other expenses, i.e. continuous NCOA and DSF2 can reduce postage rates.

  • NCOA (National Change of Address - USPS)

  • DSF2 (USPS)

  • PCOA (Private Change of Address)

  • Address Validation

  • Email Validation

  • Phone Validation

  • Duplicate Detection

Staffing - Development Support

To support the various features of CRM which assist with ROI takes technical skills that are not common with fundraisers. To maximize the ROI, resources are needed to support the development staff with the data models, queries, managing templates, HTML to support email templates, imports/exports, etc. Organizations should be prepared to invest in support staff to assist with managing CRM.

In our next article, we will focus on maximizing ROI through CRM fundraising efforts. Please stay tuned to the BrightVine Solutions’ blog for more tips and information.

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