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Take a Step Back: Evaluating Blackbaud CRM™ After the First Year & Beyond

Happy 1st (or 2nd, or 3rd..) Anniversary! You’ve been using Blackbaud CRM™ for more than a year now.. You have been plugging along, keeping your organization running recording revenue and acknowledging donors in a timely manner, growing your annual and major donor giving programs, and starting to really get the hang of using Blackbaud CRM™. Now is a good time to step back and look at how it is all working one year, two-years and beyond.

Maximizing ROI

By now, you’ve invested millions of dollars into your CRM and related solutions and will be continually looking to maximize the ROI for your organization. We have an ongoing series of blog posts about maximizing ROI: Maximizing ROI for Data Collection and Maximizing ROI Initiatives for Blackbaud CRM™.

As with the overall evaluation of CRM, the effort of data collection, data entry, database health and maintenance is an ongoing commitment. Although there should be ROI from increased efficiency and productivity, the true “bang for the buck” is to maximize fundraising activities and marketing efforts with higher quality, more robust data for data mining and business intelligence uses. Continually reviewing policies, business processes, and system configuration will assist in that effort.

Plan Continual Training

Don’t underestimate the importance of training and re-training your staff. Everyone using Blackbaud CRM™ has different and unique needs, and it is very important to ensure that those unique users are following organizational standards and using the system consistently. One of the biggest, most challenging areas of the system is query. Ensuring that users understand how to build queries is critical to ongoing reporting accuracy. Check out these two posts about Blackbaud CRM™ Query: A Query Field Reference , and Is Ad-hoc Query The Right Tool for the job?

Recorded training that users can watch at their own pace, job aids that focus on specific tasks and areas of the system, “brown bag” lunch and learns and more formal classroom training are all ways to keep your end users engaged and informed.

Look at Your Data

You know data is going in to the Blackbaud CRM™ according to your well thought out policies and procedures. While you spent time mapping, testing, converting, re-mapping, and re-testing, during conversion, it’s critical to go back and re-examine how your converted data. Have things changed since the conversion? Do you have new coding? Do all of the decisions you made during conversion still make sense? If you’re answering yes to one or more of these questions, it’s time to clean your old data!

Many organizations find themselves in the first year after go-live doing data cleanup, moving data to more appropriate fields or re-coding data based on new requirements. After a few years of utilizing Blackbaud CRM™, you might find the need to re-design one or more areas of the system. This was the case with Best Friends Animal Society when they decided to implement a new General Ledger design. To learn more about how we helped Best Friends Animal Society accomplish their goals within Blackbaud CRM read: A Data Driven Account System.

Needing, or wanting, to redesign part of Blackbaud CRM(™) is completely natural and expected. As fundraising and organizational needs change, system requirements will change. As technology advances and new tools become available, your usage of CRM will change too. That’s the beauty of the solution, you can make it change to meet your need - you don't have to change to fit the system.

Improve Data Before You Import It

Review your import sources. Is the data coming in clean? Are you running data integrity queries on data added to the system? Importing data into Blackbaud CRM(™) hasn’t always been the easiest of processes. There are a variety of different ways to get data into the system from standard out of the box import to customized imports/batches and at BrightVine we even built an import tool to allow you to import data, perform data hygiene before the data is imported, and run Address Validation before the data is added to CRM.

That’s right, you can use the BrightVine Data Loader to bring data into the system using flat files or by connecting to an API. Once the data source is connected, you can automate the process and set up custom logic to clean and update your data. Need to add an attribute to every row being imported? Or perhaps you only need to add an attribute to certain rows based on a value in another field. No problem, the Data Loader allows you to do that. Want to validate all of a constituents addresses? Not just the primary? The Data Loader connects to Address Validation and can run that process before your data is ever imported meaning much better duplicate matching results and less work in CRM. To learn more about the data loader, check out: The BrightVine Data Loader

Review Business Processes

Now that you’ve been using Blackbaud CRM™ for some time, you may have found that your business process need to be refined, or you may have found that the system needs to be reconfigured or customized to meet your existing processes. As the way you do business changes, and fundraising objectives evolve, you should leverage Blackbaud CRM™ to its fullest capabilities. Take time to reevaluate your processes and identify what changes are needed to increase efficiency and allow business users to be more successful.

Once you’ve reevaluated your processes, you should be sure to document all processes (including any that weren’t documented during the implementation) and update all of the job aids, training guides and other documentation you created along the way.

You’ll be celebrating anniversaries for years to come and continually reviewing and maintaining your Blackbaud CRM™ database annually is the best present you could give yourself and your team! If you need help with Blackbaud CRM™ let us know! We’d love to connect.

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