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Using Blackbaud CRM™ Communication Templates to Simplify the Marketing Effort Setup Process

Marketing efforts in Blackbaud CRM™ are an extremely powerful tool to build, deploy, and track communication efforts to your constituents. But they can often be time-consuming to set up.

One way to streamline and standardize the process of marketing effort creation is by being smart when setting up your custom communication templates. Administrators can build templates that include only the features and options your organization uses for direct marketing efforts. You can preselect values for many fields, including appeals, export definitions, universe, and exclusions. You can also lock selected fields to ensure that the values aren’t edited, which ensures that no errors are made during the setup process.

The Communications templates tool is found under the Configuration heading on the Marketing and Communications tab of CRM. When you click Add to create a template, a screen will appear with a series of forms that walk you through the communication template setup process.

The most powerful options for setting up communication templates are found in the Select features and defaults form. This form is split into a series of tabs you can navigate between to set up various parts of the template.

The forms give options to set default values and lock or unlock fields related to general set up of the effort, source code, export format, activation, address processing, KPIs, universe, and exclusions.

When you set a default value for a field, that value will be used any time the communication template is selected. For most fields you can also choose to lock or unlock the value. If a field is left unlocked, the end user has the flexibility to change the chosen default when they set up an effort using the template. However, if a field is locked, the field is hidden on the marketing effort and the value selected on the template is always used.

Here are a few ideas for how you can use communication templates to streamline and standardize the marketing effort set up process for your organization.

1. Set up communication templates for each channel.

When working on a marketing effort, the channel (i.e. mail, email, phone, etc.) often dictates much of the set up for the effort. For example, with a mail template you would always use the “Do Not Mail” solicit code exclusion, while an email template would always use a “Do Not Email” solicit code exclusion. To save time and standardize your processes, you can set up separate mail, email, and phone templates. Each template can have the standard export formats, exclusions, and other options built in for that particular channel.

2. Use templates to cut out steps for recurring efforts.

Do you have a certain effort that you set up on a recurring basis - for example, a monthly newsletter appeal? To save time, you can create a template just for that specific type of communication. On your “Monthly Newsletter Template”, you can preselect the description, appeal, channel, universe, and exclusions that are typically used for that communication.

3. Provide security and quality control around standard exclusions.

We’ve all been there - you get a call from a colleague wondering why a certain VIP major donor received the recent direct mail appeal asking for a $25 donation, and you realize you forgot to add a certain exclusion to your marketing effort. Avoid this issue by building standard exclusions into your communication templates. This acts as a great fail-safe, preventing end users from forgetting or misusing an important exclusion. You can do this for solicit code exclusions like “Do Not Contact”, or even for exclusion selections that remove important groups like board members, VIPs, or major donors. For extra security, use the locking feature to make it impossible for the default standard exclusions to be changed or removed.

There are many ways that you can make communication templates work for your organization, resulting in time saved and errors prevented. If you would like to learn more about communication templates and how to maximize your marketing effort efficiency, contact BrightVine today!

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