2012: The Year of Putting the "Constituent" in CRM | npENGAGE

2012: The Year of Putting the “Constituent” in CRM

By on Dec 12, 2012


Fast forward to the heart wrenching break-up scene in your most beloved cheesy romantic comedy and you will almost always hear the popular phrase, “It’s not you…it’s me.” Now, I promise this is not designed to be a relationship blog post, rather a spin on that statement to show how 2012 was the year of nonprofits saying (directly and indirectly) to their constituents, “It’s not me… it’s YOU!” to show them why their mutual relationship is so important.

For many, 2012 was a year of emphasizing (or re-emphasizing) how to put the constituent at the center of the equation- not just for how the nonprofit views them and their constituent record/activity- but how they interact with them in a two way relationship! Here are a few ways that nonprofits put the “Constituent” in CRM:  through Social CRM, peer-to-peer and social fundraising, and smart data and analytics to provide timely and relevant engagement opportunities.

Social CRM

In the past, the traditional concept of CRM was mostly used by the folks in the sales and marketing departments of the business (and for a nonprofit, fundraising) – and was largely for the benefit of organization. The promise of CRM was that it would provide a consolidated view of the constituent for better visibility, tracking, and reporting. Social CRM does not depart from that promise- it rather changes the equation by bringing the constituent closer to the organization- and offers invaluable insights to another dimension of that constituent by integrating the “social side” of your constituents into your overall relationship efforts- their behaviors, attitudes, comments, and likes.

So, what exactly is Social CRM? In summary, Social CRM involves harvesting social media from public and private networks (visit this article for a wide variety of interesting uses of private networks), integrating that information into constituents’ profiles, and using that information to better serve and communicate with them.  To learn more,  check out this cool infographic about Social CRM.

Peer-to-Peer and Social Fundraising

What better way to capture your constituents’ passion and energy than to get those loyal constituents to “work” on your behalf? One great example of creative constituent engagement is the Salvation Army Online Red Kettle. Using a traditional form of fundraising (bell ringing), they were able to put the constituent in a bell ringers’ shoes by enabling them to set up a virtual red kettle and engage social media and other communication channels to fundraise on their behalf. It was easy, accessible, and from my own personal experience, it was a lot of fun to be a virtual bell ringer! This example shows how a traditional peer to peer “face to face” fundraising campaign is using a multi-channel engagement approach to reach new audiences and engage constituents to fundraise on behalf of the organization.  Want to learn more? Check out Robyn Mendez’s post about Expanding Beyond the Fundraising Event to learn more about social and peer-to-peer fundraising.

Smart Data and Analytics- Work Smarter, Not Harder

I love Miriam Kagin’s recap of 2012’s CRM Trends, particularly the part about CRM being nothing without analytics. With all of the time in the world, one could spend hours on the internet attempting to mine web sites for constituent data that might be useful- and then aggregating that data and drawing conclusions. For the rest of us, the time spent consolidating and analyzing the data would be daunting to near impossible. With smart data and analytics, that brings that concept right into your CRM database to intelligently serve up metrics and helpful tips (One possible example: Your database suggesting a recommended course of action/treatment for that group of donors based off what the data is telling you- i.e. ask them for more! Ask for less! 35% are missing address info!)- without leaving your screen and work in progress.

The result?

Using powerful data insights to proactively help users identify opportunities, trends, and metrics to help constituents reach that highest level of commitment- both to the benefit of the nonprofit organization and the constituent.

What a year! Who else is excited about what 2013 will bring for the world of CRM?


Tiffany Crumpton is the Director of Solution Management and Business Strategy at Blackbaud. In her previous role, she led the CRM marketing team for Blackbaud’s Enterprise solutions. She also managed Blackbaud’s Enterprise Solutions Engineer group and worked as a senior consultant and software instructor product lead, traveling across the globe working with customers to identify their business processes and needs to successfully implement Blackbaud products. Tiffany loves talking about all things CRM and how nonprofit organizations utilize these principles to analyze, identify, engage, and ultimately delight their constituents. Tiffany recently spent several years on the fundraising board of a local nonprofit and now serves as the chairperson of a community project group that exists to combat hunger and homelessness in the local community. In her free time, she enjoys gardening and watching college football. Connect with Tiffany on Twitter at @tiffanycrumpton.

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