Advancing Philanthropy--CRM That Meets The Needs Of Today's Social Donor
Advancing Philanthropy • May/June 2012
CRM That Meets The Needs Of Today’s Social Donor
By Patrick Dorsey
With Facebook on track to hit 1 billion members this summer, 100 million
currently tweeting on Twitter, and LinkedIn connecting 150 million
professionals, it should come as no surprise to nonprofit professionals that
today’s new “social” landscape presents an equal amount of challenges and
opportunities. It’s clear that a strong majority of people of all ages and
backgrounds now interact with their personal connections and professional
network through a variety of web-based and mobile social networks, as well
as blogs, gaming platforms and community forums. The characteristics of
today’s donor have not only evolved, but the individual is more involved.
So what does that mean for nonprofits which want to stay engaged on many
levels with today’s donors and potential donors? Social media certainly
provides powerful opportunities to not only connect with and educate a
potential donor, but send donor engagement soaring, thanks to the natural
connections arising out of posting, sharing, linking and “liking.” But in order
to best take advantage of these new ways to develop a two-way dialogue
with donors and even increase their loyalty to the mission, organizations
need to develop a strong, clear strategy. That strategy needs to help
navigate this new social universe as well as integrate it into current
customer (i.e. donor) relationship management efforts.
That’s because the rules guiding the “relationship” part of CRM, or customer
relationship management, have fundamentally changed — for good. And
donors are the ones writing the new rules of this ever-evolving game.
Developing Authentic Engagement to Drive Donations
Nonprofits are changing — thanks, most of all, to the changing attitudes,
needs and desires of their constituents, donors and/or patrons. Today’s
active constituents want to engage with an organizations on their own
terms, based on their needs at the moment, as opposed to the passive
participants of the past, who simply opened their mailbox or email inbox to
receive the latest message or request.
The rise of social media has put donors in the driver’s seat when it comes to
engagement — they can speak up when they want, share thoughts with
others, or opt-out of any connection. Traditional “push” and “pull” marketing
and communications tactics are no longer enough to connect with donors,
and simply measuring and analyzing engagement through their transactions
will miss many valuable opportunities to gauge connections, encourage
participation and build long-term relationships with the individuals and
organizations that passionately support their mission.
Instead, if organizations want more from donors, they must connect with
them where they are and how they want — in a personalized, relevant way.
Furthermore, donors may also want to be able to interact with others with
similar interests within the communities and organizations in which they
participate. They assume the leadership of the organization will be aware of
the conversations happening about the organization and their cause in the
social sphere, and that the organization will respond promptly to what is
Sounds like a whole lot of effort, right? However, if you invest the time,
energy and expense to develop authentic, real-time interaction and
engagement with donor through social media, you will get a significant
return. First of all, your donor will be more likely to engage in various ways
that count — including volunteering, attending events, spreading the word
about important issues and contributing to your group’s overall mission. In
addition, you’ll have the chance to build the kind of long-term loyalty that
leads to organizational growth and boosts bottom-line results. That can
make your efforts a worthwhile win-win.
The Rise Of Social CRM
All of the above leads to what has become an inarguable fact: Getting on the
social media bandwagon is no longer a “maybe-we-should” option for
organizations. Instead, it is a “must-do.” Simply put, those who don’t will be
left behind by the progressive ones working to meet their donor’s current
and future wants and needs.
However, taking advantage of the potential of this new, “social” donor isn’t
just about slapping a page up on Facebook or Twitter and posting daily
missives. Over the past few years, organizations have experimented in
different social media environments; however now it’s clear that social
media tools need to be used more thoughtfully and strategically, through the
gathering, measurement and analysis of social data, in order to provide a
clear view of the relationship with the donor that is useful and actionable.
That has led to the rise of “social” CRM.
How is Social CRM Different than Traditional Donor Management?
Social CRM moves beyond the transactional focus by seamlessly
incorporating the increasingly important social interactions of the
relationship into an organization's fundraising and business strategies to help
build long-term loyalty, trust, and mutual value -- one donor engagement at
a time. And to realize these benefits and more, nonprofits recognize a
comprehensive and integrated suite of donor management and social
business functionality is required. Organizations looking to upgrade a
traditional donor management solution may find a Social CRM suite with the
following components better suited to the evolving needs of their
constituents and improving the bottom line.
• Donor Database—a flexible yet comprehensive database with the
traditional modules and functionality historically associated with donor
management solutions is the core of Social CRM. However, Social CRM
will also include social features such as:
o Social Profiles--data from a donor’s social media profile
(Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as part of a profile to allow the ability to
map donor relationships, uncover valued social networks and
increase personalized service and communication.
o Social Events - leverage the power of integrated social media to
promote the value of an event, create unique event profiles, and
build communities around events so attendees can easily find
and connect with one another before, during and after the event.
• Community – a built-in online community is an organization’s own
social professional networking website – organization’s control the
look, content, advertising and access based on the donor data stored
in the database. A private online community platform provides donors
and potential donors a place to connect/collaborate with staff and with
one another through groups, discussions, events, profiles and more.
• Social Media Management and Monitoring (SMMM)--Social CRM
with SMMM functionality includes social media tools for listening,
engaging, publishing, and scheduling with powerful analytics. The
power of integrating the SMMM functionality with your donor database
resides in the ability to save particular posts and messages to
individual profiles in the donor database so important social
information about a donor’s experience and preferences or posts from
prospective-donors that mention the industry, cause or a particular
keyword can be captured and analyzed.
• Socialytics—measuring the growing stream of social media content as
well as the engagement level of individuals and organizations on an
ongoing basis to provide qualitative insight for calculating and
measuring the health of constituents, services and the overall business
is critical to the success of any Social CRM initiative. More than the
ability to score donor engagement, a complete social analytics suite
will include the ability to enhance, optimize and automate new and
existing programs and services to encourage donor engagement and
improve staff efficiency.
The “socialization” of society represents a fundamental shift in the way
fundraisers interact with their donors. The rise of the “social donor” makes
Social CRM the future of donor management.
Patrick Dorsey is vice president of marketing at Avectra, a developer of web-based member
and donor-based software for associations and not-for-profits.