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Data Integration: 5 Reasons Systems Need to Work Together

Data integration across all nonprofit systems helps your team work smarter. Nonprofit organizations have long worked in isolated systems, forcing team members to work in data silos. This causes several internal complications, like data integrity, missed opportunities, and inconsistent donor communications. Data integration ensures everyone is working off the same data, reducing any room for error. Ready to find out more about why nonprofits are opting for a responsive nonprofit CRM like Virtuous? Read on.

Data integration is one of the most valuable features of a CRM for nonprofits. It breaks down data silos that can often bring up internal complications. Integrated data also brings together pertinent information, like donor data and campaign performance metrics.

This consolidated view of data across all organizational activities will save your team time. It’ll also give you peace of mind that decisions are grounded in the most accurate and up-to-date data. Additionally, data integration prevents discrepancies across departments, which can often happen when everyone is working in a different system.

The Challenges of Data Integration: What’s Holding Nonprofits Back?

Modern nonprofits recognize that a single system cannot fulfill all their needs. Instead, they typically have a technology stack that integrates various functionalities that span donor management, email marketing, fundraising, and volunteer management.

Managing data across systems is challenging, but unifying these systems helps you establish an interconnected digital ecosystem. That’s the power of effective data integration. Yet, many organizations struggle to break down data silos, leaving them with fragmented operations and limited impact.

Creating pathways between systems is an easy no-brainer, so what’s causing us to operate in such a fragmented way? It all boils down to a few foundational issues:

  • Inadequate systems: Many nonprofits still rely on legacy CRMs that often cannot integrate with other platforms, leading to data silos.
  • Budget constraints: Nonprofits often operate with limited budgets, restricting their options for investing in more sophisticated CRM systems. This leaves them with single-source solutions that don’t come equipped with more advanced features, like data integration.
  • Limited technical know-how: It can be pretty common for nonprofits not to have the in-house technical expertise required to implement and manage integrated data systems. This often poses a significant barrier to moving away from such disparate systems.
  • Data security concerns: Integrating data across systems can raise concerns about data security and privacy, especially if nonprofits don’t completely trust their CRM.

5 Reasons to Choose Responsive CRM Software for Data Integration

Scattered data leads to gaps in visibility, particularly in areas like donor activity and campaign tracking. This often triggers a domino effect of issues: data entry mistakes, inconsistent messaging and outreach strategies, and communication gaps.

Nonprofits still functioning within these constraints need a better solution, and it starts with leaving behind ad-hoc, isolated fundraising methods to a more responsive fundraising model.

Grounded in modern technology, data intelligence, and a donor-centric approach, the responsive fundraising framework responds to the unique needs of every individual, fostering trust by strengthening the bond between donors’ passions and your organization’s mission.

With a responsive nonprofit CRM like Virtuous, the open API ensures you can integrate data between all of your systems, preserving the integrity of your data and optimizing your internal workflows.

1. Strategic Decisions Backed By Data Integration

To further your mission and grow your fundraising year over year, you need to make smart, data-driven decisions. This means getting a deep dive into what donors like, which campaigns are hitting the mark, and where things can run a little more smoothly.

Reports play a big role in how you distill the information in your donor management system. They provide detailed insights and analytics, transforming raw data into actionable information. However, generating reports with traditional CRMs can be a time-consuming process.

Many platforms are inefficient at migrating data through multiple systems, forcing nonprofits to waste time manually extracting and uploading cumbersome data reports. This bottleneck severely limits your ability to analyze crucial information in real-time, hampering your team’s efforts to optimize campaign performance on the fly.

Virtuous can be customized to your integration needs, thanks to dozens of native integrations, Zapier automations, and our open API. This flexibility allows organizations to automate the syncing and grouping of data from other systems into their donor management system, guaranteeing data hygiene, accuracy, and completeness.

“We really appreciate that Virtuous was willing to work with and integrate with other systems. Virtuous isn’t an email marketing tool or peer-to-peer fundraising tool but instead focuses on being a great CRM and integrating with others,” Jeanne Honsaker, VP of Advancement at Exodus Road.

2. Better Allocation of Resources

Without a comprehensive view of your donor data and engagement metrics, it’s like taking a shot in the dark when it comes to allocating resources and understanding the impact of your investments.

How do you know if you’re putting your efforts in the right place or if you’re wasting hard-earned resources?

CRM analytics and reporting provide you with real-time insights. But it’s more than just numbers and charts. You get a clear picture of how your campaigns are performing and which fundraising efforts are resonating with your supporters. With this level of visibility, you make decisions based on data, not guesswork.

3. Increased Productivity Across Teams

Without a streamlined process and clear task assignments, organizations often find it challenging to stay on top of their projects. This can manifest as an overload of tasks, poor coordination among team members, and overlooked follow-ups.

These barriers can negatively impact your fundraising, but that’s where a responsive nonprofit CRM can boost productivity in all of your departments. Because data is consolidated in one place, it opens up opportunities for better communication and enhanced team collaboration.

The Lutheran Home Association‘s outdated and inefficient CRM system severely hindered its ability to understand its donors. This lack of visibility prevented it from adopting a truly donor-centric fundraising approach, limiting its potential for growth and impact. Now, the organization is unlocking new levels of productivity thanks to powerful tools like CRM and marketing automation.

“The day-to-day operation is so much smoother and so much easier to do that it increased our productivity in the office by at least 50%,” Mark Hayes, President of Ministry at Lutheran Home Association.

When used right, marketing automation for nonprofits can help free up valuable staff time, which can then be redirected toward crucial areas like campaign strategy, donor engagement, and program expansion. It goes beyond just automating routine processes—it amplifies your team’s efforts and enables them to achieve more in less time.

4. Transparency in Fundraising Performance

With a responsive CRM, data silos become a thing of the past. Your fundraising, marketing, development, IT, finance, and other departments can access a centralized database that houses all relevant donor information. This means that everyone in your organization, from marketers creating targeted appeals for various donor segments to IT professionals ensuring the highest security standards, can work with the same up-to-date information.

This holistic view of donor information helps teams across organizations like One Hope make more meaningful connections with donors. This has allowed the One Hope team to make donors feel like they are truly part of the cause, leading to more loyal supporters.

“Real-time access to rich partner data provides our staff with a better overall understanding of who that person is, which in turn allows us to truly personalize our contact with them, whether it’s email, mail, a call, or a note,” says Sheryl Root, Partner Database Manager at OneHope.

5. Assurance in Data Security

As the central hub for sensitive donor data, financial records, and other confidential information, your CRM is responsible for keeping the highest standards for nonprofit cybersecurity.

Because of this, nonprofits need a responsive CRM with comprehensive data security, including robust encryption, access controls, and regular security updates.

Organizations turn to Virtuous not just for our expertise in building meaningful donor relationships but also for our dedication to meeting the sector’s evolving security and compliance needs. We operate exclusively on the Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform, prioritizing the safety and confidentiality of our nonprofit partners’ donor data.

Leveraging Microsoft’s robust infrastructure, our nonprofit clients can have confidence that their data remains secure and safeguarded, thanks to a range of advanced encryption techniques, protocols, and algorithms.

Next step: Fine-Tuning Segmentation and Personas

To help you become a more responsive nonprofit, we’ve adopted a maturity model framework, a step-by-step guide often used by organizations to benchmark their current level of maturity against industry best practices.

As you progress across each step, you’ll see increased team effectiveness, increased donor retention and gift size, decreased staff burnout, improved advocacy, and improved donor acquisition metrics.

Download The Responsive Maturity Model: 5 Building Blocks to Drive Increased Generosity to learn the five building blocks of responsive fundraising.

What you should do now

Below are three ways we can help you begin your journey to building more personalized fundraising with responsive technology.

See the Virtuous platform in action.  Schedule a call with our team for personalized answers and expert advice on transforming your nonprofit with donor management software.

Download our free Responsive Maturity Model and learn the 5 steps to more personalized donor experiences.

If you know another nonprofit pro who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via Email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.

The Responsive Maturity Model
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“Virtuous truly understands nonprofits and the importance of our mission. And their open access to data and built-in custom reports gave us access to the data we need.”
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Todd Shinabarger
Chief Information Officer