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How Nonprofit CRM Software Unites Teams and Breaks Down Silos

Find out how responsive nonprofit CRM software can boost team productivity. The biggest culprit to organizational efficiency? Data silos. Responsive nonprofit CRM software can help nonprofits enhance collaboration across teams, resulting in improved productivity and more informed fundraising decisions. Explore this blog to discover five key team optimizations from better technology.

The advent of nonprofit CRM software has given organizations more actionable insights into donor data and offers a way to consolidate the thousands of donor records that previously sat in static Excel spreadsheets.

As nonprofits outgrow dependence on traditional fundraising methods, like direct mail appeals or door-to-door canvassing, and rely on a more multichannel strategic approach, organizations need software that does more than just store data. To keep up with the expectations of today’s donors, nonprofits need a growth partner—one that not only amplifies and expands their fundraising capacity but also affords them to power to do more with less.

The problem is that legacy nonprofit CRM systems have not kept up with the advanced fundraising and marketing functionalities that nonprofits require. Beyond data collection, donor management systems that were once designed to make data management easier for nonprofits do anything but. These platforms often come rife with data challenges, hampering teams in gaining visibility into vital KPIs and in working together productively.

The Roadblock Facing Nonprofit Teams: Data Silos

If you’re departments are struggling to get on the same page and often feel out of the loop, there’s one likely culprit: data silos. These barriers arise when information becomes isolated within different systems, hindering the free flow of data across the organization and disrupting the way your teams work together.

Data silos can happen for several reasons:

  • Each department uses different tools: When departments operate as individual entities across the organization, what can happen is that tools are selected based on the department’s needs. This tends to happen more often in larger organizations. The data then lives in disparate systems with no way to communicate with one another.
  • Systems aren’t compatible: This often happens when teams inherit a legacy system that the organization has been using for years. Because the nonprofit CRM is outdated, its format is incompatible with newer tools, leading to the manual migration of data.
  • The nonprofit CRM has limited integration capabilities: It’s rare to have one system that does it all. It’s common for organizations to have several tools in their technology arsenal. However, when integration capabilities aren’t considered, data can end up compartmentalized in separate systems.

Between development, marketing, IT, and even finance, each department plays a role in your fundraising outcomes. For instance, while the fundraising team works on tailoring campaigns based on the data insights, the marketing team aligns messaging across the organization and the IT department optimizes systems to ensure the security of your donor data.

But when teams work in independent silos, it creates a rift in visibility across departments, leading to disconnected team collaboration and ultimately resulting in disjointed donor experiences.

Every department must have full visibility of donor data so that they can collaborate seamlessly and work towards shared organizational goals. With data silos, your organization will encounter a full host of problems, such as inaccurate insights, reduced efficiency, inconsistent messaging, and security risks.

Responsive Nonprofit CRM Software Breaks Down Data Silos

The issues that arise from data silos prevent your organization from maximizing its mission impact, forcing your team to allocate additional resources to address errors or implement time-intensive workarounds. These data barriers can often hinder your organizational growth, so it’s important to find a nonprofit CRM that works in harmony with your team—instead of working against it.

Unlike a traditional CRM that often comes riddled with inefficiencies, like data silos and reporting complications, a responsive CRM can help your teams collaborate seamlessly with one another, leading to enhanced productivity and better decision-making on fundraising.

“Our biggest thing [with Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge] is difficulty in querying, running certain reports. We found that they keep taking things away from us,” Barbara Krusko, Chief Development Officer at Arizona’s Children Association, explains. “I became frustrated with a lot. Our issues are being able to focus on donor retention and get personal with our donors. It was difficult to do that with this particular database that we were working with.”

Virtuous is a responsive nonprofit CRM that was built to both foster interdepartmental collaboration and increase average donor retention with targeted relationship-building features. With dozens of native integrations and an open API, organizations can easily migrate their data into one centralized database. This enables organizations to streamline their reporting and strategic decision-making process, even automating the generation of customized reports to send to teams regularly.

5 Team Optimizations From Responsive Nonprofit CRM Software

Organizations like Arizona’s Children Association, Dominican Friars, and Mel Trotter Ministries have switched from Raiser’s Edge to Virtuous because of our unique approach to fundraising.

Grounded in modern technology, data intelligence, and a donor-centric approach, our 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.

As a long-term Raiser’s Edge customer, Barbara experienced Blackbaud transform from a small technology company into what it is today. However, over time, Arizona’s Children Association encountered challenges with the system, including user issues, difficulties in getting in touch with customer service, and the compromise of their data from the breach.

It became evident that they needed a change.

“We looked at a lot of other different CRMs, and [Virtuous] was focused on fundraising and the donor relationship. That’s what interested us, so we started looking deeply into Virtuous,” Barbara says.

When you invest in responsive nonprofit CRM software, like Virtuous, you’re getting more than just the free flow of data between systems. You’re unlocking optimized processes that encompass fundraising, team productivity, and mission-related milestones.

1. Full Visibility Into Data Across Teams

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 Mel Trotter Ministries stay abreast of campaign progress and performance. This way, key stakeholders can make informed decisions, improve campaign strategy, and achieve better results.

“The big piece [for us] was marketing integration and having transparency into data so that any team member could jump in and see what emails are being sent, what’s being opened, and what pieces of mail going out,” emphasizes Seth McLaughlin, Director of Development at Mel Trotter Ministries.

2. KPIs Displayed Right on the Responsive Dashboard

KPIs for nonprofits are essential to measuring the success of their fundraising and donor engagement efforts. By monitoring KPIs, nonprofits can assess the health of their campaigns, understand donor behavior, and adjust strategies to optimize results.

Virtuous empowers nonprofits to create responsive dashboards tailored to their unique KPIs, whether it’s monitoring donor retention, average gift, or donor lifetime value. Given the diverse nature of departments within nonprofits, each team can adapt their dashboard to specific requirements.

While different teams can have their custom dashboards, our platform allows access to other teams’ dashboards, promoting collaboration across teams and full visibility into critical data across the organization.

3. Informed Decision-Making With Real-Time Data Reports

Reports are an essential part of deepening connections with supporters, as they offer meaningful insights into donor behavior and content preferences. However, generating reports with traditional CRMs can be a time-consuming process.

Because many of these platforms have trouble seamlessly migrating data to and from different platforms, organizations have to spend time manually extracting and uploading lengthy data reports. This can lead to delays in evaluating crucial information and hinder the ability to respond swiftly to gaps in campaign performance.

With Virtuous’ flexible integration functionality, organizations can automate the syncing and grouping of data from other systems into their donor management system, guaranteeing data hygiene, accuracy, and completeness.

For instance, with our platform’s native MailChimp integration, organizations can connect tags in Virtuous to lists in MailChimp, enabling a bi-directional flow of data between systems. Hence, when an individual is added to a MailChimp list, the corresponding contact in Virtuous will automatically receive the tag, ensuring consistency and accuracy across both systems.

Bryan Fegley, Senior Director of Advancement at Dominican Friars, explains this integration’s value for his organization: “You can assign a contact in Virtuous to an external ID from MailChimp, and when you’re doing imports, it will just link up with that external ID—super helpful when you’re trying to combine two systems into one with all these different tools.”

4. Efficient Collaboration Through Task and Workflow Management

Managing and nurturing donor relationships is likely a top focus for your nonprofit, as it’s a necessity to grow donor lifetime value and minimize the amount of lapsed donors in your file. However, without streamlined processes and clear task assignments, teams often struggle to keep up with the demands of maintaining strong donor connections.

With proper task and workflow management, your team can avoid:

  • Task overload: Without a process to track upcoming tasks and monitor campaign progress, team members may become overwhelmed, increasing the likelihood of missed opportunities and reduced efficiency.
  • Lack of coordination: Do your teams work in silos, with many unaware of what others are responsible for? This lack of coordination can result in duplicated efforts, conflicting communications, and a disjointed donor experience.
  • Missed follow-ups: Donor relationships often require timely follow-ups and personalized interactions. Without automated reminders and task assignments, crucial follow-up actions may fall through the cracks.

These barriers can negatively impact your fundraising, but this is where marketing automation comes in handy. While creating responsive workflows to send personalized communications in Virtuous is valuable, the true power is when it’s combined with authentic human interactions. That’s why organizations such as Arizona’s Children Association utilize task assignments within their workflows to guide team members on when to engage and connect with donors.

“We’re all working with limited staff and being able to put those workflows was interesting to us. Virtuous does [gift management] better than any of the others that we looked at, and that was a big decision-maker for us,” Barbara says.

5. Simplified System Training and On-Boarding

Onboarding new hires or providing training for your entire team on new nonprofit CRM software can be quite challenging, particularly when dealing with traditional systems that tend to have a steeper learning curve. Additionally, many providers draw out the customer service process, like filling out lengthy support forms, just for organizations to get the help they need.

At Virtuous, we value your time and commitment to your mission. That’s why we provide continuous education through Virtuous Academy and assign every nonprofit their very own customer success manager available to assist with any questions or concerns they might have.

“The whole process has been amazing because while the migration was happening and we were doing the mapping, we were training in Virtuous Academy, meeting with our success coach every two weeks, so it’s been quick for us. We’re very excited about that,” Barbara emphasizes.

If you’re ready to improve your team’s productivity with Virtuous, schedule a demo with one of our team members.

Not ready for a demo? Explore Virtuous at your own pace. Take our self-guided tour and see how Virtuous helps nonprofits personalize donor engagement at scale.

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.

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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