Before switching to Virtuous, it was impossible for Chicanos Por La Causa to create personalized engagement for every donor. Now, at the start of her third year as a Virtuous customer, things have changed. Veronica Carrilo, Donor Relations Manager, creates meaningful donor journeys and gives each donor a personal experience while increasing the effectiveness and impact of her one-person fundraising power.
The software’s outdatedness didn’t just make it awkward to use, it made it hard to grow their fundraising. “Everything from the donation forms not being very user-friendly to really no marketing automation functionality made it hard to stay on top of people’s minds and people’s inboxes,” she says.
Veronica knew that she needed to make things easy for donors and streamline the donation process, but with her old software, she couldn’t.
When all your fundraising data is in your nonprofit CRM, you need help fast when something goes wrong. You really can’t wait days to fix problems when they arise. But Veronica found getting customer support on her old platform was nearly impossible. Even when she was ready to upgrade, money in hand, finding a real person to talk to was difficult. Her calls weren’t returned and her questions weren’t answered.
Without marketing automation, it’s impossible for one person to create personalized donor relationships at scale with every donor, let alone also manage major donor relationships. “You can’t do anything well, you have to do everything half way. It’s constantly frustrating,” says Veronica.
In order to build a strong major donor pipeline, Veronica knew she needed to continue to engage the masses. “You have to stay connected with everybody, so you can work to identify who prospective major donors might be,” she says. “Without automation that was pretty difficult to do.”
“The marketing automation was the number one selling point for us,” says Veronica “To be able to have responsive email streams that respond to people’s actions and their interests, and automate that to give everyone the impression that we have a one-on-one relationship, that’s really been a game changer.”
Veronica uses automation to exponentially increase the impact of her “team-of-one.” She can now welcome new donors and new email subscribers instantly with automatic email series, while tracking their engagement and interests. She’s working to create program-specific communication streams, to give donors even more of the most relevant stories and information.
Once she’s created these donor journeys, they’re ready to go, leaving her free to do other things. “Automation allows me to focus our very limited resources on developing those face-to-face relationships with major donors and not spend all my time behind a computer screen,” Veronica says.
“The first thing we noticed with Virtuous was the customer service,” Veronica says. “We were able to get a person to answer questions right away, which was a big change that was very nice to see.”
Having a data migration specialist consistently available through the process and going through Virtuous’ one-on-one trainings made a big difference, too. Instead of trying to manage alone or waiting indefinitely for someone to get in touch when she had an issue, she had partners available to answer her questions, who knew her and her organization and were invested in her success.
As she explored Virtuous, Veronica also liked how much help she didn’t need. She found much of its functionality so intuitive that she could quickly figure out how to do things without additional training.
Virtuous is a responsive nonprofit CRM, and Veronica has used it to make Chicanos Por La Causa a responsive organization, too.
“I think in the past we used to ‘talk at’ our list,” she says. “We’d push out a communication to everybody, whether or not they were interested in it, or if they indicated they were interested in it. I think we’re doing a better job now of segmenting which individuals actually want to receive those communications.”
She uses tags to segment donors to make sure that the communications they receive are relevant. She’s currently working to target communications even more specifically, including by programs that donors have expressed interest in.
All of this relevancy has translated into greater donor engagement. Veronica encourages her donors to respond to communications, making it clear that they can have a conversation and a dialogue.
“People respond,” she says. “They’ll say, ‘Hey, thanks for sharing, this was cool to hear about.’ In the past that didn’t ever really happen. When I respond to those people, a lot of them seem pleasantly surprised that there’s someone on the other end listening and hearing their questions and responding to them. People ask questions, forward messages to their friends, that’s been pretty cool to see.”
“We’re been really happy with what Virtuous provides, especially at the price point. I’ve personally recommended the software to other organizations I know that are looking to offload the manual work their teams are doing right now. It’s been a great experience,” says Veronica.