There’s so much to do. There’s never enough time. There aren’t enough resources.
Development professionals, especially directors and officers, are always running into those same three problems. You can only wear so many hats at one time. Multi-tasking is your middle name, but multi-tasking also means many tasks aren’t getting the attention they need. Rather than simply accepting this craziness as reality, let’s take a look at some tools that will help every nonprofit development professional be more productive and efficient.
Here are 6 fundraising CRM productivity features that will save valuable time for you and your team every single week:
Before getting into the fundraising software tools that will save you time, let’s take a quick audit of the hours in your work day. To do that, first download Toggl. It’s a free time tracking application that you can download in five seconds here. Next, discipline yourself for 3-5 normal work days, logging and timing each task that you do throughout your day. This will help you answer the question, “Where did this day go?”
Then, after you identify time you could have saved, or activities you could eliminate, take a few minutes to write down your “IDEAL DAY.” Putting a name to every minute of your day will help you mentally eliminate any wasted time before the day starts, and enable you to better prioritize certain activities over others.
One last note on time management: Set time aside for checking and responding to emails. Nothing derails progress and focus like bouncing back and forth between a project and Outlook/Gmail/Yahoo/etc…
Ok…now onto the 6 fundraising software tools that I promised…
1. Task Automation
Use your CRM or donor database to set up reminder tasks for yourself to keep track of prospects and donors that need to be touched. Create and assign tasks and workflows to your team members. The more you do online and with your software, the better you’ll be able to keep track of projects and monitor progress. Outlook and G-Mail are useful, but they are best used when integrated with the software you use every day. Your nonprofit CRM can track and report in ways that email calendars can’t.
2. Help/About Buttons
As you navigate through your fundraising CRM, there should be ‘Help’ buttons on every page. Your vendor should always give you access to Free phone support, but with ‘Help’ buttons, questions can be submitted without ever leaving the software. Also, by holding your mouse on different icons/buttons/menus throughout the software, small windows should open explaining what each tool does. These can help you avoid multiple calls/emails into your help desk.
3. e-Check Processing
When you recieve checks in the mail or from an event, do you always have to go to the bank to deposit them? If so, you know how much of a hassle this can be. Put an end to it with e-Check processing with your fundraising CRM software’s merchant services provider. Just process the checks through your online gateway and save yourself multiple bank trips every month.
4. Quick Reports
Every fundraising CRM platform allows users to pull reports or queries, but make sure the one you’re using allows you to pull quick reports such as donor detail reports. Quick view spreadsheets in your donor database allow you to turn any data table into a spreadsheet. For example, you can run a donor detail report in seconds, then view it in spreadsheet form with just one click.
5. Barcode Scanning
In short, this tool gives users the ability to quickly process remit statements with a barcode scanner when donors respond to direct mail appeals with checks in the mail.
When your organization sends out a large direct mail blast from a print shop, each letter will contain a remit statement that donors can complete and attach a check to be mailed back. Upon reciept, your development department doesn’t have to manually type in every single donor name and donation. All you have to do is scan the bar code on the remit statement and the donation/donor data goes directly into your database.
We took a deep dive into DonorPro CRM barcode scanning for direct mail blasts recently. You an access the entire post here.
6. Automated Thank You Notes
When a new donation comes in, best practice calls for a thank you email to go out to the donor as soon as possible. Fundraising CRM software makes this easy by automatically sending thank you notes emails upon receipt. For large donations (large means a different things to different organiations), you’ll always want to send a handwritten note from either the Major Gift Officer in charge, the Development Director, or top Executive. But, by automating the initial thank you email, you’ll save hours of typing up individual notes!