Welcome

After writing a couple of blog posts for JustGiving towards the end of last year I’ve decided that I have something to say about my specialist subject “data in the not for profit world”.

Whilst I would never want to go in the scary black chair I hope to remind, empower and help you to remember to care for your database and the data within it.

Feel free to drop me a line, ok that’s so old fashioned now, tweet me, message me or if you are a bit old school send me an email with feedback or topics that you’d like me to cover and I’ll do my best.

The art of CRM project management

Project management is one of those terms that is banded around the sector as just part of everyone’s role. Whether you’re an events fundraiser, a major donor fundraiser or a database manager and its true there is project management that helps all of the people in those roles succeed, but most times its silo’d. There’s no cross team working unless its writing a piece for comms or digital to help promote the cause or event.

I find a lot of charities think that the project management of a new CRM system is something that can be “tacked on” to someone’s day job not realising the amount of effort required and communication skills needed at all levels within the organisation as well as talking to vendors and potentially other contractors to do the things that you need.

I do a lot of project management as part of my implementation roles and always find it interesting the perception of what “good” looks like. I always say when starting projects that you will start off liking me, you’ll get to UAT and be a little bit overwhelmed and then once you see how a  will change your work be on the happy curve again.

But essentially, CRM project management is about a journey. Most people who are implementing a new CRM system are either doing it and not wanting to change or excited about the change and the new possibilities. Wrapped up into this is the change management piece and collaborative working across all teams who will use the new system. In my view this should be everyone who is a touch point with a supporter, from CEO to the receptionist as its really important. All good organisations charity or not base their work/products/service on data as well as other things but data is at the heart or should be.

So back to the difference between day to day project management and CRM implementation project management, a CRM implementation has a lot of moving parts and should have lots of collaboration within the organisation as you define best practice and a common understanding. There’s a lot of potential data sets that will be unearthed that should be in the CRM but never made it for whatever reason and then there’s the cultural change for the organisation.

Like I’ve said previously, the best CRM system in the world is only as good as the people who use it and the data that they put into it. But now more than ever it’s important to ensure that your organisation has one version of the truth.

So with these three things the key is to:

  • Know what go live looks like (I personally recommend going live in phases so if you need web/events/volunteering/ as part of go live, when is that going to happen, you probably want to try and stagger how people need to take on that knowledge of the new product
  • Understand that people have day jobs, if a project can be delivered in 4 months that’s great but real life will I guarantee get in the way, most of my projects at best go live after 6 months but more realistically end up somewhere closer to 9 months – again the key here is making sure you know what number 1 looks like.
  • Communication and collaboration – put time in people’s diaries for show and tell or key business changes, its key in getting buy in and making sure that your users (or even better super users) are on board with how it will work
  • Book out time for familiarisation sessions let people play with the product and give them the support that they need. A good project manager is 70% counsellor and 30% doing or managing the doing
  • As project manager you don’t have to know how to do everyone’s job, make sure you have key people (Super users / Champions / Heroes / Knowledge Managers / Wizards) whatever you want to call them, they are the people who know their job
  • Make sure you share the knowledge, its key in keeping everyone on track, a folder on a server, a group in outlook, a simple project management tool, make sure it forms part of your meetings. It’s key to share this knowledge with the leadership team as well as your Super users and champions

It’s a journey, in my view it’s a fun journey as you come out as a better organisation after you’ve done it, but it is hard work and on top of day jobs can be very frustrating.

I hope that this has helped and if it is a bit overwhelming for you or your team drop us a note and we’ll talk it through with you.

Brush up your Excel Skills – Wednesday, 21 September

We know the summer holidays have only just started but it isn’t too early to start planning for getting “back to school” in September with some skills refresher training.

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Anthony is running a half day training course in London in conjunction with the lovely people at Fundraising UK Ltd to help you polish up your existing skills and give you lots of hints and tips to make your workbooks and spreadsheets more efficient.

Microsoft Excel is a very useful tool for analysing your campaign data, results and key performance indicators. And there are some very useful hints and tips and easy formulas that could make your job a lot easier and give greater insight into your data.

If you feel like your Excel skills aren’t up to date or would welcome some refresher training to get you back up to speed this is the course for you.

This course is aimed at anyone who wants to learn or refresh their skills in Excel – You will not require any prior knowledge of Excel formulas and functions just being able to open Excel would be great.

The course will cover:

  • Walk through of the ribbon – giving you an overview of the most useful items
  • Introduction to useful formula (countif / sumif / if / Vlookup)
  • Basic Data manipulation tools including:
  •   text to columns
  •   remove duplicates
  •   conditional formatting
  • Basic Pivot Reports – an extremely valuable tool to analyse your data

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Manipulate data ready for your reporting requirements
  • Manipulate data for importing into your CRM system
  • Create Pivot Reports and Charts to display data to your peers or Line managers

The half-day training  is on Wednesday, 21 September 2016 at 10.15am and costs just £100+VAT for charity participants.

Visit Eventbrite for more information and to book.

Permissions, regulations and your CRM system

You can’t have helped but notice that there is a lot of noise in the sector and the wider press at the moment about permission based marketing.  There are lots of people making comments about whether new regulations, Codes of Practice and European Data laws are a good or bad thing and what they means for income, jobs and from my point of view, the most important people, our beneficiaries.

For example my wife mentioned to me in a comment recently, after attending a conference that a question was raised about “If Olive Cooke was alive today, would she have signed up for the Fundraising Preference Service” it does make you think….

So I thought that on a practical level the best thing that I could do would be to write a post about what all of this noise might mean in terms of CRM systems.
Continue reading Permissions, regulations and your CRM system

To profile or not to profile……

In days gone by we used to think about profiling as being geodemographic. Splitting up of data based on things like household income, gender, age. But now as a society we have got concerns about what’s acceptable when cutting data up into these chunks.

In fundraising terms the most common segmentation is rfv/rfm regency, frequency, monetary or value depending on which marketing school you went to. We then use stakeholder groups as well to get a deeper level of understanding.

I’ve seen a lot of charities in my time move away from just mailing everyone on the database to a very simple rfm segmentation model which has reaped huge benefits. There was one charity where because of the size of the database, we had close to 100 segments, which for most charities would be overkill. It did give the fundraising manager a view that was really helpful when having a database of such size though and is the benchmark for the work that they do today.

But I think that the landscape of what’s possible is now changing. So this next bit does come with a bit of a health warning. Just because it’s possible doesn’t mean that you have to do it all or have a database big enough to get value out of these things.

Now lifestyle data is different. Historically it was what car do you drive, what postcode are you in, how many children do you have. With the rise of social media we now have what I think could be more meaningful data and large organisations are harnessing this data with their integrated approach. Organisations let you login with your Facebook login details  and can then cut the data in different ways. How many friends do you have, what causes do you and your friends care about, what are your personal interests?

Twitter makes it even more interesting where we have the rise in sentiment so now with the intelligence in systems we can now interpret your feelings about a product, person,organisation or situation, leaving sarcasm aside for a minute.

All of this might feel a bit big brotherish and I know that at Actually Data towers we have spoken about what security concerns things like this can cause a supporter. If I communicated with you in a supporter email with your latest tweets or Facebook status wouldn’t this freak you out? Maybe or maybe not!

The point I’m trying to make is this. How we can dissect data could change and if what you’ve read above is interesting this is where the conversations around big data start. I’m not trying to make this post scary but buzz words like big data are banded around and scare some with little knowledge but at the heart of it, it’s just a different way to get at and aid the segmentation process.

One of the things that I believe is changing in the sector is how we do our segmentation whether this be overlaying extra data from things like social media, or whether it be trying to capture more information about a supporters motivation to support the cause.

The age old thing that every fundraiser/marketeer will tell you is test, test and then test again. It’s only from this that we will learn what is working in this ever changing environment. If you would like help in working out how and whether you can do this please contact me for a no obligation chat.

Why CRM systems fail!!

Following on from my previous post about how to healthcheck a CRM system, I wanted to share with you why I think people either love or hate their CRM systems. In most cases its not because one system is better than the other, though there are some systems that don’t fit the not for profit market, it is because users have either bought into the system and can see the benefits or they can’t.

I tell this story a lot but it is one of my most vivid memories of when I started working in the sector. I remember a member of staff, who in the run up to the London Marathon was struggling under the burden of paper that was printed out and then manually entered into the CRM system. It was taking about 3 out of the 5 days in the week to process this data. Now, this wasn’t because the CRM system was rubbish or even that the person didn’t know better, but more because the person who was spending their day wrapped up in paper wasn’t aware of the different things that their CRM system could do.

It was a lack of training. Continue reading Why CRM systems fail!!