Focus On: DRM: Mastering the Virtual Handshake
But most nonprofits still blast out large volumes of irrelevant direct mail, phone calls and e-mails to their most important donors. And many of those that have invested in CRM tools only seem to be getting more efficient at annoying the folks they should be courting.
The first step
It’s tempting to fall in love with some of the high-tech DRM tools on the market today. But those tools often carry high sticker prices and steep learning curves. And trying to do too much, too fast with a comprehensive DRM tool is the single biggest reason that many DRM investments fail to produce a return. It’s helpful to keep in mind that the goal of DRM is to discover processes that will help you to both get donors faster and keep them longer and then to automate those processes.
Buying a DRM technology solution before you’ve started to find and automate some simple processes might require everyone in your organization to tackle a steep new learning curve — without any real concept of how it will help them do their jobs better or make the organization more effective.
Instead of jumping into an expensive DRM software (or service) commitment, give yourself a DRM learner’s permit. Start with a goal of accomplishing one new task (or improving an existing task) with a modest investment.
When you are driving with your learner’s permit, you should not yet be asking which car you should be buying (i.e. what software you should buy). Rather, you should be asking more basic questions such as: How do I start? How do I stop? How do I avoid a costly accident?
Look at one part of your organization and evaluate where you have some pain. Does your call center follow up with every new donor within 30 days? Does your service team measure the satisfaction of every donor periodically — and conduct exit research with lost donors? Do your direct mail promotions produce a measurable improvement — and do you know which promotions have worked best?