5 Tips for Annual CRM Maintenance:
Taking Advantage of the Summer Lull

Today’s guest blog post is written by Jill Michaelree, Account Manager, PatronManager. 

For many arts organizations, the end of spring mirrors the end of the fiscal year. After the last curtain call, arts administrators deserve to shake off their various hats and take the time to look back at their season as a whole…for a bit.

There’s not a ton of time for laurel-lazing; it’s actions during these down times that can define the success of your coming fiscal year. So, once you’ve taken a moment to relax and are ready to dive back in, here are five steps you can take this summer to prep for solid data in the year ahead:

Staff training

Clean data is gold data. How consistent is your staff at entering information into your CRM? Scan for inconsistencies in your coworker’s records and take an assessment of the questions they’ve asked you in the past year. Start off your summer training initiative by meeting with each department in your organization and see what questions or wish-lists they have for making the next season run more effectively. Even if you don’t know the answers to their questions right away, highlighting gaps in their knowledge will help you make a plan for internal training.

Analyze what data you’re tracking

Take a bird’s eye view of what you want to track in the coming year. What custom fields do you have in your organization that are static or only track a specific fiscal year? Maybe fields specific to your annual gala, or fields that look at annual giving of a family in a fiscal year? Thinking ahead will prevent shoddy data entry down the line.

Dedupe your data

No time like the present to make sure you’ve got squeaky-clean records going into fall. Merging contacts and combining known households makes your data way more accurate and your outreach more effective. One of our favorite tools for managing your good data cleansing habits in PatronManager is Cloudingo (https://cloudingo.com/). Proper use of this app will prevent those week-long manual de-duping sessions in your busy season ahead!

Clean up your page layouts

No one needs to see what your board member had for dinner at a gala four years ago. If you don’t need to see year-specific fields about your contacts each day, organize the way your records look to make life easier for your staff and volunteers!

Pretend it’s Christmas in July

Start brainstorming about your holiday appeal and marketing lists now. It is much easier to segment your patrons this way and that ahead of time, instead of realizing the week of a giant campaign that you don’t know how to get your data prettily into a report. Approach your marketing and development departments with the outreach segmentations they’ve used in the past, and ask if they foresee any changes in the future. They don’t have to lock in six months early, but this will help you get some basic reports in place to use come winter.

And a bonus tip/request from a rainy-region computer-bound admin: Work outside when you can! These extra summer projects should be rewarded with sunshine if you can swing it!

How has your staff prepared for data excellence in the past? What annual maintenance do you do in your CRM?

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