Is CRM a Time Machine?
This week’s staff post is by Justin Gallo, Client Services Representative here at Patron Technology.
I’ve been in your shoes. I know what it’s like to wake up Monday morning to a day full of attending meetings, writing grants, soliciting donations, and doing all the other tasks necessary to keep your organization up and running. For five years I worked for a small non-profit theater and found myself spending more time on administrative work and less on what I really wanted to do – creating art. There just weren’t enough hours in the day. Then when I started working at Patron Technology, I discovered the organization had a time machine!
Staff members in my old office had their own methods of tracking their data. The development department had their donor database, but that was hardware that was only available on their computers and wasn’t accessible by anyone else. Our general manager kept a series of very complex Excel spreadsheets. My files were kept in the contact software that came with my computer and various spreadsheets and Word documents. Others in the office still relied on their trusty Rolodex. It was difficult to make sure all of these different sources of information matched each other, and updating was a fairly tedious process.
I remember sitting at my desk and watching our general manager and development associate sit down every week and compare their numbers – donations and board giving. One had a database, the other had spreadsheets… it took a while. If their numbers were different, it took even longer. It was an effective method of making sure everyone’s information matched up, but it was really time consuming.
Here at Patron we use a customer relationship management system – it might as well be a time machine. What I’ve found is that tasks that were once a chore have become much more streamlined because all of the information I need is in one place, in our shared CRM system. A CRM system improves efficiency with administrative tasks to such a degree that you are actually able to save hours… hours that you can then devote to your art.
Back at the theater, I would also spend hours trying to coordinate the schedules of everyone on my committee so we could meet. It irked me that I was never able to find a good way to keep track of the schedules – I used spreadsheets, calendars… I tried it all. It didn’t make the process any easier. I knew there had to be a better way.
Here at Patron we use Gmail and Google Calendar. We’re all on the same platform, and we can see each other’s schedules at a glance, even on our iPhones. Again, what a timesaver!
As you can see, I’ve been in your shoes. I understand what it takes to keep a non-profit arts organization able to create art – and it takes time. But I’ve come to learn how much time I could have saved over the years if I only had a time machine.
I just never thought I’d find one in a CRM system. If all you want this holiday season is some extra time to focus on your craft –you might want to think about asking for a time machine.