Top Five Ways CRM Improves Your Organization

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Exactly two years ago at the League of American Orchestras (LAO) Conference we introduced PatronManager CRM, and since that time we’ve signed up over 40 orchestras who are now using it.

I was back at this year’s LAO Conference in Dallas, and during a luncheon one of our clients came over with her iPad and showed me a dashboard that looked more or less like this:

[frame_center]CRM Dashboard[/frame_center]
She said, “Look, here’s all the critical information about my organization right here!” It was at that moment I realized she had demonstrated the essence of how CRM (customer relationship management) had changed they way she runs her orchestra. I wish I could have bottled up that moment!

As I talked with other orchestra managers, I wished I had a document that demonstrated the key benefits of CRM, beyond just saying that it’s a technology in which all your systems for ticketing, fundraising, marketing and, operations are are meshed into one cohesive system, rather than in separate standalone systems.

So to make the case for CRM, Michelle Paul and I created an excerpt from our chapter about CRM from our book Breaking the Fifth Wall: Rethinking Arts Marketing for the 21st Century. This excerpt, titled “Top Five Ways CRM will Change Your Organization,” is free, and you can download it here.

As a preview, here’s one of the ways CRM is changing arts organizations:

5. Eliminate institutional memory loss

CRM will revolutionize your organization because it eliminates institutional memory loss. When a key member of your staff,  your development director for example, leaves the organization, she takes with her the memory of all the conversations she’s had with your key donors and board members. Sure, she’s kept copies of letters in paper files and maybe Microsoft Word documents somewhere on her PC. But imagine what it will take for her successor to find and organize all that information.

An astounding amount of valuable personal information is stored in staff members’ heads. Most development departments do have a personal relationship with many of their donors, but that relationship is confined to the particular person in the job. Their individual interactions—lunches, parties, e-mails, and phone calls—exist only as long as that staff member continues to work for your organization. When she moves on, that history is gone.

Instead, imagine if all those interactions were documented in a way that’s easily accessible to everyone on your staff. Every phone call, lunch meeting, and fundraising event is documented in one place. This way, if there is staff turnover, it doesn’t mean starting from scratch; you can have continuity in your operation, and the person coming into the job can more quickly pick up where their predecessor left off.

Using a CRM system, your staff is writing the history of your organization every day. They are creating an integrated record of your relationship with your patrons, and it’s being stored permanently and in a retrievable, organized way.

The benchmark of success for any arts organization lies in its ability to establish continuing relationships with its patrons. To attain that goal, the documentation of those relationships is a key asset of the organization. Most organizations don’t even have this asset—and if they do, they probably have no idea where all the scattered records are hiding in their office.

Institutional memory loss is one of non-profits’ biggest problems, and CRM eliminates it from day one.

I hope you’ll download our free excerpt to learn the five ways ways that a CRM system can improve your organization. And, if you would like to learn more about PatronManager CRM, we invite you to sign up for one of our daily half-hour introductory webinars, where you can see some of things we’ve described in action.

Click here to see our schedule and register for our webinar.

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