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How To Find Effective Database Solutions for Social Services Organizations

Gabby Weiss
For social services organizations such as food banks, shelters, and community centers, managing data well is a critical part of keeping their doors open to members of the community in need of their services. Effective fundraising, member engagement, and volunteer management all hinge on the ability to collect and easily utilize information about supporters in both online and offline interactions. Though database technology may not be anyone's first thought related the the human services field, experienced staff of these organizations know just how important these tools are, allowing them to work more efficiently, saving time and money, and maximizing the impact of their work at every level. When looking for a data tool for social services organizations, four functions are especially important to keep in mind:

1. Keep your work funded

Social services organizations play a vital role in our communities, filling the gaps to make sure that no matter the circumstances someone is experiencing, they are provided with the support, materials, and care that they need. Operating this type of organization presents unique challenges, and requires that staff are set up to achieve their fullest potential. The database used to track interactions with donors can have a large impact on the efficacy of an organization’s fundraising efforts, and especially for organizations such as museums, theaters, and media companies, it is important to use a software which can manage major donors, planned giving programs, grants, and more.

For online fundraising, it is important to utilize clean, simple, and easy to use forms, showing donors that they can trust your organization to provide them a simple and enjoyable experience in every interaction. For major donors and most loyal supporters, your donor database software should give your team the ability to track all of the information that they’ll need to remember about each donor - from detailed contact history to the contact information for their family members and financial planners. Storing all of the information that you need about your donors in one place means that over time and between multiple staff members, you’ll never lose track of important details and can provide donors with a personal, caring relationship.

2. Personalized marketing and communication

Promoting your organization to the public and attracting new supporters requires effective mass communication, while, in contrast, current donors appreciate personalized approaches to fundraising, which take into account their history and relationship with your organization. Collecting data regarding details such as how someone first came into contact with your organization, how long they have been a supporter, or the type of content that they are interested in, and segmenting your list so that supporters receive unique communications that are tailored to their circumstances helps establish your organization's reputation of being detail oriented and producing positive, enjoyable experiences. Using a unified CRM is important when doing any type of mass communication, so that the message can be tailored based on all available data. Whether someone is an online or offline donor, an active digital presence or a dedicated in-person volunteer, having all of that information in one place means that your communications with them can be easily personalized based on their methods and levels of involvement.

3. Holding events

Hosting events is a great way to engage your communities, and as with every other interaction, your supporters expect a smooth, simple, and enjoyable experience. Creating a positive event experience for your supporters is critical, whether at a volunteer day, a ticketed fundraising gala, or simply a social event for members and friends of the organization. Using a CRM with event functions makes is simple to keep everyone happy, from easy-to-use online registration forms, to a mobile app that makes on-site check-in a breeze. Unified data means that you’ll know exactly who is attending your event, so you’ll be prepared to talk to everyone, from long-time major donors to your newest supporters.

4. Managing volunteers

Volunteers are similar to donors in many ways; they devote their time and energy to your organization for the same reasons that others support you financially. Managing volunteers in a way that makes them feel valued and keeps them coming back again and again requires multiple tools in addition to personal communication. Simple online sign-up forms make it easy for new volunteers to get involved, and even easier for staff to track on the back-end. Customizable ranking systems like EveryAction’s Engagement Points allow volunteer managers to easily identify the most active supporters when you need them, and other volunteer management tools allow users to quickly pull contact lists of volunteers based on factors such as their preferred type of volunteer activity or the time of day that they are typically available.

If you're looking for a supporter database that fits the unique needs of social and human services organizations, or just wondering how yours stacks up - click below to download our comprehensive guide!

The Ultimate CRM Shopping Guide For Social Services Organizations

Topics: CRM, nonprofit tools