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How To Find the Right Database For Social Justice and Advocacy Nonprofits

Gabby Weiss
For nonprofits doing political advocacy and social justice work, having solid data management practices can sometimes be an afterthought. After all, dedicated nonprofit staff are often stretched to their limits, working at capacity to advance their causes, and may simply not have time to sit down and evaluate the organization’s data flow. However, many nonprofits often overlook the fact that clean, useable data empowers staff to “work smarter, not harder” and can increase efficiency by automating basic processes and providing the information necessary to make smart decisions about where to invest time and resources for maximum impact. From organizing and volunteer management, to digital communications, to fundraising and development, powerful data tools allow nonprofit staff to maximize output across the board. Here are a few examples of how different departments can save time and increase their impact by using a unified database.

1. Development and Fundraising

Funding organizations that are working toward advancing social justice causes is an extremely important task, and requires that staff are set up to achieve their best. The database used can have a large impact on the efficacy of an organization’s fundraising efforts, so 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. Having a unified database means that fundraisers can see a holistic view of donors of every level, so your interactions with them can be informed by both their past fundraising involvement and other actions taken such as signing digital petitions or attending a volunteer event.

2. Digital Organizing and Communications

Promoting your organization to the public and attracting new donors and supporters requires effective communication. Existing donors also 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

Whether it’s a ticketed fundraising gala or a simple monthly volunteer night, hosting events is a great way to engage your communities. Creating a positive event experience for your supporters is critical to ensuring that they feel excited about donating, or coming back for the next volunteer opportunity. 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. Digital data collection at events allows staff to more accurately track attendance, for easy follow-up later.

4. Field Organizing and 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. With a unified database, organizers won’t just have access to data about a members’ volunteer history - their interactions will be informed by digital and fundraising data as well, helping them be more effective and making members feel appreciated for their participation.

For nonprofits that do nonpartisan civic engagement, access to a top-quality voter file makes political work easily trackable. Built-in features such as a variety of phone tools, text campaign integration, and a mobile canvassing app ensure that the organizing team can accurately track and report on their work.

If you're looking for a CRM that fits the unique needs of social justice and advocacy organizations, or just wondering how yours stacks up - click below!

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Topics: CRM, nonprofit tools