Gift operations processing is the backbone of fundraising. However, many institutions have a hefty volume of manual gift entry that requires many staff hours and much personnel power. Increasing your gift volume but simultaneously taking on operational overhead is not a winning combination. Not to mention, this back-office element prevents growth and hinders institutional strategies to grow and expand programs—it would just become an albatross.
It is necessary to look toward technology and automate repetitive tasks to free up time for staff members. This enables you to upskill individuals and focus on high-level or mission-critical tasks.
If it’s been six months or more after your Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) Go-Live and stabilization is done, it’s time to refine your toolset and streamline gift operations with next-level automation.
Here’s what to consider.
We’ve already established essential gifts can be a cumbersome to-do. But what happens if you’re receiving daily gift files from the lockbox of your caging vendor? In this scenario, your caging vendor is inputting data into their system, not yours, creating a file and sending it to you with your information. Caging vendors are best leveraged for straightforward data; complicated stuff doesn’t even get entered.
Additionally, you may receive high-volume gifts from online platforms that automatically structure the information to convert it to a digital file. These digital files are usually separate from your CRM.
Importing gifts in these ways require much time and effort to augment the integration process. When it comes to importing gifts, staff time should be reserved for evaluating exceptions with the goal to receive and handle information with as little human intervention as possible.
Whether acquiring tools that use data and improve automation file cleanup, complete data transformation, or restructuring, streamlining your gift operations with next level automation helps your data flow into your CRM with minimal human intervention.
If manual gift entry is necessary, look to the advancement CRM platform you’ve purchased to ensure you’re leveraging data entry automation features. Data entry automation features prevent errors, eliminate rework, and empower analytics.
For example, data entry automation templates focus user attention to required fields, preventing missed data points. Additionally, default values prevent the user from having to enter the same value repeatedly.
Data entry automation features also help you better assess error rates. Error rates for gift operations are essential because they help you understand the time spent correcting gift errors. If your error rates are higher than expected, consider looking at your processes upstream, leveraging tools in your advancement CRM to prevent mistakes and reduce rework for gift entry.
The world expects to receive digital responses instantaneously. For example, you purchase something and receive an email or text confirmation upon checkout. Your donors have similar expectations. If you’re not already, you should be using instantly triggered emails, receipts, and thank you notes to automate gift operations. This helps build a personalized strategy and engage donors.
But using automations also creates more data you can use to enhance your fundraising strategy. With automations, especially as they relate to digital communication, not only can you deliver information at scale, but you can assess how often it is opened, track clicks, and analyze trends to tailor future communication. This prevents your communications from becoming sterile, and if done well and strategically, increases your initiatives.
Gift Operations Documentation Integration
As an institution, you must keep gift operations documentation for a designated period. Gift documentation is often maintained in another system or folder and disconnected from the advancement CRM. But automation can bring these two critical things together without requiring additional resources.
Automation as a holistic strategy = time-saving. If a question comes up about gift operations, but you’re in a different system, information may get lost and time waste. Time-saving is enhanced when everything is synced and at your fingertips.