Data Privacy and Security—Classifying Data for Advancement

 

Data is a significant asset to your organization. It can provide a wealth of information about donors. A growing number of organizations are using data analytics to determine which supporters are most likely to make a significant gift or donate in response to their campaigns.

 

Data privacy is more important than ever before—especially in today’s digital economy—and organizations should review their data, privacy policies, and procedures. Here are different types of data privacy and security and how to classify data for advancement.

 

What is Confidential Data?

 

Any data or information that is protected by laws, regulations, or industry standards is considered confidential. Confidentiality is the need to strictly limit access to data to protect organizations and individuals from loss. Confidential data can also be defined as information that could cause harm to an individual or an organization if it is inappropriately accessed.

 

Data Privacy

 

Data privacy (information privacy) is a data security division that deals with the proper handling of data—more specifically, consent, notice, and regulatory obligations. Practical data privacy concerns are affected by several factors.

 

  • whether (or how) data is shared with third parties;
  • how information is legally collected or stored; and
  • regulatory restrictions

 

One important aspect of data privacy is transparency. Organizations must disclose how they request consent, abide by their privacy policies, and manage the data they’ve collected. Ask questions to understand your organization’s stance on data privacy.

 

  • What data is to be collected?
  • How long will it be kept, and does that comply with the laws?
  • Is there limited data access that is monitored, or is that data openly available?
  • What measures will be taken to protect data?
  • Is the planned use of the data aligned with why it was collected?

 

Data Security vs. Data Privacy

 

Simply keeping sensitive data secure may not be enough to comply with data privacy regulations. Data Security protects data from compromise, whereas data privacy governs how data is collected, shared, and used.

 

If you’ve worked to secure data—implementing encryption, restricting access, and overlapping monitoring systems—but your organization collected the data without proper consent, you could be violating data privacy regulations.

 

You can have data security without data privacy, but you cannot have data privacy without data security. Train employees to understand the difference. Include processes and procedures necessary to ensure the proper collection, sharing, and use of sensitive data as part of a data security portfolio.

 

Sensitive Data

 

Sensitive data is any information that needs to be protected—often dependent on the nature of the business conducted by an organization and, even more so, the responsible governing body.

 

What is Considered Sensitive Data?

 

The categories of sensitive data vary based on the privacy laws that apply to an organization.

 

For example, a healthcare organization will need to adhere to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rules. In contrast, an educational institution will have to adhere to regulations such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

 

Sensitive data includes any information such as:

 

  • personal data, or data that can be used to identify an individual—including customer and employee data;
  • financial data such as bank account or credit card information; and
  • intellectual property or proprietary information such as software code.

 

Personal Data

 

Personal data, also known as Personally Identifiable Information (PII), is any information used to identify a specific individual. The protection of personal data has become increasingly important due to regulations that aim to protect individuals concerning their personal data processing. This has only become more prevalent as cyberattacks continue to evolve.

 

More frequently, organizations are being held responsible for how they process and secure sensitive data to prevent exposure and risk.

 

Cybersecurity Risk

 

Cybersecurity threats and data breaches have become the rule rather than an exception for organizations. Do you have data protection policies and the necessary procedures in place to guard against this threat?

 

Your organization must carefully handle sensitive data to avoid disclosure or data breach. The potential damage from a data breach goes beyond tarnishing your organization’s reputation. Your organization can be legally liable if you fail to comply with data privacy laws—which can come with exorbitant fines and penalties.

 

Protect sensitive data with cybersecurity best practices.

 

  1. Establish a data protection policy.
  2. Create a comprehensive and up-to-date inventory of sensitive data.
  3. Develop guidelines for assessing and maintaining privacy and confidentiality of data on all systems.
  4. Communicate your organization’s data security policies to staff members.

 

Go a step further and implement basic strategies for preventing data theft.

 

  1. Don’t open unsolicited email attachments or unknown files.
  2. Educate staff to identify and prevent phishing.
  3. Require strong passwords for each employee, and insist they are changed regularly.
  4. Establish processes to monitor your network for suspicious behavior.

 

Using Data for Advancement

 

Collected data is only valuable if it’s used for a purpose. One of the most popular uses of organizational data is for development. You can’t control people’s ability to give—but you can control how you use data to make decisions regarding your advancement.

 

Revamp your advancement strategy to focus on assessing your most connected donors and how you have engaged them.

 

Gauge donor giving capacity. Analyze alumni data and external sources, such as tax filings, home values, and other assets—then assign “wealth scores.” Once you’ve assembled data or scores on wealth and involvement, have staff members work on your top and bottom groups separately.

 

Look for differences. Organizations should record more than just donations in their fundraising databases. Review data to see which events your supporters attend, whether they volunteer or serve on committees, and how they give to other charities.

 

Identify loyal donors. The traits and behaviors that predict who is most likely to give a significant gift vary. Use data to identify loyal donors, even if their contributions aren’t substantial gifts.

 

5 Questions to Assess Your Campaign Readiness for Advancement

 

At times organizations need to raise substantial funds for a specific purpose apart from annual budgets. Typically, campaigns fund tangible things like an expansion, renovation, or restoration. Capital campaigns are always based on an ambitious vision, or more commonly referred to as Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAG).

 

When it comes to capital campaigns, some organizations focus primarily on the question of campaign feasibility. But it is just as (if not more) important to focus on the question of campaign readiness.

 

If you are preparing for a capital campaign, much focus is on your gift officers and programs to develop your overall campaign strategy and identify campaign priorities. During this process, there are often many questions as planning gets underway.

 

The campaign feasibility assesses the external environment, whereas readiness examines the organization’s ability to manage and maintain a campaign. Here are five questions to ask within your organization to determine if your capital campaign is ready for launch.

 

Can we identify a lead gift?

 

The success of capital campaigns highly depends on the initial lead or principal level gifts. If you aren’t able to identify lead gifts, you likely won’t develop the campaign you are envisioning.

 

The most successful capital campaigns identify where the top two or three gifts will derive. For example, if you’re looking to raise $1 billion, you’ll need to identify lead gifts upwards of $100 million.

 

Can we identify major gift donors?

 

Similar to lead gifts, it’s essential to know where a significant number of major gifts will come from. If you can’t, it might not be time to launch, and your time would be better spent developing your major gift fundraising for your annual fund.

 

How well-positioned are we to solicit, receive, and steward the gifts that donors will give?

 

Donor relations are an organization’s comprehensive actions promoting long-term engagement and quality interactions with donors. Positively manage prospect relationships over time by focusing on the seven steps of solicitation.

 

  1. Identify
  2. Research
  3. Plan
  4. Cultivate
  5. Ask
  6. Close
  7. Thank and Steward

 

Are our advancement services teams prepared for a capital campaign?

 

You can’t reach audacious capital campaign goals without the proper teams to support your initiatives. If the expectation is that your current staff and resources are sufficient for campaign production, you might fail to reach new, ambitious goals. Instead, assess the areas you may need additional support.

 

From prospects to patients, members to alumni (and everyone in between), the people who fuel and fund an organization’s future present an immense amount of data to be captured, managed, and visualized—ultimately leveraged by the experts in advancement services[1].

 

Do we have the prospect development pipeline to meet our capital campaign goals?

 

You must know what’s in your fundraising pipeline. One way to determine if the pipeline works as it should, is to determine whether people from your donor list are spread throughout.

 

Remember, there are three main reasons people donate:

 

  • deep passion for the cause;
  • belief in the organization; or
  • know someone affected by the mission.

 

Accurate Constituent Data

 

In addition to readiness, accurate constituent data, efficient and reliable gift tracking, and reliable campaign reporting are critical components to your capital campaign success.

 

An organization’s most valuable asset is its accurate constituent data. The Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system is usually the central piece of software at an organization. The CRM is more than a database—proving intelligence and functionality organizations need to optimize fundraising and communication with their supporters.

 

Accurate data sets you up for fundraising success—allowing you to set reasonable goals, evaluate your team needs, reach constituents, track gifts efficiently, and analyze reliable campaign reporting.

 

[1] https://www.advserv.org/page/about-advancement-services/

 

5 Best Practices to Ease Your Advancement CRM Online Training

 

Advancement is becoming increasingly more challenging. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. These unprecedented times are fueled by a global health crisis, world-wide financial turmoil, and political unrest. Markets are volatile with many negative societal implications. Many organizations continue to shutter their face-to-face activities and healthcare systems are strained under the pressure of ongoing patient needs.

 

Online learning is continuing. Working virtually has proved many positives but may not be as straightforward when considering online training in complex systems like Constituent Relationship Management (CRM)—especially if your audience is more “old school” and prefers in-person learning.

 

A fully online course lacks a physical teaching space and requires digital communication and transmission of materials and assessments. Compared to the in-person learning environment, the online environment requires different strategies for teaching and learning. These new elements might seem intuitive, but for others might not be as obvious.

 

Online instruction requires the knowledge and practice of online etiquette (or netiquette) and the initial establishment of performance and behavior expectations. Virtual instructors need to be aware of these differences and be deliberate as they transition their course to the online environment.

 

Online training for your Advancement CRM is no exception. Here are five best practices to ease the burden of your Advancement CRM online training.

 

Get Employee Support

 

First things first, you’ll need to get your entire organization to ‘buy-in’ to the idea of virtual CRM training. Without their support, conducting training in any capacity will fall flat. CRM training and education will flourish if the organization’s people believe in the system, the benefits it can deliver, and have an understanding of their role in the overall implementation.

 

Getting key stakeholders involved early can help, but don’t forget about engaging end-users. Frequently, organizations think that if the executives are supportive, their staff will be too—this isn’t always the case.

 

If you’re struggling to get the support you need, survey to see if employees value the transition. They may be worried about learning a new system or assume their job may change as a result. While valid—and in some cases true—understanding their trepidations helps meet them where they’re at and eventually supporting them to buy into the transition.

 

Develop a Targeted Training Strategy

 

CRM platforms are often equipped with limitless possibilities—overwhelming even the most technology-inclined individual. Instead of jumping into all it has to offer, break your training into bite-size pieces that support crucial operational processes.

 

For example, one of the things you might do with your CRM system is to locate your constituent base in a personalized and targeted way. To do this effectively, first develop a strategy. Then train people on how you use the system to support that initiative.

 

Utilize Synchronous and Asynchronous Methods

 

There is an assumption that people will use the CRM system consistently and systematically immediately following training. Not everyone learns in the same way, and inadequate training can increase frustrations or even lead to employee burnout[1].

 

Avoid this by incorporating synchronous training—live scheduled classes—with a combination of asynchronous work encouraging employees to complete activities independently. Use the asynchronous work sessions to have trainees practice uploading data or running reports.

 

Create a strategy to address the non-users or those that may be struggling with comprehension. In an online training environment, this might look like having office hours to ask questions. Or set aside time to allow the training leader to conduct a screen share and walk the end-user through the issue in real-time.

 

Create Real-Life Training Scenarios

 

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to learn new software and not understand how it applies to a person’s day-to-day. Tailor training to your specific organizational needs. Clearly identify outcomes and expectations, focusing on tasks they’ll need to understand in their individual role.

 

Use this opportunity to establish acceptable working practices. Decide formatting and other requirements to ensure consistency.

 

Creating standards of practice helps avoid entering data in multiple ways. For example, if you’re entering names and addresses into the CRM database, require everyone to enter information in title case without abbreviations.

 

Schedule Ongoing Training

 

Plan to have ongoing online training for your Advancement CRM. This helps to maintain the long-term value of your investment in CRM technology by regularly engaging end-users in new updates, processes, and procedures.

 

It also provides opportunities for consistency, making sure anyone using the CRM system has a solid understanding of expectations, specifications, feedback, and the ability to problem-solve.

 

Investing in your CRM now is more important than ever before. But your CRM system must be more than a database—it should provide the intelligence and functionality you need to optimize fundraising and communication with your supporters.

 

 

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0007681321000392

 

Focus on These Critical Areas If You Are Implementing a New Advancement CRM

 

Implementing Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) initiatives can be overwhelming—they require change, disrupt processes and workflows. They force your organization to think about how you manage your existing data and deciding how you’ll move forward with data collection.

 

Internally, business processes and technology may need to be changed. Externally, constituent experiences can be disrupted, requiring you to shift in how you communicate.

 

Improving your CRM platforms can leverage an integrated advancement solution that helps break down data silos, drive major gifts and online fundraising, improve reporting and insights with artificial intelligence (AI), personalize engagement, and steward longtime supporters.

 

Now is an incredible time for Advancement teams to focus on improving and modernizing their strategies for success.

 

Focus on these critical areas if you are implementing a new Advancement CRM—primarily if staff work remotely or have worldwide concerns.

 

Stakeholder Engagement

 

Stakeholder engagement has always been an essential part of Advancement, but it needs an overhaul—the way it’s been done is changing. Gone are the days (at least temporarily) of traveling for face-to-face interactions.

 

Video visits were trending even before the pandemic. One-third[1] of all advancement teams were already using video chats as visits, but now it’s an overwhelming majority. This trend will likely not disappear.

 

The shift to digital engagement holds massive potential for fundraising. A gift officer can make dozens of video calls in a day versus a handful of in-person visits—doing so at a fraction of the cost.

 

There will always be a need for face-to-face visits with prospects, but incorporating more resources into building out digital advancement programs can help deliver personal, concierge-like experiences to more donors at scale.

 

Project Communication and Transparency

 

Project communication is challenging without layering on the obstacles brought on by the pandemic. Teams remain working remotely. Many are facing worldwide concerns that extend far beyond your organization.

 

The way you communicate varies greatly depending on the project’s role and stage—but project communication and transparency have never been more critical.

 

A CRM accurately and efficiently drives prospect research and reporting—helping you streamline gift entry, inform strategy, measure campaign effectiveness and return on investment (ROI), and access predictive analysis tools.

 

Focus on reliable information and transparency about the benefits your organization offers your constituents, funders, and communities—they are critical to your legitimacy, funding, and competitiveness.

 

Requirements Management

 

Poor requirements management processes have been associated as a leading cause of project failure. Requirements can be classified into functional and non-functional.

 

Functional requirements are capabilities that the product or service must satisfy user needs. These are the most fundamental requirements often referred to as business requirements.

 

Non-functional requirements include usability, performance, reliability, and security requirements. These are qualities that a product or service must have—they are no less critical than functional requirements.

 

Requirements management helps suppliers and customers understand what is needed to avoid wasting time, resources, and effort. To be effective, it must involve all four requirements processes: planning, development, verification, and change management—which also should be associated with formal standardized organizational implementation.

 

Many requirements management tools are already well-positioned to handle the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Critical areas that requirements management will significantly influence for years include remote working, consolidation and automation, and AI. Organizations that have already adopted these practices stand to benefit greatly and rise above the competition.

 

Requirements management will have to facilitate an agile approach to business. Simultaneously maintaining an efficient development process may mean shorter time-to-market, more imaginative prioritization of business demand, and integration of design thinking processes into development.

 

Iterative Planning

 

Managing new roadblocks, disparate team members, and responding to the new budget and resource constraints should be reflected in your project management processes. With economic and market turmoil, you’ll need to use all available resources to guide decisions with data analysis and predictions for your top prospects and trustees.

 

This current pandemic is not a time to drop everything and panic—it is an opportunity to manage projects and continue to deliver value to your organization.

 

Iterative planning—the process of creating new strategies or developing new products—will be a necessity as organizations may be vulnerable to the economic fallout of the pandemic.

 

Not to mention, the pandemic has decreased median income wealth in the United States[2]. Mid-tier giving will likely be more critical than ever—significantly if top donors scale back the same way they did in 2008.

 

High levels of uncertainty require you to operate at high speeds. Here is a five-step cycle you can apply to plan ahead, responding to the rapidly changing environment.

 

  1. Get a realistic view of where you are starting.
  2. Visualize multiple versions of your future and develop scenarios.
  3. Establish your stand and overall broad direction.
  4. Decide actions and strategic moves that can be applied across scenarios.
  5. Set points that trigger your organization to act at the most opportune time.

 

Develop a team dedicated to planning. They should focus on developing your modular and support your iterative planning cycle throughout the crisis.

 

[1] https://www.prosek.com/unboxed-thoughts/source-development-survey-shows-big-majority-of-reporters-prefer-phone-over-zoo/

[2] https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2020/4/8/course-correction-will-the-coronavirus-crisis-upend-the-higher-ed-fundraising-model

Data Security: A Primer for Advancement Leadership

Data security is critical to making sure that vital information from your organization is not easily accessible, but maintaining data security isn’t easy. In fact, there have been 540 data breaches this year.

 

That’s 163,551,023 people affected in 2020 so far by breaches in data security. Let’s dive into this critical topic as more and more workers and students sign in online every, single day.

Top 6 Causes of Data Breaches

To increase your knowledge about data security, here are the top causes of data breaches.

1. Weak and Stolen Credentials

Passwords that are cracked through brute force algorithms are a main cause of data breaches, but so are stolen passwords.

 

To keep your passwords safe, make sure that you’ve made them complex enough to render them “unhackable”. You can randomly generated passwords and manage them with tools like LogMeOnce or LastPass. Extra points for a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

2. Application Vulnerabilities

Hackers find the technical vulnerability in a software and then exploit it. Before using or launching a new application, make sure your team tests it for vulnerabilities and finds ways to patch those security threats. This includes applications that house your constituent data, like your Advancement CRM database.

3. Malware

“Malware” is short for “malicious software.” It describes a variety of threatening methods that are designed to infiltrate and damage, disrupt, or hack a device. For example, think of viruses, worms, ransomware, and Trojan Horses. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of malware.

4. Malicious Insiders

Taking care of your employees so that they don’t become a future risk to your institution is important, but so is screening out those who seem predisposed to betraying their employer. Malicious insiders are the employees who have access to sensitive information and then purposefully commit a data breach to harm the institution. Better hiring and screening processes, along with maintaining a good organizational culture and robust employee training programs, can help prevent these insiders from coming on board and wreaking havoc from within the organization.

5. Insider Error

Employees who do not have malicious intent but commit a data breach by mistake are also a threat. These employees may not be aware they’ve done anything wrong, but one accidental keystroke can cause a serious data breach.

 

For these employees, it’s important to remind them to take more care with their work and to encourage them to be transparent when they’ve made an error. Employee training is a crucial step to prevent these errors. Together, you can grow and learn, ultimately stopping similar mistakes from happening.

6. Physical Theft

Theft of a device that holds your institution’s sensitive information falls under this category. To prevent these breaches, you may want to take extra care in where you physically store this information—consider using a safe or a security system.

Why Preventing Data Breaches Is Important

Data breaches are preventable. In fact, 4 of the 6 causes of data breaches can be prevented based on changing human behavior. This means that every staff member in Advancement can be a part of the solution.

How To Prevent Data Breaches

There are several measures you can take to prevent data breaches.

Security Policy Training and Education: Setting The Standard

When you’re creating your security policy training and pulling together your educational materials, it’s important to clearly set the standard. When you’re completing this step, it helps to ask yourself and your colleagues the following questions:

  • What is the policy?
  • Why is it beneficial to the organization?
  • How does a security breach impact Advancement?
    • By making a breach relevant to Advancement itself, you’re adding a sense of urgency for employees to comply.

You’ll also want to discuss examples of behaviors that adhere to the policy and examples of behaviors that would violate the policy. By giving employees clear examples, you’re ensuring that they’ll fully understand what does and does not constitute a data breach.

Advancement Leadership as Security Champions: Lead by Example

As a leader in your Advancement team, you must champion the cause to protect sensitive information and build confidence with your donors and supporters. Give periodic Executive Briefings on the key points below:

  • Know what data you have, including its:
    • Location (is it in an on-premise data center, is it vendor-hosted, is it in a storage room, or is it in Mike’s desk drawer?)
    • Format (is the data in a digital copy or a hard copy?)
    • Volume (how much data is there, really?)
    • Classification (whether the data is sensitive or confidential)
  • What potential vulnerabilities exist based on the data you have, the software you’ve used, and access you’ve given staff members?
    • Map these vulnerabilities out and identify them, before a breach occurs.
  • What plans are in place to reduce the vulnerabilities your company has? Are they working? (Tip: If they’re not working, brainstorm ways to improve.)

Communication Plan for Data Breach

Have your plan ready before a data breach occurs. Establish a communication plan such that you and your leadership team can be immediately informed if there is a threat or possible threat of a data breach. Creating a data breach task force or committee can also help streamline that process internally. Determine how you will communicate to your constituents.

Performance Evaluations: Enforce Security Policies

You can’t simply rely on IT to be the sole security watchdog for your organization. By the time they are even aware of staff behavior that has compromised the organization, that door may have been open for months. Staff should be evaluated on a consistent and measured basis.

Data Security: Final Thoughts

Assessment of your Advancement team’s Data Security requires a 360-degree look into how your institution is performing, the vulnerabilities that exist, and ways that existing processes can be refined to prevent future data breaches.

 

When you’re trusting employees with sensitive data, remember—human error can and will happen, but with the right precautions, you’re taking safeguards to prevent future accidental breaches from happening again.

 

Malicious actors also exist, but again—with the right measures, you’re taking steps to prevent them from hacking into or stealing your data.

Developing Advancement Operations Procedures

Everything You Need to Know About Developing Advancement Operations Procedures

We’ve all seen what happens when colleagues think the other followed up with a major donor — and then no one does. Without proper procedures in place, it can be difficult to organize complex programs and maintain efficiency.

 

When it comes to streamlining processes or developing operations procedures for your advancement team, there are a handful of key steps to success to follow. It’s equally as important to document procedures as it is to implement procedures in your department, so be sure to not only write the steps down but also share the new processes within your department and to external stakeholders to ensure alignment and buy-in.

 

Let’s unpack how to develop procedures that help your advancement operations go more smoothly, as well as the steps to implement the program in your institution.

 

How Developing Procedures Improves Productivity

Developing Advancement Operations procedures improves productivity by streamlining existing processes.

 

You see, standard operating procedures can help bring much-needed structure to any organization. This is especially true for institutions with limited budgets and resources. But by investing the time and effort into defining standard ways of working, you save time when amidst the execution of a high-profile event or impending deadline.

 

If these procedures are developed and implemented in advance, they will be well established  (and quickly accessible) when needed most.

8 Must-Haves for Effective Procedure Documents

 

What exactly does an effective procedure document contain? When you’re compiling your procedure documents, make sure they have the eight key features listed below.

 

  • Objective: Describe what will be accomplished by using this procedure.
  • Background: Give the user some context about why this procedure was developed.
    • For example, are you trying to comply with a regulatory or institutional policy?
    • Additionally, are there any significant changes in this procedure that need to be identified upfront?
  • Scope: Describe what this procedure will address. What need will it fill?
  • Responsibilities: Provide a high-level overview of all participants and their role in the procedure.
  • Definitions: Supply a list of business terms that will be used in the procedure.
  • Process Overview: Provide a high-level description of the overall process that will be used for this procedure.
  • Procedure Steps: Describe all the key procedure steps in detail.
  • References: Create references to other related information, including policies, other procedures, forms, templates and other institutional systems.

Getting Buy-in From Stakeholders

 

To get buy-in on these procedural changes from your stakeholders, you’ll need to be transparent about what you’re trying to achieve. For instance, why are you implementing these changes now? What challenges will they solve? How will your organization improve due to the implementation of these advancement operations procedures?

 

If you’re able to answer these questions clearly and with confidence, you’re well on your way to creating an operations procedure that your stakeholders will encourage and embrace.

 

5 Steps to Implement Top-Notch Procedures in Your Organization

Now, let’s take a look at how to implement best-in-class procedures in your organization. To do so, you must take these five steps.

1. Educate Users on Best Practices

Best practices keep organizations in a position to be donor-focused and bogged down with operational challenges, so identify them early and reiterate them often. Once your users are equipped with deep knowledge of these best practices, they’ll thrive under your new procedures.

2. Standardize How Information Is Captured

When standardizing how the information you collect is captured, you’ll want to do two main things.

First of all, increase the speed of your data entry to maximize efficiency. Second, improve the accuracy of your data entry by making every extra effort to do so—without losing the speed gained from increased efficiency.

3. Decrease Ramp-Up Time for New Staff

By streamlining your training processes, you’ll decrease the ramp-up time required for new staff. Decreasing the time needed for onboarding and training is ideal at any point, but it’s especially critical when you want a new hire to dive into their workload right away.

4. Develop a Reference Library of Business Practices

Developing a reference library of business practices for all users will help you get everyone on the same page. As a bonus, it will also help you avoid receiving similar questions from different users down the line.

 

When developing your reference library, you’ll want to understand the use of reporting in procedures. This will ensure your reference library of business practices will remain relevant as the organization evolves.

5. Inform Users About How Data Entry Impacts Reporting

If users are informed about how data entry impacts reporting, they’ll be more likely to take pride (and extra care) in their data entry tasks. So, let them know the full extent of their impact.

 

Continuing the Success of Your Procedures

Continue the success of the new procedures you’ve implemented through optimized procedure management processes and robust procedure development services.

 

Procedure Management Processes

Your procedure management process should establish the procedure owner, along with any Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). This process should also educate business users on new and revised procedures.

 

Additionally, your procedure management process should establish a procedure review schedule, with a cadence that is quarterly, semi-annual or annual.

 

Lastly, procedure updates should be scheduled multiple times per year to ensure your procedures are being managed effectively.

 

Procedure Development Services

 

When developing your procedures, it’s good to have options. (Such as, a trusted advisor to counsel an organization on the critical selection and number of procedures to establish as an institutional foundation).

 

When developing these procedures, you’ll want to be mindful of the 8 Must Haves for Procedure Documentation. You should also hold regular procedure review workshops. Reviewing and validating  recently developed procedures and workflow with key stakeholders.

 

Once any revisions have been made and final sign off achieved, you can then implement the new procedure through staff training. Being sure to measure user adoption across the institution.

 

Procedure Development Planning: Final Thoughts

To recap, your procedure documents must have an objective, background, scope, responsibilities, definitions, a process overview, procedure steps and references.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Developing Advancement Operations Procedures

 

Not forgetting these success factors in your organization, either. They include:

  • Educating users on best practices
  • Standardizing how information is captured
  • Decreasing ramp-up time for new staff
  • Developing a reference library of business practices for all users
  • Informing users about how data entry impacts reporting

 

Once you develop and implement effective procedures, you’ll also want to manage and measure their success.

 

Procedure Development Made Easier with a Trusted Operations Partner

As a leader in higher education and/or healtchcare, it can be difficult to maintain service levels to demanding schedules and major donors. With proper standard operating procedures, your team can boost productivity while maintaining quality service.

 

Reach out for a customized consultation with Precision Partners, so you can focus on achieving your fundraising goals and maintaining excellent relationships with your donors.

Current State of Advancement: Is Your Acknowledgment Process COVID-19 Proof?

 

Are you struggling with how to fundraise in the current environment? 

Many institutions are. The uncertainty created by the pandemic, along with a slowdown in our economy and growing civil unrest, can make it difficult for your voice to be heard. 

So in these times and beyond, transparency and sensitivity are critical in your donor communications. How can you ask for funds tastefully, and genuinely thank the donors who contribute them? 

 

Advancement in a Pandemic: The Current Landscape

As you can imagine, this was a difficult year for individual giving. In fact, individual giving decreased by 6 percent in the first quarter of 2020, compared to last year. That’s nearly $25 billion in lost revenue for nonprofits if this trend continues throughout the year.

 

Although technology and data enable us to live and work in a socially-distanced world, these tools alone will not lead us to success. In the face of a global pandemic, our relationships have increasingly taken center stage. These relationships were always important, but COVID-19 has made us remember their true value. After all, human connections allow us to survive in the short term and thrive in the long term. 

 

Take a look at one of your most fundamental, human-connection-centric business practices—thanking your donors. This practice of planned gratitude, also known as your acknowledgment process, doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s greatly appreciated by the donors themselves.

But is your acknowledgment process COVID-19 proof? 

 

Assess and Document Your Current Acknowledgement Process

Currently, you probably follow a standard acknowledgment process that may look something like this: 

 

4 Tips to Revamp Your Acknowledgment Process

Since nothing about 2020 has been business as usual or typical, it’s not sufficient to use standard acknowledgment practices anymore.

Go a little further with your acknowledgment process and tailor it to the times. Below are four (4) tips to help you do just that.

 

1. Change Your Verbiage

Our first tip is to change your verbiage. The way you word your acknowledgment email and letter should address COVID-19.

Directly address how COVID-19 has had an impact on your institution, and on your community. Recipients will appreciate your honesty and they’ll empathize with your circumstances. Remember, we’re all in the same boat. 

If you don’t acknowledge COVID-19 in these communications, you risk coming across as if you’re going through the motions…and no one wants that. 

So, breathe deep, and craft a message as though you’re communicating from one human being to another—because you are. 

 

2. Thank Donors at Every Level

Gift minimums might’ve made sense before the pandemic, but they definitely don’t make sense now. 

Discard your gift minimums for saying thank you, and acknowledge anyone who gives a gift during these tough times. Throughout unprecedented uncertainty, these special individuals have decided to support your institution—now that’s a big deal! By thanking all your donors, you’re showing that you truly see and appreciate their efforts. 

 

3. Get Personal

Don’t be afraid to get a little personal. People appreciate those extra steps, especially amidst all this uncertainty. 

If your standard practice is to send an email or a letter, try giving people a call to thank them instead. After all, people’s routines have been disrupted, and they’re feeling more isolated than ever before. Hearing your friendly voice, and discussing something that evokes feelings of hope (like your institution), can add extra positivity to someone’s day. 

 

4. Expand Your Acknowledgement Process

Go beyond the donors, and expand your acknowledgment process. Don’t stop at expressing gratitude only to the people who’ve given a gift; include those who are fundraising on your behalf in your communication process. 

Additionally, pay attention to people who are sharing heartwarming stories about your institution on social media, and take the time to thank them. Expressing this gratitude one-on-one is great, but so is sharing their posts on your social media channels (with their permission). Doing this will amplify the appreciation on both sides while encouraging others to follow suit. 

 

Relevant Acknowledgment for Advancement: Final Thoughts

  • To recap, your current acknowledgment process likely needs an update for this pandemic world.
  • The current landscape for individual giving to nonprofits looks dire. Therefore, change is essential to survival.
  • When it comes to your acknowledgment process, don’t follow the status quo.
    • Change your verbiage, so that people can see how the current landscape has affected your institution and your community. 
    • Don’t set gift restrictions—thank donors at every level.
    • When thanking your donors, get personal. A quick phone call can come across as more heartfelt than your standard acknowledgment email. 
    • Expand your acknowledgment process to include those who are fundraising on your behalf and those who are sharing your institution’s stories on social media.

 

With these actions, you’ll be sure to strike a friendly, positive chord with those you’re acknowledging. These tips will help you in strengthening and maintaining your donor relationships for years to come.

 

If you would like an assessment and clear roadmap, contact us to Future Proof Your Acknowledgment Process.

 

We will help you create an acknowledgment process that is not only effective during the pandemic but sets you up for being responsive to your donors in the future.

A Promise of Accurate and Reliable Data – Learn How!

 

The promise of having accurate and reliable data is often made as a part of the implementation of a new CRM (constituent relationship management) software. It is that promise that often keeps every VP of Advancement/Development Services up at night trying to figure out how to miraculously transform over 10 years worth of information plagued by human error and evolving data entry procedures into something that is pristine, free of duplicates, and meaningful for all users. So why do we even take this on? Accurate and reliable data is critical to user adoption. There is no way of achieving all of the benefits that were listed in the project charter for this multi-million dollar system if no one uses it. So let’s take a look at how we can fulfill on this promise…

 

Continue reading “A Promise of Accurate and Reliable Data – Learn How!”

Let’s evaluate your CRM

Author: Dauwn Parker, Principal Consultant at Precision Partners

Maximizing the benefits of Constituent Relationship Management systems has become critical for organizations that are looking to solidify the long-term viability of their fundraising, advocacy, and advancement programs. This has created an urgency for organizations to find answers to the following question…

Why do so many Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementations fall short in the following ways?

    • Meeting the expectations of its users
    • Being the catalyst that transforms how the organization relates to its constituents
    • Ushering users into the age of “Self-Service”
    • Realizing the Return on Investment

THE CHALLENGE..

These common barriers to success are often the culprit that limit the success of a CRM implementation

Hurdle #1: Defining project objectives and measurable factors for success

With the pressure of developing an RFP, selecting a software vendor, packaging a project proposal and justification for board approval, magically garnering resources that are already overloaded – this critical step is often lost in the shuffle.

Hurdle #2: Implementation Preparation

CRM Implementations are often a new endeavor for an organization and the members of the project team. This often leads to the phenomenon of You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know. This lack of knowledge and preparation can limit project success before it even gets started and in most cases the impact isn’t realized until the project is well underway.

Hurdle #3: Support for Project Leadership

Software implementations are demanding and projects that seek to revolutionize the way an organization interacts with its constituents increases the need for peak performance by the Project Manager. All too often the Project Manager is asked to run the implementation marathon without a coach, proper training, preparation, or continued support.

Hurdle #4: Project Team Performance

Project team members must be fully engaged to become a high performing team. Fully engaged does not equate to a dedicated resource. No matter how much or how little a person is allocated to a project, the following factors must be present for a high performing team to emerge:

  • A team identity
  • Clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and expectations
  • Above all else a commitment to the success of the team
  • Continual reinforcement that their contribution is integral to the success of the team
  • Recognition and Appreciation
  • Personal and professional growth or value in their engagement

Hurdle #5: Project Health Assessments

Project status is most often measured by whether the project is on time, within budget, and the software application is delivered according to the documented specifications. While these are important elements to monitor this does not speak to the overall health of the project. Did the methods used to deliver a quality product on time and within budget cause a loss of trust between project team members or stakeholders, disintegration of cross departmental relationships, or loss of credibility for the project sponsor or sponsoring department? Most organizations would say that any of these negative impacts are not acceptable, but it often happens in projects without a structure for prevention or intervention.

Hurdle #6: Stakeholder Engagement and User Adoption

Many projects manage to engage a core set of team members who develop a solution that they wholeheartedly believe will meet the needs of the organization. It is the biggest threat to morale when after such a strenuous effort, the software application does not meet the most basic needs of some key stakeholders and declared unusable.

If you are currently facing these challenges that are threatening the success of your CRM implementation, Precision Partners Project Advisory Services is your solution.  

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