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While we may be familiar with the term, do we really know what it means? Once at a not-for-profit conference we discovered that most people have heard the term but did not know what it stood for.

Here at infoodle we have recently changed our offering, bundling modules together to form 4 packages (finance, documents, events and CRM), rather than 13 individual modules to choose from. One of these base packages is CRM, and that’s why we decided to write about what it is, what it does and why you might need it.

C has various interpretations

A quick google search will tell you it is Customer Relationship Management. There is certainly plenty of information and advertising there for different CRM providers. Nearly all of them are designed to manage sales, but not all people who use a CRM are in sales. Perhaps, we could change the C to mean Client or Contact. But in our case it also means Community, Charity and Church.

M stands for Management

This is usually the same for all systems. The definition of the verb to manage is to succeed in doing or dealing with something, especially something challenging. So the C & M is a tool to deal, help or assist with clients and contacts. But how does this assist or manage? Here is where the R comes in to play.

R is for Relationships

For us, this is the key. It is all about the people, how we fit together, how we work together, how we interact and integrate together, and how we can help each other. If we break down the word relationship we first have to relate – to communicate, get along with, understand. Relation – family, connection, association. Relationship is also connection, unity, bond and love.

We are wired or designed for relationships. In the Bible, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Today’s society is focused on the individual, and to some degree we have lost the art of community living. We have also come to rely on institutions and governments to take care of us when we are sick, out of work, or retired. However, the needs of our society are fast outstripping the resources. We need to learn again how to take care of one another, how to support one another and how to live in community, not just looking at our own interests but looking at the interests of others.

Why use CRM?

We need the best charity CRM system that will help us to take care of our community, help us to see how we can connect with others and support and encourage one another. With a CRM tool it is easy to not only see who is a part of your community, but also record and store information about them that is essential to your needs, mission and values. You can add notes and contact people via email or text and keep a history of communication. In addition, you can keep track of people’s involvement and understand how people in a household or organisation fit together. Having a cloud based CRM means you can still do the admin out in the field.

Who uses CRM?

If you’re running an organisation (be it a charity, church or community group) and intend to keep growing, it is probably a great idea to invest in a CRM system. Your success depends on being able to connect with your people (clients, members, patients, contacts or customers). It is also crucial to know as much as possible about them and understand their individual situations and needs, so you can address them. Having the personal information at your fingertips makes it easy to respond personally and makes the people feel special, cared for and loved. Ultimately, this is what will help you grow.

To conclude, a good CRM tool allows you to manage people effectively. We all want our organisations (whether it is a charity, community or church) to grow, so having a reliable system in place is paramount. It will help you avoid the overwhelm from admin work and allow you to focus on your mission and serve your community more effectively