The top question I get asked as a charity CRM consultant - and why it’s the wrong one.

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I speak to a lot of charities about their fundraising CRM.

Some have been using Donorfy for years, while others are migrating from another system. As a general rule, though, if they’re chatting to me, then change is happening.

You might be surprised by the question I get asked the most. It's not about technical nuances or the intricacies of system migrations; instead, it's a deceptively simple one: "What does everyone else do?"

I get it. This question is entirely logical. You’re on a Zoom call with someone who’s set up multiple fundraising CRMs for organisations of all sizes, and who can access trends and insights from across hundreds of databases. It makes complete sense to ask what everyone else is doing when Donorfy is so flexible in its setup.

But, it’s not the right question to ask - and I rarely answer it without first asking a few questions myself.

Shifting the Narrative: Posing the Right Question

My response harks to the age-old charity question… what’s your why?

Simply put, until you can answer why you’re doing what you’re doing - and what you’re actively looking to achieve or learn as a result - then I can’t advise you on the best way to configure your database. Understanding the purpose behind your actions is everything.

Your fundraising database can be the greatest tool in your arsenal. But only if you know what you’re trying to achieve. You can capture huge amounts of data nowadays, but unless you know why you’re recording it, and what you want to use it for, then it’s just noise.

So, what is the right question, you ask? Instead of enquiring about the practices of others, I suggest posing a question that delves into your organisation's purpose:

"Here’s what we want to achieve and why we want to achieve it… how can you help us make it happen?" 

Come to Donorfy with a question like that, and I can guarantee you’ll start seeing impressive results. This shift in perspective transforms the conversation from a quest for generic solutions to a tailored exploration of how your CRM can align with your unique goals.

Why can I be so confident? Because I can see what everyone else is doing! 

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve improved your results by really focusing on the ‘why’ of any given issue. 

About Duncan

With a fundraising background at Help for Heroes and other charities, Duncan thrives on surprising non profits with unexpected CRM solutions that make their jobs easier and impact wider.

He primarily supports charities during their Donorfy onboarding process and, outside Donorfy, can be found staging incredible theatre shows.


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