As you can see, the number of contacts you have is a crucial figure in CRM pricing. So how can you prepare your contacts so your list is solid?
Best practices require a contact audit as your first step.
What is a contact audit?
If your contacts are the core of your nonprofit outreach efforts, every contact must be valid, current, appropriate for outreach, and correct. When you’re moving, you don’t pack broken lamps or a throw pillow from 1972—you take what will be useful in your new house. Similarly, a contact audit makes sure your database is solid.
The added benefit of a contact audit is that you won’t be paying for contacts that won’t lead to donor engagement.
Who performs contact audits?
If you have millions of contacts, your team might not have the resources to perform the audit yourselves. In that case, it makes sense to call in some outside help. Many software vendors will provide this audit based on the number of contacts you have. We can also recommend some alternative resources if needed.
If, however, you have a more manageable number of contacts, it’s something an internal staff can do.
Here are the most important steps you should take:
- Dedupe data, or remove duplicate entries (this is key, so you’re not paying for them!)
- Validate physical addresses with USPS
- Validate email addresses with an email validator
- Segment the list into your most engaged donors, your donors you want to nurture, and prospects
- Make sure each contact is someone that fits your donor profile; for example, don’t call someone who has never engaged with your organization
Next, look at the number of emails you think you’ll send on a monthly basis. Assume you’ll send at least one email a week to all the donors on your culled list, so multiply your donors by four to get an idea of the minimum number of emails per month. This is a number you can adjust to change your price.
Finally, let’s talk about money! If your CRM includes a payment processor, this is the last significant variable in price. How much do you usually raise? Don’t fudge this number because these tiers are pretty specific. Blended rates can vary and usually fall between 2.1% and 5%, but can creep as high as 10% if there are a lot of middlemen.
But also, don’t overstate your expectations, or you’ll be paying for optimism! Any robust system can scale up if you are knocking fundraising out of the park.