Every nonprofit should be using a Pipeline to manage its fundraising. Almost every for-profit business CRM comes with a Pipeline built-in, almost no nonprofit CRM does. Why?
What's a Pipeline?
A pipeline is a sequence of phases, where the completion of one phase leads directly to the next phase. It's a simple way to define and visually layout a process. A good Pipeline will allow you to see at a glance who is currently in your Pipeline, what stage they're in, and even who on your team is working with that individual. You can create a Pipeline to define and manage any process you want! Here's an example of a fundraising Pipeline:
Contact -> Proposal -> Negotiation -> Closure -> Stewardship
Organizations have 18%-28% higher revenue growth when they have a defined Pipeline as compared to organizations that do not, according to Harvard Business Review.
Why would these numbers be any different in the nonprofit space? Though the process specifics are, of course, different, the principle remains. Having a defined process leaves less to chance, gets everyone on the same page, and keeps you and your team focused.
Knowing that 88% of funds are coming from the top 12% of donors, 76% from the top 3%, I'd bet that nonprofits that define and implement a Pipeline will likely see even greater growth than their for-profit counterparts. Nothing makes a major donor happier than seeing an organized team having great impact AND the bandwidth to share that impact with the donors that made it possible in a timely and personal way; in a way that allows those donors to celebrate!
How many more lives would you impact next year if your revenue grew by 20%? What would that look like on your bottom line? I'd guess 10s or 100s of thousands of dollars. Or a scary question, how much has this lack of process cost you over the years?
This might sound foreign and a little overwhelming if you don't really know what a Pipeline is, or maybe you have a process but only your Director of Development knows what it is and who's in it and you're not comfortable with that (which you shouldn't be).
Let me level with you.
Not so long ago we were in the same boat. Managing the majority of our annual budget on spreadsheets. Let me tell you, spreadsheets just don't cut it; especially if you're anything other than a one-person-shop. You need a collaborative environment that keeps your whole team's eye on the same Pipeline and best practices. Something that shows you every prospect that's currently in your Pipeline and which team member is stewarding them.
We started focusing on this problem and realized: there are no tools in the space to solve it. So we built one.
Stay calm! I know you're thinking about how much you hate learning a new system no matter how great it sounds. Here's the cool part: We're actually nonprofit people. We know what has to happen and more importantly, we know the things that just over-complicate a system. We left all of them out.
Let's get really practical. Here's what I call the "Big Four." I don't know why I call it that but I like it. It's the four SIMPLE steps to get Dot Drives up and running in your organization:
Customize your Pipeline phases and best practices
Identify and upload Givers through our simple template
Assign Stewards to your Givers
Create Pipelines for your Givers
After you complete these four steps (we're always happy to assist you), you have a customized fundraising pipeline with your best practices, givers, and teammates all engaged in the process.
On average these steps take about an hour.
Ok, so what should you do right now? Right this second if you want to implement a Pipeline into your fundraising best practices?
We'll walk you through Dot Drives, show you how to use it and how it can best be applied in your organization. We'll show you how simple it can be to implement a system that is proven to increase revenue. One that gives you clarity and accountability as a team. A system that allows you to stop wondering what's going on with your major givers. A process that gives your team confidence, knowing that they're doing the right things at the right time founded on best practices!
Questions? Talk to Josh!