YWAM Orlando has several unique constituent segments to communicate with. Donors have one set of interests, while the young missionaries who graduate from the Discipleship Training School have very different needs. “We have a lot of alumni and donors and we’re trying to administer both. Both require totally different types of communication, but they both live in the one system. So we need to be able to do both. We have two people for that, but one software,” says Alastair Cuthbertson, Digital Communications Director.
With their previous software, eTapestry, there was no way to effectively segment communications. A young missionary a year into program delivery and a loyal, long-time supporter had to get the same message, or no message at all.
“Before we used Virtuous, we didn’t have any automation capabilities, either for communications or internal workflows. As a result, our communication was very generalized. We would send a mass email to thousands of people, send mailings to thousands of people. We tried our best to be personal, but the reality was our software wasn’t giving us the capability to be very personal with our donors. All of our fundraising strategies were very generalized and that was probably our biggest weakness.”
Insufficient Data, Inefficient Processes
YWAM Orlando has a development team of five, three at the time when they were choosing a new CRM. That small team is responsible for a pool of 1,000-2,000 donors, and a total of 10,000 contacts when alumni and other connected individuals are included. “We wanted a software that was going to be working in the background for us, magnifying the reach of our channels and the personalization of our team to our donors. We had a good rhythm going, but we were definitely reaching our limit because there were three of us in the department trying to manage thousands of relationships and our software wasn’t working with us to allow us to do that in a way that was personal.”
Without a nonprofit CRM that could track donor signals and milestones, Alastair knew the team was missing out on opportunities to engage personally. “Our software wouldn’t tell us when somebody was lapsing, and even if it could have, we would have to send emails to each of those individuals every single time. And when you’re looking at 10,000 people, that is a bit of a nightmare,” says Alastair.
YWAM Orlando’s Challenges
- No automation
- Impersonal communication
- Inefficient processes