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Here at Pursuant, we know how important it is to properly migrate a donor CRM. It’s your donor data, after all, and data should be used to challenge or validate all of your fundraising decisions. If you’re considering or are starting the process of migrating your donor CRM, we want to ensure you’re equipped to succeed. That’s why we sat down and pulled together tips from our friends at Kindful nonprofit CRM and our own in-house data scientists at Pursuant. From these combined expertise, we collected valuable tips for how to migrate your donor CRM in a way that works most efficiently for your organization and empowers your team. 

These are the top best practices for migrating your donor CRM:

#1 Map out the Process

It’s helpful to begin by asking yourself and your team questions about how the process should look. Before the migration of donor CRM begins, have a meeting where you and the team discuss questions like:

Also, there are a couple of key items to remember during the mapping out phase.

Think about your current roster of tools.

You need to take all of your current tools into consideration before migrating your donor CRM. Your fundraising platform, your email marketing platform, your accounting software, and any other important tools used by the organization. This is because you want to get the most out of your CRM and its data, therefore, integration with other tools is crucial.

Don’t make assumptions about the new system.

Remember that each system is unique. A big mistake many people make is assuming that processes will work similarly to the way they did before. There may be limitations or specific processes that need to be considered before you switch over. When you know about those going in, you’ll have a smoother transition. Conversely, the whole reason your organization is migrating CRMs is likely because of all the newer, better capabilities offered!

#2 Organize + Clean Your Data

Going through migration of your donor CRM is a great opportunity to clean up your data. It’s also a good time to pinpoint the different sources of data collection and streamline them into one place. 

The Kindful team said they recommend organizations “take a look at the data you haven’t referenced in a while. Maybe you don’t want to bring over certain fields you haven’t filtered for recently. Maybe you don’t need to look at major gifts you received decades ago. This is your chance to analyze what data you want to bring over, clean up whatever fields you can, and streamline your processes so you’re not tracking data you don’t need anymore.”

Additionally, Matthew refers to something called “drawing the line” with data. He says, “You want the performance of your new CRM to fire on all cylinders, and legacy data certainly has the potential to bog it down. Many organizations often have decades worth of constituent, transaction, and solicitation records within their legacy systems. All of these donor records contain [a] value, but performance and data storage cost savings must be balanced with the ability to have all data readily at hand.”

Have your (cross-functional) team dedicate time specifically to data cleansing so the organization can determine what is most valuable and relevant to the organization’s fundraising and marketing programs.

#3 Get the Dev Team Involved

A donor CRM migration is an opportune moment to break down departmental silos and get different teams to work more cohesively. An important step in the donor data migration process is getting the development teams involved. Whether your development team is in-house or external, here are ways development staff can help ensure a smooth transition to a new donor CRM:

Take a current snapshot of your donor file.

Have developers identify current active donors and revenue for each level of the donor funnel. Get them to also spot any lapsed or unengaged constituents.

Help you understand donor migration dynamics.

Development staff can help give you a complete picture of donor trends and coverage ratio as donors enter, upgrade, or lapse. An analysis like this ensures valuable insights get captured and reveals growth trends that should receive attention.

Practice data “hygiene.”

Development teams can implant healthy data processes—for example, determining the completeness of records and making duplicate record assessments in the new CRM.

#4 Establish Goals + Metrics

Assessing the organization’s exact goals and metrics is how you will be able to make the new donor CRM work best for the needs of your organization. 

Make sure the organization is evaluating the metrics that will fuel and optimize fundraising. This is where creating a process between a CRM and a business intelligence platform like Pursuant’s GivingDNA™ Platform is crucial.

For a full list of CRM migration recommendations from the Kindful team, we recommend reading their extensive and insightful article here.

To learn how Pursuant intelligence tools can work for you, reach out to us at info@pursuant.com.