Many organizations are taking advantage of Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) systems to achieve organizational data governance. However, CRM data governance requires a strategic framework to ensure it meets your organizational expectations and goals. Oversights or omissions in a data governance framework can be extremely costly and lead to inaccurate data, challenges with scalability, and an overall lack of data integrity. To ensure that your CRM data can be leveraged for the benefit of your organization, it is critical to have a strong data governance framework in place.

In this article, we will explore six mistakes that nonprofits make with CRM data governance and how to prevent them.

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What Is CRM Data Governance?

CRM data governance refers to the policies and standards your organization establishes and implements with data management. The purpose of CRM data governance is to ensure the security, quality and usability of data. For nonprofit organizations, data governance ensures they are able to measure success, achieve goals and make decisions based on reliable data.

When it comes to implementing a CRM and a data governance strategy in a nonprofit organization there are several things to consider. Here are the seven mistakes nonprofits make when with CRM data governance.

4 Pillars Of Data Governance

Data QualityCompliance & SecurityOwnership & ManagementAccess & Sharing
Data is accurate, complete, and consistent, supporting reliable decision-making.Compliance with organizational regulations and global laws to prevent breaches & unwanted access. Individuals within the organization that ensure accountability, reliability, and accuracy of data. Policies and protocols for who can access and share data for operational efficiency and security.

Nonprofit Data Governance Mistakes

1. Lacking Strategy

Organizational goals are developed with thought and great participation from the organization and the data that informs, measures and supports these goals should be created with the same intentionality. Overlooking a CRM data governance strategy will prevent you from working with accurate data and developing meaningful and achievable goals

Step one in building a data governance framework for your CRM and organization is to take the time to create a clear purpose and develop roadmaps.

Considering short, medium, and long-term goals, and then communicating them to all stakeholders gets the organization on the same page. This empowers the teams working on data governance to understand their objectives and avoid any unnecessary information silos.

2. Low-Quality Data Collection

How will your organization rely on data if they cannot trust it? An important element of data governance is having an established data collection process to ensure the organization can trust the data that is collected. This includes preventing inaccurate, incomplete or duplicate data entry.

Low-quality data is often the result of misunderstood obligations or miscommunications, and it can cost your organization both time and money.

Creating a plan and establishing a document data collection and entry process for any manual entries is essential. An amazing feature of CRMs is the automatic attribution of data to the correct constituent profile which limits the opportunity for human error within data entry. However, it is important to evaluate any opportunities for low-quality data to address these gaps as early as possible.

3. Not Defining Roles And Procedure

Failure to account for key roles and procedures can create a crack through which important information can fall. A key factor in data governance is having individuals within your organization who are accountable for data accuracy. Establishing not only the policies to follow but also the individuals who manage the data will increase the reliability of the data within your CRM.

Reviewing the whole flow of information and the data collection process in detail helps weed out any missing steps. While it may be demanding on both time and energy, there are tremendous long term savings compared to the results of a procedural oversight.

4. Not Collecting The Right Data

Having access to an abundance of data is amazing if your organization is able to interpret it. Often nonprofits fall into the trap of collecting too much data, making it difficult to interpret and use for organizational success.

Your CRM data governance strategy should also consider what data is important for your organization. These data points will be different for each nonprofit organization. However, your data is only useful if your team can interpret and use it to make informed decisions. Customizing your data collection and CRM to share data with your team will increase opportunities to use data for strategic decision-making.

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5. Lack Of Organizational Adoption

The value of your data depends on your team’s willingness to adopt it into their everyday practices. Switching to a new system can be difficult, especially if there is no effort to train your team and educate them on the importance of CRM data governance.

With the adoption of a CRM and data governance policy acknowledging the change and providing support through the learning process will help your team build confidence and see the value in a CRM.

6. Complacency

One of the biggest mistakes you or your team can make is becoming complacent. The data you collect is always growing and evolving with your organization, so it is important to maintain it and the policies you create to govern it. Ongoing training and education for your team is critical to maintaining existing processes and discovering areas for improvement. This also provides an opportunity to re-evaluate organizational goals and data collection sources.

A strong leadership team is key for setting the tone when it comes to regular review and improvements for any data governance system. The results of indifference, excuses, or a general acceptance of the “status quo” may not be evident immediately, but over a longer time scale, it can lead to the loss of integrity of the data.

CRM data governance represents a pivotal aspect of a nonprofit’s ability to harness data toward achieving its mission and objectives. Implementing robust CRM data governance is not just about avoiding mistakes; it’s about proactively establishing a culture of continuous improvement, accountability, and strategic decision-making. To dive deeper into CRM strategies tailored to your nonprofit, do not hesitate to connect with our team.