United Way invests in CRM

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“Many key strategies and deficiencies are similar between communities,” Wood said. “For example, all branches need to focus on the process of how to thank donors.

“They're seeing similarities in strate­gies, and that's what the template will be about,” he continued. “If nine of 11 have a strategy that's consistent, that will probably be important to the other 1,300. The tactics will be different depending on strengths.”

Part of United Way's CRM effort may include direct marketing campaigns. Though the campaign approach will vary depending on each community, it will likely deploy direct mail, e-mail, Web interactivity and segmenting of the con­stituent databases. In most cases, local United Ways will employ area agencies to help produce campaigns.

The nationwide campaign that is still in the works for United Way of Amer­ica will involve the nascent Live United theme that is currently displayed on its national Web site and in other locations.

Last year, when looking for a company to help start its CRM initiative, United Way reviewed a number of consulting firms and CRM specialist boutiquesnationwide. Yu said that Clarity won the account through this competitive pro­cess, and that special attention was paid to its previous experience with five local United Way chapters and to its focus on nonprofits.

“When you combine their knowledge of our business and our mission with the work they've done and their response to that RFP [United Way put out], they're very strategic,” Yu said. “They looked at it differently than other firms, from a more holistic perspective and not just as a technology initiative. That, and the fact that they're purely devoted to faith-based organizations and nonprofits like ourselves really combined to make it easy for us to select them.”

Clarity, a relatively small firm, cur­rently has fewer than 20 clients, span­ning from traditional fundraising orga­nizations to national denominations in the Church and the Jewish faith. Most of the company's faith-based clients hail from the Bible belt of the Southeast US. Wood said United Way of America was a premier client for the group, in terms of brand recognition.

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