Kelly Claverie, a partner of Neon One and owner of Claverie Creative & Consulting, specializes in working with nonprofit organizations in the education sector. A career fundraiser, brand marketer, and strategist, she accelerates growth and turns disjointed fundraising efforts into a smooth running machine for her clients—all with Neon CRM.
Recently, I sat down with Claverie to learn more about how exactly she’s doing this.
What are the common challenges you see across your clients?
Claverie: In the education sector, the majority of staff members are new to development roles and have had limited experience with CRMs. What is great about Neon CRM is that it’s broken down into modules so it’s easy to focus only on the parts that are important to you, especially with dashboards.
Another common theme I see with my clients is they have several systems they’re using to do fundraising, alumni relations, events, and surveys. While it may be easier to run an event in EventBrite, track donations in a spreadsheet, and do a survey in Google Forms, you lose the ability to gain valuable data across all points.
How important is it that clients centralize their data?
Claverie: For so many of my clients, they never connected things like a donor not being invited to the donor social at the end of the year because the client didn’t have a clear picture that this person gave to seven different activities in the past calendar year. When they start connecting the dots with their data in Neon CRM, they realize how valuable it is to have a single source of truth.
What do you love about Neon CRM the most?
Claverie: What I love about Neon CRM is that it can go from that robust kind of loud, athletic look back to “here’s how you send memorials.” Everything you create in Neon CRM can have so many different facets—you can make a form look one way one time, another way a different time. I think it gives that really robust feel like you’ve got a staff of 100 even though, for most of my clients, they’re lucky if they’ve got five!
I think Neon CRM is just so awesome because it’s so easy for all these things to come together and get everything looking a certain way. I’ve used many other systems, and nothing comes close.
How does Neon CRM empower your clients?
Claverie: Once you get things set up, whether it’s email templates, newsletters, forms, dashboards, or reports, it’s like their lives have changed. When a person learns where to go to get the data they need, or to send an email, they’re making more money on things simply because of the ease of access. They don’t have to worry about the process of processing paper anymore. And that’s the thing. They get to have actual time to worry about the real stuff—having coffee with a donor, building those relationships.
How does Neon Academy help you and your clients?
Claverie: The Neon Academy is the best: It’s amazing, because I’ll spend hours just flipping around and researching everything. My clients don’t have that luxury, though. It’s more like they have 30 minutes because we have 50 guests coming to campus in an hour. I’ll actually point them to the specific training they need for the function they are performing.
As we know, staff turnover in nonprofits is pretty common. This is where Neon Academy comes in handy, because new staff can learn the system quickly. Of course, I’m there to help guide them on the specific processes for their organization, but that is the advantage of having a consultant.
What campaigns make you the most proud?
Claverie: For one of the schools I work with, the athletic director told me we completely changed the face of athletics because everything is self-funded now. Previously, they were raising money in very cash-heavy programs like selling chocolate or running a lift-a-thon. These were really time-consuming for the coaches because they had to manage it all.
With Neon CRM, we implemented a peer-to-peer campaign so every player becomes a fundraiser. I create a survey in Neon CRM that gets sent to every student on the team and collects their information and up to 25 email addresses to send the campaign to. Every kid has a goal, and many of them exceed that goal. I used to send these through Constant Contact, but now I can do it through Neon CRM because now you can do custom fields in the subject line. That increases your open rate from a typical 30% to 70%-80%!
I want people to understand that, when you get yourself organized and do it all on the front end, the campaign really does just handle itself. You get those emails and check to make sure the money is where it needs to go. You can run the report for the coaches and they can click on it anytime and it auto-populates with the latest data.
The ability to share the live reports—and that they auto-populate—is literally the greatest thing on the planet. Just recently I set up a memorial page on behalf of a daughter of one of the school’s alumni who had just passed. I gave her the link to the report so she could hand-write thank you notes to everyone who donated through her father’s page at her convenience and not have to keep requesting the latest data. It’s those little wins that save so much time.
What common questions do your clients ask?
Claverie: “How long does this actually take?” They have this expectation that they’ll have a complete constituent portal built out where everybody can see every donation all the time and have all these bells and whistles like workflows in a click of a button, like Amazon. In reality, they haven’t even done step one of cleaning up the donation data.
Honestly, there’s a lot of little steps, and you will get there. Each client’s journey is a bit different. There is no standard: You will be here at three months, here at six months. I really do think people catch on, though, and that’s what is exciting. There is definitely a transition period, but once you get your first campaign designed, sent, see engagement and new donors, it is all worth it!
What recommendations would you have for other organizations like your clients?
Claverie: Things are going to move faster, but you have to understand that it’s going to be okay. I find so many organizations are almost afraid that data maintenance is more important than data success. It’s like trying to cook in the kitchen while keeping it pristine. You might have to crack a few eggs in order to get all these wonderful things happening.
You have tools in the backend, like duplicate management, to help with data maintenance. I do recommend saving your original data imports someplace and archiving them correctly. Then you can spot check everything so you know you’re not losing data.
My perspective is you just got all this new data and money in the door, and it didn’t require any staff assistance. That is something to celebrate!
Are you ready to see how you can grow your nonprofit without adding additional staff?
Book a call to see how Neon CRM can empower your organization.