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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Gimme that old time CRM

Well, I’m off tomorrow to “Fiddle and Dance” at Ashokan – it’s a week of classes, workshops, dances, jams, and concerts, focusing on traditional music from the Southern US. It’s a music often called “old-time.” So this week my usual round of adding features to our software, talking to clients about their websites, and assembling proposals has been leavened with an unusual amount of fiddle and mandolin practice, and as I drifted off to sleep last night I found myself musing about “old-time CRM”.

Fiddle and Dance

photo by George Touchstone

What a whacky idea. “I remember how back in the good old days, uncle Jeb would sit on the back porch and play Salt River on his homemade banjo while I managed my contact database…”. But really, there was oldtime CRM –remember? My database back then was a little pocket notebook full of names, address, and obscure scribbles and doodles. And once a year, on some long lazy day coming up on New Years , I’d get a new notebook and copy all the current information out of the old and into the new.

This was a great process. As I copied I would find and flag people I had no current address for, and try to track them down. I’d remove a few folks who, sad to say, had passed away. I’d add new info to old records, – a spouse’s name or a new child’s birthday. A few names would inspire me to pick up the phone right then.

Just like my brand-new IPOD helps me stay plugged into old-time string-bands, your cutting edge object-oriented SQL-based buzzword-compliant information system ought to promote this old-time CRM. Now that we deal with so many names, its easy for our contacts to become a little less personal, despite all the reports we design and queries we save..

How do you make sure that your information is up-to-date? That you are staying in touch with members and their concerns? That information which would help you maintain members and convert prospects is entered into the system? Guys selling copier supplies often know better how to do this detailed contact management than we association and non-profit folks. Do you use your database just as a way to “Keep track” of your members, or do you use it to actively develop your organization? That's old-time CRM.

Comments on "Gimme that old time CRM"


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