How to Speak Virtuous: A Glossary

Virtuous CRM is a tool that was built to be a little different from other databases. With that in mind, we also use some different lingo than you may know from other systems. This glossary should provide a basic primer on most of the terms you’ll encounter when using Virtuous. We’re sure that once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to “speak Virtuous” like a pro!

Contact: Contacts in Virtuous are your constituents, givers, prospects, partners -- anyone who has a relationship with your organization. A single individual may be a contact, but most often contacts are larger entities, like households, companies, nonprofits, super-secret spy organizations -- anything you want, really. Virtuous exists primarily to help you manage your relationships with these people and organizations and leverage their generosity to help advance your mission.

Contact Type: Each contact in Virtuous is assigned a type. There are three main types in Virtuous: Household, Organization, and Foundation. You may create additional types, if needed, which will be based on one of the three main contact types. If you are importing contact data that includes custom contact types, be sure to create those types first.

Individual: Within a contact record, you may have one or more individuals. These are the people that make up a contact household, or who serve as points of contact with a particular organization. Virtuous CRM does require each contact record to have at least one individual. If you do not have contact names for some of your corporate or foundation contacts, you may enter “Default Contact” as the primary individual’s name, though we strongly recommend identifying individuals within your constituent organizations. Remember, at Virtuous, we are all about nurturing relationships with your givers.

Contact ID: A unique numeric identifier assigned to all contacts entered into Virtuous CRM. Contact IDs are automatically assigned whenever a new contact is created.

Legacy ID: This would be the unique ID number assigned to a contact in your previous database. These ID numbers are used in the data migration process, as a way to match up contacts and giver information. Only contacts imported via the legacy contact import tool will have a Legacy ID.

Giver: “Givers” are your donors. Would it be simpler to just say “donors?” Maybe. But that would go against part of what Virtuous is all about. We use the term “givers” because, all too often, interactions with “donors” are strictly financial transactions, without an understanding of what makes someone want to give financially or the other resources, like time and social capital, that someone might be willing to share with your organization. Viewing someone as a “Giver” is a small step toward seeing your relationship with them in a new light, and hopefully leads to seeing all the ways that individual can help advance your mission.

Campaign: Campaigns in Virtuous allow you to track your outbound marketing and fundraising efforts, connect these efforts to gifts received, and track their effectiveness. Campaigns are constructed in a hierarchy, consisting of Campaigns > Communications > Segments. This structure can be used to support any organization’s marketing structure, from small startups to large international organizations.

Campaign Communication: A single campaign in Virtuous may have one or more campaign communications associated with it. These may all be different messaging, delivered through different channels, that are all part of one single campaign effort. For example, as part of your “Year-End Membership Drive” campaign, you may have a coordinated messaging effort that includes a teaser email (“Get Ready -- Here Comes the Big Drive!”), a call to action banner on your website (“Are You a Member? Click to Join Today!”), a direct mail brochure (“Friend, Here are Six Glossy Pages About What Membership Means to You.”), an event (“Winter Membership Jamboree”), an email invite to the event (“Come Join us at Our Winter Membership Jamboree!”), and a social media blitz (“Tweet Using Hashtag #ImAMemberBecause to Tell us Your Story!”). Each of these communications supports the overall campaign, but can be tracked separately using the Virtuous Fundraising Campaigns module.

Segment: Segments may be the most visible aspect of the Campaign hierarchy. Just as each campaign may have one or more campaign communications, each communication may in turn have one or more segments. This allows you to tweak messaging for specific audiences, and have one version of a mailer for non-givers and another version of the same mailer for mid-level or high-end givers. Segments are also used to tie gifts to a particular campaign. When viewing gifts in Virtuous, the Segment will always be listed. Picking a segment name that clearly identifies the right campaign can be a big help when quickly scanning a contact’s donation history.

Channel: Each campaign communication in Virtuous is assigned a channel, or “type” when creating a new communication. This indicates the delivery method of a particular appeal, and will drive both the dashboard Giving by Channel dashboard report and the Response graph in a contact record. The list of channels in Virtuous is: Email, Direct Mail, Radio, TV, Web, Social Media, PR, Event, Advocacy, and Other.

Project: Projects are specific initiatives that are funded by gifts. Projects may be defined as actual programs or may be program areas or even geographic regions. In the latter cases, subprojects may be used to track actual programs on initiatives, with multiple subprojects all grouped together under one top-level project. Projects may also be grouped together by custom Types or by Location for ease of reporting.

Premium: Sometimes, givers receive some sort of benefit in return for a financial gift, like the tote bag you can get for pledging to your local PBS station. In Virtuous, these are knows as premiums. Premiums have a set cost and fair market value, and automatically reduce the tax-deductible amount of any gift by the fair market value of all premiums received. This is frequently used for event registration fees, which typically include a tax-deductible portion and a ticket fee that covers the fair market value of food and drinks.

Tag: There are a number of ways to track your givers and other contacts in Virtuous, but one of the easiest ways to define groups is to use tags. Tags can be quickly assigned to a single contacts or in bulk to a group of contacts, and may identify specific roles (Board Member, Volunteer, Superhero), communication preferences (Do Not Call, Do Not Mail, Do Not Make Eye Contact), or any other specific data you want to use to track your contacts. Tags can be used to quickly view a list of all contacts sharing a single tag.

Related: Use the “Related to” box within a contact record to link two contacts OR contact individuals together and indicate the nature of their relationship. Maybe one of your givers is the pastor or member of a church that is also a contact (remember, Organizations are contacts too). Or maybe you have two separate contacts who are sisters. Or twice-removed second cousins. Whatever the relationship, you can track it in Virtuous.

Passthrough: A passthrough in Virtuous denotes when a gift received originated with a giver other than the contact who actually made the gift. One common example would be a corporate match: Giver A makes a gift of $500 and his employer, ABC Company, matches that, giving another gift of $500. On the $500 gift from ABC company, Giver A would be identified as the passthrough giver. Some nonprofit databases may use the term “soft credit” for these scenarios.

Designation Amount: When crediting a gift to a specific project or subproject, Virtuous requires a designation amount which is the amount of money from the gift that is restricted, or earmarked for a specific project. A single gift may be split among multiple projects. For example, a gift of $100 may be given with the restriction that $50 go toward building a new youth center and $50 go toward job coaching for millennials. In this case, the gift would be split among two different projects, with a designation amount of $50 for each project.

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