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!
Acknowledgee: a separate Individual that can be notified of any Gift made in memory of the Tribute. This is stored on a gift record.
Acknowledgment: may be sent to Contacts who have given through another entity. Note that this is NOT a Receipt and does not act as an official tax document.
Archive: In general, when you “Archive” something it means “I no longer need this data”, so you tuck it away. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s not quite deleted, but it’s no longer an “active” item in your database. Archived Contacts are not visible on the Contacts screen and are not returned in Contact queries or searches. By archiving a Contact, the history of activity is preserved, including past gifts. Admins can view the list of archived Contacts and even unarchive records as needed.
Automation: Virtuous Automation allows users to create workflows that automatically handle tasks, like sending emails, tagging Contacts, and even creating follow-up tasks. Leveraging Automation can help expand your team's reach, allowing for personalized communication with donors of any size, and even help with keeping Contact data up to date.
Batch: When entering gifts, users have the option of specifying a Batch. This code can be used to identify all Gifts that were entered together, which can come in handy when troubleshooting or reconciling financial data. Batch values are stored at the gift level, though users creating a new gift import can set a default value to apply to all gifts in a particular import. While the terms "Batch" and "Import" are often used interchangeably, it's worth noting that one Import in Virtuous can contain multiple Batches.
Batch Code: This code can be anything, and should be based on internal business rules defined by your organization. For many users, the Batch Code may be a combination of the current date, the Gift Type, the Source, and the initials of the team member entering gifts.
Batch Total: This number is the total dollar amount for all of the gifts that will be included in your import. Once a Batch Total has been entered, the total amount of all gifts entered must equal this number or the import will not be able to be completed.
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.
Cash Accounting Code: Generally, this represents the income account in your organization’s accounting system for all reconciled cash received. For QuickBooks Desktop users, as part of the import process, this is the code for the account Gifts will be imported to before they are distributed to the correct designation accounts. This is not a required field.
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.
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. Most data in Virtuous is related directly to Contacts, including gifts, pledges, recurring gifts, addresses, notes, tasks, and Tags.
Contact Note: The structure for documenting a past interaction with a supporter on their contact record.
Contact ID: A unique numeric identifier assigned to all contact records entered into Virtuous CRM. Contact IDs are automatically assigned anytime a new contact is created.
Contact Method: Contact methods can include phone numbers, email addresses, and social media handles. Contact methods are always associated with Individuals (not Contacts) as communication is inherently personal, and each Individual will have one phone number and one email address that is identified as their primary phone or email. Each Contact Method also has a Type associated with it. When selecting a Type, the available options are: Home Email, Work Email, Other Email, Home Phone, Mobile Phone, Work Phone, Other Phone, Fax, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest, RSS, Snapchat, Tumblr, Vimeo, YouTube, LinkedIn, Skype, Web, and Other.
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.
Contact Queue: Quite simply, the Contact Queue is a custom list of Contacts. You can access it from the row of icons visible at the top right of almost any screen in Virtuous.
Current Address: Some donors have multiple addresses. You can select the dates someone is at that address. When using the Current address merge tag, it will pull the address based on the date.
Custom Collection: A custom series of related values/fields with an undefined amount of entries that can be added to Contacts or Individuals. For example, let’s say your organization has an animal adoption program and you want to track all of the animals each Contact has adopted. Using a Custom Field for this wouldn’t work because it would limit them to one animal, so this is where using a Custom Collection would be best. This information could include “Animal Name,” “Cat or Dog,” and “Date Adopted,” and you could have several entries with these fields to track all of the animals adopted by a single Contact.
Custom Field: A user-created field to track specific data or capture mission-critical details. Only users with Admin permissions can create Custom Fields.
Custom Report: A user-created Report with custom criteria and more flexibility in visual presentation.
Dashboard: A user-specific selection of Widgets that display data upon logging into Virtuous.
Data Health: meaning the state of all data in your database. Minimal to no duplicates, clean mailing addresses, and clean email addresses all lead to top Data Health in your database.
Donor Anniversary: A Contact Query parameter that uses the month and day from a Contact’s first Gift date, which can be used to trigger automated communication celebrating the anniversary of a donor’s first gift.
Donor Portal: Virtuous Giving users will be provided with a Donor Portal page, where donors can log in to manage their stored credit card or bank information, make changes to recurring gifts, make a donation, and even see all of their past giving history, both online and offline. Your organization's donor portal can be customized with your logo and color scheme, and you will have your own unique subdomain to provide to your givers. All donors who make a gift via Virtuous Giving will automatically have an account created, which they can claim afterward by creating a login. Donor logins are tied to their email address and cannot be changed.
Email List: A group of email subscribers receiving a specific type of content from your organization. Each group should be organized based on the content being sent out, not the Individuals who are receiving it. Each organization can have no more than 200 email lists.
Embed: Insert media (often Virtuous forms) into your organization’s website by copying and pasting a code snippet provided upon creation of said media. Virtuous Forms are all embedded so that site visitors stay on your organization’s site instead of being redirected elsewhere to see the Form.
External Accounting Code: Optional secondary code for use with external accounting software.
Filter: A search for a simple list of data with multiple parameters which exists on specific pages within Virtuous (for example, the Contact filter is on the Contacts page). You can export data from filters, but you cannot save them.
Financial Score: Each Contact is assigned a Financial Score, on a scale of 0-99 (99 being the best). This score is a relative score, meaning records are ranked against all of the records in your database. Contacts with a high score are your best donors.
A Contact's Financial Score is based on
- the total amount of money they have given
- how often do they give
- how recent their last gift was
These values are dependent on the donor contributions to your organization specifically - in other words, this score does not consider Contacts' giving behavior to other organizations.
Form Confirmation Email: A form confirmation email is a specific type of email that can be created in Virtuous. These emails are designed to be sent specifically as an immediate response to Individuals who complete either a giving form or a lead form. Because these emails are sent before a submission is matched to a Virtuous Contact record, there are limited merge fields available. It is important to note that form confirmation emails are not designed to be used as receipts, as there is no ability to accurately determine the deductible status of a gift until it has been imported by your team.
Gift: A donation of money, goods, services, or other assets. As Virtuous is a system designed specifically for nonprofits, all transactions entered into Virtuous are gifts, and are assumed to be fully tax-deductible unless otherwise indicated. A Segment and a Project may be associated with a Gift to track the origin and destination.
Gift Ask: a Gift Ask will allow you to follow the journey of a specific ask from initial planning all the way through having the gift come through.
Gift Ask Pipeline: A Kanban-style, drag-and-drop board that provides a high-level view of asks broken down by status, or pipeline stage, with weighted and actual totals for each group.
Gift Type: Each gift can be assigned a type and these are hardcoded in Virtuous, meaning they cannot be customized.
The available Gift Types are
- Electronic Funds Transfer
- Qualified Charitable Distribution
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.
Giving Form: Virtuous Giving users can create donation forms to embed on their website, making it easy to receive and process online donations. These forms can be customized in Virtuous, and web developers can further customize the look and feel of any form by assigning CSS classes to any field.
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” or another placeholder value 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.
Lapsed: The Lapsed marker in Virtuous is a System Tag, meaning it is automatically applied or removed based on the data in a Contact record. Contacts may be marked as Lapsed if they meet either of the following criteria: 1) No gifts greater than $0 in the last 12 months OR 2) Active Recurring Gift with any missed Payment. Note that even if a Giver has made a recent gift, they may still be identified as Lapsed if they have missed a Recurring gift payment.
Lead Form: Users with Virtuous Giving have the option to create lead forms and embed them on their websites. These forms can be used for email or newsletter signups, or even to collect details from site visitors who might be interested in volunteering. These forms can be customized in Virtuous, and web developers can further customize the look and feel of any form by assigning CSS classes to any field.
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 donor information. Only contacts imported via the legacy contact import tool will have a Legacy ID.
Media Outlet: Various outlets like Podcasts, Radio Stations, Live Streams, etc. This allows for a donor-facing option of "How did you hear about us?"
Membership: A structured program for a group of people used as a way to invite your supporters to be involved in your community. In Virtuous, these programs include fees and are tied to giving. Memberships can be one-time or recurring, and a Contact or Individual can only have ONE active membership at a time.
Merge Tag: A variable that allows you to insert personalized content or tracking tools into an email, letter, or receipt. The specific merge tag you select corresponds to that field on a record and adds that data to the email, letter, or receipt.
Organization Group: A way to categorize or group contacts together for a variety of reasons, and even restrict user access to specific Contacts.
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.
Pledge: A pledge represents a commitment from a donor to give a specific sum of money over a set period of time. For example, a donor may pledge to give you $50,000 over the next five years. As part of this commitment, they may agree to make annual payments of $10,000 each, or maybe they will send checks of $2,500 once per quarter. In some cases, their pledge agreement may include a custom schedule of payments or even conditions that must be met before their pledge can be fulfilled.
Pledge Payment: Once a pledge is created, it will include a schedule of payments due from your giver. These payments may be set at varying frequencies and even have variable amounts. Each payment includes a due date and amount, for tracking purposes. When a gift is made, in order to credit it toward a pledge, it must be linked to a specific pledge payment.
Prelapsed: Like Lapsed, the Prelapsed marker in Virtuous is a System Tag. Contacts in Virtuous will be marked as Prelapsed if they have no gifts within the last 6 months. These Givers should be contacted to ensure they renew their support of your organization.
Premium: 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.
Project: Projects are specific initiatives that are funded by gifts. Projects may be defined as actual programs or could 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. In many other systems, Projects may align with Funds or Designations. IN Virtuous, it often helps to think of Projects as the destination of all gifts received by your organization. As a general best practice, every gift should be designated to at least one Project.
Query: A search for a simple or complex list of data with multiple parameters and rules that can be nested, saved, shared with teams, and run repeatedly. This is also the function associated with grouping through segmentation, receipting, and automation.
Receipt: A letter or email to a donor that your organization has received one or more gifts from them. Donors can use these receipts to claim deductions on their taxes. Note that a Receipt is different from an Acknowledgement. A Receipt is an official tax document that is only sent to the direct donor.
Receipting Group: A group linked to a receipt template and a saved gift query, effectively defining the criteria for which gifts should be receipted using that particular template; these are all part of the Receipting tool.
Receipt Template: Your organization’s customized design in letter or email form that your organization has received one or more gifts from them. In email templates, the receipt is contained in the body of the email rather than in an attachment.
Recurring Gift: Recurring Gifts represent a donor's commitment to providing regular, ongoing support for your organization. It's common to think of this as only monthly giving, but recurring gifts can also include quarterly payments, annual support, or even bimonthly donations. Often, recurring giving involves automatic payments via a credit card or bank transfer/e-check, but a recurring donor may choose to regularly send checks instead. A recurring gift does not represent a binding or long-term commitment from a donor. A recurring gift may end at any time (most often, they end when a donor's credit card expires) and there is no lump sum or total dollar amount committed by your donor.
Recurring Gift Payment: Much like pledge payments, recurring gift payments are used to track expected revenue from your recurring givers. Users have the option to create a schedule of payments or not when creating a new recurring gift. If no payments are generated, gifts cannot be matched to a recurring gift, as gifts can only be associated with recurring gift payments. Past-due payments will result in a past-due balance on a recurring gift. Any outstanding payments can be forgiven, if desired, to zero out any balance due.
Relationship: Within a contact record, use Relationships to link two contacts OR contact individuals together and indicate the nature of their relationship.
Report: While a query can give you a list of data, Reports will digest the data into a visual representation of your selection of data.
Responsive Dashboard: helps you keep track of key fundraising metrics. All of these fundraising metrics can be directly impacted by the adoption of specific responsive fundraising strategies, which is what makes this dashboard "Responsive."
Responsive Listener: A tool for tracking donors’ activity on your organization’s website. Users can view data from this tool, which includes browsing patterns and web pages viewed. Based on this data, Users can make better suggestions on projects donors may want to support or how they may want to support the organization in general. Each donor will see customized, targeted gift arrays on Virtuous Giving forms based upon their previous giving patterns - note that this only happens if Responsive Listener is activated AND a User chooses to create a Smart Array.
Reversing Transaction: A negative gift entry used to counteract, or "reverse", a positive gift entry that is no longer valid for any number of reasons.
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.
Segmentation: A function of assigning Contacts to Campaign Segment(s) based on the results of running their associated Queries. (Here's an in-depth article on segments vs. segmentation)
SMS: Short for Short Message Service, a standard term (not exclusive to Virtuous) for a function that sends text messages to Individuals from Virtuous. These messages only include text; they cannot include images, videos, or GIFs (these would be allowed in MMS, which Virtuous does not have).
Split 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 designated amount of $50 for each project.
Social Insights: The Social Insights add-on feature allows users to find social media handles and profiles, as well as images, for Individuals automatically. Using an Individual's email address, Virtuous will search for social media accounts and append any records found as Contact Methods. Profile images found in social accounts will also be added as Individual avatars. Social Insights data is refreshed every 30 days. Organizations must have the Social Insights feature included in their contract to maintain access to data found and appended via this service.
Social Score: Each Contact is assigned a Social Score, on a scale of 0-99 (99 being the best). This score is a relative score, meaning records are ranked against all of the records in your database. Contacts with a high Social Score have significant social capital that can benefit your organization, and should be cultivated in much the same way you would a major donor or major gift prospect. The social score is based on a combination of
- a Contact's address
- how many Contacts are nearby
- the number of relationships they have with other records in your database
- the presence of social media handles on their record. In the case of Twitter, the Twitter follower count is also incorporated into the scoring algorithm.
Tag: One of the easiest ways to define groups in Virtuous is to use tags. Tags can be quickly assigned to a single contact 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.
Task: a future action item that can be associated with a specific Contact or Individual. You can also create a task without a Contact or Individual associated.
Tribute: Gifts that are made in honor of someone for recognition or in memory of someone who has passed away.
Virtuous Giving: Virtuous Giving is an online giving solution that allows credit card processing and direct bank transfers. Users may choose to embed donation forms on their website to receive donations or process cards directly in Virtuous as part of gift entry. Users can review all transactions and even cancel recurring gifts if needed.
Volunteer Opportunity: A specific time slot and need for someone to volunteer their time.
Workflow: Workflows represent the scrips, or series of actions, used in Virtuous Automation. There are best practice workflows that can be customized for your specific organization, or you can build fully custom workflows to meet your specific needs. Workflows may target either Contact or Individuals — for example, responses to giving activity are generally best for targeting Contacts, while responding to event attendance or email activity is often best for targeting Individuals.
Workflow Action: A specific action within a Workflow Step. These are the actual happenings like "Add Tag", "Send Email", "Create Contact Note" etc.
Workflow Step: A column within a Workflow Automation. Each Step within a workflow will have a specific set of criteria to differentiate between.