08 May 4 Tips for Finding the Right CRM For Your Nonprofit
Often nonprofits have multiple “target markets”. They need to capture the attention of donors and prospective donors, they want to pull in additional volunteers and they need to reach their constituents. Each group has it’s own “division” within the organization from development to volunteer coordinators to program managers.
What if your development director, your volunteer coordinator and your program manager had access to all the information your organization has about each person you’ve touched?
A CRM for nonprofits or Constituent Relationship Management tool can make that happen.
Working nonprofit marketing departments, we find many organizations use great tools like Blackbaud, Bloomerang or Razor’s Edge to manage their donors. If you’ve given one dollar to the organization for any reason, you’re in their database. But what about all those others who have been touched in some way by your organization but have not yet given monetarily?
A CRM allows you to manage all the people your organization has touched with information on the interaction. In theory a development group could then work with the volunteer coordinator to segment volunteers who give vs those who do not give and create a strategy to convert non-donors into donors. Program managers could know if a constituent has ever given or volunteered with the organization in the past.
Having a full picture of the donor, volunteer or constituent makes your work easier and your organization more friendly to everyone who comes in contact with you.
Now you’re sold on the program, but how do you choose the best CRM for nonprofits and then what’s the implementation time and cost?
First, evaluate what you’re currently using to track people your organization touches. Are you creating spreadsheets? Using Google docs? Do you have a donor program that tracks donors but no one else? Are you using contact lists within your email marketing tool? Do you have a current system, but it’s just not working the way you want it to work? If your organization is tracking touches, but none of the tracking overlaps, look for a program that will allow you to see how a person has interacted with all aspects of your nonprofit, not just the one you manage. You also want to use a tool where you can easily merge contacts from tools you already use.
Second, ask yourself what you need most from a management tool. If you have a tool that manages donations, will it also manage non-donors with a little tweaking? Do you need multiple staff members to be able to access the same information? Do you need a tool that also allows you to create email marketing campaigns or monitor social media? Write down your wish list. Be aware you may not find a tool that will do all you want it to do. But if you know what you want, you can eliminate some of the tools from the competition without wasting a lot of time on them.
Next, think about who will actually use this tool. Do you have a staff of two or two hundred? Some tools offer free or discounted software to small nonprofits. Others offer enterprise bundles for large groups with multiple users. By keeping better track of your donors, volunteers and constituents, you’ll actually make better use of your organization’s resources by being more efficient and raising more funds. But having the money for startup with a a specific tool is a consideration.
Finally, what’s your timeline. Some CRMs offer more detailed reporting and a lot of bells and whistles, but getting your staff trained and your contacts uploaded may take more time. If you need a quick turnaround on implementation look for a tool that’s easier to use or that offers add ons after your organization gets set up initially.
As a Hubspot certified partner, we enjoy the free HubSpot CRM and believe it’s a great place to start. Best of all, it’s free! It also integrates with a lot of other software. You can check it out here and we’re happy to show you around and answer any questions you may have. If you’re looking for additional comparisons we like this one and this one.