How to Find the Best CRM for Your Nonprofit

As technology and industry trends have evolved, organizations of all kinds have begun to place a stronger emphasis on Customer Relationship Management (CRM). CRM involves the use of data, observations, and projections to predict which customers will be the most profitable for a company and how these customers can be effectively targeted.

Until recently, most CRM services have been largely concentrated in the for-profit sector of the economy. After all, contrary to their nonprofit counterparts, many of these businesses focus exclusively on the best ways to improve their bottom-line. But as various quantitative analysis techniques have worked their way into the nonprofit sector, many nonprofit organizations have been searching for new ways to use CRM to achieve their mission as well.

Quantitative analysis is no longer something reserved for the for-profit sector. Nonprofit organizations can benefit as well.

Initially, finding the right CRM service for your nonprofit organization might be a bit of a challenge. The industry is relatively new and it can be quite difficult to determine how much objective value a company can actually provide. By keeping these simple pieces of advice in mind, you can be more confident in your final decision.

Look for someone who has experience working with nonprofits

The for-profit and nonprofit sectors of the economy will naturally have very different goals. Because of this, it is important to look for someone who not only has a thorough understanding of CRM, but also has a strong familiarity with how nonprofits work.

A lot of CRM services want to give back to the community. Check and see if they offer any #discounts for #nonprofit organizations.

The best CRM service providers will be able to help you create a link between the status quo and your mission using tangible data. For example, they might be able to find that targeting a specific market at a specific time of the day can increase the amount of donations you receive for every marketing dollar you spend. Being able to correctly identify these kinds of trends will make it much more possible for you to actually achieve your mission.

Find someone who can work within your budget

As stated, many CRM service providers will offer discounts to organizations that have correctly filed for nonprofit status. Not only do these discounts help them improve their image and contribute to a good cause, but they also may help them qualify for certain tax deductions at the end of the year.

Regardless of your ability to get a discount, it is important to find a CRM service that can fit within your budget. In order to do this, you may need to get quotes from multiple different service providers. It should quickly become apparent which providers are trying to work with small nonprofits and which providers are trying to target much larger corporations.

Check the different services a CRM firm can provide

CRM is still considered to be a generally vague term that can be used to describe multiple different types of services.

  • Operational CRM: Sales (Donation Gathering) Automation, Marketing Automation, Service Automation—outsourcing these services makes it possible for your employees to focus on the things that matter most
  • Analytical CRM: gathering important info from donors (and potential donors), organizing the info in a way that will be useful for decision-making, analyzing key performance indicators (KPI) that are crucial for your organization’s success
  • Collaborative CRM: sharing important data between different parts of your business, developing strategies in response to this data, helping different units work together in order to achieve a common objective (synergy)

The degree CRM services will be useful depends on the goals, size, and current dynamic of your organization as a whole.

Most nonprofit organizations can benefit from the strategic use of CRM to at least some extent. However, it is still important to look at each of these different services individually before making any final commitments.

Ask a lot of questions

Ultimately, when you are comparing different CRM service providers, it will be very important for you to ask a lot of questions. This way, you will have a better chance of knowing what you are getting involved with and can be more confident in your final decision.

  • How are the CRM services you provide different than using CRM software on our own?
  • What experience do you have working with nonprofit organizations? Are you willing to work with us at a discounted price?
  • What do you believe are your organization’s greatest strengths? What are your greatest weaknesses?
  • What key performance indicators do you think will be most important for our organization?
  • How do you think you can help us better achieve our mission?

Once you can have these questions sufficiently answered, the CRM service provider that is best for your nonprofit will likely become much clearer. Though there isn’t a secret “formula” that can help you make your final decision, keeping these valuable pieces of advice in mind will likely be quite helpful.

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