Nonprofit CRM Software Buyer's Guide
By Andrew Urban, iCloud
How Nonprofit CRM Are Unique
A few years ago one my former consulting clients came to me with a question. “My board member is questioning my purchase request for XYZ Nonprofit CRM database and asking why I can’t just use XYZ regular CRM package. How do I let him know we really do need this?!?!”
My client said he had tried to tell him that the other package wouldn’t do all of the nonprofit-specific things he needed his staff to do, but his board member wouldn’t have it. His objections, which I’ve heard way too many times, went like this:
- Isn’t fundraising basically the same as sales?
- Isn’t donor or volunteer tracking the same as customer management?
- Online donations is just a shopping cart right?
- Event planning is basically just webforms right?
The answer, of course, to each of these questions is “Yes, but no.” I talked with my client about these three themes I see that make a nonprofit-centric CRM absolutely necessary.
Supporter Profiles that Aren’t Company-Centric
Your nonprofit-centric CRM certainly does have many of the characteristics of a for-profit CRM, but the biggest must be the baseline view of a customer profile. It’s this one big difference that makes configuring a for-profit database for nonprofit use extremely difficult. In a standard for-profit CRM database the profile hierarchy starts with the ‘Company’ record at the top level. Individuals are then added as contacts associated with that ‘Company’. In a nonprofit database an individual must be a top-level entity. This is important as the direct relationship of the nonprofit can be either to a company (vendor, Foundation, or company) or an individual (family member, donor, volunteer, or event participant) whereas for a for-profit business the standard relationship component is business-to-business (B2B).
The ability to track the interwoven relationships that can happen at a nonprofit means that basic characteristic is absolutely critical. Think of this scenario:
- A high net worth individual donates to a nonprofit during an event they attended
- This same individual, along with their spouse, are members of the organizations program at the top level group
- The company the individual is CEO of donates in-kind product and services at a low-level sponsorship tier
- Now an event for the organization comes up and an employee at the donors company asks for sponsorship benefits above their sponsorship tier
- Typical answer would be to tell the sponsor no, but a nonprofit-centric database lets the organization employee realizes there is a personal relationship that affects the business sponsorship and a compromise may be best to work out in order to maintain the relationship with the high value donor.
Without the unique relationship tags that nonprofit CRM databases include, such as householding (matching individuals to individuals without a company relationship), soft credits (crediting a donation to another related donor or company without impacting reporting totals), and a flexible database hierarchy this organization might have damaged a relationship with a valued donor.
Not a Sales Pipeline with Transactions
The standard linear sales pipeline used in your modern B2B CRM systems doesn’t work for a nonprofit organization where the interactions and transactions come from multiple sources and via multiple transaction vehicles. The nonprofit-centric CRM must intake transactions and interactions from various sources (storefront, donations page, multiple events, third party, social, and more) and credit a single transaction across multiple entities or individuals as described earlier. As in our example above, we have three separate relationship actions (donor, member, foundation) involving two different records and, most likely, transacted at different times over the course of months or years.
To add one more layer of complication that nonprofit organizations must comply with for all of these transactions is the notion of restricted funds. Organizations are required to honor donor intent. This insures donated funds are spent to the purpose for which they are given. The CRM database must be able to not only record the transaction, match to the multiple records involved correctly, but also track the restrictions on the donated dollars for reporting to the accounting department. If tracked incorrectly it can cause a PR nightmare…as many nonprofits have publicly had over this issue in the past.
Reporting that makes the Transactional Relational
Lastly, with all important constituent data tracked in the platform, your organization must run reports on all relationships and interactions that influence the organization. The 360° view of a constituent involves many more elements than a for-profit database can handle. All of the constituents, their relationships, transactions, and interactions with your organization means creating relational reports that aren’t necessary for a standard for-profit business.
With proper reporting organizations can understand their supporters more intimately and determine the best way to stay close to them, support them in their relationship with the organization, and grow their commitment to it.
Thus, they are able to move from creating a transaction (a donation, membership or ticket purchase, etc) to connecting the dots and building a relationship with the constituent that extends for, hopefully, years to come.
Use the Right Tool for the Job
My former client took these points to his board member and was successfully able to explain why a nonprofit-centric CRM solution was the right tool for the job. There are certainly for-profit equivalencies for many business processes, expense reports and payroll are examples that come to mind, but there are others that must be industry-specific to allow for maximum effectiveness, staff efficiency, and to empower mission growth.
Salsa CRM offers a platform designed to assist non-profit organizations, providing a seamless experience with operational activities such as fundraising, donation management, online advocacy and much more. Users can leverage it to deepen donor relations, track and nurture staff efficiency, and accelerate fundraising efforts. Users can align offline and online inputs to work in sync with ongoing and upcoming campaigns.It takes care of digital needs by maintaining an online presence for users and also integrates marketing automation and event registration. It also offers policy, development and communication for internal teams.
Creatio (formerly bpm’online) is the most agile platform for midsize and large enterprises to accelerate sales, marketing, service and operations. This platform helps to align data, processes, and teams enabling them to better connect with digital native customers and rapidly adapt. Provides its customers with comprehensive full-fledged applications that can be deployed as standalone products, or as a bundle on a single platform.
Bloomerang is a complete system allowing nonprofit organizations to manage donor relationships, events and fundraising. Its emphasis on donor engagement and retention supports company growth.Capabilities include email marketing, online giving, grant tracking, donor surveys, data segmentation, dashboards, reporting and prospect research. Deployment via Amazon Cloud Services provides security and scalability. It’s available to both U.S. and Canadian organizations.
Designed to integrate with Gmail and other Google Apps, Copper CRM (formerly ProsperWorks) is a comprehensive and easy-to-use platform. It helps small and medium-sized businesses automate core operations; manage leads, sources and opportunities; streamline sales processes; uncover actionable insights; and nurture customer relationships. It enables users to check email threads and past interactions. It also acts as an alternative for goal setting and forecast management, as it converts sales bottlenecks into visible opportunities.
Mothernode CRM is a dynamic, highly expandable system which scales based on a company’s specific business and customer needs.The highly configurable application can be set up to align with a business’s industry, customer requirements and more. As SMBs grow into themselves, additional features and editions can be integrated for continued operations with a boosted level of functionality. No other system within Mothernode's class offers the same number of capabilities that are present in this system. With such a high degree features-to-price ratio, SMBs can take full advantage of a robust set of modules without overextending their budgets.
Infor CloudSuite CRM is a cloud-based system that helps companies cater to and understand customers through sales, marketing and customer service activities. It helps with operations and handles outreach. Users can identify opportunities, streamline sales projects, forecast business-related decisions and generate growth with its analytics.Cloud deployment and ERP integration help implement a strategic approach for maximum business growth.
Insightly is a cloud-based platform with tools that support every phase of the customer lifecycle. The solution’s capabilities allow organizations to accomplish sales activities, nurture customer relationships and manage projects to deliver on customer orders. The software is best suited for small businesses, although several larger companies have had success with the product as well.
NetSuite CRM is a cloud-based software offering a real-time, 360-degree view of customers. It ensures a continuous flow of information for opportunities, sales orders, fulfillment, renewal, upsell, cross-sell, and support. Some of its capabilities are sales force automation, marketing automation, partner relationship management, quotes and order management, and sales forecasting. It supports businesses of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries. Integration with existing e-commerce and ERP offerings eliminates the costs of having multiple applications for each business unit.
BroadPoint is an award-winning, Gold-Certified Microsoft partner with nearly two decades of experience implementing technology solutions for nonprofits and commercial companies. From day one, our team of passionate, seasoned consultants has been focused on one thing: helping our clients focus on their mission by designing and implementing great technology solutions. After gaining a deep understanding of your organization, we design and implement an integrated solution to fit your unique needs. BroadPoint’s experience and proven project management methodology ensures an on-time, and on-budget deployment of your solution.
NeonCRM is a cloud-based software suite built by Neon One that helps non-profit organizations streamline day to day processes along with management of fundraising events, memberships and volunteers through automation. It also allows users to build non-profit websites while facilitating real-time credit card processing and recurring payments. These inclusions help enhance online donations while streamlining day-to-day processes for more efficiency.
Thousands of nonprofits use DonorPerfect to organize constituent data in one unified database. With one central database, everyone in your organization will be working with the same information in real time. It has easy to use constituent relationship management tools for making smarter, timelier decisions that help nonprofits raise more money. Two nonprofits, NTEN and Idealware, gave DonorPerfect the more 'excellent' ratings in their donor management systems’ report than any other software.
Salesforce is the Customer Success Platform. Our social and mobile cloud technologies—including our flagship sales and CRM applications—help companies connect with customers, partners, and employees in entirely new ways.
Built on Microsoft Azure, Blackbaud CRM is a fundraising and relationship management solution, catering to enterprise-level marketing and fundraising needs. It helps streamline data and reporting processes, offering insights into every stage of the constituent lifecycle and increasing operational efficiency. Capabilities include financial aid management, tuition management, advocacy, fund accounting, grant making, award management, direct marketing, data enrichment and more. It helps attract new supporters, facilitate communications according to unique preferences and grow mission impact.
Need a website with integrated membership software?MemberClicks COMPLETE is your solution.We make it easy with MemberClicks COMPLETE, an all-in-one solution that gives you the best membership management and website tools.- Membership management- Fully-integrated website- Secure members-only community- Payment processing- Online forms registrations- Career center- Continuing education management
Salesforce delivers an end-to-end suite of products for managing customer interactions no matter what stage they occur in. With a dozen individual products that can be deployed alone or as part of an integrated environment, it offers extensive flexibility based on business needs. Prominent applications include Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud and Commerce Cloud.
SugarCRM is a comprehensive platform for effectively managing the customer lifecycle. A suite of modules provide the tools needed to support each stage of the funnel so your organization can locate prospects, nurture leads, close more deals and retain customers. The program’s capabilities include quote management, forecasting and campaign management.The software supports multiple currencies and 35 languages with the option to develop support for additional languages. The tool also offers a mobile app for phones and tablets. Mobile functionality includes filters, dynamic search, GPS mapping, click-to-text, click-to-call and offline sync for continued access without a network connection. The interface is customizable and the system can integrate with mobile device management solutions.
At Sumac, we don’t just offer exceptional technology, but exceptional services as well. We want to ensure your experience with Sumac – from the minute you sign up, and through the years – is the absolute best it can be!
Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Kindful offers an all in one approach to software for nonprofits. Noted for its clear and clever design, not just its functionality, Kindful is a premiere choice of software for nonprofits. Kindful is also notable for its mobile-friendly design, which is key for fundraising. In addition to this, the software provides customer relationship management functions. It is also possible to create useful, detailed reports with Kindful. Partners with Kindful include Paypal, QuickBooks, EventBrite, and Stripe.
Millennium is a comprehensive donor relationship management tool that provides you with a 360-degree view of donation activity, communications received, events attended, and personal relationships. Support your entire development strategy including: events, campaigns, and memberships.
Network for Good is an online platform to help non profit organizations raise more money. They provide clients with software that makes the donation process simple for donors, making it easier than ever to donate online. Network for Good not only provides the needed software, they also help clients learn how to find new donors and inspire donors to donate even more. They help with the overall marketing for non profits who are seeking online support by providing the needed tools to reach donors and accept their donations in a way that makes donors feel safe and secure.
The CRM software used by DonorDirect helps its clients manage a steady stream of donations and streamline the entire relationship management process. The reports provided by DonorDirect's CRM solution have just enough detail to be helpful without overwhelming.
Achieve balance by eliminating stacks of paper, long email threads, overgrown spreadsheets and clunky software. We know your work is filled with spreadsheets gone wild, overstuffed email, cobbled-together systems and often, hard-to-use software. We believe you can achieve more with our fast, affordable software tools that allow you to easily create perfectly tailored cloud-based business solutions.
Trail Blazer has had a long-standing commitment to service that goes above and beyond what’s expected. The moment you call us, you'll feel that difference. We listen, we're nimble and we put our customers first and foremost. That dedication has created many loyal and happy customers.Trail Blazer uses a client server technology where a small but very powerful application is loaded onto your computer. Your data resides on our servers relieving you of the responsibility for backing up the data. You may have as many people as you like connected to and using the database at the same time
For over 25 years, Raiser’s Edge has been a leader in developing fundraising software and facilitating relationship management for nonprofits. With the launch of Raiser’s Edge NXT, we’re ushering in a new age of performance and support for our customers: the first truly comprehensive, cloud-based solution built specifically for the needs and desires of the nonprofit community. Smart, scalable, and predictive, Raiser’s Edge NXT is ready to help you grow your constituent base and expand your revenue streams, so you can increase your impact like never before.
SilkStart is a leading provider of member-management software for associations. We enable trade, not-for profit, and multi-chapter associations to realize the benefits of modern cloud-based architecture and mobile applications, without compromising industry-specific functionality.
StarChapter has been around for years helping chapters grow - Reach out to our experienced US-based Support Team and browse through StarChapter's self-help knowledgebase for easy-to-follow articles and videos. Local association chapter management software to grow your organization.Self-Help KnowledgebaseGet unlimited access to our self-help Knowledgebase articles including user guides, documents, and video tutorials. Type in your question and get the answer you need in seconds. There are even step-by-step instructions to accomplish almost any task in your StarChapter system. Whether you’re the program chair, president or treasurer, we have the video tutorials just for you.Dedicated StarChapter SpecialistWe'll assign you with a Dedicated StarChapter Specialist (DSS), an experienced guide to help setup your StarChapter service, train you and your board, and coordinate the project for you from kick-off to launch. DSS helps you set up your local association chapter management services. Technical SupportContact StarChapter's Support Team during regular office hours or open a support ticket through the 24/7 live ticket administration system built into your StarChapter software. Our Support Team is located in the U.S. and is experienced working with organizations across North American. Ongoing Board TrainingsGet unlimited access to our ongoing board training webinars. We help local chapters and association management company to get the most out of the StarChapter software. We offer a variety of training webinars such as Communications Content, Meetings Membership, and Treasury Training. You can also schedule a dedicated training when new members join the board.Development and UpgradesWe are always listening to our customers and implementing new features based on your needs and latest research. We release new features on a frequent basis and as enhancements are released they are immediately integrated to your StarChapter system. Follow us on social media and sign up to our monthly newsletter to stay tuned for the latest developments. We will also send you our monthly newsletter with the latest news and tips on how to best run your chapter.
A Unified Platform for Non-Profit Digital Initiatives- Online Giving, Worker Recruiting, Content Marketing and Non-Profit CRM in a single Cloud Solution. Our unique approach to web engagement, combined with our beautiful shopping cart experience and our knowledge of what speaks to donors will help you increase online giving on all devices. Site Stacker gives you the tools to intelligently take control of your online fundraising efforts.
Having the right tools can make all the difference in your fundraising efforts. Our Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) and Donor Management software gives you an all-in-one view of your donors and your organization. From your organizations overall fundraising performance to donor specifics, your key data is consolidated into an easy-to-read format, immediately available from a graphical interface. Now you can focus on what matters most: cultivating donor relationships and supporting your mission. ResultsPlus gives you direct access to lapsed donor records. Pull up the list, select a name and immediately you're able to send your donor emails, schedule-follow ups and more.
Member365 by Pixelera is a breakthrough online platform designed specifically for member-based organizations to help you grow membership, automate common data-driven tasks and strengthen member engagement.With almost two decades of experience working with associations to harness the power of the web, Pixelera delivers cutting edge technology helping you to work smarter, engage your membership and grow your organization.
The MemberZone Member Management Software is powerful, easy to use and designed to manage all the day-to-day operations of your organization. Thousands of people in business, professional and trade associations as well as convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) trust MemberZone to manage their most important information and help promote and grow the communities they serve.
Findjoo offers extensive appointment, reservation, registration and membership features. We also want to help you accomplish all the necessary chores of your business with our site. The Findjoo solution for non profits centralizes membership, donations, registrations, email marketing, and more in a single, easy-to-use system. With our solution, non profit organizations are able to spend less time on administrative tasks, serve members quickly and efficiently, and focus more on attracting and retaining members.
SignUpGenius is a solution for nonprofits that uses sign-up forms and other tools to facilitate activities surrounding fundraisers, donation list management, donation collections, volunteer coordination and more. The software is suitable for everyone from sole proprietors to large nonprofits.The solution comes with apps for iOS and Android. Users can send messages, access sign-ups, view reports and manage contacts. Participants can sign up for events, make payments, add items to a personal calendar, view sign-up invitations and more.
thedatabank’s web-based software is uniquely designed to help each of our clients develop and sustain long-term relationships with their supporters, and with our 18+ years of experience, we help our clients identify best practices for using their system most effectively. By providing a database driven suite of integrated tools, thedatabank can create an effective relationship management and communications system specific to your organization’s needs.
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