Technology is something nonprofits want and often need, but typically aren't prepared to adopt the latest and greatest with their budget. Adopting any new tech, in order to be successful with it, requires training, budget planning, and some supervision in the early days of implementation. However, the results can really demonstrate long-term tech success and sustainability if planned for.
CRM systems specifically tend to streamline workflow, integrate key systems, enhance database security and management, provide scalability, and ROI, among other benefits.
Check out these 6 tips from npEngage on CRM budget planning.
Understand your budget
Getting to know you nonprofit's budget, specifically how it is planned, what budget changes or larger expenditures might require your board and executives approval, and get to know your organization's CFO--they might have some ideas you haven't thought of for moving your CRM implementation forward.
Create a timeline of your nonprofit's budget planning process define goals for your CRM adoption and implementation starting from final project approval and working backwards to bringing a proposal to your board. By starting with an end-goal, your can determine what might need to happen just before reaching the next goal, and the next.
Pilot a project
Get permission to start a pilot project to prove that a CRM will be beneficial. This type of proof could lead to a large budget and more support from your nonprofit's staff. In fact, many software as a service vendors allow demos and trials of their products at no cost--especially for nonprofits.
Start studying your nonprofit's budget the year before. A technology budget typically does not take priority among nonprofits because more funds are directed toward programs, events, base costs, and your organizations cause. Did you know that the average tech budget for nonprofits accounts for 3-5% of the total budget?
Be ready to defend the cost benefit
With such a small budget, your organization's leaders are going to want to know how this CRM will generate an ROI or benefit the daily/long-term operations of your nonprofit. Bring out the studies, facts, and stats on CRM usage, along with a comparison of vendors and plans that reflect the nonprofit pricing.
Don't neglect the smaller items
Keep your attention on other projects. Implementing a CRM is not the only project that will impact the budget, there are a lot of small items that might not take priority, but can yield an instant success for your nonprofit's budget, including data management and tech training.