CRM Software Selection for Nonprofits: It’s All About the Fit

Here we are in the height of seasonal sales, and for some people, gift-giving. You might be checking online reviews to find out which tech gadget or gift is the best in its category. That approach might work great for earbuds, but a more complex purchase requires a more sophisticated approach. There’s often no such thing as the “best” technology—rather, there is a best fit, depending on your situation and priorities.

The same is true when you’re looking for constituent relationship management software (CRM) for your nonprofit. CRM is central to many of a nonprofit’s functions, and could include things like donor management, volunteer management, grants management, client tracking and case management, measurement and evaluation, or forecasting, to name a few. It’s a significant investment, and getting the best value out if it starts with choosing a tool that is a good fit for your needs.

In Tech Impact’s on-demand course, CRM Software Selection: A Comprehensive Guide, I teach a five-step process for selecting software that’s right for you.


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Let’s consider how each step in the CRM software selection process can support finding a good fit.

  1. Identify Goals – Is your big picture goal to grow your supporter list, engage people more deeply, or improve your ability to evaluate your work? Different CRM products shine in each of these areas.
  2. Define Needs – What specific requirements do you have? For example, does the system need to integrate with an existing tool? What kinds of data and relationships does it need to handle? Having a written list of needs will help you shortlist potential solutions.
  3. Improve Processes – Why not consider adapting the way you work in order to take advantage of available tools? You might never find a perfect fit, but you can get close if you are flexible about your own processes.
  4. Explore Options – When you’re talking with sales representatives and doing demonstrations, make sure your needs and use cases are front and center. Yours is not a generic organization, right? So don’t settle for a generic demo.
  5. Make Your Selection – When it’s time to make a decision, go back to your goals and needs! Don’t just pick the system that is cheapest or flashiest.

Best wishes in your CRM software selection process. If you need more help, register for our on-demand CRM Software Selection course

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Have technology questions or want to learn more about how Tech Impact can help your nonprofit?