Your CRM, or constituent relationship management system, is a digital catalog that works for your nonprofit when correctly utilized. It stores your volunteers' information, your donors' information, your past and future opportunities, and helps your nonprofit more effectively forecast future investment and donation opportunities.
A CRM is central to so many different functions your nonprofit needs to fundraise and work efficiently. Because it’s so important, you need to make sure you choose the CRM that’s right for you.
Tech Impact understands this, and we want to help your nonprofit make the most informed decision possible. Here are 5 tips to consider when your nonprofit is looking for the right CRM to fit its needs.
Get team acceptance
A CRM can seem like a great idea, but if the team who will be utilizing the pliant platform is not receptive to making the switch, it will be difficult for your nonprofit to benefit the way you envisioned.Communicate to your team the importance of the switch, the benefits of the new technology, and exactly how it will help your nonprofit better complete its mission. Make sure they understand that a CRM isn’t just for tracking donations, it can be used for project management, tracking prospective donors, past donors, employees, volunteers, and a whole lot more.
When selecting your CRM, make sure you understand exactly how much customization is necessary for it to work exactly how you envisioned. Some CRMs require a lot of customization, while others can be stock, plug-and-play, solutions. Whatever the case may be, understanding whether customization is necessary, and having a plan in place to accommodate for that customization, is crucial.
Importing and integration
Before you even think about choosing a CRM, you should make sure you have a data importing tool, and plan, in place. If your nonprofit has most of its information stored in spreadsheets (like 90% of nonprofits), with the right data importation tool, and well organized information, your nonprofit will be able to import all your data seamlessly. Also, make sure you understand a CRM’s integration and plug-in tool options.
What to track
Knowing what information you want to track is just as essential to to the selection process as knowing where to look and what specs you want. Make a list of the different things you want to ensure your nonprofit is capable of doing, and ask your vendors what their CRM's capacity is to perform these essential functions.
The first step is admitting your nonprofit has a spreadsheet problem. Stop getting bogged down by inefficient spreadsheets that might be out of date across departments or incomplete. Contacting a consultant to help guide your nonprofit through this uncharted territory could be a great way for your nonprofit to ensure it’s getting exactly what it needs to be successful.
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