Did you know that the average return on investment for CRM is $8.71 for every dollar spent according to a study performed by Nucleus Research?

There is no denying that a CRM system can be a valuable asset for for-profit businesses, large nonprofits and small organizations alike. When used correctly a CRM system can deliver valuable insights that can equate to both long-term and short-term gains. Businesses today still see the value in investing in a CRM solution and the market is set to reach over $40 billion dollars by the end of this year, according to Gartner. Choosing the right CRM system that aligns with your nonprofit’s goals and offers your organization feature sets to drive business forward is crucial. In order to choose the right solution for your organization’s needs, there are several key variables to look out for. Let’s discuss a few in detail.

Find a CRM System Your Team Can / Will Use

Investing in a CRM solution itself will not provide your organization with the value it is intended to. Your team must actually use the tool to reap its benefits. When used correctly a CRM system has been shown to increase revenue by 41% per salesperson, in the for-profit space, not to mention the value-add provided throughout the rest of the organization. An effective CRM system and process can also help your organization convert more volunteers to donors and vice versa. Believe it or not, but a study by HubSpot found that 22% of business leaders do not know what CRM is. In order to gain this value, your organization must correctly implement and train team members on how to effectively use the platform.  According to a report by Salesforce, 43% of businesses that utilize CRM fail to use half of the system correctly. The average cost of a CRM solution can range between $25 and $300 per seat, depending on features and the solution. Make sure your nonprofit has a plan to convert all of these seats to value before implementing a solution.

Find a Solution that Integrates with Your Nonprofits Tools

Many nonprofit tools today integrate with CRM solutions to provide additional functionality and insights. If your team is using a suite of tools to conduct business make sure that you understand which CRM systems your tools integrate with and which ones they do not. Doing so may help you substantially narrow down your list of viable options and develop a few more reasons why your organization should invest in a system overall. Most business tools will provide specific site pages to specify which CRM systems they integrate with and which systems will require additional programming to connect.

CRM is a powerful tool for nonprofits that is enhanced when integrated with volunteer management software! (learn more)

A few of the top CRM solutions offering integration features in the nonprofit space are:


Raiser’s Edge NXT

Blackbaud CRM

Luminate CRM



Invest in a System with Automation Capabilities

A CRM solution should make the process of capturing lead information, vetting it, communicating with prospects and reporting trends as easy as possible. Organizations should look for a system that offers data import/export, automates lead lists, follow-ups, and forecasting for the future. These features will help your team convert prospects into supporters. Again, make sure that your organization has a plan for how these automation features will be used and the knows the problem that the system will solve.


Look for a System Providing Mobile Tools

Many organizations today have teams that are located all over the world or teams that travel to conduct business. If you are one of these organizations it is best to look for a cloud-based CRM system that can be accessed and utilized from anywhere. Most CRM systems today provide users with access to mobile tools. Blackbaud, a leading CRM provider in the nonprofit space provides users with mobile apps such as their on-the-go fundraising tool as part of The Raiser’s Edge mobile app. These mobile tools provide users with increased functionality and solve additional problems.

Make sure that vetting mobile capabilities and mobile functionality is part of your organization vetting process when deciding on the best CRM system for your needs. Companies with a mobile CRM are 43% more likely to achieve quotas.

Test, Test, and Test Again

Once your organization has narrowed down the list of potential systems it is time to test, test, and test some more. Testing will allow your team to see the tool in action and also verify that your organization has the bandwidth and knowledge to use the platform correctly. When testing a CRM system, it is important to look out for a few issues. Here are some common problems:

  • Duplication of data
  • The population of incorrect fields
  • Missing data
  • Data sorting issues
  • Incorrect access levels
  • Data mismatch

The above issues need to be corrected prior to investing in a CRM system. Most CRM providers will help your organization implement the solution and verify that data is accurately being reported.

Final Thoughts

A CRM system can be a powerful tool for your nonprofit if it is implemented and used correctly. A CRM solution can help your organization access and share information nonprofit wide, gain visibility into performance, and streamline fundraising campaigns. Make sure you find a system that your team has the ability to learn and use, integrates with your existing business tools or tools you plan on investing in, offers automation and mobile functionality and allows your team to test before making a final decision.

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