Finding the Best CRM for Your Nonprofit Organization

Customer relationships are the most important resource in any industry. They pay the bills, they talk about the brand and help spread awareness, they challenge our own employees to provide amazing service under the best and worst circumstances. In return for this brand loyalty, customers expect to be treated with respect and care. Businesses can’t accomplish this without a tool to manage and track customer interactions to ensure that the customer relationship is maintained and nurtured over time. That’s where a strong customer relationship management (CRM) software solution becomes a business’s most valuable asset. 

When we shift our perspective to nonprofit organizations, creating and nurturing relationships with donors and the community the nonprofit is designed to serve becomes even more important. The true lifeblood that drives the organization, the ability to effectively manage, track, and assess relationships in real time requires a powerful CRM tool. Follow along as Apex Technology covers what makes for a great CRM that will help elevate your nonprofit organization to the next level. 


Consider the Intricate Relationships That Exist Between the Contacts You’re Intending to Track

Nonprofit organizations are less a business than they are an ever-evolving community of interrelated spheres of influence. Aside from your own employees and the donors with whom they work, your organization is at the center of a complex web of volunteers, event attendees, industry advocates and influencers, beneficiaries, and even various levels of corporate and celebrity sponsors and supporters. In order to properly pursue the mission of the nonprofit, your CRM needs to allow your team to track and record relevant data for each of these groups, which isn’t always the same type of data. Does your CRM solution allow you to customize relationships between groups and create cross-references that ultimately paint a clear picture of the data you need to be able to quickly and easily access? One important tool a nonprofit’s CRM should include is the ability to allow mobility in contacts between types, as often in the nonprofit sphere various contacts will shift their relationship from donor to volunteer to sponsor and sometimes be considered to be in multiple roles at once. Flexibility in the tool is key. 

Consider the Processes Involved In Interacting with Contacts 

What systems do you have in place for receiving donations, and is that process already integrated into your CRM software? Is your phone system cloud-based and can it integrate into your CRM to track calls and touchpoints along the way of establishing a relationship with a donor? Is the overall process of managing contacts and establishing workflows intuitive in your chosen CRM or is it so complicated that it disrupts the workflow altogether? Knowing how to fold your workflow into the CRM’s processes will go a long way in making the tool useful. 

What’s Your Overarching Reason for Adopting CRM, And What Do You Need Out of It?

Aside from the obvious need to adopt big data strategies to drive your operation, you have to truly understand why you need the CRM software and what you expect to get out of the program on the front end. Are you streamlining the membership enrollment process? Building a community of volunteers or improving the donation process? Whatever your goal, make sure that your chosen software platform supports your overall goals. If you’re transitioning CRM programs, ensure you’ve got data transfer support and that the receiving platform is formatted to accept your data in a way that no vital data is lost. 

Can you use the CRM to not only send emails and contact leads, but also track the performance of those tools? Does your CRM solution have some form of integrated dashboard that you can customize to quickly see the metrics that matter most? 

Off-the-Shelf Or Custom-Built Database-Driven CRM Solution?

There are a host of well-built and successful CRMs on the market from which to choose. However, when you start talking about the highly specific needs of nonprofit organizations, a customized solution might be a better fit in the long run. With a team of experienced database developers and software engineers at your disposal, Apex Technology can provide your organization with a scalable solution that can track all of the relationships, events, and interactions that need to be tracked. Learn more about the team and our processes, and the products and solutions we can build to meet your needs.