So, you’re ready to take your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts to the next level with a donor database/CRM. Good for you! The task may seem daunting but taking the time to consider your nonprofit’s unique needs and choosing a CRM carefully sets you up for great results.
Your donor database needs may differ from those of other nonprofits, and that’s ok. We’re here to tell you that choosing a CRM doesn’t need to be stressful. Here are some things to take into consideration when you’re choosing the right donor database for your nonprofit:
- Does the system fit within our organization’s budget? Many times, budget is the first consideration when it comes to purchasing new technology in the nonprofit world. Some things to think about are not just the base cost of the system, but whether or not it charges you per entry, charges for additional functionality or has other incurred fees like support and upgrades.
- How intuitive is the system? Whether your nonprofit is made up of Gen Zers and Millennials, or a group of Baby Boomers, you want to make sure that your system can support a variety of team members with varying skill levels and familiarity with technology. You may also want to keep in mind training opportunities that the vendor offers and how those opportunities can support your team.
- What kind of data/gifts can I track? Nonprofits process a multitude of different types of gifts and donations, and the data that is important to you may not be important to another nonprofit. Make sure your database makes it easy for you to track the information that is vital to YOU, whether that’s in-kind gifts, donations made via credit card or traditional donations.
- How robust are the reporting capabilities? It’s not just enough to process donations, you want to make sure your CRM can spit out some pertinent data, too. Check and see what types of reports and queries you are able to run so that you can access information to make more informed decisions and segment your donor base.
- How customizable is the database? Every nonprofit is different, so a CRM should have the ability to be tailored to your nonprofit’s unique needs. This may be adding specific fields, changing the names of some fields, etc. Your CRM should be like another team member, so chat with vendors about how they can accommodate your needs.
- Is the system scalable? Are you anticipating growth that you’re not quite ready for yet? Make sure the CRM you choose is scalable for your nonprofit, whether that means starting out small and slowly growing, or thinking more large-scale and robust.
- What fun functionality can I expect to see? If you are just looking for a simplistic, base model-type of CRM, those exist! However, if you are looking for something with added functionality, you’ll want to check in with vendors about what types of functionalities they offer, which functionality comes standard with the system and which functionality would be considered an add-on. It may be mail-merges, event planning and organization, or even scheduling specific reports.
A donor database is a big investment and a long-term commitment, so we want to help you make sure that you’re happy with your decision and that you are not working for your CRM, but that it’s working for you!