We highlight a few of the best CRM systems currently on the market for non-profits, breaking down their pros and cons
A charity CRM system is the engine of many successful fundraising organisations. Able to bring together all a charity’s relationships together into one place, with features for analysis, reporting and automation, it can be far more than just a place to store and organise donor data.
The best CRM systems for charities offer benefits like:
Many charities have discovered that plugging data intelligence into their fundraising strategy via a CRM system can help them perform better, save time and drive donor retention and engagement.
While built primarily for sales organisations, CRM systems can be customised and tailored to charities, with many vendors specialising in the charity sector. We’ve picked out the providers in the list below because they are either specifically designed for non-profit organisations or have extensive experience working with charities and building systems to their needs.
There is a lot to consider when making the choice. Some questions to ask include:
When calculating the cost of a new CRM system, along with upfront cost it’s important to factor in things like training your staff might need, hardware upgrades for on-premises deployment, help with data migration, ongoing support, maintenance and upgrades, as well as any additional customisation or tweaks to the system you might need over time.
Salesforce is a global giant in CRM systems, used by many top sales enterprises. The non-profit version of the platform, hosted exclusively in the cloud, comes with a range of industry-specific features for retaining and engaging donors, and for monitoring resources and funding.
Salesforce is a beast of a CRM system with all kinds of features for tracking and optimising every aspect of a charity organisation. The system is built to be almost endlessly customisable and can carry out almost any kind of automation or workflow you can dream up.
Being the world’s largest CRM provider, it’s likely to work together with just about any legacy or external system you need to plug into it thanks to the huge range of integration tools and apps it can connect to. And if you get stuck, you can learn with online training and an extensive community of like-minded users.
Though impressive, this is not really for the small charity on a budget. Salesforce is one of the most all-singing-all-dancing systems going, and its price point reflects that.
You may want to take advantage of the generous charity offer of up to ten free licenses, however previous experience with Salesforce is strongly recommended as there can be a steep learning curve.
Registered charities can apply for 10 free licenses through Salesforce’s Power of Us programme – find out more here. After that licenses are charged at £120 per user, per month.
Another giant in the CRM industry, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is cloud-based system with lots of CRM features from the basic all the way up to advanced machine learning and AI capabilities, so organisations can manage all key areas of their supporter-facing activity.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a feature-rich system and because it’s modular you can add or take away the functionality you need to track fundraising goals, automate supporter communications, process income and Gift Aid and even manage events and volunteers.
Because it’s Microsoft, the system integrates seamlessly with cloud tools like Office 365 and Outlook and the layout will be fairly intuitive to people already familiar with Microsoft.
The system is not built for charities out of the box, so you’ll need a third-party tool or partner to help customise it to your needs, which has to be factored into any cost. There are some charity-specific Microsoft partners that specialise in offering a bespoke, non-profit version of Microsoft Dynamics 365, like M-hance with its track record of charity customers.
You need a Microsoft 365 account to get started.
Because the system is modular and flexible, pricing will depend on the features you want to add, and Microsoft licensing can be complicated to understand, so it’s best to get a custom quote for your organisation.
A range of Microsoft Dynamics subscriptions are available at discounted charity rates.
Built specifically for the non-profit sector, Blackbaud CRM is a cloud fundraising and relationship management system built on Microsoft Azure. Blackbaud CRM is one in its family of CRM offerings, each with a slightly different customer base and set of features.
Blackbaud CRM is aimed at larger organisations and because of that its suite of features is comprehensive, designed to give charities enterprise-level tech for increasing operational efficiency, attracting and engaging donors and increasing the impact of their missions.
Blackbaud’s clients are largely non-profit organisations and it’s built out of the box to be sector-specific, with features purposely designed for charity relationship building. For example, constituent profiles allow chariites to collect a really in-depth wealth of information about their constituents in order to analyse, communicate and solicit donations.
Blackbaud CRM is a sophisticated and powerful tool for the right charity, but much like Salesforce, it might be too advanced for a smaller organisation without the need for advanced functionality. Pricing and learning curve reflect that.
Pricing scales according to the number of records kept and level of functionality – contact the vendor for a custom quote.
Blackbaud’s mid-level CRM is designed with smaller and medium-sized non-profit organisations in mind, with many features to help guide charity decision making and save time to focus on their mission. Designed to integrate with The Raiser’s Edge database, Raiser’s Edge NXT is a new cloud-based system that gives fundraisers front-edge access to existing fundraising data through a new web-based interface.
With a focus on fundraising, Raiser’s Edge NXT has many versatile, advanced features specifically for charity fundraisers such as powerful analytics that automatically makes smart recommendations about how to nurture prospects or prevent donor lapsing – but with a focus on being user-friendly and intuitive for prospect development managers.
Because it’s completely cloud-based, the new iteration focuses on being a sophisticated CRM ’on the go’, with a host of new features and with different dashboard views designed for fundraisers and for data processors and financers.
Although NXT does feature a much more user-friendly design than its predecessors, there’s still an expansive feature set with an inevitable learning curve to this software, and cost investment to match. Organisations will need to invest time and resources into getting the most out of it, factoring in any training you may need to buy from Blackbaud.
Like with Blackbaud CRM, Raiser’s Edge NXT employs a fully customisable subscription-based pricing model, with a significant jump in price for organisations with more records and more complex needs.
Blackbaud eTapestry is designed to give smaller charities access to efficiency-driving fundraising and supporter management CRM features, so they can take a step up from spreadsheets and start getting smarter with their data to streamline processes and boost engagement.
Specifically designed for growing organisations, eTapestry gives charities simple donor data management and allows them to benefit from analysing giving patterns and donor behaviour without the steep learning curve.
It has features built for the smooth running of charity organisations, helping them isolate and fix data issues and cut down on inefficiencies in their communications and back-end processes.
eTapestry can consolidate payment processing, email automation, social media and event management into one platform and because it’s cloud-based, it can scale as organisation’s needs grow.
Although easy to use, tools for analytics and user testing are limited and the system is less flexible than Raiser’s Edge NXT or Blackbaud CRM.
Again, Blackbaud works on a subscription basis so get in touch for a quote for your organisation. Be aware that you may have to pay extra for some of eTapestry’s more advanced features, so check that you get the features you need with the basic version before diving in as this can cause costs to add up.