CRM Software for Nonprofits

For nonprofits, customer relationship management software can be the lifeblood of your fundraising efforts. A good CRM system can help you manage your contact lists, automate your fundraising campaigns, process donations, and optimize your fundraising efforts. It’s no exaggeration to say that your CRM system may be the most important software tool your nonprofit uses.

This makes choosing CRM software for nonprofits a critical decision. Picking the right CRM platform can make every phase of your fundraising efforts easier and more efficient, while a poor selection can keep you from reaching your donation potential. Here are some tips to help guide you through the decision-making process.

Why Nonprofits Need CRM Software

The success of a nonprofit organization revolves around its fundraising performance, which in turn depends on effective contact list management. From maintaining donor lists to sending out fundraising promotions to processing donations, contact list management underpins every aspect of running an effective nonprofit organization. While it is possible to handle contact management manually, using CRM software can dramatically improve the efficiency of your efforts.

Using CRM software to automate your contact list management drastically reduces the amount of labor your organization spends on repetitive tasks such as updating donor information, segmenting mailings to match donor criteria, and entering donor payment information. A Software Advice survey found that 98 percent of nonprofits say their recordkeeping and financial reporting have been improved by adopting CRM software. This, in turn, translates into more efficient fundraising, with 99 percent of organizations saying CRM software increases their donation collections.

One major reason CRM software increases donations is because it makes it easier to turn donors into repeat donors. Most nonprofits fail to retain first-time donors, with retention rates falling sharply after a year. Using CRM to reach out to lapsed donors can help you maximize your fundraising performance.

Important CRM Features for Nonprofits

In order to best leverage the benefits out of CRM for nonprofits, your CRM solution should support a number of key features. Double the Donation president Adam Weinger identifies five top tasks that a CRM tool can perform for nonprofit organizations:

  • Maintaining contact lists: The most important function of CRM software for nonprofits is maintaining your contact list. First and foremost, this includes your donors, but it can also include other key personnel, such as board members, staff members, volunteers, promotional partners, and event attendees. Information stored in your database can include basic contact information as well as more advanced data useful for fundraising purposes, such as an individual’s online engagement, donation history, and preferred donation channel.
  • Automating Email: Another vital function of CRM is automating your email campaigns. A CRM solution can save you time preparing your email campaigns by allowing you to store templates and messages from previous mailings. It also lets you schedule automated mailings, including fundraising emails, donation receipts, and thank-you notes, reducing the burden on your staff for handling these tasks manually and making sure messages get mailed out on time.
  • Segmenting Campaigns: CRM tools can optimize your email campaigns and campaigns through other channels by allowing you to segment your mailing lists. For instance, you can send a targeted mailing to certain donors based on specific demographic characteristics, a special mailing targeting your best donors, or a mailing designed to reactivate lapsed donors.
  • Processing donations: Nonprofit CRM software can assist you with processing donations. Many CRM tools come with built-in templates for designing online and mobile donation forms. After a donation is made, your CRM solution can store donor information and data about their donation history. Data about offline donations can also be stored.
  • Analytics tracking: CRM software comes with analytics tools that can help you optimize your campaign performance. You can track variables such as the demographic profiles of your best donors, which of your promotional campaigns are delivering the best performance, and which donation days and times generate the most donations.

Along with these key features, CRM software for nonprofits may include other important features. For instance, some CRM tools can be integrated with communications or contact center tools, so that representatives of your organization speaking to customers can see their CRM data at the same time.

Finding the Best CRM for Nonprofits

Finding the best CRM for your nonprofit depends on a number of factors. First, you need to determine which of the key features outlined above are most essential for your fundraising needs, along with what other features may be useful to you. Second, your ideal solution will depend on what communications channels you use for your fundraising. Third, which solution is right for you will depend on what software you are already using, both for CRM and for related software functions such as communications, payment processing, and accounting.

8x8 offers an array of CRM options designed to meet a flexible range of needs:

  • For organizations that are not already employing CRM, 8x8 offers a Customer Relationship Management solutiondesigned to support contact center efficiency, with screen pops that show agents critical donor information, communications tools to streamline the handling of donor questions and concerns, and the ability to integrate other software tools on the same screen.
  • For organizations already using a CRM solution, CRM provides enterprise-quality business phone system and contact center services that can integrate with popular CRM solutions and other software your nonprofit uses.

Customizing CRM for Nonprofits

The ability to customize your CRM solution is another key consideration when selecting software. Customization can allow you to take advantage of advanced CRM features, such as the ability to track critical key performance indicators that let you optimize your fundraising campaigns, or the ability to integrate your CRM solution with other software you use. Unfortunately, some CRM solutions lack customization capability, with Software Advice’s survey finding that two-thirds of nonprofit professional complain their solution does not support customization.

One major advantage of 8x8 is its rich range of customization options. The 8x8 Virtual Contact Center is designed to integrate with today’s leading CRM solutions for easy customization. The native 8x8 Customer Relationship Management solution also supports customization and integration with the 8x8 suite of communications tools.

Choosing the Right CRM Software

Choosing the right CRM system for your nonprofit goes hand in hand with your choice of provider. Your cloud provider and available features set directly affects your relationships with your clients, which directly affect your business' bottom line. Choose a superior cloud system and ensure that this effect is for the better. Fill out our online form today or call us at 1-866-879-8647 to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 Product Specialist.

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