Selecting Your Next CRM System Based on Your Nonprofit’s Size

Looking for new customer relationship management (CRM) software for your nonprofit can seem like a big challenge. There are so many choices out there these days. How do you know which CRM system is a good fit for your organization?

There are multiple things to consider when choosing new CRM software. Also, each organization has unique requirements. So where do you start? One aspect that can help you to create an initial list of options is the size of your organization.

Considerations for choosing a CRM solution by nonprofit size

Here are some things to keep in mind before you start considering specific CRM solutions by nonprofit size:

  • The system you choose should have longevity. Think about the next three to five years to make sure the solution you choose now can grow and evolve with you as your needs and goals change.
  • Avoid “getting by” with the solution you have now just to avoid the short-term discomfort of moving to a new CRM system. Doing so can result in long-term pain from outdated software that requires workarounds and can lead to the inability to execute some of your organization’s plans.
  • The following categories are guidelines, not rules. They use annual revenue to indicate size but also generally represent staff size and organizational complexity. Also, some of the CRM solutions listed might cross over into multiple categories, depending on an organization’s specific needs.
  • There are more options in today’s CRM marketplace than can be listed in one article. The solutions listed in this article provide a starting point to begin your research into CRM solutions. You’ll find more options in each category as you dig further.  

Discover more tips for finding the right software for your organization. Read The Ultimate Checklist for Selecting Software for Your Nonprofit

CRM systems based on nonprofit size

With those considerations in mind, let’s look at four categories of CRM systems based on nonprofit size:

  • Nonprofit start-ups (<$500k in annual revenue)
    These organizations are just getting started. They often rely on spreadsheets to capture data about donations, constituent interactions, and more. This approach can become difficult to maintain and can lead to duplicate and inaccurate data.

    There are CRM solutions on the market for even the smallest organizations with minimal budgets. These solutions offer basic CRM functionality and often do not charge a monthly or annual platform fee; instead, they charge a percentage of transaction fees processed online.

    A few platforms in this category include Funraise, Givebutter, and Zeffy.
  • Small nonprofits ($500K – $1 million in annual revenue)
    Nonprofits that have moved beyond the start-up level have more complex processes, larger databases, and more staff members. At this point, it’s a good idea to invest – even minimally on a monthly or annual basis – in a CRM solution that includes more features to help staff members work more efficiently. 

    These systems are less about robust CRM functionality and more about basic features that small nonprofits need to support things like online donations, events, raffles, and basic peer-to-peer fundraising and membership activities. The main benefit is a common donor management database.

    A few solutions in this category to consider include Bloomerang, Charityproud, Keela, Little Green Light, and Neon One.
  • Mid-sized nonprofits ($1 – 50 million in annual revenue)
    Growing budgets mean more staff members supporting more campaigns, programs, events, grants, and more. With those things come more CRM feature requirements and the need for more capabilities that help automate common daily tasks so that staff can focus on more high-touch work. 

    These platforms offer more robust functionality than the previous category while still being somewhat turnkey in nature.

    Several options in this category include Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge, Bonterra’s EveryAction, CharityEngine, ROI Solutions, and Virtuous.
  • Large/enterprise nonprofits ($50 million+ in annual revenue)
    Nonprofits in this category typically have complex business processes, programs, and functionality requirements and need a more robust and highly configurable or customizable solution with advanced features and capabilities.

    Robust solutions also typically require more support from the organization’s IT team, a consultant, or the product vendor to ensure that the CRM solution continues to integrate well with other solutions that the organization uses and continues to meet the needs of the organization’s staff.

    Some options in this category include Blackbaud CRM, iMIS, Microsoft, and Salesforce.

Take the next step to find the right CRM solution for your nonprofit

Use this article as a starting point to begin your research and understand your options for CRM solutions. If you’d like more help finding the right solution for your organization, contact us at Cathexis Partners. We can help you to narrow your list of options and select the right solution for your needs.

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