We are a nonprofit organization with 22 employees and approximately 1,000 donors. We need something that will keep track of volunteer hours, donor management, in-kind, grant management, fundraising and anything else someone can think of. Does anyone have any advice, recommendations?
Hi, and welcome to TechSoup!
This is a big question. You need to start with a self-assessment: What -- specifically -- do you need these systems to do, both functionally and technically? What data do they need to take in, which systems do they need to integrate with, what kinds or reports/exports/analytics/dashboards do they need to produce? Who needs access to the data, and what kinds of access do they need? What is your budget? Are there any technical requirements a system must comply with (e.g., Hosted vs. on-site? Mobile access? ADA accessibility? Security? Integration?).
If you haven't already do so, take a look at Idealware's Consumers Guide to Low-Cost Donor Management Systems. In particular, look at the chapter called "What Do These Systems Do?" That should help you think about your own requirements. Try to think at least 5 years ahead. Then prioritize your list and separate the deal-breakers from the nice-to-haves. (A related question is whether you need one system that does everything or if you're open to a best-of-breed approach -- perhaps using separate volunteer management or grants management [or fill-in-the-blank] solutions.) That, plus your budget and technical requirements, should help you identify a pool of potential vendors and narrow your choices.
I hope that makes sense. Write back if you need more guidance.
RobertForum Moderator Robert L. Weiner ConsultingStrategic Technology Advisors to Nonprofit and Educational Organizationsrobert [AT] rlweiner [DOT] comwww.rlweiner.com
I agree with Robert's excellent advice.
I believe that one of the hardest things to do when evaluating software is defining what CRM or donor management systems means to your organization.
Everyone is unique, therefore, the exact fit for you is unique too.
Before asking what is the best, I suggest all my nonprofit clients develop thier definition then move to finding a solution. There are a lot of options. That is good and bad.
With many options it is easy to become paralyzed by the options and process if you do not.
Great advice from Robert. I've used that Idealware report many times with clients to assess needs.
Also, EveryAction (my current employer and a digital platform for nonprofits) has published a new CRM selection guide which includes some useful worksheets and feature tips for nonprofits that are navigating the process of evaluating and selecting a CRM. Perhaps you'll find some of this material useful in your quest.
Content includes: Align Strategic Goals, Identify Stakeholders, Determine Priorities & Requirements, Evaluate Feature Options & Needs (Digital, Online Fundraising, Major Gifts, Planned Giving, Direct Response, Foundation & Corporate Grants), Selecting the Best Fit, Implementation & Transition.
Download it for free at https://act.everyaction.com/crm-shopping-guide
--MICHAEL STEINSenior Director of PartnershipsEveryActionPhone: (510) 717-6050
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