Nonprofits Can Improve Donor Management Visibility and Tracking With an Integrated CRM Solution

Nonprofits Can Improve Donor Management Visibility and Tracking With an Integrated CRM Solution

by Brenda Kahler
May 15, 2020
How nonprofits can dramatically improve their donor tracking and reporting capabilities.

Updated January 7, 2021

Many small- and mid-sized nonprofits operate without a true system of record for donor management. Instead, they rely on groups of spreadsheets that don't coordinate, which adds time to reporting processes and consumes precious labor resources. By using an industry-specific customer relationship management (CRM) system like Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud, your organization can simplify its operations and gain greater visibility into its functions.

But, not all CRMs are created equal. Many of the nonprofit CRMs that are available address only general needs and provide limited scalability and customizations. Look for these crucial features when choosing a CRM that will genuinely benefit your nonprofit organization:

Moves Management

For nonprofits to succeed, they must cultivate relationships in various forms. Donors, grants and volunteers are essential to their success. Since for-profit businesses typically do not need grant, volunteer or donor management, you won't find this functionality in most CRMs. Look for an industry-specific solution that has a moves management feature that can track and manage these parts. This will help you improve the efficiency and success of your nonprofit.

Donor management - Fostering your relationships with donors is critical to funding your organization. Using a donor management tool that can provide complete data on your donors and their donations ensures your nonprofit can meet its mission. It allows you to identify past, current and potential donors and then organize them according to criteria that you prescribe. From there, you can strategize how to communicate with them and track their donations year-over-year.

You see donor management tools in nonprofit CRMs like Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics 365 to varying degrees. Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud provides this out of the box with donor criteria, such as engagement score and giving level. When donor management is not native to the CRM system, it may require extensive customization to meet your standards.

Grant management - Like donations, grants are a significant source of capital for nonprofits but they have different attributes to track. A grant management tool should be able to track funds and their allocations, but also their application schedules and identifying features.

Volunteer management - Many nonprofits rely on volunteers, creating an added complexity for the labor force that contributes to the organization. Volunteers sign up to help for one-time or ongoing events, have different roles, and their availability varies. A CRM system should track your volunteer data so that you can build these relationships with existing volunteers and identify your needs when recruiting volunteers, as well.

Program management - Your program management system should encapsulate the other moves management features while also improving the overall user interface and visualization capabilities of your organizational data. It should track your progress on initiatives and program engagement and then leverage that data into visualizations for potential donors and staff to build more cohesive strategies to grow your organization. A successful program management tool offers different integration capabilities with your CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) or accounting software to improve your nonprofit's data visibility.

Cloud and Integration Functionalities

The ability to sync your ERP or accounting software data with your CRM system can expedite reporting and compliance procedures and lessen the required labor hours. A CRM with an open API can integrate with most ERP systems, eliminating the need for your team to do manual consolidation and duplicate data entry.

One place nonprofits can see the benefits of this integration is fundraising. Increasingly, fundraisers are held online, and donations are given remotely through solutions like Classy. If it's integrated with your CRM, you can receive the funds in Classy, and it is automatically reported in your CRM and then to your ERP or accounting software. Integrating your selected fundraising solution with CRM should be easy if your CRM has an open API with other cloud-based tools.

Real-time reporting also is easier through a cloud-based solution where data can be viewed anytime and anywhere. Your users benefit as they can now access the software while in the office or at an event. And you don't have to worry about manually rechecking for accuracy because a cloud solution provides a single source of truth for your data. An update made by one user will automatically reflect in the dataset of all users.

Outreach is essential for nonprofits, and being able to market from the same platform where you track donors and volunteers simplifies your research when coordinating communications like email campaigns. The right CRM is already giving you better data on these donors and can further help you strategize your marketing communications.

Special Terms May Be Available

Nonprofits generally operate on thin margins, so price points on CRMs can seem daunting. However, many vendors offer special terms for nonprofit organizations. For example, Salesforce offers 10 free licenses for nonprofits so they can more easily deliver on their mission. Also, you can learn more about Armanino's Salesforce Nonprofit QuickStart implementation package that will help you get started fast in the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP).

Our dedicated nonprofit team has extensive experience implementing, customizing and managing various CRM solutions. We are here to help you assess and strategize for your organizational needs or answer questions you may have about switching or updating your current CRM. Contact our nonprofit team to learn more.

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