Just as is the case in the for-profit world, non-profit organizations (NPOs) have customers. They may be referred to as “constituents,” “clients,” or other words, but they are, in fact, treated in much the same ways as for-profit organizations treat customers.
Relationships are critical for non-profit organizations. Most are highly dependent on private donations to keep fulfilling organizational missions. NPOs need to communicate effectively, track and record relationships and pinpoint the messages that resonate.
Unlike for-profit entities, non-profit groups also often are active in planning and managing events, recruiting and training volunteers, and stewarding those gifts to ensure proper compliance with any terms of the contribution. Managing these relationships, many of which are deeply personal and emotionally based, require powerful tools to track and manage the experiences and outcomes.
For nonprofit organizations, it is important to have the right customer relationship management (CRM) system in place. Unfortunately, all too often, non-profit agencies that are constrained for resources settle for a CRM that fails to deliver or has unnecessary complexity.
A CRM system is an integrated software solution that combines multiple functions in one platform. Many CRM systems for non-profit organizations offer functionality that handles the following:
- Contribution management and reporting
- Fundraising campaign management
- Relationship management, including assigned relationships with staff
- Grant management
- Corporate and foundation relationships
- Alumni or constituent data management
- Email marketing, including email campaigns, surveys, and preferences
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Membership management
- Volunteer management
- Social media integration
The functionality needed can vary widely based on the type and size of the organization. The type of CRM software selected can also usually be customized to fit preferences and needs.
Here is a closer look at 5 ways CRM solutions work for non-profits.
1. Comprehensive Financial Management
For most non-profit organizations, it is essential to have accurate and timely processes in place to record, acknowledge, receipt, and report on contributions. Some non-profits simply want to record that a donation has been received. For others, it is essential to track the desired purpose of the donations to a particular fund, cause, or priority. Your CRM should also allow for complex reporting about the types of contributions received either from a donor, to a preferred fund, or during a campaign.
2. Tracking the Relationship
Relationships are essential in the non-profit space. Your not-for-profit CRM needs to track lots of information. In addition to basic contact information, the organization may want to track participation in certain activities and the relationships a constituent has with other constituents or organizations. The CRM may need to record information about that person’s employment, education, service, and other organizational affiliations. News about that person may need to be stored as a link or PDF.
3. Benefits of Membership
Some non-profit organizations offer memberships, either to the general organization or at different levels within it. That means tracking dues payments and time remaining on those memberships. Some membership levels carry with them benefits that allow for certain advantages or perks that also need to be tracked.
4. Communications Preferences
Non-profit groups are bound by many of the same restrictions regarding email spamming that apply to for-profit organizations. A solid CRM will track multiple points of contact, including phone types and email types, newsletter or email preferences, and how frequently a constituent has received and responded to communication. Some CRM software allows for the tracking of a person’s social media presence, such as a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account and name, or a LinkedIn profile.
5. Event Management
Events are a major strategic area for many non-profits. Galas, reunions, fundraisers, walks, and large gatherings are essential for securing financial support, spreading messages about the organization or its cause, engaging volunteers, and building a vibrant community. A sound CRM lets an organization plan and manage events, including invitations, budgets, venue details, menu preferences, and registrant and guest information, attendance, and contributions.
What a CRM Means for a Non-Profit
A sound CRM has multiple advantages for a non-profit organization. In addition to serving as a one-stop software solution, there are several other benefits:
- Intelligence and Analysis. By bringing together essential components of relationship management, a CRM helps non-profit executives to have the right information to make the right decisions. Integrating fund-raising, constituent management, and communications in one platform allows for analysis of fund-raising performance, impact of outreach efforts and message analysis. Having the data related to these activities in the same system accelerates how fast data can be accessed and used properly.
- Customer Service. A solid CRM lets you serve your relationships, which are essential for success in the non-profit space. In addition to being a way to collect and deliver information, a CRM helps you nurture the relationship. The information you gain about your constituents, when used correctly, can deliver valuable services and communication. It also lets you respond effectively to them when they have a need from your agency. Finally, these tools help you track and manage the relationship, including preferences and passions, and act accordingly.
- Strategic Reach. With all the data your CRM can collect, you have at your disposal a rich resource. The CRM can track interactions with myriad parts of and people within your organization. Multiple vantage points on an individual or a population helps you expand the breadth and depth of those interactions. It also easily allows for areas such as fundraising, marketing, stewardship, membership, and programming to look at the same data in real time, create sound engagement strategies, and execute on those plans.
At NexTec Group, our consulting teams work with non-profit organizations in a wide range of sectors. We take the time to understand each organization, its mission, its people and its CRM needs. We bring experience and deep knowledge of the vendors, products, and their features to our clients.
With NexTec, you have a partner who will recommend the right CRM solution and guide you through the implementation process. We help clients select the CRM software that fits their needs and budgets, allowing them to more effectively complete their charge. Contact us to learn how we can help your non-profit organization fulfill its mission.