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CRM Software For Charities

Sep 26 2016

About CRM Software for Charities

It is very likely that you’ve heard the term ‘CRM’ being used to describe several different kinds of software applications. Unfortunately, this term is one of the most used – and abused – in the software industry. CRM, or customer relationship management is a way of doing things. It is often implemented as part of the practice and policy of a company. Indeed, if your organisation is engaging in good donor management, it is likely that a CRM policy is already in place.

For the purposes of this article, CRM software refers to those products that provide charities with solutions for the optimal management of their donor databases. Here too, however, some clarification is needed. CRM solutions can be provided by a company or via a software product, and a charity can implement both kinds of solutions to improve donor management.

Open source CRM

One option for donor management is the open source CRM. Open source software offers regular updates and is free to obtain. If going with an open source CRM, it’s important to realise that although your software may have been free, you will likely need to pay for database hosting. You may also need to have significant staff resources available or hire new staff to manage the software if it doesn’t contain certain features.

Commercial vs charity CRM software

Something to understand about CRM software is that not all products are created equally. A charity needing only features like Gift Aid returns and Direct Debit management may need features not offered by many commercial systems. Off the shelf commercial systems may be simple to use, but may not offer the level of flexibility or the ability to configure certain aspects for the unique needs of your organisation.

More advanced CRM software that’s been created for the commercial sector definitely offers a high degree of flexibility. However, a lot of work may be required to obtain the charity-specific functionality and customisation needed by your organisation.

One size doesn’t fit all

Among the hundreds of types of CRM software for charities on the market, you will find that some are better at certain aspects of donor management than others, which can make the right solution seem incredibly difficult to find. In order to be in a position to choose the best solution, you should have a look at your current fundraising objectives and determine from that what functions you need. From here you can decide whether there is a suitable CRM platform that suits your needs, or if you need to look into commissioning a bespoke package.

Data sharing & accessibility

One consideration that must be made regardless of the type of software chosen is data quality. In order to obtain a high quality of data output, high quality data must be entered into the system. The more inter-departmental sharing within an organisation, the more useful that data will be.

Rather than have several bits of information held by separate departments, the goal is to have your CRM database as the central point from which all departments can draw. This will allow the database to work for everyone across your organisation.

Making a good investment decision

If you are going to invest in a CRM, it pays to ensure it is designed with the needs of charities in mind. Some charities choose to have a completely bespoke system designed, which is expensive and usually not necessary. SubscriberCRM is not only incredibly flexible, it offers the versatility to meet your charity’s specific needs. Choosing SubscriberCRM offers many clear advantages over both commercial non-charity CRMs and expensive custom developments.

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