If you’re running a charity or not-for-profit organisation, a customer relationship management (CRM) system might seem like an unnecessary and expensive purchase. However, the success of your organisation lies in how well you manage your fundraising, keep your supporters informed and interested, and acquire new members or sponsors. This is where a good CRM system comes in.
Why Use a CRM System?
Using CRM software will make the task of creating and maintaining a membership database a lot easier for your organisation. The software will keep track of your supporters and manage direct debits, Gift Aid and other membership-related financial chores.
If your charity has different branches throughout a region, your CRM system can unify and analyse data across the whole organisation, making it possible for you to track your fundraising progress and membership growth without using too many resources.
Which CRM system should I choose?
It all depends on your needs and your budget. Large charities and non-profits with international operations are known to spend as much as £1 million on their CRM systems. This doesn’t have to be the case for smaller organisations though, as there are plenty of affordable CRM solutions for charities.
It’s crucial to set out your organisation’s needs and capabilities first before shopping for a CRM system. Basic functions such as membership and direct debit management can be done by simple CRM systems. If you have tech-savvy staff, you can look at open-source CRM software. Open-source CRM software gives users the ability to edit the core functionality of the system themselves using code. For charities and non-profits this is particularly useful - you could add organisation-specific functions to your CRM, thus cutting down the cost of database management for your charity.
To get you started on your search, here’s our list of the most affordable CRM systems currently on the market.
Top 5 CRM Systems for Charities
CiviCRM is web-based, open-source software designed specifically for non-profit organisations and charities. This is the perfect solution for you if you have tech-savvy staff who can customise the software to suit your needs.
- Creates a single place for storing all data for each member or contact
- Customisable dashboard
- Manages membership and volunteers
- Identifies advocates and grantors
- Manages pledges and contributions
- Fulfills mailings and manage communications
- Manages advocacy campaigns by creating online petitions and keeping track of supporters’ responses to these campaigns
This software provides a fully integrated, easy-to-use interface through which you can manage all aspects of your charity activities. Every category of contact is included, from volunteers to contributors, and collating and filtering the data according to your needs will simplify not only day-to-day tasks, but your entire operation.
CiviCRM is open-source software, but its developers welcome financial support through one-time donations, and memberships and sponsorships starting at £7 a month.
thankQ has been in business for over 18 years and specialises in providing user-friendly CRM software for non-profits and the charity sector.
- User-friendly interface
- Cloud-based solution which makes for easy access, even through mobiles
- Modular format tailored to your needs
- Extensive support
- Manages documents online
- Includes a payroll and financial module
- Manages fundraising and events
- Can be integrated into social media
Data collection and storage is straightforward and can be used to streamline processes, automate daily tasks, and provide insights into which campaigns have been successful and which have not been worthwhile.
Prices are bespoke, so you’ll need to get a quote. It’s important to get a few quotes from a few companies first to help you decide which solution is best for your organisation.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a system that was originally designed for the commercial sector, but can be customised for charities and non-profits. Microsoft in fact recommends purchasing this system through one of their approved partners who can customise it for your organisation. As this CRM software is a Microsoft product, it uses a familiar, intuitive interface and can be integrated with other Microsoft programs such as Outlook.
- Supporter and donation management
- Fundraising goals and tracking
- Event management
- Management of Gift Aid declarations and preferences
- Modular, cloud-based system
This system is scalable, which means it can grow with your organisation. Setting it up is easy and it integrates well into your existing Microsoft systems.
Microsoft has approved partners who can install the system and give you technical support. These companies offer an average of £2,500 for their services. If you prefer to get the software directly from Microsoft, expect to pay a minimum of £4.40 per user each month.
Charitylog is used by over 400 charities and not-for-profit organisations to integrate and analyse data, and monitor projects.
- Analytical reports that are instantly accessible
- Single - or multiple- project collaboration with other charities using the system
- Tailored solutions depending on size of charity or organisation
- Campaign tracking and project outcome reporting
The software is tailored to your organisation’s needs, and the collaborative aspect allows you and your partner organisations to share data instantly and securely.
Pricing is dependent on your organisation’s income. The solution is sold as a package for up to 50 users, and updates are free.