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5 key ways a CRM can help your nonprofit

Melanie May | 8 February 2023 | News

A slightly open laptop throws out a rainbow of colours. Photo by Tianyi Ma on unsplash.

A CRM system brings multiple benefits to the organisations that use them, from simplifying the task of keeping supporter records up to date, to making it easier to provide an engaging and relevant supporter journey. Here’s a closer look.

In a nutshell, Julie Pitt from PtG Business explains:

“I always say there are three reasons for moving to a CRM: to bring value to the organisation, for example, by reducing back-office work and improving reporting and access to information; to reduce risk – two ways being through less human error and more consistent data; and to enable growth, such as through managing stewardship and acquisition.”


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In no particular order, here are some of the key areas they help with:

Data management – Having a CRM in place makes it easier to maintain your data, and to remain GDPR compliant. It’s invaluable in helping organisations keep up to date records, reduce human error and achieve better data consistency. The single supporter view it provides makes it much easier to record and access consent choices, and to ensure that every action is traceable. Alongside all this, it provides better data security, boosting organisational resilience.

Phil Hunt, Senior Marketing Manager at Blackbaud Europe adds:

“With data management tools that identify people who’ve moved home, help you maintain and update your supporters’ communications preferences, and screen out deceased individuals, your CRM should help you stay GDPR compliant and remove the risk of damaging relationships or your organisation’s reputation.


“Aside from being a legal necessity, good data hygiene means you’re better able to retain supporters by continuously engaging with them in meaningful ways through their preferred channels. It also contributes to improved campaign ROI as you focus on the strongest segments of your supporter base, reducing marketing costs by avoiding wasted print or mailing charges for example.”

Data accessibility – Because data is standardised and all in one place, nonprofits can access more of it, more easily (and from any location if the CRM is cloud-based), to better use it, whether that’s to communicate relevantly and effectively with supporters, or to enrich or analyse it. Having this single source of truth also helps in decision-making and when you need to get buy-in from the board by providing a robust evidence base.

Jane Trenaman, EMEA Nonprofit Advocacy & Fundraising CXO Strategic Industry Advisor at Salesforce says:

“In a cost-conscious environment, it’s more critical than ever to clearly lay out the projected return on every investment. A data driven approach allows organisations to balance opportunity and risk through evidence-based decisions. The right CRM and analytics will give you the insights you need to make smart choices at a time where service demand and fundraiser ambition continue to grow. In a risk averse context, data is key to create the confidence needed to make investment decisions that will go beyond the next financial year.”

Supporter experience – With a growing number of channels and digital solutions out there for beneficiaries, supporters and volunteers to engage through, charities need to be able to respond and adapt accordingly, and quickly. The 360-view that a CRM system provides is invaluable for the effective management of their journeys and stewardship. Uniting channels and touchpoints, they enable better and more relevant engagement – particularly critical for encouraging long-term giving and loyalty from supporters.

In essence, Rob Dobell, Managing Director at Hart Square says:

“For a charity, having a modern, effective CRM in place and used across the organisation will enable it to connect up the various sets of information it collects about its supporters, and to build supporter profiles. Those profiles mean that fundraisers can start to understand why donors are connected to the cause, and what specific aspects of their work they’re interested in. This in turn means that the charity can tune its interactions and communications to ensure that it is sharing the most relevant and valued news, updates and insights with supporters.”

Growth – With an organisation’s data all in one place, CRM systems help nonprofits identify their most valuable support and make it easier to work out how to engage with them to strengthen retention. By uniting all channels and communications into the one system, they also help fundraisers effectively manage acquisition coming in from different channels, keeping track of and consolidating all of the data that comes in.

Internal comms and efficiencies – With staff and volunteers now commonly working from remotely or from multiple locations, and with an ever-increasing workload, a cloud-based CRM system offers a number of advantages. For one, it makes managing them a lot easier. It will have the workflow and automation capability to relieve some of the heavy administrative workload from staff, freeing teams up to focus on more important work, while a cloud-based system also allows mission-critical information to be accessed from anywhere, saving time, improving efficiencies, and as a result, increasing motivation and job satisfaction.