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Top tips for making the move to a CRM platform

Melanie May | 21 February 2023 | News

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If your nonprofit isn’t yet using a CRM platform and is about to make the move – or thinking about it, there are a number of things to take into consideration if you’re to make it a success.

Here are some top tips from the experts.


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Chris Houghton, CEO, Beacon

CRMs are fantastic at automating manual, repetitive tasks, like reclaiming Gift Aid. How much time are these tasks taking you? How much is not doing them properly costing you? 

CRMs aren’t free. If you find a free platform, then it almost certainly won’t do what you need. It’s important to work out a realistic budget. As a rule of thumb, a CRM should pay for itself 5-10x times over, once you consider efficiency savings, additional amounts raised, and extra Gift Aid claimed.

There’s a lot of jargon that can surround charity CRMs. It’s good to take the time to learn it all, so you can evaluate potential providers properly!

Julie Pitt, Director, PtG Business

Jane Trenaman

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

Phil Hunt, Senior Marketing Manager, Blackbaud Europe

Steph Graham, CEO, GoodCRM

Having a CRM can support fundraisers to develop and nurture relationships with new and existing donors by storing lots of lovely rich data. But at a time like this, it’s more important than ever that your CRM also saves you time. CRMs that can automate certain processes and functions, and cut down admin time, will create more staff capacity that can be used to develop donor relationships.

In order to create that capacity, look for CRMs that:

Ben Twyman, Director, Donorfy

Choosing a new CRM starts with the impact you want to have. A new CRM for your charity should save you time, help you raise more funds and enable you to build stronger relationships with your supporters. When thinking about moving to a new CRM there are a few things to consider:

Automation: Your new CRM should help you automate certain tasks to save you a lot of time. It could be automating task notifications between team members, acknowledgement emails sent automatically as donations arrive online, or even automatically adding flags to records so you can see which mid-value donor has jumped into your major donor category.

Integrations: Your new CRM will probably not be the only platform you use! The ability to easily integrate with other platforms such as JustGiving, Enthuse, Mailchimp, PowerBI or even accounting software such as Xero will help reduce the time you spend moving data from one place to another – so you can focus on building relationships and planning your next fundraising campaign.

Keeping data clean. Migrating to a new CRM is the perfect time to dust off your data and only import what is going to add value to your fundraising and comms efforts going forward. Keeping data clean as you go along is key to a happy CRM. The best CRMs will work with third parties to keep your data clean without you having to extract data from your CRM yourself.

Simple pricing: Understanding what you are buying and what the true costs are is important long term. Watch out for hidden charges and be clear about what you are paying for.

Recommendations: The best people to recommend a CRM are the ones already using it! There are plenty of reviews and testimonials out there. If you are choosing a new CRM ask for case studies and testimonials so you can see how other users are benefitting from a product.

Future proof: Fundraising is constantly evolving and your CRM should be keeping pace with change. Whichever CRM you choose, ensure they have a roadmap for product development. So you can be assured your new CRM won’t end up at the back of the pack in the future.