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The top 5 things to think about when choosing a new charity CRM

David Simpson Posted on 23rd Sep 19 by David Simpson

In this 5 minute guide I'm going to list the 5 most important things you need to think about when choosing a new charity CRM.

1) What kind of data do you need to store?

Think about all the different kinds of data that you need to store and write down a list of them. Some databases specialise and you’re going to want a system that can handle all the things you need to store. Some examples might be:

  • Donors
  • Memberships
  • Volunteers
  • Fundraisers
  • Grants
  • Funds
  • Legacies

There’s a handy worksheet here to help you work through this part.

Key Point: Know what you need from a charity CRM and choose one that's flexible enough to handle everything


2) How are you taking donations?

Your charity CRM and your donation flow should work beautifully together.

There’s no need to pay twice for a donation processor and a CRM - make sure your CRM comes with great-looking donation processing built in.

And remember these things to look out for from an online donation processing system:

  • It should look good and modern
  • It should come with automated gift aid processing
  • It should support all the modern payment systems like Apple pay
  • It should be mobile friendly

Key Point: Make sure your charity CRM comes with a modern donation processing system


3) Who’s going to run the show?

If you choose a very complicated system you’re going to need experts to run it.

Or you’re going to have to pay for the expensive consultants they keep trying to sell you!

Choose something that’s really easy to use - and ideally something that’s been built specifically for charities.

Key Point: Your charity CRM should be flexible and easy to use


4) How much can you afford?

It’s worth figuring out exactly what you can afford. There’s a balance between cheap (you get what you pay for, right?) and being charged a fortune by a big corporation.

Look for a public pricing page and really clear pricing. Most modern CRMs just charge per user so it’s really easy to calculate.

Key Point: Get pricing information up front and know your budget


5) Try out a bunch of charity CRMs.

Make sure you try the systems out yourself - don’t just get a demo! There’s a lot of old, clunky software around that’s been around for ages and it’s slow and hard to use.

Modern software should look and feel smooth, easy, and intuitive!

Key Point: Try things out for yourself


Bonus tip: Always read the blogs of companies you’re evaluating.

It’ll give you a much better idea of their company culture and how quickly they’re improving their product.

Key Point: It's good to get to know the humans you'd be working with


If you want to find out more you can download our ebook which goes into all of this in more detail. Happy charity CRM hunting!

David Simpson

About the author

David Simpson is the CTO at Beacon. He's dedicated to making Beacon the best nonprofit database in the world.

Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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