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Charity CRMs: 3 key features to look for

Your charity has decided you need fundraising software to assist with fundraising, donor info and other data management, so you need to start looking for a charity CRM.

Choosing software can look like an expensive and difficult choice to make. According to this article in the Guardian, charities can spend anything from £1,000 to a £1m on a database.

Where do you start with choosing fundraising software? What should you consider when choosing a charity CRM? How you make the most of what's on offer?

When it comes to charity CRM choices, there are literally hundreds. Within these hundreds of CRM choices, however, not all of them are specifically designed to cater to the non-profit sector.

Within the charity sector itself, there are a dozen or so favourites, each with a slightly different specific offering.  Some cloud-based, some large, some smaller, some cheaper, some more customisable, and some much more expensive.

Rather than throw down thousands of pounds on the first fundraising software you come across - and to save you time from wading through the endless advice and options online - we’ve put together three key features that you should be looking for in your charity CRM.

1. Cost

Small charities face a challenge: use a flexible, extensive ‘bespoke’ CRM package that costs a load of money, or use a cheaper CRM without all the features they desire.

Many of the most popular and widely vetted CRMs in the charity landscape at the moment also pose an expensive gamble for budget-conscious organisations, requiring several thousand pounds for license, installation and training - plus annual fees. That’s just to get started.

Not to mention, the confusing and expensive pricing structure of these larger CRM systems mean that some of what you want won’t even be accessible when paying for a smaller package.

If smaller charities are seeking an out-of-the-box CRM designed specifically for them, there are other options.

Donorfy, for example, offers a 14-day free trial, and then an affordable sliding scale pricing structure depending on the amount of cloud-based data management needed - i.e. number of constituents.

2. Integration

You’re a modern, digital-first charity, right?

Or at least, you’re moving in that direction.

You’re trying to implement modern software in your payment system, your email marketing, your event management - perhaps you’re using MailChimp, Eventbrite, Stripe, GoCardless or GiftAid.

Keep this in mind:  a lot of older systems aren't optimised for new technology – and it can take six months to a year to migrate data.

Considering integrations when you choose your charity CRM is important if you want to successfully manage the data streams and create a better fundraising journey.

3. Support

Whichever charity CRM you choose, customisations you set up and processes you try to implement - you will need support. How will your supplier help you? Do you need a partner to help implement the new fundraising software and migrate your data?

You don’t want to be spending thousands more in regular support and maintenance. Rather than spend money on a third party consultant to fix the tangled mess in a bloated database, look for a simpler option with a strong support offering.

A community focus also helps. The Donorfy community has a Support Forum where users can interact, ask their questions and feel a part of a community of small charities with similar growing pains and stresses.

This is an easily accessible support network for even your not-very-tech-savvy team to access and use without requiring the support of a trained professional.

And that’s not just us saying so. Donorfy was recently voted best for support, cost and integration by Fundraising Magazine.

Ready to add Donorfy to the top of your list of fundraising software? Contact us to see how we can help you fundraise better and try Donorfy’s free 14-day trial.