What is a CRM? How does it work and what does it mean for your nonprofit? Get the scoop on CRM (client relationship management) tools and what Mightycause has to offer!

In the world of business, you may have heard CRM described before as customer relationship management. However, in the world of nonprofit organizations, the terminology changes to client relationship management — the clients being anyone that interacts with your organization or has a relationship with you organization.

Similar to the world of business, CRMs are valuable tools for your organization that can save time and resources allowing your organization to grow its donor base and reach.

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What is a CRM?

CRMs are systems that allow you to build and manage relationships with any supporters of your organization. Whether they are donors, volunteers, or board members, you can track and manage within a CRM. They will also allow for communication management across all of your supporters. All information of all supporters is contained in their individual profiles that live in the CRM database for ease of access by all members of your organization. 

CRM systems will automatically track and gather certain information from individuals that will be updated on their corresponding profile, so information can be consistently up to date. A CRM will be customizable so that it can be used in a way that fits your organization’s needs. 

what is a crm: supporters tool screenshot
Screenshot of Mightycause’s CRM tool, Supporters.

How do CRMs function?

There are a number of CRM systems that exist, but almost all have a number of similar functions. 

CRMs will allow for the organization and development of client’s profiles with unique information tied to each individual. These profiles will either be created automatically by the system, or manually by you. Once profiles are created, they will be connected to outside sources and information will flow through and update their profiles. For example, if a donor makes a donation and already has a profile with your organization, that donation information could automatically be connected with their profile. 

A CRM system will function as a database for your organization and allow any number of individuals access to the information it contains. This means tasks can be delegated accordingly throughout your organization. You will have the ability to track, tag, or segment groups of your clients by any metric. An example of this would be to put all individuals that participate in volunteer opportunities into one group for easy management. CRM systems will give you messaging functions to both large and small segments via email allowing for relationship building through more personalized messages or marketing efforts through large outreach. 

How can they benefit your organization?

CRM systems will help build and grow your donor base increasing the chances of retaining donors as well. They will increase your organization’s efficiency by organizing all information in one place. All users will be able to work on tasks, send messages or update profiles at the same time allowing for the consolidation of tasks and less confusion of having to send data around. A CRM will help you build strategies to develop stronger relationships and growth with your donor base. 

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CRM vs. Spreadsheets

A common occurrence is that a lot of organizations lack a CRM system in favor for a spreadsheet. While this can work as a management tool it has its limitations in functionality, as well as scaling difficulty as your organization grows and a larger number of records are contained. 

CRMs have a number of functions that give them an edge over a spreadsheet. The ability to have automatic updates as well as manual input decreases the chances of mistakes that may be found in a spreadsheet. A common problem with spreadsheets is as your organization grows they become harder to manage. A CRM will scale with your organization and is design to be just as easy to manage 100 donors as it would be to manage thousands. Easy ways to group and segment individuals is something that would be more time consuming in a spreadsheet. Access by all members of your organization is another feature that allows flexibility that a spreadsheet may not provide.

Finding a good fit

First, you will want to assess your organizations needs. What are you lacking in terms of your ability to track and build relationships with donors? Do you need a messaging system? Do you currently have a way of managing donor records?

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Then, decide want features you require out of a CRM system. Determine what price point you are willing to pay for a CRM. What is affordable for your organization? Search and find a system that meets your needs at a price that works for you. 

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What does Mightycause have to offer? 

Mightycause offers a CRM system as a part of our Advanced plan. The Mightycause CRM is completely integrated within the Mightycause platform and automatically imports all new donors into its database. The system allows for the assignment of roles for each individual as well as a custom tagging system for the creation of segmented mailing lists. Each donor will have an individual profile containing their contact information and entire donation history with your organization. Within the CRM tool you are able to select donors and send out emails whether individually or to a selected group allowing for large or specified outreach.

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