CRM for nonprofits – 6 must-have features for charity software

18th July 2022  /  Product Updates

Selecting the right CRM for nonprofits or charities is a daunting task, so in this article we’ll break down some of the must-have features you should look for in charity software – plus, learn how you can save on licensing!

Building a charity database with Cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software

As charities begin to reach more people who need their help, the amount of data increases. Often this data is kept in silos, contained within completely separate systems which don’t communicate with each other!

By selecting a CRM for nonprofits, you can bring all that data together in one place, and benefit from automations and reporting tools to make your organisation more efficient – freeing up time to help more people. It will also allow you to analyse the various touchpoints a service user or donor has with your organisation and offer a better service.

You may see CRMs referred to as ‘CRM systems’, ‘CRMs’, ‘CRM software’ or ‘CRM solutions’, which all refer to CRM as technology. This is often in the cloud.

Strategy 365 has been helping businesses organise their data since 2016, and we’ve identified the following core features which make for a winning CRM system for not for profit organisations.

  1. A single source of enquiries

How do people contact your organisation? It’s probably through multiple channels such as forms on the website, helplines, QR codes at events, chat integrations… Your CRM system needs to be able to collect all those enquiries and create one consistent record for each user in your charity database.

Automations can also be set up so that staff get reminders to do certain things at specific touchpoints in the user journey. Gain analytics on this data to discover how various stages of the journey could be improved and find out what works best.

Your CRM system can also be used as charity membership management software, so you can easily keep track of membership and send automated reminders when ones are coming up for renewal.

  1. System integration with other apps and scalability

It’s important to choose a CRM for nonprofits which can ‘talk to’ existing software and systems, and has room to grow and develop, with further integrations down the line. You’re likely to need a system you can scale over time because the more you use your new CRM, the more you will know what you need from it in the future! A good example of software integration can be seen with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM for nonprofits, which works with all your favourite Microsoft Office apps, such as Word and Outlook.

  1. GDPR compliance and consistency

A key requirement of GDPR regulations is the ability to view, copy and delete user information upon request, which is a lot easier to do when it is centralised. By using a CRM for nonprofits, you can record and access consent choices, and ensure all interactions with that service user or donor are traceable. It’s also easier to amend data or change permissions in one place.

  1. Lifecycle tracking for grant applications and events

Applying for grant funding is a big job as it is, so being able to track submissions from start to finish, share documentation with other users, and set automatic reminders to renew or reapply for grants makes the process go a lot more smoothly.

If your organisation holds a lot of fundraising events, selecting a CRM system with some sort of event management is a must. You should be able to stay on top of bookings, donations, reminders, etc.

  1. Quick and accurate reporting

Track and analyse donor behaviour, donation history, marketing preferences, and each stage of the service user journey. Benefit from real-time reporting with easy access to notes and data. You can even keep track of the number of hours someone has volunteered, along with any training they may require, keeping supporters motivated.

  1. The ability to utilise templates and form fields

Check eligibility criteria by incorporating key questions into contact forms, and have that data automatically fed into the system. Save time by ensuring all potential service users are eligible for the support requested. Automations can also be set up using email templates and pulling in relevant information, so it is easier to carry out tasks such as working with other referral partners.

We have a great example of the above in action in our case study about Beat the Cold. Our enhancements enabled the independent charity to reduce administration time significantly and more effectively manage an increase in demand for their services of 1200% from the previous year.

Discover a cost-effective CRM for nonprofits

There is a misconception that a CRM system might be outside of the price range for charities, but did you know that Microsoft offers free licences for charities and not-for-profits?

Strategy 365 can help with cost-effective implementation of a Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM for nonprofits. We advise on Microsoft’s range of free licences and discounts that allow registered charities or organisations that are registered as tax-exempt with HMRC to take advantage of free, or much lower prices for Microsoft products, including Office 365, Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365.

For example, charities and non-profit organisations can apply for a Business Application Grant, where you could get up to 5 free users for Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and up to 10 free users for Power Apps. Find full information on that deal here.

For the first ten users, charities and nonprofits can also access Microsoft 365 Business Premium, including the best-of-class Office productivity suite, device management and security, at zero cost.

Find out more about Charity and Non-Profit Microsoft Licences and the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM for nonprofits. Scroll down on that page to see full pricing and learn about our Quick Start packages to get up and running fast!

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