The 7 best CRMs for nonprofits

Whether you have only a handful of donors or a database overflowing with them, each and every one is essential to the success of your non-profit.

But nurturing new donors to be long-term supporters of your organization is easier said than done. 

Managing a non-profit requires a formalized system of retaining donors, volunteers, beneficiaries, and board members, and building relationships with them so your organization can reach its goals. And that’s where a dependable CRM comes into play. 

According to a 2018 study from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, which summarized data from 13,601 nonprofit organizations, donor retention rates have been below 50% for the past ten years. In other words, any donor you acquire is more likely to float away a year after their first donation than they are to stick around.

That means non-profits have to burn valuable time and money constantly hunting for new donors, but it also presents an opportunity: How would it affect your non-profit’s bottom line if you could significantly raise your retention rate through better communication and nurturing?

We’ve found seven of the best CRMs for non-profits on the market. Let’s dive into how they can help organizations like yours reach fundraising goals and achieve your mission.

1. Nutshell

Nutshell is all about building better relationships with people. 

Priding itself as the most flexible CRM on the market, Nutshell’s contact management and pipeline automation tools are built for sales organizations but can easily be adapted for the needs of non-profits. 

Using Nutshell, you can log communications from your computer, or from your phone if you’re at an event. You can even scan a donor’s business card, and they’ll be added into the CRM as a new contact instantly. That way, you’ll never lose track of a potential donor again. 

Like any modern CRM, Nutshell allows you to store all your contact details, call notes, and email conversations in one place—from your first interactions with a potential donor to the confirmation of their first payment—so that everyone in your organization can quickly access them whenever they need to.

What really sets Nutshell apart are its automations, which take the grunt-work out of nurturing donors. Notably, the full-featured Nutshell Pro tier allows your team to build and deploy email sequences that roll out to a potential donor until they respond, and the sales automation suite ensures that your team always gives their leads (potential donors, in this case) the right attention at the right time. 

Download now: Use our non-profit pipeline worksheet to standardize your efforts and build a roadmap for your success.

How nonprofits use Nutshell

Nutshell was designed with flexibility in mind, so that users with drastically different use cases (like nonprofits) can still have a solution that addresses all of their needs and pain points.

Nonprofits prefer Nutshell because of its ability to easily map people and companies as “donors,” “volunteers,” and whatever other labels are required. There are no limits on this feature. Label away.

Also, Nutshell’s ability to create multiple pipelines and automations specifically addresses nonprofits’ needs to have multiple workflows.

People and companies can be labeled and then added to whichever pipeline is appropriate for them, so contacts never get mixed up. The audiences are different, the automation is different, and Nutshell controls for this at its most base level.

Furthermore, Nutshell includes features like email automation, email sequencing, and custom email triggers, making it easier to communicate with different audiences and nurture them differently based on their needs.

Price: Starting at $20 per user / month for Nutshell Starter, and $42 per user per month for Nutshell Pro; all Nutshell subscriptions include unlimited contacts and free technical support

Related: How Nutshell is helping McSweeney’s Publishing “start a new chapter” as a non-profit


Not a Nutshell customer? Try us free for 14 days!


2. Salesforce

Salesforce has built a Nonprofit Cloud specifically to cater to non-profits. It provides non-profits a complete, 360-degree view of every part of their organization’s work.  

Using the Nonprofit Cloud, organizations can create personalized engagement plans to track donor movements and improve their volunteering and fundraising efforts. On top of that, non-profits can generate new groups of potential donors (for example, a group from a recent fundraiser) and target them with a custom market campaign.

And this gives non-profits a streamlined, organized way to nurture their new relationships. The results: 


The Nonprofit Cloud also has tools dedicated to advancing donors. The platform allows organizations to manage memorial gifts and in-kind gifts to nurture donor relationships in a more meaningful way, without it being robotic. 

It’s multilingual, too. Non-profits can use the CRM to communicate with the constituents in English, Spanish, German, and Japanese.

Price: For qualified customers, the first 10 users are free. Although your non-profit has to meet Salesforce’s eligibility guidelines, which you can check out here

3. Kindful

Kindful is a CRM built specifically for non-profits in mind. 

Once a donor is entered into the system, a non-profit will be able to track their online and offline donation history, event participation, past acknowledgements, and pledges within a single profile. 

As Kindful is built to help with fundraising, donor tracking, and analyzing interactions, it makes sense that it’s geared towards non-profits who raise funds online. The software gives non-profits the tools to build and customize their donation pages to accept and store donations internally.

And what about all the data? Non-profits can generate reports to track and analyze the success of their events, fundraising efforts, and their total donor pool, which can then be automatically sent to developers, CEOs, and board members.

Price: Starts at $100 / month for 1,000 contacts

4. Fundly CRM

The team who created Fundly CRM have a background in non-profits, so every feature has been built with a purpose. 

What’s unique about Fundly is the CRM has a real focus on management. To get the most out of a non-profit’s donor pool, Fundly gives organizations access to donor information, including giving history, campaign participation, event registration, and matching gifts. They can also track event registrations, customize event tickets, and assign sponsors.

Non-profits can also keep a closer eye on their data using Fundly. Because each donor has their own personal profile, staying up to date with their online (and offline efforts), their membership, and their funding takes nothing more than a couple of clicks.  

Fundly also has a separate section in its dashboard so non-profits can monitor all of their grant applications. Each time a grant application is submitted, staff can then track the submission until it’s approved. And once it’s approved, the team can then keep an eye on what it’s being used for.

Price: Starts at $75 / month for their “easy launch” package that includes 1,000 contacts

5. Salsa

Salsa is a CRM that’s not only geared towards non-profits, but it’s also integrated with some pretty handy marketing gear.  

If your non-profit is looking for a CRM that lends itself to powerful email marketing, Salsa could be your answer. The CRM allows non-profits to design and style custom email campaigns with a drag-and-drop editor, and then automate email sequences like triggered welcome series or follow up campaigns.

The other great feature of Salsa’s CRM is its powerful segmentation tools. Inside the CRM dashboard, non-profits can:

  • Use pre-built segmentation to organize new subscribers, major donors, and petition signees
  • Create custom segments based on behavior like supporter interaction, gift size, or event attendance
  • Build donor segments to help create customized email marketing campaigns based on a donors frequency and monetary contribution capabilities

Last but not least, Salsa helps non-profits stay social. 

From the dashboard, non-profit teams are able to link up and share content to channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Salsa can also find your current donors and supporters on social media through their email address, which can help your non-profit build up its word-of-mouth marketing by encouraging interactions. 

Price: Contact required for price quote

6. CiviCRM

Did someone say…a free non-profit CRM?

That’s right. CiviCRM is an open-source CRM, so it’s free. It has powerful contact management features so non-profits can automatically store the data of every donor in one place, and customize/update their profile whenever they need to. 

What also makes CiviCRM a worthwhile mention is their focus on advocacy campaigns. Non-profits can build advocacy campaigns in the CRM by tying together and tracking the progress of a campaign’s events, mailings, activities, and contributions.

The software’s reporting features aren’t bad either. Non-profits can choose between 40 pre-set reports, or build custom reports based on whatever facts and figures they need to extract from the database. 

Price: Since it’s open-source, it’s free to download. 

Related: Can your sales team be fully effective with a free online CRM?

7. Bitrix24

Following on with the freebie trend, Bitrix24 offers a free CRM for non-profits, up to 12 users. 

The software can be used as a Cloud-based system or on-premise, and claims to have a setup time of 30 seconds. Once installed, non-profits can use the software to power their: 

  • Contact management
  • Lead management
  • Product catalog
  • Quotes and invoices
  • Email marketing
  • Workflow automation

The software has an activity stream to help organize volunteers. It integrates with social networks, along with allowing users to discuss projects in group chats and instant messenger. 

When volunteers are trying to organize an event, they can use Bitrix24 to share files with each other, and every piece of communication is kept in a communication stream, so everyone can stay in the loop. 

Price: Bitrix24 offers a free version with limited online storage for 12 users. Paid accounts start at $46.92 per month.

Choose the perfect CRM and supercharge your donor relationships

Non-profits all have ambitions to reach their goals and complete their mission. To make this a reality, they need donors to help them get there. 

That’s why a CRM solution makes a lot of sense for non-profits: They’re relationship building machines. Using CRM, non-profits can make sure a donor never slips through the cracks again, and they’re welcomed into their non-profit with customized email campaigns and follow-ups. 

However, not all CRMs are built the same. Since CRMs are traditionally built for sales teams, it’s crucial non-profits pick a software solution that is geared towards nurturing relationships, instead of just closing sales. 

Invest in a CRM that’s focused on nurturing your donors, fine-tuning your fundraising efforts, and helping you interact with all your donors on a personal level. After all, the happier your donors are, the easier it will be for your non-profit to make the biggest impact. 

Watch: Five ways Nutshell helps relationship-based sales teams build stronger connections with their clients


Powerful email marketing, minus the headaches

Nutshell Marketing plugs directly into your CRM data, so you can create highly targeted audience segments, track the impact of your emails in real-time, and manage all your communications out of a single tool. Get started for free!




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