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 nonprofit.
But nurturing new donors to be long-term supporters of your organization is easier said than done.
According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s Q1 2023 report, the donor retention rate fell by type across the board, from those who donate less than $100 to those donating more than $50,000. 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 nonprofits have to burn valuable time and money constantly hunting for new donors, but it also presents an opportunity: How would it affect your nonprofit’s bottom line if you could significantly raise your retention rate through better communication and nurturing?
Managing a nonprofit 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 the best databases for nonprofits also provide features like donor management and email marketing. That’s where a dependable customer relationship management (CRM) tool comes into play.
Although you may associate CRMs with B2B sales, they can be just as helpful for nonprofits and other organizations that need to manage their contacts and strengthen relationships. Nonprofits use CRM systems to organize and stay connected with their donors and volunteers, engage in marketing and outreach, and analyze their data through reporting.
CRMs allow nonprofits to communicate and build relationships with the advocates they rely on. Rather than relying on unwieldy spreadsheets of donor information, nonprofits can use a CRM to create and execute a donor outreach and retention strategy, resulting in more long-term relationships that fuel their mission.
We’ve found seven of the best CRMs for nonprofits on the market. Let’s dive into how they can help organizations like yours reach fundraising goals and achieve your mission.
|How nonprofits use this CRM
|Contact management, pipeline automation, business card scanning, flexibility
|Nonprofits use Nutshell to map people and companies as donors or volunteers, create multiple pipelines, and automate email sequences.
|Personalized engagement plans, donor management
|Nonprofits use Salesforce’s Nonprofit Cloud to track donor movements, generate new groups of potential donors, and manage gifts.
|Donation tracking, donor profiles, custom reports
|Kindful is built to help nonprofits with fundraising, donation tracking, and donor analysis.
|Donor management, event registration, personal profiles
|Fundly focuses on management, giving nonprofits access to donor information, event registration, and sponsor assignments.
|Email marketing, segmentation tools, social media integration
|Nonprofits can design and send customized email campaigns, organize subscribers and donors based on behavior, and find current supporters on social media to encourage interactions.
|Free and open-source, contact management, advocacy campaign tracking, customizable reporting
|Nonprofits can store and update donor data, track advocacy campaigns, and create custom reports.
|Contact and lead management, email marketing, workflow automation, activity stream, group chat for volunteers
|Nonprofits can manage contacts and volunteers, organize events, and share files and communications.
|Email marketing tools, peer-to-peer fundraising tools
|Bloomerang helps nonprofits decrease donor attrition and increase revenue by connecting with donors, volunteers, and partners.
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 nonprofits.
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 to 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 is its automation, which takes 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 nonprofit pipeline worksheet to standardize your efforts and build a roadmap for your success.
Nutshell was designed with flexibility in mind so that users with drastically different use cases (like nonprofits) can still have a processing 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 automation specifically addresses nonprofits’ need for 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 to increase donor engagement.
Nutshell pricing options start at $16 per user per month for Nutshell Foundation and $42 per user per month for Nutshell Pro; all Nutshell subscriptions include unlimited contacts and free technical support.
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Salesforce has built a Nonprofit Cloud specifically to cater to nonprofits. Using Salesforce as a fundraising CRM provides organizations with a complete, 360-degree view of every part of their 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, nonprofits 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 nonprofits 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. Nonprofits can use the CRM to communicate with their constituents in English, Spanish, German, and Japanese.
Kindful is a CRM built specifically with nonprofits in mind.
Once a donor is entered into the system, a nonprofit will be able to track their online and offline donation history, event participation, past acknowledgments, 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 nonprofits who raise funds online. The software gives nonprofits the tools to build and customize their donation pages to accept and store donations internally.
And what about all the data? Nonprofits 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.
Kindful starts at $119 per month for 1,000 contacts.
The team who created Fundly CRM has a background in nonprofits, 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 nonprofit’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.
Nonprofits 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, membership, and funding takes nothing more than a couple of clicks.
Fundly also has a separate section in its dashboard so nonprofits 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 keep an eye on what it’s being used for.
Creating and sharing a fundraising campaign is free. However, Fundly deducts a 4.9% fee from every donation as well as a credit card processing fee of 2.9% + $.30 for each donation.
Salsa is a CRM that’s not only geared towards nonprofits but also integrates with some pretty handy marketing gear.
If your nonprofit is looking for a CRM that lends itself to powerful email marketing, Salsa could be your answer. The CRM allows nonprofits 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, nonprofits can:
Last but not least, Salsa helps nonprofits stay social. From the dashboard, nonprofit 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 addresses, which can help your nonprofit build up its word-of-mouth marketing by encouraging interactions.
Contact Salsa for a custom quote.
Did someone say…a free nonprofit CRM?
That’s right. CiviCRM is an open-source CRM, so it’s free. It has powerful contact management features so nonprofits 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 its focus on advocacy campaigns. Nonprofits 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. Nonprofits can choose between 40 pre-set reports or build custom reports based on whatever facts and figures they need to extract from the database.
Since CiviCRM is open-source, it’s free to download—although users can donate to support the CRM’s operation. Related: Can your sales team be fully effective with a free online CRM?
Following on with the freebie trend, Bitrix24 offers a free CRM for nonprofits with unlimited users.
The software can be used as a Cloud-based system or on-premise. Once installed, nonprofits can use the software to power their:
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 and every piece of communication is kept in a communication stream, so everyone can stay in the loop.
Bitrix24 offers a free version with limited online storage for unlimited users. Paid accounts with additional features start at $49 per month.
As a cloud-based recordkeeping software company, Bloomerang helps nonprofits deliver a better giving experience so they can increase donor retention and fundraising revenue to create lasting change. Its donor database solution allows nonprofits to have access to a range of features that can help them reach, engage, and retain advocates they rely on to achieve their organizations’ missions.
Bloomerang is best known for its easy-to-use software and its excellent and responsive customer service with real live people who guide you through each step of the process.
You can choose a Bloomerang plan based on the amount of records (or contacts) you track in the database. Every plan comes with unlimited users and starts at $49 per month based on annual billing.
Choosing a CRM for your nonprofit is similar to selecting a CRM for any other organization–consider your unique needs and goals and then compare CRMs to determine which one will best help you meet them.
Here are a few specific steps you can take to find the best CRM for your nonprofit:
At the end of the day, make sure you consider your options.
The average cost of a CRM for nonprofits is between $16 and $120 per month. You can generally expect a higher monthly cost the more users you have on the CRM.
While you can find free CRMs for nonprofits, carefully consider what features you’ll be giving up. A low-cost CRM for nonprofits may or may not be able to provide the functions your organization needs.
The best CRM for your nonprofit is the one that fits the organization’s needs and goals. A CRM for small nonprofits should offer powerful features in an easy-to-use dashboard, plenty of automation and customization options, and helpful customer support.
When you’re searching for the best CRM for small nonprofit organizations, look no further than Nutshell. Nutshell has the robust CRM features you need to build more and better donor relationships, grow your organization, and make the biggest impact you can. From tracking donors through your pipeline and automating personal email sequences to collaborating with your team and generating reports, Nutshell helps nonprofits accomplish more.
Nonprofits 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 nonprofits: They’re relationship-building machines. Using CRM, nonprofits can make sure a donor never slips through the cracks again, and they’re welcomed into their nonprofit 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 nonprofits 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 nonprofit to make the biggest impact.
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