5 Signs Your Nonprofit Needs a CRM System

5 Signs Your Nonprofit Needs a CRM System

Committing to a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system is a big, and important, step for any nonprofit. But the benefits can be significant. How do you know if it’s time for you to move forward with a CRM system?

Here are five signs that it may be time for your organization to make the move:

  1. Your systems and spreadsheets outnumber your staff.  No, really.  Do the math; add it up.  It may not be pretty. But, if it is true for your organization, you will be in good (and plentiful) company.  Many organizations are in this situation, and many find consolidating their data into a single CRM system a fantastic solution and a cure for many of their information woes.
  2. You spend more time in Excel than any other software.  While those of us at Heller Consulting are big fans of using native reports and dashboards, and we geek out on custom reporting programs and Business Intelligence tools, we find that many organizations are just skating by on dumping information into Excel and doing the best they can. The problems with this are multiple and well-known: It’s hard to reproduce report and list results from one day or week to the next; it’s difficult to pull and summarize data from multiple sources; it takes a tremendous amount of manual time, and the results can be dubious.
  3. You have some great strategic ideas, but can’t act on them because “our systems can’t handle it” and “our data’s too spread out.” Or, the good ideas you are executing are done partially and without realizing their full potential. How tragic is that?!
  4. You don’t know your constituents. Sure, you know who your donors are. And your event participants. And the beneficiaries of your mission. But, do you know who are both donors and event participants? Or donors and mission beneficiaries? Or all three? And how does your communication with them suffer as a result?  Are they getting too many emails and mailings?  Not enough?  The wrong ones?
  5. Last and worst, your constituents are upset, maybe even angry. You’re not treating them like a whole person. Each department in your organization is pulling them in a different direction and they’re feeling stretched and strained. And you have no idea. So, they are calling you and complaining. Or even worse, they aren’t. They are visiting someone else’s website, liking someone else’s Facebook page, clicking someone else’s Donate Now button.

It doesn’t have to be this way. These don’t have to be the problems of your present; they can become the problems of your past. Moving toward a single CRM system can bring together all your information, streamline how you work as an organization, and improve how you relate to your constituents. If any of these five signs seemed all too familiar, get on board with a CRM system today!

Find out more about CRM with the Get CRMready Webinar Series


The Connected Cause is a place for experts in the nonprofit online space to share perspective, offer guidance and promote best practices for using today’s technology effectively. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive source of collaborative thought leadership for the nonprofit industry.

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