CRM – What a Tangled Web We’re In











In a recent post, I outlined four types of constituents in a nonprofit’s CRM:

  • Mission Beneficiaries
  • Donors and Prospects
  • Program Partners
  • Your Team

The overlap between them is both a challenge and a largely untapped opportunity for many nonprofits.  And it’s not the only challenge/opportunity…  Here’s the list I’m currently thinking about:

  • Constituents – The same person could well be in more than one of these categories, and you likely want to account for the full breadth of their relationship to your organization when you connect with them.
  • Systems – It’s very common that a nonprofit has a separate system / database / spreadsheet / box of index cards for each of the above.
  • Users – Also common, the same users have to access and use (and learn and re-learn) more than one of these systems.
  • Business Processes – Each system has its own way of carrying out similar business processes (e.g., Each system has a way to create lists, produce letters/emails, record financial transactions, etc.).
  • Goals – You have similar goals with each constituency (e.g.,  provide clear, timely and coordinated communications / track their interactions, interests and needs / report on financial and other metrics relative to each group or activity).

Wow, well, that’s kind of a mess – a complex and tangled web.  Re-reading the above isn’t exactly a pick-me-up for someone with an obsessive need to organize and systematize everything.  BUT, at least these days it’s becoming possible to envision a world where all of the above converges.


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  1. do you have a fb fanpage

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