Is Nonprofit CRM Software Worth the Investment? (Spoiler: Yes)

KindfulJune 16, 2016

Is Nonprofit CRM Software Worth the Investment? (Spoiler: Yes) header image

Customer Relationship Management, or CRM as it’s known around these parts, is one of the most important software resources a nonprofit can invest in. Kindful has one of the most innovative and intuitive nonprofit CRM solutions anywhere. We can help you fine-tune your communications with donors, volunteers, and everyone else you can think of. The more sophisticated your CRM, the more effective your nonprofit’s fundraising, marketing reach, and overall productivity. As you might expect, we think our take on CRM is pretty awesome. But how can a nonprofit like yours really know if a donor CRM is worth the investment? We’re glad you asked.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Because CRM software is supposed to do so much, it can be difficult to understand if it’s working well. With industry-wide reports of CRM failure, nonprofits are right to be wary. In the worst of cases, records are bungled, communications botched, and any number of campaigns end in failure. Most cases aren’t this extreme, however. What most nonprofits want to figure out is how effective their CRM is…and we’re here to tell you how.

Weighing the Costs and Benefits

Now it’s time for the nitty-gritty – figuring out if the benefits of a nonprofit CRM are worth the costs. First, take some time to think about all the ways that setting up a CRM initiative will be an expense to your nonprofit. Some of these costs (financial and otherwise) may include:

  • How long will it take to get all your data migrated? How long will it take for your CRM to be fully operational?  As is the case for most of your nonprofit campaigns, time is money!
  • How much employee training will the new system require? Will the learning curve be made up after a few weeks or will it take months?
  • How much money will it cost to install, upgrade, maintain, and otherwise fiddle with the software?

Once you’ve outlined all the costs related to implementing a new CRM software, consider the benefits. Some of these will be somewhat intangible, but here are a few things to monitor that should increase with a seamless and well-functioning CRM: 

  • Yearly fundraising totals year-over-year.
  • Size and frequency of individual donations.
  • Web traffic and email marketing engagement (open rates, click-thru rates, etc.)
  • Retention of donors.
  • Overall productivity of your staff, volunteers, and donors.

As stated, you may not be able to fit a specific dollar figure to each of these until you’ve been using a CRM system for at least a few months. But if your CRM is doing it’s job, you should see positive results in most or all of these categories within a year.

Seeing the Earmarks of Successful Nonprofit CRM

Even though nonprofits operate from a different set of objectives than for-profit businesses, determining the success of a CRM initiative is pretty similar. It’s about revenue increase and donor engagement. Once you’ve been working in your donor database for 6-12 months, take some time to measure your success and see the patterns in your data. To make sense of it all, take a look at data from a specific window of time during which you’ve been using a CRM software and compare it to that same window of time before you had a database. If your CRM is working like it should, you should see noticeable improvements in everything from your fundraising revenue, donor engagement, email marketing efforts, and even event attendance!

Ready to take the plunge with an integrated nonprofit CRM solution like Kindful? Still need to convince your staff or board members? Use this handy infographic to reveal all the good reasons to invest in data management software for your nonprofit!


Schedule a live demo with our team, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.

Filed Under:   Donor Management