Nonprofit CRM Software: What Nonprofits Need to Know

In this guide, we review what nonprofit CRMs are, common features, and the best options for nonprofits.

A nonprofit CRM is a type of donor management software that helps organizations understand and grow their relationships with donors. Nonprofits use CRM software as a central database to manage their contacts, donors, and other supporters.

As a nonprofit professional, it’s important to understand exactly how a CRM can improve your nonprofit’s data reporting and relationship management. Let’s explore a few frequently asked questions about nonprofit CRMs:

What is a CRM for nonprofits?

A nonprofit CRM, also known as donor management software or a donor database, allows nonprofits to store, report on, and update donor data. You may have also heard this software referred to as a nonprofit database or a donor management system. This tool organizes donor data, identifies giving trends, and makes recommendations to increase the likelihood of receiving future donations.

In the for-profit world, a CRM refers to a “Customer Relationship Management” system. These tools work the same way as nonprofit CRMs, but manage customer relationships instead of donor relationships. Some CRMs can serve both nonprofits and for-profits, but a dedicated system for your specific organization type is always best. Nonprofit CRMs offer nonprofit-specific tools, such as donor engagement metrics and online giving functionality.

Though there are some alternatives to using a CRM, it’s widely considered the best way for organizations to analyze all their data.

What is the value of investing in a nonprofit CRM?

The right CRM can help nonprofit professionals find the data and donor information they need right away, saving time and resources. Then, they can invest more time and energy in their organization’s mission.

Here are some ways a nonprofit CRM can help your organization simplify its daily activities:

Task automation

Task automation can save plenty of time for your donor relations team members, sometimes saving even full work days that would otherwise be spent conducting manual data tracking and uploads.

A nonprofit CRM automates reporting, creates donor groups, identifies potential major donors, and integrates with your email marketing platform. All of these functions create a more personalized donor experience and a simpler user experience for your team.

Easy-to-access donor information

With a CRM, you can find any donor information you need in just a few clicks. Whether you need to update a donor’s address or remind yourself of the last time a donor gave, your CRM makes it easy to search for this information.

Contact records and task reminders

This is an example of what a donor profile looks like in Bloomerang’s nonprofit CRM.

A powerful CRM offers features that streamline relationship management. For example, contact profiles give you a detailed record of every interaction you have with donors. You can see when your donors last gave and how much they gave. You can also see what emails you’ve sent them and what you talked about during your phone calls or in-person meetings. You can also set reminders to schedule a thank you phone call with your major donors so no one falls through the cracks.

Actionable analytics and reporting

Your nonprofit manages a lot of data. If you don’t have a CRM, your data is likely spread out in several different platforms, including your email marketing platform, online fundraising platform, and payment processor. With a CRM, you’ll be able to keep all your valuable data in one location.

This is an example of what a donor report looks like in Bloomerang’s nonprofit CRM. 

Your nonprofit CRM should be able to run reports to help you identify your lapsed donors or a first-time givers report so you can send these individuals a welcome email series. Plus, a nonprofit CRM can give you high-level insights into your organization, showing visuals like a donor pyramid or donor lifecycle. This makes it easy for you to see the health of your organization at a glance.

How does a nonprofit CRM help with fundraising?

A CRM for nonprofits is a great alternative for organizations that have outgrown spreadsheets and want a platform where they can leverage their data to improve their fundraising campaigns.

A nonprofit CRM can help with fundraising by predicting which donors are the most likely to give in larger amounts, showing if and how donors are connected, and offering insight into their giving habits. For instance, with Bloomerang’s CRM solution, you can track when donors give and how often they give and predict when and how much they are likely to donate in the future.

CRM tools also improve efficiency by organizing donations by giving levels. Plus, they allow you to manage all donations in one system, even if they are obtained across social networking platforms, email campaigns, and organization events.

What features should you look for in a CRM for nonprofits?

When it comes to nonprofit CRM features, we recommend considering your needs in four categories: fundraising, communication, donor management, and tracking and reporting. 

Look for fundraising tools in your nonprofit CRM.


Your nonprofit CRM’s fundraising tools should allow you to easily create engaging online fundraising campaigns and pages and add them to your website, social media, and email marketing campaigns.

Your fundraising tools should also give you a deeper understanding of how your donors give, whether it’s online, in person, or through other giving channels. You should be able to seamlessly transfer donor data from your fundraising tools to your CRM database to add new donor information to your records.

Your nonprofit CRM should have donor communications tools.

Donor communications

Donor communications features give you the ability to automatically send fundraising receipts, create to-do lists for your team, and thank donors when they give to your organization. Most tools will also allow you to segment your donors by specific filters and then easily add them to a group based on shared characteristics. Then, you can effortlessly send letters to different segments and sync them with your email marketing platform.

Donor management is an essential function of a nonprofit CRM.

Donor management

With donor management tools, you can track all of your fundraising efforts, communications, and other essential activities. You’ll also be able to understand your donors better with key insights on big-picture trends alongside day-to-day specifics.

Your nonprofit CRM should also offer tracking and reporting features.

Tracking and reporting

Most donor management tools also offer tracking and reporting features, meaning you can quickly and clearly spot trends and immediately take action to improve the health of your organization. You can also build, save, and schedule custom reports to easily access the information that matters most to your organization.

Here are a few additional considerations when looking for a nonprofit CRM:

Software integrations

You’re likely already using software for online fundraising, payment processing, accounting, and communication. The good news is that you don’t have to give up the tools you’re already using when you invest in a nonprofit CRM that offers robust integration options.

Review each of your CRM options to determine whether they integrate with:

  • Email marketing providers like Mailchimp and Constant Contact
  • Event and auction platforms like Eventbrite and Handbid
  • Fundraising tools like GoFundMe Charity and Qgiv
  • Payment processors like Stripe, PayPal, and Square
  • Accounting software like QuickBooks

Support and training

Even the most tech-savvy users will likely need help with their CRM at some point. Your CRM provider should be available to help when you need it.

Here are some types of support to ask about:

  • Onboarding and data migration. When you invest in a new CRM, you’ll need to migrate your donor data to the system. Does the CRM provide a service to help organize your data in their platform?
  • Customer support. Does the CRM offer free email and phone support? Do they have a help center where you can find articles about the platform?
  • Ongoing training. Does the CRM provide ongoing training to help you make the most of the platform?
  • Nonprofit and fundraising consulting. Does the CRM provide any fundraising consulting services?

What is the best CRM for nonprofits?

When it comes to robust features, valuable integrations, streamlined reporting capabilities, and professional support, Bloomerang stands out as one of the best CRM solutions for nonprofits. Bloomerang’s nonprofit CRM offers features such as an interactive dashboard, constituent timeline, and data segmentation to help personalize donor interactions and understand your supporters on a deeper level.

This is an example of a dashboard view in Bloomerang’s nonprofit CRM. Plus, with Bloomerang’s fundraising tools, you can get the best of a nonprofit CRM and online fundraising platform all in one. Bloomerang’s online fundraising tools allow you to create streamlined donation pages and easily add them to your website and share them via your social media platforms and in emails to your supporters.

Here’s a look at the tools you’ll gain access to using Bloomerang’s nonprofit CRM:

  • A donor database that performs engagement analysis to identify valuable fundraising opportunities hidden in your supporter base.
  • A marketing platform that allows you to send personalized emails and letters, document relationships, and thank donors right after they give.
  • Online giving tools that allow donors to give from anywhere at any time. Plus, Bloomerang offers valuable peer-to-peer and crowdfunding tools to power supporter-driven campaigns.
  • Reporting and analytics tools that provide valuable insights into your donors’ giving habits and help you track fundraising progress.
  • A best-in-class payment processor that simplifies payments with straightforward transaction processing.

Although we believe Bloomerang is the best option in the market, there are additional nonprofit CRM solutions to consider when researching which one is best for your nonprofit. We’ve rounded up the top solutions to consider in our nonprofit CRM buyer’s guide.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, prioritizing your donors requires prioritizing your donor data. With a nonprofit CRM, you can improve your donor relationships and ultimately maximize your positive impact on the world.

Review these additional resources for more information about using your nonprofit software to the fullest: