Nonprofit CRM implementations are often lead by a fundraising need. Development teams serve as strong catalysts for change as they are frequently the first to feel the impact of aging technology, and can demonstrate a clear benefit to opportunities presented by modern and emerging digital channels. When starting a CRM for fundraising initiative, it is important to consider the entire organization’s strategic and technological vision for the future.
Complicated fundraising needs are met with specialized fundraising applications. In the Salesforce environment that could mean Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP), CauseView, NGO Connect, or other available solutions. Each of these solutions has a complex data architecture that can be uniquely configured for direct response fundraising requirements. The configuration options decided at this stage can greatly impact how other departments will be able to realize the potential and opportunity of an enterprise-wide CRM. By expanding the scope of planning beyond the immediate development goals, organizations can make decisions that will support future integration of additional business units, and not cause limitations and costly reconfigurations.
We advise nonprofits to consider several essential questions as they start to develop their fundraising and organization-wide CRM vision. The first question is how integrated is the fundraising and development department with other business units in the organization currently? How much do their strategies, planning, and tactics overlap for both short- and long-term initiatives? The second question is how standardized are business processes across departments? How much data is shared between departments, and are there opportunities to consolidate information into a single source of truth? There are often business units that share very little information with the development team, so would benefit little from an integrated CRM system. Other departments will gain many advantages by combining their data into a robust 360° view of each constituent.
Understanding the current and potential connections between departments will create a clear guide for fundamental CRM platform architecture choices. For some organizations a single Salesforce instance configured primarily for fundraising can serve the needs of the whole nonprofit. Other organizations may require a multi-instance approach, with specific departments unconstrained by fundraising functionality. By considering future strategies and goals of the organization in the initial planning phase, additional functions serving Human Resources, Programs, Finance, Outreach, and Volunteers can be incorporated into the CRM solution, and then come online in future phases that build to an enterprise-wide CRM vision. This combination of current and future requirements is called a CRM roadmap, and is an essential component of a successful CRM initiative.
A little research will show there are a variety of CRM technology solutions designed to meet the needs of nonprofit organizations. Heller Consulting works with clients at every phase of their CRM journey to develop a CRM system that serves the organization’s strategies and goals without being constrained by technological limitations. We focus on developing a clear CRM vision and roadmap that defines a path for organizations to successfully achieve their CRM aspirations, and utilize their technology to deliver their mission.
View the resources below for more information on CRM roadmaps and starting a CRM initiative. If you would like to discuss your organization’s specific needs, please contact us today.