CRM for Nonprofits: The Ultimate Guide for 2023 [Tools Included]

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      CRM for Nonprofits: The Ultimate Guide for 2023 [Tools Included]

      18' read
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      Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a tool that helps nonprofits to manage their relationships with their donors, volunteers, supporters, and other stakeholders.

      It provides a powerful way to capture donor information and track recurring gifts, volunteer hours, and more.

      Nonprofits have different needs than businesses when it comes to customer management.


      CRM features can help nonprofits attract new donors, improve their existing donor database and increase the number of small-dollar donors they have.

      It also enables nonprofits to better manage the relationship between themselves and their donors so that they can provide more personalized services to those who give money.

      In this blog post, we take a closer look at some of the key benefits of using a CRM platform for your nonprofit organization and the five best nonprofit CRM software available in the market today.

      Who Uses A CRM System Designed For Nonprofits?

      A nonprofit CRM solution helps an organization manage its fundraising efforts, customer acquisition, and customer retention. They also use it to manage their internal processes such as sales and marketing.

      It is especially used to manage their operations. This is due to the increasing complexity of managing multiple tasks and projects, as well as the requirement to monitor and control costs.

      From fundraising staff to accounting employees to grant management workers, all are involved in the donor relationship management process.

      Fundraising and Development Staff

      It’s important for a nonprofit to have a well-rounded approach to its donors.

      Nonprofits need to be able to identify potential donors and turn them into supporters. This is done by having a robust donor relationship management system that tracks the progress of each donation.


      A CRM system collects data on the donor’s preferences, likes, dislikes, and more. This information is then used in future communication efforts to ensure that the right message reaches the right people at the right time.

      Accounting or Payment Solutions Services Dealing with Donations

      Nonprofits that accept donations often deal with credit card processing fees and other expenses associated with processing payments from their donors.

      Because these organizations rely heavily on donations as revenue sources, they need systems in place to manage their finances effectively so they can keep up with current expenses while still maintaining a healthy cash reserve for rainy days.

      Grant Management Staff

      Nonprofits have a shared inbox, where all grant requests are stored. They then use a CRM system to assign the grant request to the appropriate person or department, as well as track the status of the grant process.

      Grant management staff also uses CRM software to keep track of past and current staff, so they can easily see which ones have been awarded and when they were completed. This helps them prioritize their work and ensure that they get the most important projects or modules done first.

      Benefits Of Using Nonprofit CRM Software

      Enhanced Donor Retention And LTV

      A CRM system helps nonprofits achieve better results by improving their ability to target and engage with their most loyal donors.

      With that assistance, nonprofits can:

      • Integrate customer data and segmentation into their marketing strategy
      • Determine the best times to contact potential donors
      • Easily track current donors and prospects over time
      • Find out which of your existing major donors are most likely to continue donating
      • Create personalized communications based on their preferences


      Remember that the more engaged your donors are, the more likely they are to be part of your organization’s success in the future.

      Client servicing > Client Acquisition.

      Serve your customers so well that you render the competition irrelevant. And you will never have to keep running after new clients every single month.

      Why? Because happy clients bring more clients (just like them) simply via word-of-mouth.

      When we think about LTV, we typically focus on acquiring new customers, but it’s just as important to retain current customers. Even the most traditional businesses get consistent business from their existing clients rather than running after new ones.

      So, increasing LTV directly impacts your CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost).

      CRM software can help you do this by enabling you to gain deeper insights into your donor profiles and engage them at a personal level. The result will be higher donor engagement and loyalty, which can lead to long-term retention and increased giving over time.

      Simplified Reporting And Increased Organizational Efficiency

      A CRM system can help nonprofit organizations improve their efficiency by providing a centralized place where all information about employees, volunteers, donors, and other stakeholders is stored.

      Employees can use this information to make better decisions about how to spend their time and resources. This can lead to fewer errors and more productivity for the organization as a whole.

      With a CRM system, you can easily track your nonprofit’s performance against goals, such as:

      • the number of donors, volunteers, and volunteers who show up at events like auctions
      • the number of members or supporters who participate in fundraising activities (using membership management features)
      • the number of members or supporters who join your mailing list

      Nonprofits need to know what’s happening across their team members in order to make decisions about how best to allocate funds or which projects they should prioritize next year.

      A CRM system helps them accomplish this by providing (simplified custom reports) insights into employee engagement levels, sales velocity, leads generated, etc., so that they can be sure that everyone is working toward a common goal(s).

      Task Automation

      Nonprofit organizations have a lot on the go, from fundraising to publicity and outreach. Constant demands, coupled with limited resources, can make it difficult for any organization to stay on top of its workload.

      But CRM software for nonprofits can help with task automation, improving your efficiency and saving time.

      It helps you automate tasks that are repetitive or time-consuming, such as filling out donation forms or updating event calendars.

      You can set up a recurring task that runs every day or week, or even every month. This way, whenever you need to complete a certain task, it will be done automatically by the software rather than having to be done manually by someone else in your organization.

      For example, nonprofits often use email campaigns as part of their marketing strategy, but many struggle with sending follow-up emails after campaigns are launched.

      Email marketing automation feature in CRM systems allow you to automate sending follow-up emails when a campaign has been sent out, saving you both time and money, instead of relying on volunteers or staff members who may be more familiar with sending emails than promoting campaigns themselves.

      What Makes A CRM Platform Great For Nonprofits?


      Features To Create, Manage, And Track Marketing Campaigns

      Creating marketing campaigns is simple with a CRM system because you can create them from scratch or import from other platforms. You can also set up templates for the types of campaigns you want to run, such as email campaigns or social media posts.

      Managing your contacts and leads through your CRM software means that you can keep track of who is connected to your organization and what they do for it. You can even send emails directly from the CRM software, which will be easier than sending them through email marketing tools like Constant Contact or Mailchimp.

      When it comes time to track results from your marketing campaigns, good CRM software will let you do this easily via data management feature(s) that allow you to export data in an easy-to-understand format so that you know exactly what happened during each campaign.

      Integration With Your Website And Other Online Channels

      Nonprofit organizations often use social media as part of their marketing campaigns, so having your CRM software integrated with a social media platform is a must.

      This way, you can see who is engaging with your content, how many people have seen it and who has shared it with others.

      You can also use this information to send targeted email campaigns or create automated thank-you messages after someone has shared something on social media.

      Track Data From Multiple Sources And Systems

      Your nonprofit needs to know what’s going on in the field — not just at headquarters or within your offices.

      That’s why many CRM systems have integrations (or built-in) with contact management systems and fundraising tools so you can track donations and grant applications from different sources.

      Plus, they provide data such as annual reports, meeting notes and other important information that can be useful for strategic planning purposes.

      Track Client Interactions

      A great CRM system allows nonprofits to track everything from donations made through direct mail campaigns to how many times a client has visited your website during a specific time period.

      You can also use this information to determine which clients are most likely to donate again or return for more services or products offered by your organization.

      Extensive Reporting Features

      A good CRM system has robust reporting capabilities so that you can track key metrics such as leads generated and sales made.

      You may also want to include reports that give you insights into customer lifecycle management (CLM) data such as how many customers have abandoned their account in the past year and what percentage of those accounts have been closed in the last 30 days.

      Easy project management

      The right CRM system allows you to track multiple projects at once so that you know where your money is going and what needs improvement or needs funding most urgently.

      It also allows you to send out regular updates on projects so that donors are kept informed about their progress on individual projects (which makes them feel more involved).

      Four Best Nonprofit CRM Software

      1. Pipedrive

      Pipedrive’s CRM software for nonprofits enables you to streamline your workflow by letting you track donor activities, and keep an account of events and volunteers. The tool empowers you to attract more donors and helps in nurturing the existing ones by communicating the contribution they have made to materialize your cause. You can manage donors, volunteers, and members simultaneously from a single platform.


      Pipedrive offers four feature-rich packages:

      • Essential at $9.90/user per month — It allows you to get organized and lets you set up simple sales processes.
      • Advanced at $19.90/user per month — You can scale quickly with its easy-to-use emails and automation capabilities.
      • Professional at $39.90/user per month — Empowers you with everything that you require to boost revenue and growth.
      • Enterprise at $59.90/user per month — Offers unlimited customization and access to unrivaled support.


      Valuable Communication And Donor Management With Lead Management Software

      Pipedrive empowers you to use their ‘smart segmentation’ feature to carry out personalized communication to keep your existing donors in the loop and encouraged to donate frequently.

      You can follow up with your new campaign donors and use targeted emails to convert one-time supporters into consistent donors. You can keep detailed communication data and organize the donations to give a better experience to advocates.


      • Smoothens pipeline management with its intuitive and visual interface.
      • Allows you to create and customize multiple sales pipelines to exhibit an extraordinary sales process.
      • Lets you focus more on activities to boost conversion rates and improve sales performance. For instance, their colored cue feature allows you to focus on the deals that need your attention.
      • Enables you to extract any required data at any time by using its statistics tool. This helps you in taking well-calculated decisions and making predictions by using the upcoming donor activity. The statistical tool comprises customized dashboards for every existing stakeholder in a nonprofit organization.
      Volunteer Management And Fundraising Estimation

      Pipedrive allows you to maintain a database of all the members who contribute to your campaigns through advocacy. You can use the custom fields of all the active volunteers for the database. This transforms your CRM into a robust volunteer management platform.

      It allows you to capture the new donors’ sign-ups enabling you to keep a log of every touchpoint at every event. You can track the communications to know the nature and quality of interactions with the individual members.

      Campaign Management Functionality And Accurate Reporting

      With this feature, Pipedrive lets you market and manage fundraising activities effortlessly. You can keep a track of both online and offline campaigns, and determine their effectiveness from a single platform.

      It allows you to:

      • Automate common administrative tasks such as organizing donations, updating records, managing fundraising activities, etc.
      • Keeps the finances in order with powerful accounting integrations like Quickbooks integration for donation payment processing.


      Lacks Shared Inbox Functionality

      Managing sales is difficult for the sales team by using the general sales email function alone. Every sales rep is required to communicate with their respective emails instead of company-wide accounts. This results in distanced workflow, and causes unnecessary divide within the organization instead of collaborative working through the shared inbox.

      Poor Data Filter Capability

      The tool’s ability to filter the deal-related data needs improvement as setting up pre-defined filters can be frustrating. Working around to export the data into excel sheets and then manipulating it can be time-consuming.

      The pre-defined set of products offered by Pipedrive in its plans might not be useful and carry very little implementation possibilities. These issues pose a bigger problem, especially in the sales tracking processes.

      2. Salesforce

      Salesforce (called for Nonprofits — a donor management software) helps you to increase revenue, maximize efficiency and intensify the impact. Your workforce gets empowered to perform better with:

      • Capacity to deliver power-packed programs and work productively with task automation.
      • Powerful insights and data intelligence that help you to accelerate revenue growth.
      • Use real-time data to identify and expand your community.


      Salesforce offers four feature-packed plans:

      • Sales Cloud – EE at $36/user per month — It offers powerful fundraising and constituent engagement.
      • Sales + Service Cloud – EE at $48/user per month — It ensures service and support for any constituent.
      • Nonprofit Cloud – EE at $60/user per month — Allows you to capture and cleanse data, gives predictions, and aligns with your accounting system.
      • Nonprofit Cloud – UE (pricing available on call) — Gives added data, sandboxes, and improved support.


      Donor-centric Experience With Fundraising

      This power-packed feature helps you to put an added impact and build long-lasting donor relationships with the help of:

      • Unified view of the supporters and interactions in a single place.
      • Strong insights and data that help in fruitful decisions and drive impact.
      • Ability to build, grow and measure the cash flow on a single fundraising platform.
      • Individual giving programs that allow the donors to use the channels they prefer.
      • Task automation that automates the basic administrative tasks so that your team can have more interaction time with the donors.
      • Segmentation and source codes that help in operationalizing the direct mail process and enhance the channel’s performance.
      • Connected online fundraising.
      • Simplified grants process.
      Better Future Investments With Grantmaking

      Salesforce’s Grantmaking feature helps in ensuring that the communities receive long-term investments that leave an impact.

      • It enables you to build meaningful relations with grantees, applicants, donors, reviewers, and other stakeholders by efficiently managing all the givings in one place.
      • You can manage the complete grantmaking lifecycle in a single place to maintain transparency. The tool comes adept with agile systems that streamline your program for an accelerated investment process.
      • Makes it easier for your team to collaborate and communicate with the stakeholders with personalized messages.
      • It allows you to identify and target ideal grantees and accordingly adjust the funding. You can analyze trends to make well-informed decisions and convey the measure of the impact with real-time data.
      Stakeholder 360 For Data Clarity And Collaboration

      This catchy feature allows you to develop dynamic data solutions on a platform that is scalable and secure. With the tools offered by the Nonprofit Cloud, you can enhance the potential of your non-profit data to make it impactful and usable.

      • You can connect to the external nonprofit database such as AWS and manage the nonprofit data from within as well as outside of Salesforce.
      • It allows you to efficiently integrate your data and apps with the Pre-built REST API. You can integrate the templates with Mulesoft Anypoint. Using Mulesoft Composer you can effortlessly integrate systems without any coding.
      • The Manual Organizational Process can be automated for boosted productivity.
      • The Nonprofit Success Pack allows you to analyze your data by using out-of-the-box templates of reports and dashboards.
      • You can use Digital HQ to streamline internal collaboration.
      • With Shield, you can view your data and observe user behavior to prevent insider threats in advance.


      Costly Plans

      Considering the financial bandwidth of smaller nonprofits, the plans are a bit on the costlier end. The addons in the initial stage make the pricing more complicated.

      Additionally, it can be difficult to manage the software. Keeping yourself up to date with the latest updates and ensuring smooth working can be time-consuming for the staff.

      Difficult Navigation And Customization

      Navigating the customized features and integrations can be difficult especially if you do not have a developer background. It seems ideal for larger enterprises that can dedicate a Salesforce team to handle the process.

      3. Bloomerang

      The Bloomerang CRM for nonprofits is a complete donor management tool that allows you to enhance the giving experience, raise more funds, and build a long-lasting rapport. It offers a simple-to-use technology that helps you in cultivating a stand-out fundraising experience for your donors.


      The pricing of the plans offered by Bloomerang depends upon the number of records or contacts you would like to choose. The number of records offered per month varies from 0 to 60,000. The lowest-tier plan begins at $119 per month (for 0 records) and offers:

      • 5000 emails per month
      • 10 GB File attachment storage
      • Optional Phone support with an additional charge of $35 per month.


      Easy Donation Collection For Seamless Giving Experience

      With this catchy feature of Bloomerang, your donors can donate from anywhere at any time without any hassles. Its online giving tool helps you to accept donations irrespective of the donor’s location. It does so by:

      • Simplifying basic tasks with automation that offers easy-to-use modern fundraising tools. With just a few clicks, you can effortlessly create event landing pages, sell tickets, and customize donations.
      • Managing all the fundraising tools in one place, such as donor portals, website donation forms, etc.
      • Reducing donor friction by creating responsive forms for donor contributions with a dynamic donation button.
      Donor Database For Donor Retaining

      Bloomerang allows you to build a stronger and long-lasting donor community with effective communication. Its mission-focused tools help you to establish loyal and committed relations with your supporters. It offers an easy-to-use tech and a database on which you can rely completely for reports, powerful insights, and data regarding your contributors’ community.

      Powerful Integration For Cultivating Relationships

      Bloomerang enables you to send and track personalized emails to your donors with its robust integrated marketing and engagement tools. You can reach out to more contacts and enhance your donor network. With personalized emails, letters and acknowledgments, it helps you in building everlasting relationships that make an impact. It helps in:

      • Connecting individually with the donors.
      • Learn about your donors such as what inspires them to contribute to your cause.
      • Receiving alerts when a contact donates for the first time. You can connect by sending a personalized thank you message or email or an automated acknowledgment.


      Complex Dashboard View

      The tool fails to show a single donor view or a separate recent donor page on the dashboard. As a result, you have to search from a long list of donors which can be time-consuming.

      Additionally, you cannot see the recent donations or transactions listed separately which makes the process of verifying the information a bit tedious.

      Limited Formatting Options In Emails

      The email section offered by Bloomerang lacks several formatting options such as no larger fonts for active links and no pre-headers.

      Also, the user permission settings cannot be set to limited accessibility. It currently offers only two levels of permission for the users and both these permissions end up granting access to all user profiles.

      4. Kindful

      Kindful CRM software integrates with your existing software for nonprofits to give you access to added resources and equip your team for an efficient workflow.


      The simple and effective fundraising tools offered by this CRM platform enable you to raise more funds and accelerate the overall revenue growth of your organization. It allows you to fundraise easily by managing each donor’s touchpoint. It enables you to access the performance reports of your staff and board, and gives a seamless experience to the donors.

      The pricing and offerings depend upon the number of contacts you have. The least-priced plan begins with 1000 contacts at $119 per month and offers:

      • Unlimited donation and crowdfunding
      • Over 40 apps and integrations
      • No added charges
      • All Kindful features such as Donation pages, Donation forms, Reporting, Peer-to-peer fundraising pages, Recurring givings, etc.


      Robust Fundraising Tools For Online Donations

      Kindful enables you to create captivating online fundraising campaigns which can be added to your website, email campaigns, or other social media campaigns.

      It offers:

      • Unlimited Donation Pages — These donation pages can be set up and filled out easily and can automatically sync with your database. You can cover processing fees, include recurring payments, and personalize by using catchy images, descriptive texts, etc.
      • Embedded Donation Buttons — With its quick button and pop-up options you can attract your users’ attention. You can use key features such as adding customized amounts, button phrasing, colors, etc. to lend your campaign a more personalized appearance. With the automated line of codes, you can effortlessly embed the Donation Plugin on any website.
      Powerful Insights Into Fundraising Efforts

      Kindful allows you to have an intensive understanding of your donors’ giving behavior by:

      • Creating event landing pages, checking attendees, and reporting by using the event registration feature — included in its event management section.
      • Effortlessly managing recurring givings while allowing your contacts to choose the donation option that suits them the most.
      • Empowering you to invite supports who can create teams who can further invite contacts in their network on your behalf. These are called peer-to-peer pages and can contain descriptions, photos, or videos.
      • Allowing you to track donor data — such as giving history, interactions, and wealth details and use the insights to extract meaningful and actionable data.
      Intuitive Platform For Streamlined Fundraising

      Kindful can be easily integrated with the tools already in use to simplify:

      • Payment Processing — You can process credit cards, debit cards, or ACH payments online by using the native payment processing tools offered by Kindful. It can also be integrated with your existing payment processor.
      • Donor Accounts — With donor account pages, your donors can log in to view their donation history, update payment details, download tax receipts, etc. giving them a seamless and transparent giving journey.
      • Apps and Integrations — Kindful offers over 20 integrations with robust existing fundraising platforms such as Fund Raising Reportcard, Classy, etc. which lets you choose your medium of collecting donations.


      Time-Consuming Payment Management

      Splitting the transaction fee from the donation amount requires going through a string of donations and has to be performed manually, which can be really time-consuming. In the case of recurring donations, this process can be extremely tedious as the donors need to be called individually to verify the donation amount.

      Complex Reporting

      Pulling out certain reports can be slow, and need to be run and edited in excel. The report printing process lacks flexibility. Reports on different campaigns require better ways of organizing. Also, the task-assigning functionality needs improvement.

      Wrapping Up

      CRM tools are usually used by for-profit companies as a way to improve customer relationships and increase sales and business growth.

      But using a CRM platform has become increasingly important for nonprofits because it helps achieve their mission and scale their impact.

      It does a great job of integrating crucial nonprofit conversion and retention tools into one place. Importantly, they also provide cloud-based solutions, intuitive and user-friendly interfaces, and essential customer support so that nonprofits can focus on helping their clients (and donors) instead of learning how to navigate new software.

      It also helps boost efficiency and opens new doors for the organization to significantly grow.

      For example, CRM software affects fundraising efforts and allows nonprofits to track donor trends over time to increase stickiness with their donors.

      Another key benefit to using a paid, open-source, or free CRM platform (like Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge NXT or Salsa CRM, or Neon CRM) is that it allows organizations to easily manage their donor and prospect database, and automate their marketing efforts. This makes following up a lot easier and much more organized.

      But please remember that the best CRM software solution for your nonprofit organization will depend on your specific needs, and the features you believe are most applicable to your organization.