This is where a donor management and fundraising Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system plays a vital role in managing donor relationships, identifying potential donors, and ensuring the organization meets its fundraising targets. In this article, we will discuss the key steps on the journey to implement a fundraising CRM system for large not-for-profit organizations.

Step 1: Determine Your Fundraising Needs and Goals

Before selecting a fundraising CRM system, it is important to determine the organization’s fundraising needs and goals. This includes evaluating the current fundraising strategy, identifying target donors, and defining fundraising goals.

Consider these questions
  • When thinking about the sustainability of your organization, are your funding streams reliable and diversified to match the long-term vision? What about your short-term needs given the current economic uncertainty?
  • What are your main fundraising channels and what systems or tools will you use for the different channels?
  • Do you get the insights you need from your fundraising data to make informed decisions and set strategies?
  • Does your fundraising team have the resources they need to succeed?

Once you have a clear understanding of your organization’s fundraising needs and goals, you can select a CRM system that is aligned with your requirements.

Step 2: Speed Date CRM Systems

There are several CRM systems available in the market, and it is essential to select the one that is best aligned with your organization’s needs and goals. Consider factors such as the system’s features, user-friendliness, compatibility with existing systems, and pricing. MISSION CRM is one such system that provides a comprehensive set of features for fundraising, grants management, and program delivery for nonprofit organizations. Integrated with Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit, MISSION CRM works seamlessly with other Microsoft productivity tools that you already know and trust such as Microsoft 365, Excel, and Power BI.

Step 3: Configure the System

After selecting a CRM system, it is important to consider how you will configure it to align with your day-to-day operational needs. If the CRM you’ve selected has been designed with nonprofits in mind, you’re acquiring a product which, ideally, does not require customization. Meaning you don’t need to invest in custom code or development. For example, with MISSION CRM, configuring the system to align with the organization’s fundraising processes, setting up custom fields and workflows, and creating user roles and security permissions is how we turn “vanilla” MISSION CRM into the flavour which reflects your organization’s desires.

Step 4: Migration of Donor Data

The next step is to migrate donor data from your existing system into the CRM system. Depending on how many ‘sources of truth’ may exist and if you have several silos of data, this can be a significant exercise. But it can also be a cathartic one by allowing your organization to think about your data from a strategic perspective and allowing you to shed the weight of old data without actionable value. By working in partnership with a trusted advisor like MISSION CRM and its data migration team, the migration of data follows a methodology to ensure that the imported data is accurate and up-to-date to enable effective donor management.

Step 5: Train Users

Once the system is configured and the data is migrated, it is essential to train users on how to use the system effectively. This includes providing training on how to navigate the system, input and access data, and use the various features of the CRM system.

Providing training will ensure that users can successfully adopt and use the CRM system in their daily activities. The end user training program should be developed in conjunction with your team and geared towards your understanding of the system and process changes as they apply to the daily operational job functions of your users.

Step 6: Build a Unified Home for Your Fundraising, Finance, and Marketing Needs

The final step in implementing a fundraising CRM system is to integrate it with other systems used by the organization. The good news is that when you select a product like MISSION CRM, which is built on the Microsoft platform, it’s already integrated with systems you use every day such as Outlook or Power BI. When you are ready, you can consider expanding your use of Microsoft solutions such as Dynamic 365 Business Central and Dynamic 365 Marketing. This approach will build a unified view of donor interactions and donations, making it easier to manage donor relationships and monitor the success of fundraising campaigns.

Get Started Today!

Implementing a fundraising CRM system can greatly benefit nonprofit organizations in managing donor relationships and achieving their fundraising goals.

The good news is that you can start planning your journey today:
  1. What are your organization’s fundraising goals and aspirations? What is your North Star?
  2. Are you considering a specific solution or product platform?
  3. What are the unique aspects of your development operations? Do they align with the product to allow for configuration?
  4. Dig deep on your data – data clean-up can start at any time
  5. Get ahead of the training curve and plan for who in your organization will be on the front line of change with a new fundraising system and plan for it!