Could your charity increase its donations with CRM integration?
Every charity is looking for simple, cost-effective ways to boost donations but many of them are missing out on a trick.
According to Gartner, 82% of charities that have integrated their donations website with a customer (or constituent) relationship management (CRM) solution have not only saved time, but have increased their income in the process.
Why all charities should consider CRM integration
So why are so many charities, particularly small and medium-sized ones, reluctant to take advantage?
According to research from Salesforce, many are put off from investing in a CRM or in CRM/website integration because they assume it will be costly and beyond their technical means.
The majority are also unaware of many of the features that a CRM can offer over and above its core function.
According to research from Salesforce, many are put off from investing in a CRM because they assume it will be costly and beyond their technical means.
For example, charities often know that a CRM can help manage customer conversations through an online notes system.
They might also understand that CRMs offer advanced database queries, enabling donor segmentation based on a wide range of parameters (time since last donation, total donations made, geographical location, etc.)
However, they may be unaware of features such as:
- Social media fundraising assistance (peer-to-peer fundraising, social sharing, etc.)
- Event management support (ticketing, logistics, etc.)
- Email automation
- Direct mail workflows
- Campaign reporting
- Online payment (sometimes with reduced transaction fees for charities)
How easy is it to integrate a CRM?
Every charity will be different when it comes to the technical side of integration. The work involved depends on the number and type of systems you need to bring together and the size and type of your customer database. These include:
- The CRM itself
- The website (CMS) platform
- Payment providers for single and monthly donations
- Email marketing platform
Bringing together a donations website, CRM, email service and payment providers for a large, well-established charity will demand more resources than simply hooking up a simple donation website to a CRM.
The complexity of the project usually depends on the mix of legacy fundraising and database products you use. It is worth noting however that some CRMs integrate better than others, so if you are in a position to choose a new CRM, be sure to research the integrations available before you commit.
The complexity of the project usually depends on the mix of legacy fundraising and database products you use.
Examples of popular CRMs for charities
There are many different options for charities looking to drive donations through CRM integration and some of them offer that beautiful simplicity we love at Eyes Down.
While some products are geared towards the charity and non-profit sector, others can be easily adapted for that purpose.
Here are some examples to investigate:
- Access thankQ
- Blackbaud Raiser's Edge
- Dynamics 365
- Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud
Most of these are cloud-based systems which means you won't have to manage any software or set up separate security.
Some charities may prefer an on-premise CRM, especially if they feel uncomfortable about sharing donor data with third parties. Microsoft's Dynamics 365 and Bitrix24 are two vendors that offer that option. CiviCRM is an open source CRM. While this gives you ownership and saves on subscription fees, you'll need to manage the software and keep it secure, so it will only suit certain teams.
The next step: full systems integration
Many charities rely on manual processes or one-way integrations, where donor data is sent from the website to the CRM, but not the other way around.
If you are really looking to take your donations ecosystem to the next level, you might want to look into a full two-way integration between your website and your CRM.
This opens up the possibility of harnessing behavioural economics to deliver a truly personalised experience to your donors. For example, using past donation data from the CRM, your CMS could be set up to deliver personalised communications asking for a donation amount similar to what they tend to give (whether that's £5 or £50).
Two-way integration can be pretty complex, so is normally only within the scope of larger charities but it might be worth investigating all the same.
If you experience an uptick in donations after integrating a CRM, we would love to hear from you.