You’ve got a lot on your plate, and manually tracking your donors’ information and updating multiple communications platforms is time consuming. Using a nonprofit CRM to manage those tasks can be a game-changer! But there are lots of CRMs on the market, and figuring out which would work best for your organization can feel overwhelming.
This guide can help.
Do You Really Need a Nonprofit CRM?
Before we get into our nonprofit CRM comparison, it’s important to touch on why using a generic CRM or a solution designed for for-profit organizations is typically not the best choice for nonprofits.
Using a spreadsheet to track your donor data and transaction information can be a useful tactic for new nonprofits or fledgling organizations with small donor pools. There are, of course, some downsides to tracking important information in spreadsheets—you need to be extra-careful about security, for example, and you’ll need to keep an eye on typos and make sure you have processes in place that results in data being entered correctly—but it’s a good solution as you’re getting started.
If your nonprofit isn’t ready to move to a CRM, we’ve got something to help you build and maintain your spreadsheet database! These donor database templates for Excel and Google Sheets will help you manage constituent details, record performance for different funds, campaigns, and appeals, and review important metrics in a built-in dashboard.
Now, if you’re managing more than a handful of donors, you’ll probably want a true CRM that helps you track donor data, manage communications, and perform the kinds of in-depth analysis that will make you a more effective fundraiser.
For-profit CRM options, like Salesforce, are very powerful and are meant to support large, complicated sales and marketing operations. While some for-profit CRMs do have solutions for nonprofits, those offerings can still be very complex and may not be well-suited to connecting with donors, volunteers, and other supporters.
Those big, powerful systems may be configured to meet the needs of small to midsize nonprofits, but they’re probably best suited for very large organizations or for-profit organizations.
Nonprofit CRMs, on the other hand, are targeted specifically for the needs of those in your industry, making them more cost-effective and easier to manage. As you search for technology to supplement your organization, make sure it’s nonprofit-focused.
Which of These 6 Top Nonprofit CRMs is Right for You?
Full disclosure: We really like our CRM. And, while we tried really hard to make sure everything in this roundup is accurate (so much fact-checking!), we’re definitely a little biased. You should always do your own independent nonprofit CRM comparison before making a decision, but we hope this is helpful.
Here’s some information about some of the top nonprofit platforms on the market.
1. Neon CRM
Our nonprofit CRM provides a range of features designed to help you reach your supporters and build relationships with them. In addition to helping you track and manage donor information, Neon CRM also includes fundraising tools, which means you can handle your fundraising activities and donor management tasks in one place.
|Automation: You can use Neon CRM’s tools to automate workflows, emails, and other tasks that take time and resources away from your mission. |
Customizability: Easily create and update forms, fields, reports, web pages, and more with our highly flexible system.
Relationship Tracking: Separate and associate businesses, organizations, and people through our highly segmentable system.
|Large Organization Support: While we work with many large organizations, our typical clients are generally small to midsize nonprofits. |
Complexity: Some of Neon CRM’s advanced features take time to learn, but we do offer training and resources to help.
Integrations: While we support integrations with many popular platforms and programs, we’re most focused on offering native features you can use in the product.
When To Use Neon CRM
When To Use Neon CRMOrganizations of all sizes use Neon CRM, but the majority of our client base is made up of small and midsize nonprofits. This platform is best suited for organizations that are actively growing and need a solution that will grow with them. We’re also a good fit for organizations that manage a variety of activities aside from donor management, including membership management, events, corporate sponsorships, and communications with different groups of supporters.
2. Raiser’s Edge by Blackbaud
This cloud computing provider is focused specifically on nonprofits. Blackbaud offers lots of different nonprofit solutions, but its top CRM option is Raiser’s Edge.
|Comprehensive: The platform allows organizations to track and manage just about all parts of their fundraising and marketing. |
Experience: Blackbaud has deep insight into the nonprofit industry, with over 40 years of experience in providing tech solutions for them.
Variety: Raiser’s Edge is not Blackbaud’s only offering. It has an entire suite of products focused on nonprofits.
|Cost: This product is targeted at midsize nonprofits or larger due to its complexity and features, and it has a price tag to match. |
Complexity: Using advanced software features will likely require development knowledge.
Automation: While automation can be managed through Blackbaud, you’ll need third-party apps to facilitate things like workflow automation.
When To Use Raiser’s Edge by Blackbaud
Raiser’s Edge is a powerful nonprofit CRM that’s best suited to large organizations that can dedicate staff time to learning, updating, and maintaining their donor database. Its price tag and time needed to build and configure your account are both big commitments—plan on signing a long-term contract and sticking with this platform for the long run.
This CRM is a database-focused offering, making it suitable for donor tracking and management.
|Simplicity: Bloomerang makes use of a clear user interface and simplified navigation.|
Reports: The program allows a variety of reports that can easily be collected by users.
Cost for Small Nonprofits: Bloomerang starts at $79 per month for nonprofits with <$250,000 in revenue and fewer than 1,000 contacts; prices go up from there.
|Scope Creep: Bloomerang’s start-up cost is low. But the base package only supports <1,000 records, meaning growing nonprofits will need to keep an eye on their costs.|
Customization: The platform offers some customizations, but it’s not as robust as other solutions.
Features: The nonprofit CRM covers most of the basics like donor management. However, more advanced features—like grant support, membership management, and other functions—are limited.
When To Use Bloomerang
Bloomerang’s donor management tools are simple and easy to learn, and their records-based subscription fee makes it a good candidate for nonprofits who are looking for their first CRM. This platform is best for nonprofits with a small base of donors who don’t need additional constituent management tools or more advanced fundraising options.
DonorPerfect is a fundraising-focused CRM that makes use of a wide range of integrations and tools.
|Integrations: The program integrates with common nonprofit tools like QuickBooks and Constant Contact, among others.|
Fundraising Focus: DonorPerfect has carved out a niche for itself as a fundraising machine, with lots of features built around finances and donations.
Features: This CRM offers features outside of fundraising, like grant management and reporting.
|Complexity: This program will require some understanding of CRMs and coding to manage, though they do offer strong customer support.|
Connections: The system makes it difficult to connect user relationships, like individuals to charities or specific households.
Reports: While nonprofits can gain granular level details, the process for creating these reports is challenging and may require some training.
When To Use DonorPerfect
This CRM is an ideal candidate for organizations who can dedicate staff time to learning its processes and managing their data. This platform’s reporting system can be powerful, but it’s best-suited for development teams who can invest time into learning the intricacies of the system and building detailed reports.
5. Network For Good
This CRM is specifically targeted at small nonprofits and peer-to-peer fundraising efforts.
|Simplicity: Most users report that Network for Good is a simple, user-friendly program.|
Support: The company offers one-on-one training to help new users learn the various features.
Built-In Email: The platform offers a built-in email tool for simplified message tracking.
|Features: The base-level program comes with basic tools like donor management and online fundraising, but more complex features like volunteer management are absent. |
Scalability: As a nonprofit grows, it may find that base-level features are not enough to keep up.
Automation: As it’s a tool focused on small nonprofits, it doesn’t offer as many automation options as other nonprofit CRMs.
When to Use Network For Good
This CRM is the best fit for organizations that can focus exclusively on fundraising and donor engagement. Its simple platform and straightforward tools make it easy to learn and use the system, especially if nonprofits don’t need to manage volunteers, members, and other more complex programs.
6. Little Green Light
This CRM bills itself as an all-in-one solution for nonprofits of all sizes.
|Free Trial: The Little Green Light Platform is available for a 30-day free trial. |
Simplicity: The donor database is simple to manage and transfer from existing spreadsheets.
Cost: The platform is one of the more affordable nonprofit CRMs, with a tiered schedule based on records managed.
|Advanced Features: Options for grant tracking and reporting are limited. |
Email-Only Support: Little Green Light seems to offer email-only support, but users report receiving responses within 24 hours.
Reporting: Setting up reports can be complex for new users, though the platform offers guides and videos.
When To Use Little Green Light
This solution is ideal for organizations that are comfortable with CRMs and don’t need extensive support or are comfortable teaching themselves to set up new reports. Its affordability and records-based billing make it especially appealing to smaller nonprofits.
Find the CRM That’s Right for Your Nonprofit
No two options in our nonprofit CRM comparison are the same. Some CRMs have lots of integrations while others have a handful. Some have lots of fundraising tools and others focus on donor management.
And different solutions are better for different organizations! A small grassroots organization may find Little Green Light the best tool for its needs. Meanwhile a massive multi-state nonprofit may want to go with something more robust and comprehensive, like Raiser’s Edge. Midsize organizations that are looking to engage their donor base and grow their programming would be well-served by a platform like Neon CRM.
It’s all about choosing what’s right for you and your constituents.
Want some help finding the right CRM for your organization? We’ve created a free 6-answer quiz that provides you with a list of the CRM vendors that will best fit your nonprofit based on your budget, size, and functionality needs. Take the quiz today!
Key Differences of the Best Nonprofit CRMs
While no two nonprofit CRMs are identical, there are a couple of key differences that will help you select the best option. The first is nonprofit automation support. With the ability to automate tasks like workflow assignments, emails, and follow-ups, you can save yourself (and others on your team) a ton of time.
Another is personalization— the ability to customize every supporter contact based on their specific details—that can help you send better, more targeted messages that result in better donor relationships, more effective fundraising, and more compelling impact updates.
Of course, price will always be a concern as well. While most CRMs offer reasonable, subscription-based plans, be sure you think about scalability while you’ve evaluating your options.
As your organization grows, so will the number of contacts in your donor database. Options that bill by the record may seem appealing when you have a couple hundred people in your list, but costs can go up quickly once you start reaching new people, engaging new donors, and growing your email lists.
An alternative option is a revenue-based billing model where your costs are based on your organization’s revenue rather than your number of records. This ensures that billing is predictable for the long term, making it especially useful if you’re actively trying to grow your base of supporters.
Neon CRM Is Here To Help You Grow
If your organization is actively working toward engaging new donors, volunteers, and the community, Neon CRM is here to help. Whether you focus exclusively on donor management or need tools that will also help you manage memberships, events, and different fundraising styles, our platform includes the tools you need to succeed.
And, since our pricing structure is based on your organization’s revenue and not the number of records in your system, you can focus on building a thriving base of supporters without worrying about your costs outpacing your growth.
We’d love to learn about your organization, your goals, and how we can help you grow. If you’re ready to learn more about Neon CRM’s tools and how you can use them to reach your goals, check out one of our group demos. They’re a great opportunity to see the tools in action—no sales calls required.
Join the discussion in our Slack channel on connected fundraising