How to Determine Your Needs When Choosing a New Fundraising CRM

Choosing a new fundraising CRM is exciting–but also needs careful consideration. When embarking on a technology project, you should always start by outlining the key purpose behind the investment. If you are unclear about your needs, abilities, and opportunities, you will quickly find it difficult to vet vendors and evaluate CRMs, not to mention bringing internal stakeholders onboard or getting sign-off at key stages.

To kickstart the process, you should make sure to answer the following questions:

Nonprofit-Specific Questions

#1 What is your nonprofit’s mission?

The core purpose of your nonprofit should guide all of your activities and decisions, including your fundraising strategy and technology projects. As such, by defining your mission, you can better understand your community. This stable foundation helps you to ensure your new fundraising CRM supports you in meeting your objectives but also matches the needs of your stakeholders and community.

#2 What objectives does your nonprofit have in place for the next five years?

As choosing a new CRM takes time and dedication, you will want your new solution to serve you for years to come. To ensure a fruitful partnership with your future CRM vendor, make sure to also focus on your long-term objectives when determining your requirements.

#3 What operational processes or workflows do you currently lack?

By focusing on the processes or workflows you are currently missing and need to add, you can identify which features could help you to enhance your impact.

#4 What is your budget for the technology project?

By determining your budget early on, you can set realistic expectations and find a suitable cost model for your nonprofit. Your budget also helps you to evaluate the importance and timeline of your projects if you have multiple technology innovation projects in mind.

Pain Points

#1 Are there areas that hinder development or cause frustration?

Identify if there are any obvious pain points that prevent you from consistently improving your impact. Remember to consider your nonprofit and operations as a whole instead of only focusing on fundraising or technology-related frustrations.

#2 Do you have any gaps in your current data management process?

Data management is an essential part of any successful fundraising strategy. In fact, data plays a key role in overall success as data helps nonprofits reach the right audiences, evaluate behaviour, evaluate performance accurately and identify issues and opportunities. If you have gaps in your current process, you know you need to improve.

#3 What are your most inefficient processes?

By identifying your currently inefficient processes, you can determine potential avenues for improvement and growth. You can then work towards making necessary adjustments and identify if the potential technology solution can play part in the process.

#4 Does your existing data management system meet both your current and future needs?

Even if you do not necessarily have gaps in your current data management process, you will want to ensure it meets your needs in the long term. After all, your nonprofit is likely to grow or change, and your data management abilities need to scale with it.


#1 Which of your existing pain points could having a new solution in place help to solve?

Based on your previous answers, focus on identifying if the CRM can help you to solve or improve your current pain points. This could include, for example, being able to streamline data management processes and making them less time-consuming.

#2 Have you identified any areas that show potential for growth or improvement?

By identifying growth opportunities ahead of choosing a new CRM, you can determine if and how the new solution can help. Focusing on these opportunities can be a great way to boost your impact.

#3 Do you have any existing ideas or projects that a new cloud-based solution would allow you to develop?

While you are likely implementing a fundraising CRM to help you deliver on your fundraising strategy, you can unleash your creativity and innovation-mindset once you have software with modern capabilities. For example, your new CRM could help you get started with using AI as part of your fundraising.

#4 Aside from data management, what efforts will you be using the nonprofit CRM for?

Today’s modern fundraising CRMs are much more than data storage and can be an invaluable asset for your overall fundraising strategy or operations rather than only assisting with your data management. Identify what you wish to use your CRM for to ensure the potential CRM offers features that match your needs.

Identifying the answers to these 12 questions will enable you to build a comprehensive internal business case. You will have a better idea of your key objectives for the new CRM that you can refer to when researching vendors and software solutions. This solid foundation is essential as you have a comprehensive list of reasons why you are taking on the project, and ways you can enhance the impact of your CRM.

Choosing Your Project Team

Once you have a good idea of your requirements, you need to move your focus on to choosing your project team. Even if you have only started your CRM journey, you will soon need the support of multiple people from across your nonprofit. The key thing to remember when putting together your ideal Project Team is that everyone should offer a different skill or area of expertise, so together you have the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision

 By putting your project team together early you can ensure there are no clashing deadlines or projects and get their feedback on the list you previously created highlighting your requirements, pain points and opportunities.

Do not forget to involve the key decision-makers and budget holders in your nonprofit right from the beginning, so they are fully engaged and invested when you come to demoing different solutions. They do not necessarily need to be involved in the main Project Team or day-to-day activities, but they do need to be regularly communicated with to make sure your sign-off processes are as seamless as possible.

Next Steps

You now have a solid foundation for your CRM project by outlining the key reasons behind the investment, identifying what you want to achieve by choosing a CRM solution, and putting together a Project Team. You are ready to stary evaluating vendors to find the best partner and software to invest in!

Selecting a vendor comes with its unique challenges. To get started, download the newly updated How to Choose a Fundraising CRM Solution eBook.

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