Nonprofit CRM Systems: Benefits, Types, and Considerations
There are other concerns, however, including data compliance. The most important is the European General Data Protection Regulation, which applies to non-profit organizations and many other entities around the world and is a key part of data privacy programs in general. Microsoft’s Arnold notes that nonprofits need to use updated software to modernize their approach and maintain compliance.
âHaving modern CRM platforms is a good start,â he says. âHaving your technology on a platform that natively supports GDPR and represents best security practices and best privacy practices is essential for nonprofits to do the work they do. “
A final concern for nonprofits is data portability and hygiene. Decisions made within a CRM platform can have a profound effect on an organization’s operations, both day-to-day and in the long term.
These issues have arisen more and more as the CRM space has matured, leading to a number of mergers in the industry. White says this development has made it more attractive to use CRM tools in large companies.
âAs the economy is declining and moving, it is sure to return to big, traditional brands,â White said.
At the same time, developments in the CRM market have raised concerns about data portability, as data management has tended to complicate workflows. Arnold, who spent many years as CIO of a global health nonprofit before joining Microsoft, noted that these complications have often created data integration issues in the past.
âNo matter the conversation or the partner, even if they had done 400 other CRM implementations, it seemed like we were starting at the very beginning and building all the data architecture and workflows from scratch,â he says. .
MORE FOR ASSOCIATIONS: What the industry needs to know about managing security posture in the cloud.
To address these issues, Microsoft worked on the Common Data Model to create a cohesive set of business practices around data integration. Other providers in the CRM space, such as Oracle, have also started working in this framework, says Arnold.
Even non-traditional Microsoft partners are collaborating on the Common Data Model, which Arnold calls “one of the best measures of success.”
Examples of nonprofit CRM software
In some ways, a CRM can be seen as an extension of the spreadsheet of yesteryear, but more deeply integrated into the whole business. White explained that the use of CRM by nonprofits tends to lean towards extremes.
âSome of them are really sophisticated, really cutting edge, really pushing the limits of use,â he says. âThe other half of them are just starting to switch to a proper CRM system. “
The CRM space is also diverse, with the participation of many small specialized players and well-known companies. Some of the more well-known CRM vendors include Salesforce, SAP, Oracle subsidiary NetSuite, and Microsoft Dynamics 365.
These and other platforms are increasingly integrated with the cloud, making CRM part of a larger technology suite. For example, Microsoft recently announced that Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit will integrate its many offerings, including Azure and Dynamics 365, into a single piece that can leverage data from many different places.
Tools like these, if properly implemented, can change the outlook for a nonprofit – and providers like CDW AmplifiedMT Services can help your organization deal with some of the complexities.