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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Plyem Kocin

Everything Nonprofit & Public Sector Organizations Need to Know about CRM Systems

Everything your nonprofit or public sector organization needs to know about CRM

You may have heard the term CRM before, but what does it mean? And how could a CRM system help your organization? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about CRM systems.

What does CRM stand for?

CRM: Constituent Relationship Management.

This is the process where an organization administers interactions with constituents, typically using data analysis to study large amounts of data and information.

A CRM System is a software platform that allows for the efficient process of constituent relationship management.

CRM system description

CRM systems aren't just for commercial organizations.

Constituent relationship management makes sense in the for profit world, but are they relevant to nonprofits, NGOs, K-12 schools, higher education, archdioceses and dioceses, faith-based organizations, and local, state, federal, municipal, and provincial government?

The answer is yes!

Nonprofits and public service organizations have different operational needs. Why would these organizations need a CRM system if their missions are focused on improving the world; not selling products?

Why is a CRM system important?

Nonprofits and public service organizations are complex.

Some focus on fundraising to fulfill their mission. This can include multiple different types of donors and events.

Membership organizations and associations focus on providing services to their members, but the collection of membership fees and dues means they have revenue to manage as well.

Many nonprofits and public sector organizations receive grant funding. This means that they need tools to manage applications, track the dispursement of grant funds, and generate reporting for the funder.

Revenue Sources

In addition to revenue, these organizations need software to track expenses, generate reports, create and send donation acknowledgments and tax receipts, allocate certain funds to specific activities and more.

A few of these essential functions include:

Key organizational functions

While there are lots of software options for nonprofits and public service organizations, most options leave gaps in addressing their needs and it gets complicated very quickly.

Here's a simple illustration of how quickly operations can become difficult to manage:

The problem CRM systems solved

These solutions don’t work together, so organizations end up with multiple software platforms to manage depending on which event or type of revenue they want to track.

Without integration, these stand-alone systems can't provide consolidated reporting and it can be impossible to track data in real time. In addition to internal staff, other stakeholders like event committees and board members may request updates to guage progress. This sends fundraising staff scrambling to pull reports from each system and convert formatting to present all the data together.

Additionally, staff aren’t able to collaborate with their peers and projects take longer and become less efficient.

All of this complexity means fundraising staff and volunteers spend precious time on reporting, forecasting, and other things that don’t directly fulfill their mission.

Complicated operations without a CRM solution

Streamline your operations

A CRM system can streamline your operations to one system of record, with tools to track three major areas of operation:

  • Revenue and expenses

  • Donor relationships

  • Data management for both fundraising AND donors.

Within these three primary categories, things like donor fundraising pages, donation payment processing, reporting, donor communications, and more become core functions, rather than add-ons.

Revenue Donors Data

What features should a CRM have?

When looking for the right CRM, there are some key features you’ll want to look for.

Fundraising Features

Donation Tracking & Processing

Fundraising Events

Donor Fundraising Pages



Grants & Awards Management

Membership fees & Dues

Data Analytics & Management

Constituent Management

CRM Key Features

Depending on your organization’s needs, you may also look for features to track membership, manage volunteers, manage program activities, and other specific tasks.

Build better relationships

Build better relationships with donors

Instead of looking at donors based on individual events or programs, you can view the donor’s entire giving history, previous communications, and any interactions volunteers and staff have had with the donor.

This transforms your communications from a reactive, episodic approach, to a year-long (and lifetime) approach. These relationships are built to last.

Transform ALL your operations

Implementing a CRM system will go beyond donor relationships and transform your entire organization.

Choose the right system for your organization

Sylogist, the most trusted provide of software solutions for the public sector and nonprofits, now offers a CRM system that is tailor made to fit the needs of nonprofits and public sector organizations.

MISSION CRM, a division of Sylogist, is an innovative donor engagement and fundraising system built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 using the common data model.

Learn more about MISSION CRM and schedule a demo today!


If you liked this article, download our comprehensive infographic that covers everything you need to know about CRM systems.

Download full infographic


Additional Resources

MISSION CRM is a division of Sylogist, Ltd.


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