How to Make the Case for a New CRM

August 01, 2022

If you are like many nonprofit fundraising professionals, you may be experiencing difficulties with your current development CRM and have created ways to work around system inefficiencies. From issues with reporting to lack of integrations, your system may be hindering that 360-degree view of your donors, members, and constituents that you so desperately need to do your job and do it well. You know there are CRM systems available that can provide the functionality needed… but how do you convince senior leadership that there is a need for new technology?

As someone who has served as a nonprofit Executive Director for many years, I provide the following guidance on how to build your case to leadership in support of new CRM technology.

Align with Strategic Goals

First and foremost, it is critical to identify and understand the strategic goals of the organization and align your technology accordingly. As your organization grows, your needs grow too. It is important to have the right CRM technology in place to support mission delivery.

Articulate the Need

Describe your current technology processes and pain points that are making it difficult to support your defined goals.

  • What issues are you trying to resolve with technology?
  • What processes can be improved?
  • What are your advancement team’s current workflows? Can you identify areas that new technology will provide better team collaboration?

Clearly describe the issues, and how technology impacts your team’s ability to fundraise and steward donors.

Demonstrate the Value of a New CRM

How will a new system provide value to your organization? Illustrate the ways a new CRM system can help your organization achieve its goals, such as:

  • Conserving resources by improving process and workflow efficiencies.
  • Building and strengthening relationships with constituents and community by having a system that better supports frontline fundraisers.
  • Uncovering valuable insights about your audience through better system integrations, helping to provide a holistic understanding that deepens the donor experience.
  • Developing overarching advancement strategies through better reporting and analytical capabilities.

Ultimately, your leaders want to know what the return on the investment (ROI) will be. Changing CRM systems is very resource intensive, so you’ll want to be able to articulate to them why it is worth the investment.

Define Desired Outcomes

Desired outcomes should center around what you want to achieve through implementing a new CRM system. It might be tempting to focus on the challenges surrounding the current technology, but you are better served to keep the overarching goals in mind. By defining these outcomes, you demonstrate to leadership that you are recommending the new technology for strategic reasons and have a plan to achieve your objectives. Outcomes could include:

  • Delivering on your mission more effectively by streamlining operations, so your nonprofit can focus on fundraising and mission initiatives and eliminate or reduce time-consuming processes.
  • Increasing employee satisfaction through stronger technology and business process improvement.
  • Organizational growth and community relevance.
  • Strengthening donor engagement and mission impact.

Outline Process and Next Steps

Lastly, you’ll want to present a clear process and next steps to move forward with assessing your organization’s current and future technology needs. At JCA, we recommend:

Conducting a Needs Assessment. A needs assessment will lay the groundwork for a well thought out system selection. The needs assessment will enable your organization to gather the requirements to evaluate current and future business needs. As you move forward with selecting a new CRM system, the capabilities and integration of a new technology and how it relates to your overall strategy and goals will be an important discussion.

Calculating your ROI. Cost and budgeting for a new CRM is a big consideration and one that needs to be presented from the initial investment to ongoing license, maintenance, and training costs. Evaluate the ROI and the revenue growth that will be made possible by the new technology.

With this guidance in mind, you will have all the components needed to make a strong case to leadership in support of new technology.

Are You in Need of a New CRM?

Your system is the foundation of your work and changing to something new shouldn’t be treated lightly. We can help make sense of your options and find the right solution for your nonprofit.

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