How to choose the best free CRM for your nonprofit

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Your nonprofit organization is making an impact. You are a catalyst for change in the world, and you must utilize a lot of external aid along the way - for example in the form of monetary donations and volunteers - to help procure this change.

However, your nonprofit also requires a lot of internal management, from event coordination, to accounting, and more. Customer relations management, which ensures that every interaction a donor has with your nonprofit is recorded, can be one of the biggest expenses. This can create a lot of overhead expenditure - i.e., money spent on running things rather than contributing to your cause.

Fortunately, free nonprofit CRM software can help you streamline your processes so that you work more efficiently! In this article, we will go over four of the best free nonprofit CRM software options on the market today. We will also explain how to choose your new CRM software and what features each platform offers, so you can select one that is right for your organization.

By the end, you will understand which tools are available for your nonprofit and why it is important to have a CRM (customer relationship management) system in the first place.

What is Nonprofit CRM Software? 

The term CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It is a means of managing the relationships you have with your supporters and potential supporters - in the case of nonprofits, this includes donors, members, volunteers, and other stakeholders.

CRM software is used to manage your relationships with your supporters by tracking your interactions with them - so that you can easily see if your communications thus far have helped you secure donations and build lasting contacts.

For example, if a donor gives $100 this month and then $300 next month but never gives again, you may be inclined to think that person has ceased being interested in your cause.

However, if you are using a CRM system that tracks all interactions with donors over time (as well as their donations), then it will be clear that this person gave fairly regularly over five years before suddenly stopping altogether.

This affords you the opportunity to reach back out to them and ask them what has changed. Maybe they just forgot, or acquired a new card that is not in your system yet. This scenario exemplifies the power of CRMs: to understand trends regarding a donor or multiple donors, so that you can communicate accordingly.

How to Choose Your Nonprofit CRM Software

Selecting the right CRM requires ensuring that it has the features necessary to running a successful nonprofit.

You should consider selecting a solution that will:
  • Scale as your organization grows
  • Integrate with existing apps
  • Automate emailing
  • Be simple enough that volunteers and board members can use it on their own
  • Offer strong customer support
The next step is to analyze each tool's features and functionality against these criteria to find which one best meets your needs.

Potential Solutions

Here is a breakdown of our favorite CRMs, with more information about them below:

#1 Springly 

Springly (that’s us!) is a free, cloud-based CRM software that has a reputation for being unbeatable. It is easy to use and has a clean interface, which makes it perfect for nonprofit organizations that are just getting started with their customer relationship management efforts, as well as million-dollar, long-established charities.

If you are ready to take things up a notch with an integrated CRM solution, Springly also offers an enterprise option that includes more features and functionality at an affordable price point.

Here is what you can expect from Springly:

All-in-one management dashboard

Best-in-class functionality

Easy to use with a clean interface

Solid reliability

Excellent support team

Cons of Springly:

High organization demand for Springly means there is no more free version of the software, but its pricing remains very accessible.

#2 Eleo 

Eleo is a nonprofit CRM designed to help them manage their relationships with donors, volunteers, and other key stakeholders. It is built on the Salesforce platform, which means it can be integrated with any other Salesforce apps you are already using.

Here is what you can expect from Eleo:

It has a sleek interface that makes it easy for anyone in your organization to use - even if they have no prior experience with CRMs.

You can customize the Layout based on your needs, so everyone gets exactly what they need from their dashboard.

Cons of Eleo:

Users report that the look of the tool is outdated and could use some refreshment.

#3 Keela 

Keela nonprofit CRM is a cloud-based software that provides nonprofits with a comprehensive solution to manage their operations. It is designed to help you manage your entire donor lifecycle, from prospect research to cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.

Here is what you can expect from Keela:

Allows you to see all of your contacts in one place

Provides an easy way to track events, donors and volunteers

You can use it on your phone or computer

Cons of Keela:

Keela is not as customizable as some other CRMs

#4 Funraise 

Funraise is a nonprofit CRM platform that helps you manage your organization's donors, volunteers, and other supporters. It is designed to help you keep track of who gives what, when they gave it, and how often they have given in the past.

It is simple enough for nonprofits with small budgets and big hearts, but flexible enough to grow with you as your organization reaches new heights.

Here is what you can expect from Funraise:

A database of donors and volunteers. You can add their names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, anniversaries, favorite charities, and more.

A way to track all the donations they have made to your organization over time.

A way to keep track of all the events they have attended or volunteered at over time.

Cons of Funraise:

Some reports of poor support for new users

Final Thoughts  

Although there are many CRM software options with great features out there, finding one that is free and impressive may be a bit of a challenge, especially when you do not know what to look for. Luckily this article details four great choices and many of their specs so you can come closer to uncovering the system that will work best for you.
Super Scalable
Automated Emailing
Seamless Integration
Beautiful Interface
Great Support

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