Many nonprofits that have settled into a CRM system will say that they had preconceived notions about CRMs while shopping that ended up to not be true. Try to avoid some of the pitfalls of not having the right information by reading some common misconceptions about why nonprofits don’t think they need a CRM below.

We don’t need a CRM system because…

1. We don’t have an IT person on staff. Many nonprofits, especially smaller and mid-sized organizations, don’t have someone dedicated to just technical services. The right software should be user friendly, match the technical level of your staff, and offer training and support services to help you learn how to utilize your new system. There are systems for all levels of technical aptitude. If you are completely lost when viewing a software demonstration and the sales person is unable to demonstrate how it works in an easy to understand way, you might want to look for a different product.

2. Small nonprofits don’t need one. The purpose of a database is to leverage the data you have, and this is especially important for small nonprofits. There are many CRM systems meant to meet the needs, and the budget, of smaller organizations. Waiting until your organization has grown to implement a CRM system means that your data migration costs will be much higher, and the staff and volunteers in your organization will already be in the habit of keeping track of data in other ways – such as storing their own personal spreadsheets of key supporter/donor information, having non-standardized ways of entering data, etc.

3. They are an added burden, and I’m already overloaded. It’s true that there will be a time investment in setting up and learning your system, however, an integrated CRM system will save you large amounts of time in the future. A good CRM provider will take the time to understand how your organization uses and tracks data, and will set-up your system to help you streamline processes, break down your data silos, and most importantly, save you time with your new all-in-one system. There are many CRM systems meant to meet the needs, and the budget, of smaller organizations. Waiting until your organization has grown to implement a CRM system means that your data migration costs will be much higher, and the staff and volunteers in your organization will already be in the habit of keeping track of data in other ways – such as storing their own personal spreadsheets of key supporter/donor information, having non-standardized ways of entering data, etc.

4. Excel meets our needs. While you may think that Excel is a cost-effective solution for your organization, there are actually many ways that it is costing your organization money – between the staff time being used to track, manage and maintain the spreadsheets, and the loss of valuable information if files are deleted or lost during staff turnover or computer errors, there are actually many ways Excel can end up being a big expense.

Not to mention there are many security risks, no website integration, data silos… using Excel wastes money and time in many different ways. Find out more about why Excel won’t cut it here.

5.Our money should be spent on our cause, not on software. A CRM system isn’t a “sexy” budget item. You’re not hiring new staff, implementing a new program, or hosting an event. However, a CRM system is an investment in truly changing the way you work, helping you reach out and fundraise better, and save your staff and volunteers time that they can spend taking on those hard-hitting tasks, because they don’t need to be spending time tracking down data spreadsheets from a co-worker or spending time importing and exporting files from one system to another just to complete an email blast or sending out calls to action.

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