A CRM is is a relational solution, not a transactional database

CRMThink about your non-profit organisation’s Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) solution for a moment. Is it configured and designed so you are you able to fully record a constituent and their contact details? Tick. Are you able to record a donation and associated details? Tick. Does it end there? Issue. A CRM needs to be relational in focus because a CRM is not simply a transactional database.

If you are not maximising your CRM to fully manage constituents, their internal and external relationships, and if you are unable to manage business processes, workflows, and pipelines, it is time to think about transforming the CRM to be relational in focus rather than simply focused on transactions.

Relational CRM

A relational CRM, simply put, connects the data elements stored to relate constituents with their opportunities, donations, activities, interactions, engagement, and most importantly, with other constituents. Most of this happens “out of the box”. But, it is the design of the CRM that actually really matters. Maximising the CRM data to be able to track critical workflows and processes and to be able to manage pipelines, moves management, and other critical activities make the relational CRM pay dividends. It is, after all, called a Constituent Relationship Management solution.


Ensuring your CRM allows for workflows means you will save the staff of your non-profit organisation time, allowing them to focus on critical tasks.  The CRM should be able to deliver automated processes resulting in efficiency gains. Workflows can help you to maximise levels of engagement with your constituents, alumni and members.

The “buttonology” or functionality in a CRM is half the battle. It is typically how you configure that functionality and the user experience you offer which really matters. Staff should enjoy utilising the CRM and see it as a time saver rather than an administrative burden.