Finding the perfect CRM for your non-profit

Snip20150827_7Fundraising Institute Australia conducts webinars as a member benefit.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to present this month’s webinar. My presentation, titled Finding the Perfect CRM for your Non-Profit, highlighted there is no perfect CRM for non-profits and offered participants the FundraisingForce Ten Point CRM Search Process:

  1. Requirements gathering – Most organisations cannot fully describe their requirements. In order to be able to articulate your requirements to suppliers, you must first define them in-house and document those requirements. Part of requirements gathering is to also take a full inventory of your data, which is to be converted to the new CRM.
  2. Market research – Understand the market and the various products available to you. Prepare a list of those suppliers you may want to invite to your process, including the products those suppliers represent or hold. After conducting market research, you will match your requirements with suppliers and products in the market. Not every supplier will receive an invite to your process based on the matchback you will do.
  3. Request for Proposals – Create a well-written and though request for proposals (RFP). In the RFP be sure to identify the various aspects you would like the supplier to elaborate on, including things like: financial stability of the supplier, bench strength of the supplier, support and customer service models, and how the supplier proposes to meet the most important of your requirements.
  4. Invitations – Send invitations to the suppliers. In the invitation, be clear about your process, deadlines and any boundaries you have set for suppliers.
  5. Response meetings – Be open to conducting response meetings with suppliers. In these meetings, answer questions suppliers may have about your requirements.
  6. Proposals – Receive proposals by the stated deadlines. Adhere to the deadlines. If you extend a deadline for one supplier, extend it for all. Compare proposals against one another using a ratings system.
  7. Demonstrations – Conduct demonstrations with a team of individuals from your organisation who are key decision makers. Develop a rating chart for your team to use to evaluate the systems seen.
  8. Negotiations – Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Remember the list price is not the best price.
  9. Selection – Select the best of the lot based on the strength of the proposals, the demonstrations, and negotiations.
  10. Business plan – Write a business plan which you will deliver to senior leadership and to the board. Be sure to describe the process you have followed, your due diligence, and highlight your selection, reasons for your selection, as well as the true costs of ownership. In the business plan you also want to state the return on investment (ROI).

This ten point CRM search process may seem overwhelming, even daunting. The market can be confusing. You do not have to go at it alone. FundraisingForce and other consultancies offer assistance to charities seeking to run a thorough CRM selection process.