Donor Database vs. CRM: Which is the better option for a non-profit?

Donor Database vs. CRM: Which is the better option for a non-profit?

Non-profits are often challenged to consistently raise the money they need to serve their clients – especially if their client base and services are growing. Consequently, fundraising becomes a priority and drives a lot of the decision-making for Executive Directors.

Many non-profits will use a donor database to record and manage the details about their key supporters. They will track the amount and frequency of donations along with various fundraising activities. Knowing these details help them grow and expand their support base.

CRM Consulting

I submit that a donor database is not ideal for a non-profit when compared to the power of a true customer relationship management system, or CRM. A CRM platform can track:

  • Donors and their donations, plus …
  • Clients
  • Volunteers
  • Board members
  • Vendors
  • Referral partners
  • Grant providers
  • And more!

A CRM can also help the non-profit leadership team determine who is a client or volunteer who also donates. These inter-relationships can be important to understand, so that messaging can be more relevant and targeted.

One of our clients used to use a donor database to track donations and Salesforce CRM to track clients and their services. Once they combined all their data into their Salesforce database, they were able to glean new insights about their donor base. There were also better able to track their impact. In fact, we helped them create a dashboard to measure the impact of their services on an routine basis. This made it very easy for them to prepare for board meetings and to prepare their annual impact report.

In addition, a good CRM – like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365 – can offer event management, case management and connectivity to wide range of digital marketing tools like:

  • Email campaigns and engagement metrics
  • Website connectivity
  • Social posts and engagement
  • Lead scoring

And … drum roll … a CRM can be very cost-effective! In fact, Salesforce offers 10 free licenses of their Sales Cloud with their Non-Profit Success Pack to any registered 501(c)(3) organization. This is a $1500 value per month – at no charge to the non-profit! Once you exceed 10 licenses, Salesforce’s non-profit pricing is about half of the for-profit price. Microsoft doesn’t offer any free Dynamics 365 licenses, but their non-profit discount is very interesting. In fact, pricing is so low that with approximately 16 or more licenses, the price of Dynamics 365 becomes lower than the equivalent number of Salesforce licenses.

If you are a non-profit leader (or board member) and your organization doesn’t have an effective database, or you have never explored a CRM vs. a donor database, we’d be delighted to offer a free consultation to discuss your needs and requirements. We enjoy working with non-profits and value the opportunity to help them more fully live into their mission.

Simply reach out to  or or 1-800-880-1960 for an appointment to drive your own topline results!

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