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Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) is a fancy, tech-ridden phrase that means something quite simple. It helps you organize your people and run a more-efficient organization.

It allows scenarios such as:

It ties your donors, volunteers, staff, board members and constituents under one roof.

CiviCRM

CiviCRM certainly has a polarizing set of pros and cons. CiviCRM is an add-on CRM that's available to organizations running their site on either Drupal or Joomla content management systems. It's community is tight-knit and there's an active forum around troubleshooting and issues. It now has a global community in 20+ languages with 15,000 users.

The Pros

The Cons

Bottom line: Solid CRM and there's no licensing fees. Great integration with content management systems (Joomla, Drupal or Wordpress) but also be prepared to have someone with some technical skills available to do the setup and maintenance for you. Most likely, a tech-savvy person on your staff or volunteer roster could handle this.

Salesforce for Nonprofits (Salesforce Foundation)

Salesforce, ah Salesforce.

Salesforce has been the reigning champion of the the customer relationship management world for a long time (like, a really long time). They serve Fortune 100 brands and continue to be super-innovative with where they're taking the product. Every now and then, you have one of those "is it too good to be true" moments, and the answer usually affirms that. However, in this case, Salesforce offers a heck of a deal that every nonprofit should look into. They offer 10 free licenses a month of their Enterprise package (that's worth $1250 a month, y'all) for nonprofits. *picks jaw off the floor*.

We've done several Salesforce projects, and have some good pros and cons, so let's get to it.

The Pros

The Cons

Bottom line: Awesome functionality. Extremely powerful. If you go this route, ensure you have a solid discovery/ analysis before embarking this route, and get a partner that can walk you through the strategy and development of this to really use the system for what it can truly do.

Infusionsoft

So, we just started using Infusionsoft ourselves, and it's pretty cool and I've been telling all of my friends about it (our dinner parties just sound super exciting, eh?). It's not specifically tailored for the nonprofit world like Salesforce for Nonprofit or CiviCRM, but it's built so the application can be tailored around processes, and those processes can be either nonprofit or for-profit specific. Many organizations wouldn't think to consider Infusionsoft, but we've been happy with it, and wanted to include it with a list of pros and cons.

So... here we go.

The Pros


The Cons


Bottom Line: Perfect for small-business and would also be a stellar system for nonprofits. Not cheap, but when used and configured correctly, it's evident that the system will save time/ resources by intelligently automating processes and donations. This system is perfect for a nonprofit that's ready to start busting at the seams, and needs the technology to support it.

*As a footnote, I reached out to Infusionsoft asking if they had any special deals for nonprofits. While they don't have anything specific for nonprofits, he did say that if you contact him, they'll work with nonprofits on pricing and if they're referred by us. For referrals, you get $500 and then we get $500. We'll take our $500 and donate it back to you, so you'll get quite a bit off from the get-go. Shoot Brigham an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Insightly

Insightly probably isn't the first system that comes to mind when evaluating nonprofit CRM. But, it's one of the most widely-used CRMs out there and can easily be used for the nonprofit world. I think many people silo tech into for-profit and nonprofit, but any good system can be adjusted for a different organization or process.

The Pros


The Cons

Bottom Line: For Insightly, our recommendation is to simply give it a whirl. It's cheap, easy-to-use and it has a nice free trial. It won't be a good solution for donation integration, but it'll allow you to manage and organize your constituents really well.

In summary:

Well, I've written this article on 4 cups of coffee and in 60 minutes. I hope this provides some insight on things to look for on 4 solid, yet very different, systems that are either nonprofit CRMs or just some amazing CRMs that can be easily used for nonprofits. Is there a clear winner? Not at all. They are all different and are best used for different organizations. The value is picking the right one.

So do you use any of these systems? Good experience or things you want to see improved? Let us know in the comments below.