Choosing the right CRM system for your non-profit

buzzword_icons_finalsetv2-02Choosing the right CRM system for your non-profit can be a tricky process, so how do you decide? There is significant time and financial investment so you don’t want to risk getting it wrong.

We would suggest the first task is mapping out internally what a system would be used for and by whom, this process ideally would be accompanied by demos from system providers so the team understand what is possible and so can be thorough in their planning. Once you have your wish list you can then ask the right questions of system vendors.

Information to prepare about your organisation: 

  • What do you want to capture, manage and monitor with a new system?
  • What does your organisation do – what are it’s services and who are it’s customers?
  • Which systems do your business functions currently use and do they need a review or integration into a new system, or will there be a data transfer.
  • Why is there a need for a new system – what are the pain points and aspirations?
  • How many users will use the system now and in the future – staff, volunteers, customers and partners and what will they need to do in the system.
  • What is the geographical spread of team – is there a need for remote access, Multi-language, multi-currency.
  • Do you have an upfront implementation and annual allocated budget for systems amongst business departments
  • What are your security requirements for your beneficiaries/customers?
  • What will be your client volume and related data/documents – e.g. number of records, data storage etc.

Questions to ask system providers..


  • What is the cost of purchasing the system is it one off, by user or by login?
  • What is the cost of customising the system and flexibility to self-customisation the system once the initial set up is complete?
  • Do you need to pay for software updates and what updates are in the pipeline?

System Capabilities

  • What is the ability of the system to grow with your organisation? E.g. extend its application, additional user access?
  • Are you able to customise the system to the extent required?
  • Can the system analyse the data that is stored within it? Can you customise this analysis?
  • What is the security and can different levels of access be set for different team members?
  • Does the system have virtual, mobile and off-line access?
  • Is the system user friendly and easy to navigate? Are you able to trial the system before you buy it?
  • Does the system integrate with other software solutions?

Data Storing

  • Can data be easily imported or exported out of the system for analysis or transfer between systems and in what formats?
  • Where is data stored? What is their commitment to security and back up? Can data be downloaded regularly to generate a backup?

Track Record /Reputation

  • What is the scale and sustainability of the company providing the software solution? Do you have confidence they will sustain their product offer?
  • Are similar clients in the industry using this type of system and what has been their experience to date?
  • What are the ethical credentials of the provider?

We actively support non-profits to plan and prepare their requirements gathering for systems in our CRM Planning Workshop – Join the workshop to learn more 

Contact us to get a demo of Salesforce CRM for your non-profit or for further support at

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