The Best Nonprofit CRM Solutions: An Ultimate Guide to Choosing Nonprofit CRMs

The Best Nonprofit CRM Solutions: An Ultimate Guide to Choosing Nonprofit CRMs

You have finally cultivated a full list of generous donors for your nonprofit organization. The more your nonprofit grows and expands, so does your list of donors. As the donations roll in, you have more donor information to store, more clients, more platforms, and more follow-ups to initiate. All while maintaining your nonprofit, staying on mission, planning your next event, and cultivating long-lasting relationships with your donors.

Your hands are full!

What you need is a nonprofit CRM. 

And not just any nonprofit CRM, but the best CRM system for you and your team. Your unique organization deserves a nonprofit CRM tailored to your specific needs that will simplify your life, save time, and keep your donor information organized, safe and secure.

If you're nodding your head yes, but you don't know how to choose from all the nonprofit CRMs out there, or you aren't sure if you really need one, don't worry.

We're here to help.

What is a Nonprofit CRM?

A nonprofit CRM is ultimately a donor management platform or donor database software that allows nonprofit organizations to store, report on, and update donor data. They help you organize all of your donor data in one safe and secure location to not only simplify your workload but also foster long-lasting relationships with the donors who care as much about your mission as you do.

The right CRM nonprofit will help you:

1. Organize donor data.

Imagine having all of your donor information in one convenient location. Points of contact for each donor, their giving history, which social media platforms they use, and how they'd like their gift to be recognized. You can even document past conversations with each donor and ensure their donation is followed up with a thank you note.

2. Foster long-lasting relationships. Your nonprofit is about so much more than monetary funding (although that's important!). Nonprofits are about people. The people you help with your unique services, but also the people funding your mission. There's no better way to foster life-long relationships than by showing gratitude, and CRM software allows you to do just that. 

3. Host virtual and hybrid fundraising events. Most CRMs offer features for online and even hybrid fundraising events. They have everything covered from marketing tools to virtual auction paddles.

4. Increase donations. Nonprofits may not be all about money, but it is the cornerstone of your operation and something that cannot be ignored. When you employ a nonprofit CRM, you show your donors that you value and appreciate their contributions. When donors see the care you show their contributions and your investment in your relationship with them, they will be more inclined to donate to your nonprofit in the future.

How do I Know if I Need Donor Management Software?

When considering if a nonprofit CRM is right for you, it might be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Can I remember every single donor and prospective donor?                                                                                                                           If you only have a few large donors, a nonprofit CRM may not be necessary. But if you have a growing list of donors, or hope to grow your donor community, a nonprofit CRM could revolutionize the way you do business and simplify your workload.
  2. Do our donors have multiple points of contact within our nonprofit?                                                                                                  Unless each of your donors is assigned a single point of contact, chances are donation histories and undocumented conversations are going to fall through the cracks. A nonprofit CRM system allows you to document each interaction so there's never a question of "who said what?" A CRM also ensures messages left by donors are delivered to the right hands in a timely manner. 
  3. Do I have raw data for all of our donations and interactions with donors?                                                                                          When handling money, especially someone else's hard-earned money, you need raw data on what's been given and which sales tactics (email campaign, fundraiser etc.) each donor responded to. Collecting this kind of data allows you to run sales forecasts and predict which sales techniques to run for each unique donor, thus increasing donations.
  4. Am I managing multiple salespeople/representatives in my nonprofit?                                                                                                        If you are managing a team, you'll want to ensure each team member's prospects are properly documented for a number of reasons:
  5.  It helps you track which type of donors pair well with which team member.
  6.  If a salesperson leaves your nonprofit, their contacts don't go with them.
  7. Do we run email marketing campaigns?                                                                                                                                                               If you run email marketing campaigns to raise funds for your nonprofit, you want to document who donates to which campaign and how much. This will allow you to run more effective fundraising campaigns in the future and know which donors respond to which type of campaign since each individual is motivated differently. 

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, chances are your nonprofit will benefit from a CRM system, and we're here to help you choose the best one for your organization.

Important Features to Look for in a Nonprofit CRM

There are a lot of working parts in a good donor management software. So, what do you really need? Here's a list of what could actually benefit your organization:

Cloud-based software. When dealing with important client information and monetary gifts, you want to make sure everything is stored in more than one location. A good CRM will save everything in "the cloud" (a global network of servers) so you don't have to worry about losing anything. 

Fundraising database software. A good CRM platform will allow you to schedule fundraising campaigns and host virtual events with secure payment processing. Then, each transaction will be documented and stored in the cloud along with the donor information. After the event, the CRM will report back to you with raw data that tells you exactly who gave what and in response to which marketing strategy.

Donor/client communication management. Another benefit of cloud storage is no conversation will ever fall through the cracks. Each email or exchange is stored safely in the records of your CRM software so you can always know who said what and on what date. This safeguards the integrity of your non-profit and everyone inside. Communication management software also allows you to send automated thank-you notes to donors so they know their gift is appreciated.

Website Management, Running a nonprofit is a big job. So is managing a website. If tech management isn't exactly in your wheelhouse, a CRM platform could be just the ticket. Some CRMs, like Neon One, allow nonprofits to build and host a website on their platform with packages starting at just $49 a month. CRMs that offer website management provide a professional, on-brand website that manages donations and advertising for upcoming events without the hassle of running it yourself. 

Built-in payment processing When handling a donor's financial information, you cannot be too careful. Look for a CRM, like (PayBee!) that offers safe and secure payment processing that safeguards against fraud and identity theft. Payment processing software also allows you to store payment information for future, hassle-free donations. When a donor feels at peace with who they are donating to, they're more likely to donate in the future.

How Donor Software Serves You

We've thrown a lot of information your way. Maybe now you want to know what a nonprofit CRM can practically do for your organization.

We're here to tell you!

Virtual and Hybrid Fundraising events: This is where a major portion of your gifts and donations come from. You have a lot of time and resources invested in these events, and good CRM software can magnify your efforts by putting your best foot forward to donors. 

One way to use CRM software is to host a live-streamed online fundraising event, like an auction. Online auctions save overhead and allow your donors to bid on something they actually want, so they receive something in return for the money they give. You don't have to worry about providing virtual auction paddles or even training your staff. The CRM will handle all of that for you.

Contact Relationship Management: Here we have the backbone of nonprofit CRMs. Most donor management software tailor their monthly packages to how many contacts your organization has. This allows you to store each donor with all of their contact information in a member database. Then, when they give a donation, that donation amount is stored with their contact information.

One of the greatest functions of CRM tools is automated thank-you notes. These thank-you notes are customizable so each note will include the name of the donor and the amount given. It also includes calls-to-action that invite the donor to share their contribution on social media, subscribe to your newsletter, or RSVP to an upcoming event. These automated thank-you notes ensure no donation is left unappreciated and save you the time of writing them yourself.

Our Top CRM Picks for Small Nonprofits

Not sure if your nonprofit falls into the "small" category? The size of your nonprofit has nothing to do with the value of your mission or the impact of your reach, but if you own less than 500K in assets, the IRS classifies your nonprofit as small. We've put together a list of the best CRMs for small nonprofit organizations to make your choice a little easier. 

  1. PayBee                                                                                                                                                               In addition to reporting and analytics tools and recurring donation features, PayBee offers multiple donation levels with incentives for larger donations. This allows you to set the donation tiers at a rate that suits your donors and encourages them to give more by offering a feeling of exclusivity and distinction. 
  2. Bloomerang                                                                                                                                       Bloomerang boasts that they are a "donor management software that nonprofits actually love to use." Their focus is on donor engagement and retention, so if that is a need for your small nonprofit, Bloomerang might be a good fit for you.
  3. Neon One                                                                                                                                                      Neon One was built with small nonprofit organizations in mind. They are a growth-minded CRM that offers peer-to-peer fundraising, website management, and more.

Best Affordable CRM Software for Nonprofits on a Budget

CRM software doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. There are plenty of tools available to non-profits that are low-cost and even free! We've put together a shortlist of our favorites, along with their highlights so you can compare prices and pick the best CRM for your nonprofit. Keep in mind that most management software offers free price demos and a free trial so you can try before you buy.

Here's our list of favorite CRMs under $300 a month:

Bloomerang: Bloomerang prices their packages based on the number of donor contacts you store in their software. Their standard package, which includes storing 1,000 contacts and 5,000 emails, is $119 per month.

Neon OneNeon One's Essentials plan costs $99 per month and includes peer-to-peer fundraising, fundraising and donor management, grant management and tracking tools, activity tracking and prospecting with one active workflow. For larger non-profits, they offer their Impact plan with QuickBooks integration, volunteer management, events management, and open API for 15 active workflows.

Donor Tools: Donor tools is a user-friendly software that allows non-profits and NGO's to manage donors and donations at packages starting at $39 per month.

Freshsales: Freshsales is a system with scalable pricing options to meet growing nonprofit needs with up to 20 CRM workflows for $15 per user.

Best Free CRM software

PayBee: Paybee offers a free version for donations/silent auctions with no setup fees, plus a demo sign-up and consultation at no cost to you!

CiviCRM: Here's a highly customizable open-source CRM with contact, event, and donation management. Keep in mind that CiviCRM requires a programming background if you want to tailor their system to your internal processor.

Bitrix24: This one offers website building tools, project management, donor database, and payment process for unlimited users, absolutely free.

HubspotHubspot offers a free plan that includes the capability to send 2,000 mass emails with one email template, ad management, custom landing pages, and one blog host.

CRM Software Comparison at a Glance

We've given you a lot of information about the different non-profit CRMs out there, and we know that sometimes too many choices can be overwhelming. Now we're going to give you our top three choices for donor software, along with features, packages, and customer reviews, so you can compare prices and decide how their features compare to the needs of your company.

1. PayBee

If you are an organization that hosts a lot of fundraising events, PayBee is the software for you. With three package options and a library of online tools to help you maximize their software, you'll be on your way to hosting fundraisers that donors look forward to attending. 

Package 1: Online donation/silent auction- $0 with no setup fees-This complimentary package from PayBee offers an array of features like a simple five-minute setup, automatic reports, full bidding history, and donation tax receipts.

Package 2: $399 for unlimited virtual events for 2 years- This package is great for nonprofits who host frequent silent auctions, live online auctions, raffles, and fund-a-needs. It also features an auctioneer teleprompter, data reports, and event summary.

Package 3: $599 for unlimited in-person/hybrid events for 2 years- If you're a non-profit that offers in-person and virtual fundraising events, PayBee has all the tools you'll ever need including: ticketing, event reminders and marketing resources, clerk tools and all the software to track your donor gifts and data.

Note: PayBee charges 2.7% + $0.30 for all Card Transactions and 1.3% for ACH/Bank Account Transactions, with the option for donors to cover transaction charges which 90% of the time they are happy to do.

And that's not all!

Along with all the analytics tools and fundraising pages you need to continue growing your nonprofit, PayBee offers recurring donation options, social media sharing, and multiple donation levels to encourage larger donations,

What are people saying about PayBee?

"The fact that we were able to migrate from 3 different platforms into one enabled us to basically raise 5x for our goal." 

-Children's Community Center

"Not only did PayBee offer all that I needed for our auction but being able to do the hybrid event as well ticketing and table assignments.It was all done through PayBee and it was incredible."

-Dry Bones Denver

"The whole process is very smooth and we really appreciate your support. It helped us raise I think one of our highest amounts ever for a fundraiser. "

-Sonya Mital, Night Under the Stars


Bloomerang offers a variety of packages based on the number of donor contacts you have. The smallest package starts at $119 per month for 500 records and the largest costs $699 per month for 59,000+ contacts. 

Each plan includes:

  • Unlimited users
  • Unlimited online gift pages and forms
  • Donor engagement data scoring
  • Mobile app
  • Bloomerang Academy (so you can learn the ins and outs of their software)
  • Email & chat support
  • Email marketing
  • Wealth screening
  • Nightly address verification & deceased updates
  • 1 scholarship to Fundraising Standard

Plus these optional add-ins:

  • Phone support
  • Bloomerang payments
  • Additional emails
  • Online giving tool suite
  • DonorSearch ProspectView Online
  • Additional 10GB storage for $138/annual

What are people saying about Bloomerang?

“We love Bloomerang because it’s so user-friendly. I think the dashboards and the ease of use resemble that of an Apple product. I also love that I have access to it on my phone. That was one of my huge, huge pros for Bloomerang. You know, it’s always nice if I’m going into a meeting with my board chair or even a donor. I can look on my phone quickly and kind of get a snapshot of what I need. I can also look up pertinent donor information."

-Jeff O'Brien, Executive Director of First Tee of Greater Akron 

“The system does everything. It has increased our ability to track donors, increase accuracy, and keep in touch. Productivity is the key improvement. It allows us to more efficiently manage tasks. Bloomerang is what you of make it. If you have a vision for what you need done, Bloomerang can do it. Your customer service team is great!”

-Joseph Licata, MPA. Director of Development & Special Projects at Boys & Girls Club of Lower Bergen County

“Bloomerang is a one-stop shop for donor cultivation and retaining donors! They’ve thought of everything to make fundraising simpler. Bloomerang offers fast and quality support as well.”

-Deborah Garrott, Volunteer and Donor Services Director at Pathway Caring for Children 

Neon One

Neon One is a CRM designed to help small and mid-size non-profits grow. Their essentials plan starts at $99 per month and focuses on:

  • Relationship management to ensure your personal touch is never lost
  • Comprehensive reporting with built-in one-click data reports 
  • Data integrity that ensures your data is always providing an accurate representation of your supporters and constituents. 
  • Built-in event & volunteer management, online store capabilities, automated receipting and 50+ integrations with your favorite software providers 

What people are saying about Neon One?

“We were able to start with the basics and, as we’re running into new needs, it’s just a matter of flipping a switch or turning something new on or filling out a new form. That’s been really helpful for us.”

Cassy Horton, Executive Director, Pickles Group 

“The fact that we can easily add in personalized templates on the back end that are specific to the event is a big reason our third-party fundraising success and recurring events have continued to take place–because we’re able to offer people a good experience.”

-Kristi Cook, CRM and Development Associate, Team Gleason 

“I love being able to look at someone’s portfolio and know their entire background—how long they’ve been a member, whether or not they’ve donated, if they’ve purchased in our store. I can use that information to target things out. There’s not one database that I’ve seen that can show a better portfolio of a membership than Neon One.”

–Channing Grimes, Membership, Volunteer, and Development Manager, Customs House Museum & Cultural Center

There's a Nonprofit CRM Ready to Help 

We hope this article has taken the weight of managing your client data off your shoulders. There is a lot of good CRM software out there ready to help you manage your marketing needs and email campaigns with fundraising tools that will take the burden off of you and your team. All you have to do is choose the best one for your organization!

If you still aren't sure which CRM software is right for you, we encourage you to request a price demo (typically at no cost to you) and talk to your team about which one is best suited for your unique mission.

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Nonprofit CRM

An ultimate guide to choosing the best donor management software for your nonprofit. Pick the best platform for online fundraising, contact management, donation tracking and more.

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Jordan Thompson

Jordan is an author and copywriter in the home and family niche. Connect with her on Instagram (https://instagram.com/jordanthompsonauthor?igshid=MzNlNGNkZWQ4Mg== ) and Indeed (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordan-thompson-0916a1262). For copywriting inquiries contact her at jordanthompsonwrites@gmail.com.

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