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How to Pick the Best CRM for Nonprofit Organizations

MemberClicks Avatar MemberClicks May 10, 2021
Table of Contents
10 min read

If you’re the heart and soul of your organization, a CRM for nonprofit organizations (CRM = customer relationship management) is the brains. It keeps track of your fundraising, stores all your membership information and so much more – all things you would have to do manually without one. 

This is why it’s so important that you get the best nonprofit CRM for your organizational needs – and this is an ongoing search. Your CRM may be perfect when you signed two years ago, but it may not fit all the needs when your organization grows.

To get the right nonprofit CRM in place for your needs, we will cover the following:

Let’s dive in!

What is a Nonprofit CRM?

CRM is an acronym for customer relationship management – you may also hear it referred to as an AMS, which stands for association management software. A CRM software helps different organizations, like nonprofits, parent-teacher organizations, and clubs, keep track of their members

But what does that actually mean? How do they help? For nonprofits, a CRM allows you to see every aspect of your relationship with donors or members. The information can be as high level as their name and address to as granular as the last time a volunteer contributed their time or the value of a donation a contact made. 

This is all great to know from a business side, but it will also help you personally when it comes to your members.  Think about it – knowing things about your community is so important for fostering relationships, but you can’t remember every detail. The CRM helps keep track of everything you need to know, meaning you can focus on those personal relationships with your amazing community.

And in nonprofit, relationships are everything. When you use a nonprofit CRM to help make your community feel valued, they’ll be more inclined to give their time and donations. Feeling appreciated can make all the difference!

What Features Do You Need to Look For in a Nonprofit CRM?

It’s clear that these software are pretty powerful tools for nonprofits – and because of that, there are a lot of options out there. It can seem overwhelming knowing which CRM is right for you.

To make deciding easier, start with a clear idea of the features you actually need. This helps you narrow down the selection, so you don’t end up overwhelmed. 

Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping for a nonprofit CRM.


A lot of CRMs have similar basic functionalities, but it’s still important not to assume anything. Find out what each nonprofit CRM can actually do. 

For example, most CRMs will have some form of email functionality. But if email marketing is vital to your organization’s success, you’ll want to ask what email features the software has  – can you send emails to certain lists? Are you able to track email performance?

Or you can ask if the CRM has any features that help with event management if your nonprofit is itching to get back to in-person events!

You may also want to have the option to access information on your phone – the classic “is there an app for that?” moment. Considering how mobile phone use climbs year after year, accessing your CRM data from anywhere is a great feature to have.


Of course, the bottom line is important in any organization. But this is especially true for nonprofits. 

For many, resources may already be pretty scarce, and when the goal is to drive as much value to your cause as possible, you don’t want to be burning money on a nonprofit CRM that’s way out of your price range. 

Make sure you have a tight range of what you want to spend. This will also help you avoid getting sucked into buying a system with features that you don’t need but will cost you.

If the CRM Was Designed for Specific Industries 

Did you know there’s software that is made especially for managing golf tournaments? Niche, right?

There are different software created for everything out there. And while a software may technically do what you need, it’s worth asking if it was designed with your type of organization in mind. 

There are some great CRMs that are designed specifically for nonprofits, so make sure to ask!

Fundraising Functionality

Fundraising is the cornerstone of a lot of nonprofits. If you get a CRM that is specific to nonprofits, it’s likely there will be some fundraising functionality within the CRM.

If fundraising is a part of your CRM, you can save money on paying for additional software exclusive to fundraising! You save money and keep your fundraising and member information in one place – win-win!

Pro tip: Be explicit when asking about fundraising functionalities cost. A lot of platforms that allow fundraising take a percentage of what you earn as a fee. 

Available Technical Support 

Chances are, your organization isn’t entirely run by staff and volunteers in their 20s who grew up on the internet. There will be issues that arise, and when they do, you want to know you have support. Ask about the availability of support (is it Monday to Friday, or 24/7?) and the forms available (Email? Phone? Live chat?). You want to know help is there when you need it.

Pro tip: Ask about the cost of support. Similar to fundraising, some CRMs may charge additional fees every time you need help.

15 of the Best Nonprofit CRMs to Consider 

If you’re feeling a little more armed to begin shopping, we’ve got you covered. Here are 15 of the top nonprofit CRMs you can consider and start finding the right system for your organization.

1. MemberClicks

MemberClicks is a cloud-based software that helps associations simplify their member management by keeping everything in one place, serving nonprofits for over 20 years. One standout feature it has is the ability to automate due renewals and member application, making it even easier to keep membership retention high within your organization.    

MemberClicks is great for professional associations, sororities and fraternities, and chamber of commerce groups – not to mention Google uses MemberClicks!  There are also virtual events solutions, ideal for many organizations that are sticking to virtual in the foreseeable future. 

The minimum price for MemberClicks is $3,000, but you can request a quote to get a price for your specific needs.  

2. Wild Apricot 

Wild Apricot is a cloud-based software that allows you to automate and simplify the daily tasks associated with membership management. While the software helps with membership management, it also has features that include website builders and event management. 

If you’re a still-growing organization that is looking for the functionality to help you scale, it’s worth reaching out. 

It’s also a great option for small-but-growing nonprofits, as pricing is based on memberships needed. As you grow, you can scale your plan. The plans start at $40/month, but there is a free plan available that only stores up to 50 contacts. 

3. Personify360

If you’re a large nonprofit, Personify360 may be the CRM for you. With tons of customization available, this gives you more to focus on your mission while those who matter most to your organization are valued.

A great standout feature with Personify360 is the reporting capabilities. With such detailed reporting and analytics, you have the potential to pull out insights you can apply. 

If you want to learn more about the product and pricing, you can request a demo

4. Salesforce for Nonprofits 

Salesforce is a well known CRM used by some major companies, including Best Buy. With major clients like that, you may be wary of the price tag. The good news is: Salesforce is free for nonprofit organizations!

It’s worth noting the free version has limited functionality, so be sure to ask what features are missing from Salesforce for nonprofits. You can even see a breakdown of how the features differ here

5. HubSpot for Nonprofits 

Similar to Salesforce, HubSpot has a free version for nonprofits. Organizations like The Hope Line and National Fatherhood Initiative use HubSpot to help inspire donors and volunteers to take action. 

HubSpot is well known for its easy-to-use email platform. Even if you aren’t a tech person by trade, HubSpot’s lets you create email workflows and campaigns with ease. 

6. Kindful

In Kindful’s own words, it’s “built for relationships, not tasks.” With its clear and easy-to-navigate dashboards, it’s easy for anybody to track donor activities. One really cool feature Kindful has is a relationship tracker that shows you if donors or volunteers have relationships with each other.

The minimum plan for Kindful includes 1,000 contacts at $100/month, billed annually.

7. Fundly

Fundly makes it easy for individuals and nonprofits to create campaigns. It’s so easy that you can start raising money within minutes!

While it’s great for small fundraisers and managing donors, it may not be as robust enough for some organizations that need more than a fundraising CRM. It’s also worth noting that its fees are based on the dollar amount you raise. The cost is 4.9% of what you raise as a platform fee, plus a 2.9% processing fee and $0.30 per transaction. 

8. Salsa CRM

Do you want a CRM that lets organizations boast an average of 35% increase in staff efficiency? If so, Salsa CRM is worth looking at. Salsa CRM claimed to have helped clients achieve 74% in donor retention, so if you’re struggling to retain donors, this could be for you.  

Its pricing is based on your specific organizational needs, so you need to reach out to find the cost. 

9. Virtuous CRM

Virtuous is a CRM that has features specifically for nonprofits, including automatic notifications of donors that may lapse. This lets you know it’s time to reach out – and potentially save that relationship. 

Their lowest membership price is $300 for 1,000 contacts, but if you want automation and email, you need the bundle, which costs $350. From there, the price goes up as contacts grow. 

10. EveryAction

EveryAction is a CRM that focuses on donor management. It works with some prominent names in the nonprofit sector, including Planned Parenthood and Equality Federation. The EveryAction team brings years of experience, having used the CRM in previous roles at other nonprofits. 

There is no free trial for EveryAction available. Plans start at $109USD/month.

11. Bloomerang

Bloomerang is a donor database trusted by thousands of nonprofit organizations. One standout feature is the “generosity score”. This feature uses publicly available philanthropic screening data to identify the top prospects in your database. You can focus efforts on people who can make larger donations. 

Pricewise, the most basic plan rings in at $99/month. This gives you 1-1,000 contacts. As your database grows, you’ll need to upgrade your plan. 

12. DonorPerfect 

DonorPerfect is software that allows an unlimited number of users, no matter where they’re based. With their tools, DonorPerfect has been able to equip users to “achieve a sky-high average retention rate of 47%”.

A standout feature of DonorPerfect allows you to add codes to a donor’s profile. You can see how often or when the last donated to help you sort potential donors and better communicate with them.!

The smallest plan with DonorPerfect is the Lite plan, which costs $129/month and includes up to 1,000 contacts. 

13. NeonOne

NeonOne is a well-established nonprofit CMS that works with prominent names like Make-a-Wish. To date, it has helped organizations raise a whopping $13B! With all its functionalities, NeonOne is a great option for larger nonprofits that can afford to spend more on their CMS.

One key differentiator is that NeonOne has built its own payment processor, called NeonPay. This allows you to tackle even more of your process through exclusively one platform.

To get a quote, you’d have to contact NeonOne directly.

Click through to learn about MemberClicks’ membership management software tools, MC Trade and MC Professional.

14. iMIS

iMIS is a CRM that lives under ASI, Advanced Solutions International. The solution doesn’t cater to nonprofits specifically but supports various industries, including ministries and faith-based organizations, fundraising-specific organizations, unions, and regulatory bodies. If nonprofit isn’t the core of your organization, iMIS may be a good fit.

You have to directly request a quote to find the price of iMIS for your organization. Despite not having quotes on their site, iMIS is known for its higher point. 

15. Blackbaud

With the help of Blackbaud, the University of Georgia boosted its funding by over $14M! This solution is packed with information, making it a great option for larger nonprofits specifically. 

With Blackbaud, fundraisers who are on the go can gather donor information right from their smartphones. To get pricing, you’d have to contact a sales rep.

One thing to consider is that Blackbaud recently had a major security breach. If you’re in a field that holds sensitive information, or works with a lot of donors who are extremely cautious about privacy, this may raise some flags. 

Final Thoughts on Nonprofit CRMs

There are a lot of nonprofit CRM options out there. With insights on what to look out for as well as our top recommendations, you’re well on your way to finding a CRM that’s a good fit for your organization. 

Read More: 3 Membership Renewal Letter Samples to Boost Your Renewal Rates

Free Member Retention Guide

Ready to retain members and keep them coming back forever and ever? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about member retention. We cover all the basics, like the first steps to member retention and how to map out your member journey. From there, we dive a bit deeper into retention tips.