Just this past week Idealware published its 2013 Field Guide to Software for nonprofits and charities. The staff at Idealware demarcate a number of areas that nonprofits and software developers have been collaborating, such as social-networking management, and gives reviews and how-tos on some of the solutions in the market. The book can be had via Amazon ($25) or directly .
As you know, though, MKCREATIVEmedia has been tracking software developments for our clients for a number of years now, and we want to share some recent developments in the field of Customer Relations Management software (CRM). In particular, we have found some open-source and free platforms well worth considering to manage your donors and volunteers.
CRM software is a booming industry because the internet infrastructure to make it viable for an organization is coming online: dependable cloud computing, ever-faster mobile networks, ever-growing WiFi access. The traditional model of software installed on the office hard drive is quickly giving way to user-friendly databases accessible almost anywhere. In bygone days (well, about 2004), nonprofit staff had to get back to that office to put in new information after each meeting with a client or after each check arrived in the mail.
Nowadays, fundraisers can meet potential donors for lunch and enter the contact information over their smart phones over coffee. More importantly, and more in tune with the tastes of coffee lovers, if a fundraiser needs some quick information on a donor’s history with the organization, she or he can access the CRM while out-and-about.
One major player in the CRM space is CiviCRM, which boasts its free/open-source credentials along with its history of software development, which tends to create stable and user-friends apps. CiviCRM can be installed within such website packages as Drupal (7), WordPress, and Joomla It includes contact management, fundraising, event management, member management, mass e-mail marketing, peer-to-peer campaigns, case management, and much more.
A similar tool is OpenPetra. It too is free/open-source and has a track record behind it. Moreover, it offers a lovely and intuitive interface (see screenshot above).multi-language, multi-user, and multi-denomiation usage, which could be a boon for international nonprofits. That said, OpenPetra must be installed on Windows computers, and we found nothing about accessing it from an iPhone − circumstantial evidence that it can’t be done (yet).
CiviCRM is designed as a scalable plugin to your organization’s website. If your organization is still contemplating the website, consider Causevox, about whom . Causevox offers notable CRM capabilities in its latest version, which are likely plenty robust for most small-to-medium-sized operations − and you get an interactive website to boot!
Consider the needs of your nonprofit or charity first, of course. And consult fundraising and outreach experts about the best ways to move forward to online CRM. But appreciate the fact that you have numerous options, and you need not spend a significant portion of your raised funds on fundraising.