There are a number of important differences between CRM in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector and CRM in the commercial sector. It's vital that both NFP organisations and suppliers recognise and understand these differences to make sure that new CRM systems fulfil the organisations' needs.
The first difference is the types of contact or stakeholders that NFP organisations wish to maintain communications and relationship with. For commercial CRMs, this is typically limited to prospects and customers. For NFP, this will often include a wide variety of different member or supporter types and other groups such as volunteers, trustees, special interest groups and committees.
Many NFPs are also very much involved in influencing people about their cause or agenda, whether it is trying to increase the health provision for people with diabetes or campaigning for more footpaths. This means that politicians, civil servants, journalists and members of the general public are also groups that NFPs want managed relationships with and therefore need in their CRMs.
The second difference is the nature of many of the processes that NFPs have: the annual subscriptions renewals processes, fundraising from donors and gift aid management are very particular to NFPs. It is essential that these processes are captured when specifying a new CRM.
A third area comes from the nature of NFPs as businesses – that their CRM and website Content Management System (CMS) are core to their businesses, much more so than for the average commercial company of a similar size. This means that integration between the CRM and CMS is crucial to the CRM strategy, self service on the website and also to the introduction of social CRM.
This is the first of a short series of blog posts summarising the main points from an article I'm in the process of writing which will give an overview of Peter Flory's PhD thesis "Towards a taxonomy of reusable CRM requirements for the Not for Profit sector".
The second post is CRM Strategy - Vision Statement.
IndigoBlue provides support to Not-for-Profit organisations to create and implement their CRM strategies – if your organisation is looking for this kind of support, please get in touch.