3 Signs you’re ready to move into a new nonprofit CRM
Chances are, you know the right constituent relationship management (CRM) platform could help your nonprofit optimize your digital engagement programs, make them more efficient, and expand into new channels—but how do you manage a project like that? We asked our friend Maureen Wallbeoff, digital strategist and nonprofit technology coach, to tell us about her process and timeframe for moving into a new nonprofit CRM—here’s what she said.
Q: What’s a realistic timeframe to move into a new nonprofit CRM? How should nonprofits manage this project?
A: When you’re figuring out a timeframe for moving into a new nonprofit platform, you first have to do a search and evaluation project, so let’s think about that timeline as a whole.
If I were leading this project, I’d ask myself about three things: budget, contracts, and urgency.
Number 1: have you budgeted for a new system? Do you have it in your fiscal year’s planning? Or is this going to be an unplanned, unbudgeted move? Remember when you’re budgeting for your new software, year 1 is the most expensive, because you’re paying for the set-up and the actual move—not just the product.
Number 2: ask yourselves where you are in your current CRM’s contract cycle. If you’ve just renewed for 3 years, this year might not be the best year for you to look around! But if you’ve got a year to go, or you’re in a CRM where you pay month-to-month, now might be a very good time for you to look around for a new nonprofit platform.
Finally, number 3: are you at a point where you just can’t take it anymore? I have some clients who say they just cannot wait another minute, they need to get out! So, if you’re feeling that level of urgency, that can be a powerful indicator that you must move out of your current system and into a new one—whatever you have right now, it’s just not working.
When you’re thinking about the whole project of moving into a new nonprofit CRM, many nonprofits can expect to spend about 3-5 months to get your needs and requirements in order, look around, and make a decision. Then you’ll generally need another 3-9 months to actually move in, get trained, and start getting the most out of your new system.