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Human-Centered CRM: 5 Steps to Connect Better Nonprofit Relationships

By October 25, 2018

CRM for Nonprofit Relationships: From Data Management to Meaningful ConnectionsWe all know that relationships are the heartbeat of our mission. Healthy connections between our community, constituents, board, and staff directly relate to successfully achieving your mission promise. Broader program awareness, more income, and efficient impact are just a few benefits.

There are countless stories of smaller nonprofits defying all odds based on this human-centered strategy. And if you are trying to grow – or just need to find stability – these relationships are even more important. Think about that first board member that believed in you or that successful appeal that caused a movement. That new staff member that took a chance to work with you, or the mighty major donor that funded your programs for those critical months.

These relationships are a form of social currency, and when strategically pointed in the right direction, can help you accomplish anything. However, does your CRM strategy and implementation support your relationships?


Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is our strategy managing data or helping people take action and connect relationships?
  • Have we embedded “moments of delight” for constituents, and captured the information and preferences we need to make them happen?
  • Do staff feel like technology empowers them, or are they stuck on spreadsheets?
  • Does every department have their special way to do things, or do they work effectively across teams?

Don’t worry, everyone is along their own unique path, and if you don’t feel great about your answers to these questions, that just means you have a bigger opportunity to make improvements!

CRM for nonprofits report

We have teamed up with Idealware and nonprofits like yourself to produce two helpful new resources that can help you along your way:

“A CRM is everything you use to move supporters toward action. The technology is just the most tangible piece of that.”
– Rabia Syed, the Director of Technology and Systems at Center for Popular Democracy

If your calendar is too full to digest them now, here’s an abbreviated version of a process you can use to make sure your CRM is built for humans.

5 questions to help you design your nonprofit CRM:

Nonprofit CRM process from the Idealware report

If you just focus on improving the flow of a few of a few of your most important use cases that support your goals and build a solution based on what constituents need to take action and how your staff actually work, you will have high adoption, great relationships, and meaningful results.

Here are a few relationships and use cases to get you started, that we outlined in our initial CRM report. They include how:

  • Executives can report and communicate with board members and funders
  • Marketing and communications teams can cultivate your next super advocate (click here to sign up for our next webinar)
  • Development officers can steward donors at all levels to bring them closer to your mission
  • Programs teams can create a connected community of clients and beneficiaries
  • Staff and partners can better collaborate and connect to support beneficiaries

“The technology should support the people in your organization, not the other way around.”
Rabia Syed, the Director of Technology and Systems at Center for Popular Democracy

Learn more about how you can take the next step to connect the people in your community and keep deepening relationships! Download a copy of CRM for Nonprofit Relationships: From Data Management to Meaningful Connections.