Almost half of charities reviewing CRM system may make a change, research finds

09 May 2024 News

Adobe Stock / WrightStudio

Almost half of charities reviewing their current customer relationship management (CRM) system are considering making a change, according to new research.

Fundraising Magazine and Charity Finance jointly surveyed 509 charity subscribers and contacts in March as part of their annual CRM survey, now in its 17th year.

The survey shows that of all those expecting to review their system in the next 12 months, 45% think that they might change. 

It finds that 43% of respondents have had their current CRM system for more than five years.

Some 68 charities said they have changed package in the last year, with over three-quarters saying they were satisfied so far and a further 19% saying it was too early to tell. 

Just over four in 10 found the process smooth while more than a third experienced “some or huge” disruption.

CRM can help strengthen income streams

The survey also looked at some of the possible reasons for and barriers to changing CRM.

Stephen Gott, product manager in Access’s not-for-profit division, said that “long-term reductions in funding and increased demand for services has left many struggling”.

“Strengthening income streams is essential and a CRM can accelerate this process by helping you to connect with and nurture your supporters, build retention, optimise regular giving programmes and claim gift aid.”

Keith Collins, principal consultant at Adapta, said that CRM “and related data and business intelligence systems and call centre/case management tools, with an added contribution from AI and increased automation, offer charities an enhanced ability to provide more support to more people, across more channels and at any time of the day or night – in theory, and if implemented well”.

Changing software can be a daunting task

Steph Graham, CEO of GoodCRM, said that changing software can be an extremely daunting, costly and time-consuming task.

“There needs to be some strong will behind changing suppliers, and the ability to calculate a decent cost or time saving in the future. 

“One of the hardest functions to move can be anything where a large number of stakeholders, such as regular donors or members, need to be contacted and actioned to get their regular gift or payment set up on a new platform.”

Dan Keyworth, vice president, customer success modernisation, and managing director, International Markets Group, Blackbaud, said: “Regardless of how tech-savvy the team is, it often takes time to get started using the new CRM and learn how to use it to its fullest potential, making the process seem inconvenient for many.”

Editor’s note: The headline and first sentence of this article were amended to reflect that 45% of charities planning to review their CRM system are considering changing it.

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