Best CRM software for nonprofits
Updated: May 12
In researching over 30 database software solutions for several nonprofits recently, I discovered there are some clear winners for practicality.
Here are the results:
1. Must have annual, recurring payment options.
2. Must be free or low cost.
3. Must store customers in a nice, neat database, where you can change customer information, pause/cancel payments, and email reminders about upcoming renewals.
1. Plain and Simple: PayPal Button
Pros: Clients can select to pay a recurring fee, quickly and fairly easily, right from a website button.
Cons: Button will redirect you to login to PayPal to do recurring fees.
Must login to PayPal to cancel or change their donation.
PayPal dashboard is not super robust for you or the client to access their payments.
It is not a CRM solution, email solution, or membership database solution.
2.2% charity rate plus .30/transaction
Pros: Commonly used point of sales solution.
Cons: Cannot sell recurring subscriptions on Square; must enter card info by hand and invoice them for a recurring fee to be set up.
3.5% plus .15/transaction
3. Wix.com: Create a Shop and Sell anything from the existing Wix website (their website was already created on Wix.com, so this option is to vet converting their basic, content-only website, into an ecommerce site. However, you could vet this option for any web hosting platform.)
Pros: Easy to set up products (memberships, tickets) and sell them right on the website.
Cons: Not a membership solution, no real CRM, looks like a shopping cart rather than a donation.
People gave poor reviews of subscription services, shopping experiences, and especially returns/ reimbursement of payments on Wix.com saying there was nothing robust to fall back on.
4. Wild Apricot.com
Pros: Does everything on the check list: event registration with customized discount codes, manages memberships, user friendly, recurring payments.
Cons: $1471/ year and counting because, at this writing, (12/17/19) one must use Wild Apricot's payment collection solution, or be charged an extra 20%.
$90/month to manage 500 users.
MailChimp has better looking email campaigns.
5. Donor Box https://donorbox.org
Pros: Nonprofit Membership Services Software
Integrates with MailChimp for $8/month
Multiple Payment Options:
Client can pay via PayPal
Client can enter debit/credit card info directly on the website, or you can do it for them, and it charges them annually, automatically. This is a real recurring service. No one else I found could offer this service. (Stripe is used on the backend to process it).
Client can elect to do an ACH recurring bank transfer by inputting routing and account number. Super easy for the client. Set it and forget it. Again, no other company seemed to offer this option. (Plaid is used on the backend to process it.)
Embed donation widget on website
Cost: Free if you receive less than $1000 in donations in a month.
Charges: 1.5% of donations when you exceed $1,000/month.
Additionally, PayPal charges 2.2% (nonprofit rate) + $0.30 for credit card processing.
Donor Box is procedurally easy:
Process: User donates $$ > get an email from DonorBox > set your password> creates users own dashboard where they maintain their subscription on DonorBox.com.
You can also manage their dashboard and pause, edit or update people’s credit card, see when they signed up, last donation given, upcoming donations and send email campaign via MailChimp.
This is a membership management system for Nonprofits.
Cons: Cannot import current members into the system. Must do it by hand. However, would you want to, if then you'd have duplicate entries once the client logs on and signs up? Probably not. Therefore, it's not a bad idea to force people to sign up on their own and process them this way.
Other software’s vetted:
Pabbly.com (too complicated and bad reviews on customer service), Form Builder Plus for Wix, MemberPress for WordPress and about 30 others via reviews, trial and error. These did not make the cut due to lack of comprehensive ability to perform, cost, or both.
I hope this is helpful when vetting nonprofit software solutions for customer database and recurring payments. The opinions reflected here are my own and do not represent the opinions of any client or company, nor was any payment or benefit received for the recommendations given.
Check out LubbockBusinessConsultants if you would rather someone else do the mundane research so YOU don't have to. (read...I like reading).
Jessica Kelly, MBA