CRM: Ready for the next step after free?

Information concept: Data Management on computer keyboard backgr

Successful non-profit organisations are built on a foundation of good relationships, which is why it’s important to look after those that truly connect and champion your cause. However, this isn’t without its challenges. As your organisation grows, so does the complexity and quantity of the data it holds.

You may have been using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for some time, and free versions often provide a fantastic starting point. However, it’s likely that you will eventually reach the stage of needing to invest in a paid solution that will help you to manage your relationships and grow in a sustainable way.

How to know when it’s time to upgrade your CRM

If you’re wondering how you’ll know when it’s the right time to upgrade your CRM, then ask yourself the following questions:

Are you reaching your limits?

No, we don’t mean emotionally (although if you’re fighting the urge to shake your computer screen every day then that’s also worth taking into consideration). Will you reach your system’s maximum storage capacity in the next 12 months, or are you already having to save your data in multiple places? You want a system that will allow you to grow and build a multi-year strategy, not one that forces you to annually re-evaluate processes. The most popular CRM systems are now cloud-based as these allow information to be stored securely online, which means larger storage without taking up space on your server.

What is your current campaign journey?

Your CRM should be a help, not a hindrance, when it comes to managing your campaigns. If you have supporters that get involved in multiple aspects of your charity’s work, such as attending events, creating their own fundraising pages or donating to appeals, then you want to be able to easily track and view this information. Imagine being a regular donor and never seeing any signs of recognition or appreciation, it would feel like a negative supporter experience.

In addition to tracking, your system should also help in the creation of campaigns. Can your current system quickly segment data and import lists directly into your chosen campaign channel? Technology should help you to work smarter, not harder.

Time for a functional yet affordable solution

If you’ve identified a need for a new way to handle your data, then the next step is choosing a CRM system that addresses and solves all of your current pain points.

Introducing eTapestry

Our colleagues at Blackbaud offer the CRM solution eTapestry, a cloud-based system which has been designed specifically with small, medium and growing charities in mind. It also offers JustGiving integration. This means you can seamlessly transfer any data collected on JustGiving straight into your CRM overnight, every night.

Other key eTapestry features include:

  • Data Health Scorecard – isolate and fix data issues on the spot using the free data quality screening function
  • Campaign tools – access tools and templates for email campaigns, plus organise events and handle guest requirements all in one place
  • GDPR compliant – easily map consent fields from JustGiving straight to eTapestry
  • 360-degree view of your relationships – with the option to import historical data, you can build up a full picture of your supporters and how your relationship with them has developed over time

Even though eTapestry’s one stop shop offering may be ideal for your organisation, we know that changing systems is an important project that requires thorough research. This is why we recommend that you read ‘How to choose a fundraising CRM’. It’s a free guide that looks at the factors to consider when choosing a CRM, including the points you need to keep in mind for after you’ve gone live. Download your copy of the guide here.


JustGiving became part of the Blackbaud family in 2017. 

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Toni Gregory is a Content Marketing Specialist and B2B copywriter.