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Best CRM For Nonprofits

Written by:

Victoria Yu is a Business Writer with expertise in Business Organization, Marketing, and Sales, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.

Edited by:

Sallie, holding a Ph.D. from Walden University, is an experienced writing coach and editor with a background in marketing. She has served roles in corporate communications and taught at institutions like the University of Florida.

Best CRM For Nonprofits

Best CRM For Nonprofits

As a nonprofit, your goals are to further your mission, help others, and improve our world one step at a time. To do that, though, you’ll need to manage your donors, inventory, staff, and operations carefully to make the best use of your resources.

Rather than managing all of these moving parts with paper and pencil or a collection of spreadsheets, nonprofits would instead be wise to use a customer relationship management system (CRM system) to help improve efficiency and accountability.

If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing a nonprofit CRM for your own organization, here are the benefits of a nonprofit CRM, a list of the best CRM for nonprofits, and a step-by-step guide on selecting the best CRM for your nonprofit organization.

Key Takeaways

  • A nonprofit CRM helps organizations increase their outreach to new contacts, nurture donor connections, and improve fundraising, volunteer, and event operations.

  • Five of the best CRMs for nonprofits are Bloomerang, Salsa, CiviCRM, Raiser’s Edge NXT, and Neon One CRM.

  • To choose and implement the best CRM solution for your nonprofit, you should determine your organization’s size and goals, list out CRM tools that would support those goals, make a purchase decision with the help of stakeholders, migrate data to the CRM, and onboard users to the system.

Why is a CRM System Important for Nonprofits?

For-profit companies primarily use CRM software to reach out to and manage customers throughout the sales process in hopes of increasing their purchase volume and frequency.

Without a primary profit motive, though, nonprofit organizations have been historically reluctant to adopt CRM systems. In fact, Gartner reveals nonprofit organizations as the top industry that has not used a CRM in the past two years, with almost half (44%) of nonprofits either never adopting a CRM, or stopping their usage of one.

However, CRM means more than just profit maximization. With some adaptation, the processes and tools included in a CRM system can be adapted for nonprofit organizations, leading to a class of nonprofit CRMs. These can also be called donor management systems. A CRM software system manages an organization’s contacts, recording when a person interacts with the organization and the details of each interaction and transaction.

To help you understand why nonprofit CRMs are so important for growing nonprofit organizations, let’s take a look at three benefits of a nonprofit CRM system.

Increase Outreach

First, a nonprofit CRM can help small nonprofits increase outreach by providing tools for email marketing, fundraising campaigns, direct mail, and online donation processing. This allows your nonprofit to find more donors both in-person and remotely.

Nurture Connections

Once you’ve got interested donors, the CRM will store donor data and allow you to personalize communications with each individual donor. The CRM can help you process payments faster through its platform, encouraging donations any time the mood strikes the donor.

With more personalized outreach and quicker processing times, a nonprofit CRM can help you build closer and more long-lasting relationships with donors.

Improved Operations

Beyond nurturing donor connections, a fundraising CRM can also help you manage fundraising campaigns using tools such as donation tracking, workflow automation, gift matching, and in-house payment processing. 

If your nonprofit organization hosts events or volunteer programs, a specialized nonprofit CRM could also include tools to help you recruit, schedule, and manage your volunteers, similar to an HR department at a company. This feature will help your organization find and retain the best talent.

Some nonprofit CRMs also help you plan and manage both free and paid events, tracking ticketing, attendance, seating, and payment to ensure your events run smoothly and efficiently.

What Are the Best CRMs for Nonprofits?

Every nonprofit is different, working towards a unique mission through individual operations. Because of that, there’s no one-size-fits-all CRM tool suitable for all nonprofits. 

Instead, here are five of the most popular CRMs for small- and medium-sized nonprofits, along with an explanation of their unique features and pricing. With your organization’s capacities and goals in mind, select a software solution that suits your organization the best.


First on our list is Bloomerang, which prioritizes donor retention and engagement. It includes tools to help you acquire and engage your donors through targeted outreach, hoping to maximize your donor database’s lifetime value. It also includes tools to automate tasks and measure performance. 

As of 2021, Bloomerang acquired Kindful Nonprofit CRM, integrating its best-in-house online and mobile outreach tools with its own donor management system to create a true omnichannel donor management system. 

In addition, Bloomerang also offers a separate volunteer management system, which helps you recruit volunteers and manage shifts to staff your organization’s activities.

Bloomerang Features

Some unique features of Bloomerang are:

  • Unlimited donation pages and forms
  • Peer-to-peer and crowdfunding tools
  • Dynamic donation button
  • Online donor portal
  • Built-in email marketing
  • Mobile-friendly donation pages and forms
  • Text-to-donate feature
  • Event ticketing
  • Mobile app to take donations in person
  • Native integration with Bloomerang donor management and payment software
  • Numerous third-party application integrations

Bloomerang Pricing

Bloomerang’s pricing is based on the number of records or contacts you have in your donor database.

The most affordable option for Bloomerang Standard costs $119 per month for a maximum of 1,000 records. It includes unlimited users, unlimited online giving pages and forms, an allocation of 5,000 monthly emails, and a maximum file attachment size of 10GB.

At its maximum, Bloomerang Standard costs $699 per month for 59,500 records or contacts. It includes 200,000 monthly emails and supports file attachments of up to 50GB.

Beyond 60,000 contacts, Bloomerang invites nonprofits to contact its sales department for custom pricing.


Next, we have SalsaCRM and SalsaEngage, by Salsa. They use Salsa’s proprietary SmartEngagement Technology to combine CRM and nonprofit engagement software, creating a platform that’s the best of both worlds. Salsa is designed to help organizations maximize their donor engagement, fundraising, advocacy, event, and marketing automation operations.

In particular, Salsa specializes in leveraging machine learning and automation to help nonprofits leverage immense amounts of data and optimize their operations to a truly unprecedented degree. 

For example, Salsa uses machine learning to analyze a donor’s historic donation patterns and display custom donation buttons suited for each donor’s contribution range. This improves fundraising efforts by raising  both the chance of the donor making a donation and the amount each donor may contribute.

To be clear, while SalsaCRM includes donor management and database features, SalsaEngage includes engagement, outreach, advocacy, and fundraising features. Though they were intended to be used in tandem for best effect, and we’ll be discussing them as a joint package, it’s possible to purchase one without the other. 

SalsaEngage supports native integration with three separate CRM systems: Salsa’s own SalsaCRM, Salesforce CRM, and Raiser’s Edge. 

Salsa Features

Here are some unique tools and features offered by SalsaCRM and SalsaEngage.

  • Rich donor profiles
  • Unlimited custom fields
  • Unlimited users
  • Cultivation/moving management
  • Unified offline and online donation processing
  • Rapid gift entry
  • Performance dashboards and reporting
  • Smart ask arrays powered by machine learning
  • Email and marketing automation
  • Multi-channel online advocacy
  • Peer-to-peer campaigns and events
  • Native integration with Salesforce CRM

Salsa Pricing

Salsa’s pricing starts at $349 per month, and increases further depending on the features your nonprofit needs and the number of contacts or constituents you’ll be recording in its database. 


If your nonprofit is a little more tech-savvy than the rest, CiviCRM’s open-source software could be the perfect solution to building a perfectly customized CRM for your organization. Not only is it customizable, CiviCRM is completely free!

CiviCRM’s base features may seem a little plain, only offering basic features such as contact management and email marketing without any extra frills. But the truth is, CiviCRM’s value comes from its flexibility.

As open-source software, you can add and code your own features to fully customize the CRM to your nonprofit’s needs or consult CiviCRM’s library of extensions to find and install the features you need, such as payment processing or dashboard graphs.

However, these additional extensions were mostly made by other CiviCRM users, so their functionality and safety may vary. As such, we only recommend CiviCRM for nonprofits or users who already have experience with open-source software. 

CiviCRM Features

Here are some of the basic features of CiviCRM.

  • Contact management
  • Contribution management
  • Event planning
  • Membership management
  • Email marketing
  • Reporting
  • Accounting integration
  • Case management
  • Advocacy campaigns
  • Peer-to-peer fundraisers
  • Full integration with Backdrop, Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress
  • Cloud-based or on-premise hosting

If you find yourself in need of additional features, CiviCRM also hosts a library of extensions that allow you to do things such as change the theme layout, automate actions, improve reporting, and integrate with third-party payment processing applications. 

CiviCRM Pricing

As open-source software, CiviCRM is completely free to download and customize to your liking.

Raiser’s Edge NXT

Raiser’s Edge NXT by Blackbaud is an upgraded version of the original Raiser’s Edge, and is considered to be the premium cream of the crop when it comes to nonprofit CRMs. 

Not only does it provide extensive AI-powered analytical tools to help you identify, nurture, and reach out to donors, but Raiser’s Edge NXT also includes intense financial portfolio management features. Its intense analytical capabilities help nonprofits maximize their outreach and efficiency. 

In other words, Raiser’s Edge NXT is a premium CRM suitable for larger nonprofits looking to gain extensive insight into their operations and financials, and manage their organization through a data-driven, top-down approach.

Raiser’s Edge NXT Features

On top of basic nonprofit CRM features such as donor data management and contact management, Raiser’s Edge NXT also includes specialized features such as:

  • End-to-end gift management
  • Proposal tracking and pipeline management
  • Recurring giving and pledge management
  • AI-driven suggested ask amounts
  • Automated data health tools
  • Email marketing templates
  • Prospect insights
  • Custom analytics
  • Major giving work center for moves management
  • Dashboards for annual fund workflows and outreach tools
  • Event management and follow-up
  • Secure payment processing with PCI compliance
  • Flexible transaction fee coverage costs
  • Mobile and web access
  • Integration with in-house tools such as Gmail and Microsoft 365

Raiser’s Edge NXT Pricing

Raiser’s Edge NXT starts at a price of $4,000 per year, which is approximately $333 per month.

This is quite a large investment for smaller nonprofits, so we’d recommend contacting Blackbaud for a free demo before making a purchase.

Neon One CRM

Our final nonprofit CRM software recommendation is Neon CRM by Neon One, designed to help small and mid-sized nonprofits manage fundraising, communications, events, and volunteers.

Neon CRM offers unlimited records, users, emails, and forms for all three of its software packages, designed to help you easily manage donor communications, donations, and payments. This helps you focus on nurturing relationships rather than building a contact list.

However, a curious feature of Neon CRM is that you can’t choose your software package yourself – your pricing and the associated features included in the package are determined by the total revenue your nonprofit has made. Ostensibly, this ensures that a nonprofit doesn’t spend beyond its means on a CRM.

Neon One also offers a variety of other software solutions for association membership management, event management, fundraising, program management, and website development. These are offered and priced separately by Neon CRM.

Neon One CRM Features

All three of Neon CRM’s packages include the following features:

  • Donor and contact management
  • Task management
  • Household and relationship tracking
  • Constituent login portal
  • Automated receipting
  • Letter creation
  • File storage
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising
  • Tributes
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Surveys 
  • Moves management
  • Pre-built and custom reports
  • Email and marketing automation
  • Executive financial reports

Additionally, each package includes the following bonus features:

  • Neon CRM Essentials: fundraising and donor management, peer-to-peer fundraising, grant management and tracking tools, activity tracking and processing, and one active workflow
  • Neon CRM Impact: QuickBooks Integration, volunteer management, event management, open API, and 15 active workflows
  • Neon CRM Empower: live chat and phone support, radius search, and unlimited active workflows

Neon One CRM Pricing

Unique from all other nonprofit CRM vendors, the starting price of Neon One CRM depends on the amount of revenue your nonprofit receives.

  • Neon CRM Essentials: $99 per month for nonprofits with a total revenue of $1 million or under.
  • Neon CRM Impact: $199 per month for nonprofits with a total revenue of $5 million or under.
  • Neon One Empower: $399 per month for nonprofits with a total revenue of over $5 million.

How Do I Choose a Nonprofit CRM Software?

Not all CRMs are built the same. There are dozens of different systems on the market, all promising to help grow your nonprofit. How will you find the one that fits your organization best? 

To answer that question, here are the steps you will need to follow to find and implement the right nonprofit CRM for your needs.

Determine Your Current Organization Size

The first step in choosing a CRM for your nonprofit is to determine your organization’s current size and capacity needs. 

This means determining two things:

  1. The number of employees and volunteers who will use your CRM (user count)
  2. How many contacts, donors, and constituents you have or plan to reach out to (contact count)

Depending on your nonprofit’s activities, you may also want to determine:

  1. How many emails you send in a month
  2. The file size of any attachments sent in those emails
  3. How much revenue you manage

In other words, have a good idea of your organization’s size and scope of operations. Most nonprofit CRMs charge different fees depending on your size, so you don’t want to end up overestimating, and consequently overpaying, for a CRM.

Determine Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

The next step is to determine your CRM’s short-term and long-term goals. Perhaps you want to spread your mission to the farthest corners of the globe, or maybe you’re satisfied with merely staying within the state. 

In any case, your target number of contacts and revenue flows will determine the growth capacity needs for your CRM.

Additionally, think about potential activities, events, and operations your nonprofit may be interested in hosting in the future. For example, if you hoped to host an annual charity gala, you would want to find a CRM that could help you staff, host, and manage the event.

Determine Your Essential Nonprofit CRM Features

As each nonprofit is different, what features you prioritize in your new CRM will vary from other organizations. Use the goals and priorities you set in the previous step to determine which features are essential for your new purchase.

Here are some key features you should look for in a nonprofit CRM solution.

Donor Data Management

Donor data management helps you store, update, and manage donor information, such as each person’s name, address, and donation history. This feature will help you stay in touch with sponsors and customize communications, create closer and more long-lasting relationships, and ultimately improve donor retention.

Communications Management

Also called contact management or donor engagement, communications management helps you stay in contact with contacts and donors through email, direct mail, live events, phone, social media, and more. Having access to this feature will help you develop donor relationships, encouraging one-time donors to become loyal sponsors.

In particular, you may want to look out for a software solution that has email marketing automation capabilities, such as email templates that can be auto-populated with data from the CRM or automated response emails thanking sponsors after a donation.

Marketing Tools

Beyond email marketing campaigns and email automation, certain nonprofit CRM solutions also include other marketing tools such as advertising and website integrations to help you improve your donor outreach.

In particular, you may want a platform that supports peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, where donors can host and promote their own fundraising initiatives that will ultimately go back to you.

Payment Processing

A large part of encouraging people to donate is accessibility, and an online and shareable donation platform is possibly the most accessible fundraising tool of all. 

Some fundraising CRMs include built-in payment and donation processing for your website online, which safely and immediately handles a sponsor’s contribution. The donation data will also be automatically updated to the CRM, saving you the effort of updating the donor data yourself.

Plus, this helps cut out third-party payment processing fees and security risks when processing online fundraising.

If you run in-person fundraising events, some CRMs even go as far as offering a designated application to handle payments – with a card scanner hooked up to a mobile device, you could process donations straight from the event floor.

Major Donor Management

In fundraising, the Pareto Principle states that 80% of all your donations will come from 20% of donors. According to a LinkedIn study, this is true for nonprofits reliant on one-off donations rather than monthly subscriptions.

In other words, if your fundraising is more sporadic, your nonprofit would be wise to select a CRM with strong donor management tools to help you identify, nurture, and follow up with major donors.

Some donor management solutions might have advanced analytical features that could help identify donor segments who might have the potential to graduate to major donors.

Data Analytics Tools

Rather than sending promotions equally to each donor, some CRMs can help you analyze which contacts are most likely to make donations and provide valuable insights into your key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Using this information, you can optimize your donor engagement efforts, revenue flows, and activities.

Make a Decision with the Help of Key Stakeholders

Unlike shareholders in companies who own shares, stakeholders for a nonprofit simply refers to people who affect or are affected by your nonprofit.

If your organization has key stakeholders who help manage your nonprofit, it would be wise to consult them before making a purchasing decision, and ensure that your chosen solution suits everyone’s needs and considerations.

Some stakeholders you might consult are large donors, volunteers, board members, partners, beneficiaries, and members.

After getting everyone on board with the decision, you can finally select and purchase the best nonprofit CRM platform for your organization.

Migrate Data

If your nonprofit has been in operation for a while, you likely have pre-existing donor and contact information squirreled away somewhere, whether on paper, in another CRM database, in an Excel spreadsheet, or locked away in your volunteers’ minds.

You will need to collect all of this data and migrate it into your new nonprofit CRM, and this will allow you to create a seamless transition to the new information system. When long-time donors come back, you’ll have their profiles up and ready to process their newest contributions.

Onboard Users

Our last step is to onboard any users you have onto the CRM, such as yourself and any managers you have. 

As nonprofit organizational structures tend to vary quite a lot, most nonprofit CRMs allow an unlimited number of users. This means that paid staff and volunteers alike could use your CRM to log and reach out to donors. 

For more complex managerial features and confidential information, be sure to limit access and editing power only to the users who need to use those tools. You wouldn’t want one-day volunteers managing your finances!

Once all your users have been onboarded and trained on how to use the platform, your nonprofit is ready to use its new CRM to enhance donor relations, outreach, and fundraising efforts and spread your vision far and wide to make a greater impact on the world.


Do nonprofits use CRM?

As we established previously, 44% of nonprofits haven’t used CRM in the past two years; the inverse of this statement implies that the majority half of nonprofits – 56% – have used a CRM in the past two years. 

As such, nonprofits shouldn’t be worried about any stigma associated with using a CRM – rather than simply a tool for corporate profit, specialized nonprofit CRMs are catching on as the best way for nonprofits to build close, lasting relationships with donors and spread their message to the world.

What is the average cost of a CRM for a nonprofit?

Excluding CiviCRM which is free as an open-source software, most of the nonprofit software listed here average at around $200 to $300 per month. The minimum monthly cost is about $100, and the maximum is about $700, depending on the vendor and features you select.

Is there a free nonprofit CRM?

CiviCRM is a free CRM designed for nonprofits and organizations. However, the reason it’s free is because it’s an open-source software package – in other words, you’ll have to code and assemble your own features and platform. This can be a challenge for nonprofits looking to use something right out of the box.

Unfortunately, because more polished nonprofit CRMs usually require unique payment and donation processing tools, most vendors must charge some sort of platform fee.

Rather than asking users to pay an upfront fee, some vendors, such as DonorDock and GiveButter, provide transaction-based fee structures, where users and donors are charged an additional processing fee based on a percentage of each transaction. For nonprofits that receive less frequent donations, this will help keep costs down in the long run.

Is a nonprofit CRM worth it?

Running a nonprofit is a lot of work, from managing volunteers and keeping up with donors, to calculating revenue flows and organizing activities. If you’re struggling to manage operations and scale up your nonprofit, a nonprofit CRM is certainly worth the cost.

With a little bit of effort to find the best CRM for your nonprofit, you can take your nonprofit efforts to new heights and make a larger impact on the world around you.