Tuesday, April 1, 2014

9 Must-ask Questions for Your Nonprofit CRM RFP (Part II)

By Steve Birnbaum

(Part 2)

Last post, we discussed the first five of nine questions you need to ask when you’re developing an RFP for a new nonprofit CRM. These final four questions continue the process of digging deeply into the real and vital (yet sometimes not obvious) strengths and weaknesses of any system you’re considering.

6. How does your system safeguard constituent data in the cloud?

Make sure vendors can specify how their security strategy keeps sensitive donor information safe. Cloud-based systems should help you meet data governance rules, have well-established policies for disaster recovery and PCI compliance and meet all appropriate regulations and standards.

7. Does your system empower multi-channel fundraising?

More and more NPOs are running sophisticated multi-channel fundraising campaigns. Any system you review should not only support large, complex direct-mail segmentation for online and offline campaigns but also offer tools to support major and planned giving, including capital campaign management.

8. How will your system support our national/chapter organizational structure?

Your chapters shouldn’t get less out of a system just because they’re not national headquarters. Ask if vendors’ systems have built-in national/chapter organization functions. Systems you consider should also be able to enforce rules about how chapters share, see and access data.

9. Do you provide a development environment?

A complete development environment should be a mandatory part of any system implementation. Ask vendors if they include all of your data in a test system at no charge, allowing you to test integrations and other system changes without affecting your live data.

Remember, your organization’s goal is not simply to buy a nonprofit CRM or fundraising software. Your ultimate goal is to make sure that your system improves the way you interact with all your constituents and helps you grow their devotion to your cause. Good luck with the process. 

Read Part 1 of this post . . .

Steve Birnbaum is SofTrek’s Vice President of Client Solutions.  He has more than 17 years’ experience in nonprofit management, with particular expertise in organizational planning, technology implementation, and change management.

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