SugarCRM For Nonprofits


Whether you are curing children, helping the elderly, saving the environment or fighting poverty, your nonprofit faces one big dilemma. The challenges you confront are equivalent and in some cases surpass those of for-profit businesses but the resources at your disposal (time, people and money) are painfully limited. Working out the same level of productivity with less resources prompts a nonprofit to one solution: Technology.

According to the research by ‘The Center For Effective Philanthropy’,

“77 percent nonprofit leaders said they needed help with technology to improve their organization’s effectiveness”

The challenges of reaching out to donors, managing donations, handling memberships, handling cases and services and building deep community relations are ubiquitous across all charity organizations. For these and many such challenges; more and more nonprofits want to adopt CRM solutions that can adapt to their unique needs.

Why SugarCRM for Nonprofits?

In this post we will discuss how SugarCRM becomes a great solution to give nonprofits a 360-degree view of their organization’s processes and provide them with a unified platform to manage everything from online fundraising to donor event management and from volunteer management to effective marketing outreach and results tracking.

Why SugarCRM you ask?

One of the key strengths of Sugar is its adaptability as a CRM platform and this is why businesses in several industry verticals are extending Sugar to meet their unique business requirements. First, we will explore what SugarCRM can do for your nonprofit and then see how some of the non-profits used Sugar to meet their needs.

You can also simply schedule a FREE one-to-one session with our CRM consultant to discuss your nonprofit

So let’s see what SugarCRM can do for you. You should note that this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the features/activities that nonprofits can manage using Sugar. In fact, this is just scratching the surface when it comes to a great CRM’s capabilities.

1. Manage complete Donation Cycle

Pledging donations is one thing; making final payment is another. Nonprofits understand how hefty the management of the donation cycle gets. For this reason, an effective system is needed which gives your managers the ability to follow up on each pledged donation and makes use of automatic notifications and automated workflows to escape manual data entry.

Moreover, there is no single way of collecting donations. Sometimes you simply collect cash donations, sometimes you are selling products (t-shirts, etc.); other times your organization is receiving grants from big organizations. Managing all these different sources can be a cumbersome process without a system which provides you with a complete picture of every donation and its associated information. This is where SugarCRM plays its role and gives you a complete control of your donation management cycle.

2. Fundraising Marketing Campaigns

There are several segments to which your fundraising campaigns are targeted. This is true for both volunteers and potential donors. Reaching out to all segments requires effectively segmented marketing campaigns. Doing this manually or using ineffective software makes it almost impossible to run effective marketing and fundraising campaigns. Moreover, using two solutions simultaneously wastes a lot of time.

Sugar resolves this by integrating with great marketing automation platforms and web to CRM connectors. You can track the results of each campaign you run from either Sugar or any marketing automation platform. This is because Sugar can be integrated with almost any third party software that you use to run your business.

Moreover, with Sugar, you can have a single database of all your funds including from peer-to-peer fundraising and online fundraising. This gives you insight into what works for you and what doesn’t. Using such insights, you can always improve on your marketing campaigns.

3. Case and Service Management

Countless hours are wasted by nonprofits on inefficient manual systems when it comes to case management. Similarly, if you operate a call centre to provide information on your programs and events or your services, it consumes a lot of time when you don’t have quick access to the required information instantly.

Sugar helps in this aspect by making it extremely easy to retrieve any information, hence saving time on each call. Having Sugar makes it possible to provide these services from anywhere at any time. This lowers the cost of service substantially and helps deliver the best experience to both the existing and the potential clients.

4. Recruitment and Management of Volunteers

Usually, at nonprofits your team does not have highly specified job roles. A single manager might be looking into events management as well as volunteer management. Working in two or more job roles is difficult without a system that automates the tasks that you need to do repeatedly. Sugar lets you have a complete command over each job role that you’re looking after and allows you to fulfill your responsibilities in a few clicks.

For example, volunteer management becomes as easy as it can get. You can post volunteering opportunities, recruit skillful volunteers, gauge their performance and retain them all from your CRM. From a single screen, you can manage all HR functions inside Sugar including recruitment, scheduling interviews, assigning tasks, appointing teams and viewing real-time performance reports.

5. Event Management

Fundraising and awareness-raising events are an important part of any charity.  Having an efficient CRM such as Sugar allows you to post new events, manage events calendar, track RSVPs and assign team members to cater to VIPs simply with a few clicks.

For effective event management, your team needs access to all the information on the go. This is made possible with mobile CRM app containing all the information from the database easily accessible.

6. A single Window for your Nonprofit

To succeed in your CRM strategy you need to make your CRM work for you. This becomes possible when it gives you complete control over every aspect of your nonprofit.  A CRM should provide you with a single window from which you can essentially manage everything. This is where SugarCRM integrations come to play.

Usually, every successful nonprofit uses one or more of these cloud-based apps/tools

  •         Accounting apps like QuickBooks or Xero
  •         Marketing Automation tools like Hubspot, Act on or Marketo
  •         Email outreach tools like Mailchimp
  •         Payment Gateways like Paypal or Stripe
  •         Survey apps like Survey Monkey
  •         Social Media for better engagement with your community
  •         Online fundraising pages

It becomes a cumbersome process when you manage two or more of these tools individually for different purposes. A great CRM like Sugar integrates all of your tools in a single platform so you don’t have to switch between windows but instead have a unified system to make you more productive and in control of everything.

7. Custom Built Reporting

The  80/20 principle states that roughly 80% of the successful outcomes come from 20% of the efforts. Your nonprofit is no different. But in order to figure out which 20 percent efforts yield the desired results, you need detailed insights.

Using default and custom built reports, you can easily visualize insights like which programs have the greatest impact or what types of events bring in greatest fundraising or which strategy is getting traction from donors. With Sugar, you can visualize your data stored at various sources and unlock impactful actionable insights.

This is where Sugar makes all the Difference!

One of the key strengths of Sugar is the extent to which it can be customized according to your exact organizational processes. With Sugar, you don’t work with the CRM. Instead, it works for you. Any CRM that makes you spend more time looking into its own intricacies and less time focusing on the needs of your nonprofit cannot be the right solution.  Contrarily, a solution should be chosen which helps you build and nurture lifelong relationships.

Some Nonprofits making use of Customized SugarCRM

Rolustech has previously helped several charities with their CRM needs. All of these have had unique needs and required custom built solution on top of SugarCRM. Two of these are briefly discussed below.

1. House of St Barnabas – London Charity

The house of St Barnabas (HoSB) is a charity organization which fights homelessness by supporting people affected by homelessness and social exclusion into lasting paid work opportunities. HoSB manages a members’ club to support homeless people in London. They confronted a lot of problems before approaching Rolustech to effectively manage their membership lifecycle.

Rolustech implemented a completely customized Sugar to meet the needs of their charity. A few integrations like Xero Accounting in Sugar were also implemented. Payment gateways including Gocardless and Sagepay were integrated to streamline their donations processing.

2. Children’s Cup

Established in 1991, Children’s Cup is a nonprofit which supports throwaway children in Swaziland, Mozambique, Honduras and Mexico. Rolustech integrated Children’s Cup’s WordPress website with Sugar to create an information sync between the website and their Sugar. Moreover, to facilitate recurring online payments, integration was done with their system which made it possible to store all the sensitive billing information while making the system PCI compliant.

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