Within days of each other, we recently received updates from two grant partners touting new, low-cost CRM/database software products that they selected after considering better known, higher-priced options recommended by the consultants they were working with.
While the “usual suspects” for nonprofit database work are comprehensive and proven, they can be difficult to learn, often requiring intensive on-site training and frequent customer support. When staff turn over, additional training is required to get up to speed.
New options, most of them cloud-based, now offer a reasonable — and affordable — alternative. They are full-featured, robust, and flexible enough to meet the needs of small nonprofits while not overwhelming staff with the demands of a steep learning curve.
The two products brought to our attention are Little Green Light and Highrise. We’re not promoting either package or pooh-poohing the old standbys, just calling your attention to the changing options and encouraging you to consider them so that you can select the product that best fits your agency.
Looking for guidance?
One of our grant partners highly recommends Ideaware’s Donor Management Systems Toolkit online course, which features two live 90-minutes sessions and six one-hour product demos. There is a fee for the course but this roll-up-your-sleeves nonprofit manager used his grant funding to enroll himself in the class rather than hire the consultant. That’s not a route for everyone, but it worked well in this case. The agency went on to select Little Green Light, then used the grant funds to hire a data entry person to set up the system, migrate existing data and train the staff to use it. All with funding left to spare. With permission, the agency was able to use the remaining grant funds to upgrade its website. A great end result.