Monday, August 18, 2014

The CRM Alternatives to Salesforce and Dynamics for Charities

2010 - April - 25 - NodeXL - Twitter - crm betweenness color 

Salesforce and Microsoft CRM Dynamics are both great solutions but when considering 'generic' CRM systems, it is easy to think that they are the only "CRM systems" available to UK charities, which of course is not the case: there are dozens of similar(ish) systems on the market - and there are of course fundraising database packages. That said, there are some CRM systems which are either more oriented towards the NFP sector or where a supplier has specifically created modules for charities, or where one or more business partners have taken the sector seriously enough to have made an impact with what they can provide, and it is those systems which I thought it would be useful to list here for awareness:
  • CiviCRM: CiviCRM has been designed specifically for the NFP market with appropriate functionality and ethos, and is almost certainly the NFP sector's leading open source CRM system, offering collaboration and joint development. And because it is not oriented at just one "type" of solution for charities (i.e. not just service delivery, not just case management, not just fundraising, volunteer management etc) it has a degree of flexibility similar to that which the CRM solutions also offer, if maybe not quite so in-depth. It has a great ethos for charities, and an ever-growing and broadening community using it and supporting other users. And by its very nature it tends to attract users and developers who believe in not just the software but the whole open source approach. But the fact it is not driven by a commercial organisation means that when statutory or regulatory requirements change, then a user and/or the community needs to get the software updated to manage that.
  • Workbooks has gained several UK clients in the membership sector and are offering their solution to charities too. It is a web-based (SAAS) solution designed for small and mid-size businesses, so in terms of solution size their NFP offering should fit many charities. Unlike Salesforce/Dynamics, they (primarily) sell direct to end-user organisations.
  • SugarCRM: Sugar has an open-source and a paid-for commercial offering and has had some adoption with charities and the public sector, partly due to its cost structure but partly because it is a decent system with an especially good interface. It can be hosted or run on-premise and is sold and implemented through a partner network. It has perhaps not made inroads into the sector quite as much as the other systems.
  • NetSuite: A large, CRM vendor in the US, they have created which is the corporate citizenship arm of NetSuite. They offer product donations, pro bono programs and social solutions to charities and NFPs. Not yet as well adopted in the UK compared to North America.
  • Siebel and Oracle: For the largest charities…
  • And a few others which I know some charities have used:
    • Zoho: Free and paid-for versions of their CRM and other online apps.
    • Sage CRM (what was ACT! years ago) has a Windows and a SAAS solution. 
    • Highrise CRM: SAAS software from the people who brought you Basecamp (although more oriented to contact management and maybe service delivery than fundraising).
As I said above, there are of course many other CRM solutions including a number which appear on Gartner's Magic Quadrant which do well in the commercial sector but which (to my knowledge) don't have any charity implementations. It will be interesting to see if any such systems start to also move into the sector and if any of those in the above list can challenge Salesforce and Microsoft CRM with leading sector offerings.


bloggernfp said...

Hi Ivan, great piece.
Don't forget to mention Advanced NFP, we have a very large footprint in this area.

jp said...

Hi Ivan

VC-Connect also deserves a mention. We (yes, I have a vested interest!) have over 80 third sector organisations using the system nationally. Developed and refined over the last 8 years, this has been devised by the charity sector for the charity sector. We continue to develop our offering too.

Best wishes
Janet Paske