This article is part of a larger series on CRM.
Nonprofit customer relationship management (CRM) systems let organizations like community service groups, philanthropic organizations, and political advocacy firms manage operations, marketing, and financial activities. A CRM for nonprofits provides tools for handling donations, volunteers, and communication outreach. We evaluated dozens of systems ideal for nonprofit management to identify the best CRM software for nonprofits:
- Best overall with excellent data management: Bloomerang
- Best for managing fundraising events: Neon One
- Best simple nonprofit CRM: Donor Tools
- Best for customizable nonprofit CRM: CiviCRM
- Best free nonprofit CRM: Bitrix24
- Best choice for in-app calling and analytics: Freshsales
- Best for marketing automation capabilities: HubSpot CRM
What Is a CRM for Nonprofits & Why Use One?
Nonprofit CRM is software designed for organizations to manage activities for a cause or mission. Instead of having tools to manage leads and customers, an industry-specific CRM for nonprofits has modules for service, philanthropic, or political advocacy organizations. For instance, there are features for volunteer time monitoring, donation tracking, and marketing tools such as email campaign features to engage with donors and those unfamiliar with the organization.
Best CRM Systems for Nonprofits Compared
*Based on annual billing; monthly billing is also available for slightly higher rates.
Bloomerang: Best Overall With Robust Data Management Tools
- Expensive starting point
- Not ideal for teams wanting affordable analytics tools
- Ideal for users wanting a tool that constantly updates donor data: Bloomerang’s data management feature helps users gather and regularly update donor data and insights. It automates updates, including addresses, birth years, and wealth information, so you have clean and constantly updated donor records.
- Users who want to connect other third-party business tools to their CRM: Bloomerang natively integrates with popular apps like QuickBooks and Mailchimp. It can also be connected to Zapier, enabling users to connect virtually any business tool they use to the CRM.
- Users who want access to analytics: Users can easily generate comprehensive reports for their team and board members. Through the analytics feature, users can create data reports for presentations, marketing campaigns, fundraising, and annual planning.
- Users with a limited budget: Bloomerang’s starting price point is $199 monthly, making it steep for nonprofits.
- Alternatives: Those who require a free version or more affordable providers can consider either HubSpot or Bitrix24. Both offer a free plan with access to fundamental CRM features.
- Teams that need a more affordable tool for analytics: While Bloomerang offers analytics and reporting tools, it’s significantly more expensive than other providers.
- Alternative: Users who need a more affordable CRM with robust analytics features can consider Freshsales. It also offers an artificial intelligence (AI) sales assistant tool that provides data-driven recommendations.
Bloomerang Pricing Plan & Overview*
*Pricing based on annual billing on a per-month breakdown; the price range depends on the number of records or contacts.
Our Expert Opinion
Bloomerang is an all-around donor management and CRM solution with essential features useful for nonprofits, particularly donation management, donor database, online giving, and reports. It does, however, come with a steep price tag, which organizations should consider before signing up—especially since the pricing plans get more expensive as the number of contacts increases.
Neon One: Best for Fundraising Activity Management
- No free plan
- Requires a one-time setup fee
- Events and volunteer management features get expensive
- Teams that hold many fundraising activities: Neon One lets users create and manage fundraising campaigns and events with online forms that support one-click donations, recurring giving, and multiple ticket structures. Users can also hold virtual fundraising events with tools encouraging more donor and fundraiser adoption, including online challenges and livestream fundraising activities.
- Users who need to create a nonprofit org website: You can create your organization’s web template with a front-end, drag-and-drop editor that produces professional-looking websites for both desktop and mobile browsers.
- Teams that need a free plan: Neon One, unfortunately, has no free plan and requires a one-time setup fee to import data and implement the system.
- Alternatives: Bitrix24 and HubSpot CRM are excellent CRM alternatives that do not require a setup fee and have free options for unlimited users.
Neon One Pricing Plan & Overview*
* Pricing based on annual billing on a per-month breakdown; monthly billing is also available for a higher cost.
Our Expert Opinion
Neon One is a great all-in-one nonprofit management solution—especially for teams that often hold fundraising activities—both offline and online. Its Essentials plan includes fundamental functionalities, such as donor management, contact management, task management, and fundraising campaigns, making it great for small nonprofits. Upgrade to their higher-priced plans if you need more advanced tools like QuickBooks integration and unlimited workflows.
Donor Tools: Best Simple Nonprofit CRM
- No free plan
- Payment processing must be done using WePay
- Lacks the capability to migrate contact or donor data from one CRM to Donor Tools
- Users who need a no-frills, nonprofit CRM tool: Donor Tools is a simple, low-cost CRM system built for nonprofits to raise money, track donations, record physical transitions, and manage their donor and contact base. Because there’s only one plan, all features are included with accessibility to an unlimited number of users and donor records.
- Those who need a simple website builder: The website builder function of Donor Tools is quick and easy—only requiring users to upload their logo and enter information about their organization. The system then publishes the website to advertise and capture donations.
- Users needing more advanced CRM features: Donor Tools offers basic features—mostly recording and processing donations, as well as generating simple reports. It doesn’t have advanced features like email marketing or an in-app phone.
- Alternatives: For users who want more advanced functionalities like email marketing, HubSpot is a good alternative. Freshsales, on the other hand, provides a robust in-app phone.
- Teams that need a free plan: Despite having an affordable starting price and unlimited access to all the features in its free trial, Donor Tools doesn’t offer a free plan. This could be a drawback for nonprofits that don’t have the budget for a paid CRM subscription.
- Alternatives: Bitrix24 and HubSpot CRM are excellent CRM alternatives that offer free options for unlimited users.
Donor Tools Pricing Plan & Overview*
* Pricing is based on annual billing on a per-month breakdown. Monthly billing is also available for a higher cost. Interested users can sign up for a 30-day free trial.
Our Expert Opinion
Donor Tools is a simple, no-frills CRM—making it suitable for organizations just starting and needing a dependable tool to accept and record donations. Its integration with WePay provides a more affordable payment or donation processing option than other payment processing tools like PayPal.
CiviCRM: Best Customizable Nonprofit CRM
- Not ideal for users without programming background
- Outdated-looking interface
- Teams wanting a customizable CRM tool: CiviCRM’s open source license allows users to tailor the tool installation and design to their needs. It enables users to configure any option list (location types, activity types, event types, etc.), create their forms via the drag-and-drop feature, and add custom fields.
- Users who need robust contribution management tools: CiviCRM enables users to process and track contributions, send gift acknowledgments, and report on their data using an intuitive workflow process. Users can collect and record contributions made via check, phone, and public webforms and tie them directly to donors’ contact records.
- Teams that need a simple and easy-to-use CRM: Due to its open source nature, CiviCRM can be customized to fit a nonprofit organization’s unique needs and processes. However, it also requires technical experience and a programming background.
- Alternatives: Users who need an out-of-the-box CRM can consider other providers, such as HubSpot or Freshsales, that are easy to use and doesn’t require technical setups.
- Users who want a sleek, modern-looking CRM: While free and feature-packed, CiviCRM’s interface looks outdated and is not visually appealing, which could be an issue for some users.
- Alternatives: Those wanting a CRM with pleasing aesthetics can consider either Bloomerang or Freshsales. Both have clean, modern-looking interfaces.
- Contact management
- Contribution management
- Event management
- Membership management
- Email marketing tools
- Case management
- Advocacy campaign management
Our Expert Opinion
CiviCRM is the only open source CRM in this list, making it a great option for organizations that not only need a free tool but a highly customizable one for their unique needs. The only catch is they need a programming background if they want to tailor the system to their internal processes.
Bitrix24: Best Free Nonprofit CRM
- Not designed for nonprofits, and requires detailed system and feature customization
- Event planning module requires a Standard plan
- Users who want a free and feature-packed CRM: Bitrix24 is one of the best CRM platforms for small nonprofits because of its free plan. Nonprofits are often strapped financially and need a free option to get rolling. With this platform, an unlimited number of users can manage projects, organize and track donor data, build a fundraising website, and process donations for free.
- Businesses that want free website-building tools: Bitrix24’s free plan includes website-building tools, which small nonprofits can use to establish their online presence. It provides users with responsive website design templates for different devices, including mobiles, tablets, and personal computers (PCs).
- Inexperienced users wanting a CRM specifically designed for nonprofits: Unfortunately, since Bitrix24 is a general-use CRM, users need to customize their data fields and features to make it applicable to nonprofit operations.
- Alternative: Neon One is the best alternative as it is built specifically for nonprofits and has all the required capabilities, including donor management, fundraising, donation processing, and volunteer tracking.
Bitrix24 CRM Pricing Plan & Overview*
* Pricing based on annual billing on a per-month breakdown; monthly billing is also available for a higher cost. Each plan offers a 30-day free trial.
Our Expert Opinion
Bitrix24 is a free, feature-packed CRM that offers fundamental features like contact and task management, a website builder, and calendar management. However, it has no nonprofit-specific features, such as donation management and fundraising event management tools. Still, if you need basic CRM functions like keeping tabs on tasks and donor contacts, Bitrix24 is a good option. To learn more about what this provider offers, read our full Bitrix24 review.
Freshsales: Nonprofit With the Best Built-in Phone System
- Requires system customization to meet nonprofit needs
- No direct features for collecting and processing donations
- Custom modules require an Enterprise plan
- Nonprofits that need an advanced in-app caller: Many nonprofits need to directly engage with key donors and corporate sponsors on a personal level to keep their contributions up. For that, Freshsales has an excellent built-in phone system, including core components such as placing and receiving calls. It also comes with call logging, queue management, call routing, and warm transfer, giving users context before a call is routed to them.
- Users needing an all-around and user-friendly CRM: Freshsales is a general-use CRM with contact management, deal tracking, and email communication tools. The system is easy to navigate for users at any technical skill level.
- Users wanting a CRM specifically designed for nonprofit organizations: Because it’s a general-use CRM system, users must custom-design the fields and modules to make Freshsales into a nonprofit CRM. Neon One is a great alternative for teams looking to invest directly in a ready-to-use, nonprofit CRM system.
Freshsales Pricing Plan & Overview*
* Pricing is based on annual billing on a per-month breakdown. Monthly billing is also available for a higher cost. Each plan offers a 14-day free trial.
Our Expert Opinion
Freshsales is one of the most intuitive and all-around CRM solutions. However, it’s more designed as a general-purpose CRM than a nonprofit one. It’s still a good choice for users who need to place calls through the system while having access to all vital information about their donors, including viewing their profiles or recording notes based on conversations. To learn more about this provider, visit our comprehensive Freshsales review.
HubSpot CRM: Best for Nonprofit Marketing Features
- Paid plans are expensive
- Custom reporting not available until Professional plan
- Nonprofits that need robust marketing tools: HubSpot is a marketing-heavy platform that enables nonprofits to design and distribute email campaigns, manage online ads, publish social media and blog posts, and host video content from the CRM solution. Plus, they can get higher web traffic and engagement through built-in search engine optimization (SEO) analytics.
- Users who need a simple CRM tool: HubSpot can be used out of the box and is user-friendly even for beginners. Tools are laid out sensibly in the dashboard, making it easy for users to explore and use the features they need.
- Users who want access to more affordable analytics tools: While HubSpot offers free marketing tools, it lacks analytics in its free plan to assess the performance of marketing campaigns. On the other hand, if you subscribe to its paid plans, you need to pay at least $800 per month, which could be very expensive for nonprofit organizations.
- Alternative: For users who want more affordable analytics tools, Freshsales could be an alternative option. For $39 per month, users can access advanced reporting and analytics tools.
HubSpot Marketing Hub CRM Pricing Plan & Overview*
* Pricing based on annual billing on a per-month breakdown; monthly billing is also available for a higher cost. Each plan offers a 14-day free trial.
Our Expert Opinion
HubSpot is one of the most popular CRM providers in the market—specifically because of its robust free plan and excellent marketing tools. It’s a great option for nonprofits that want to create professional, creative-looking templates for fundraising emails. However, the biggest drawback to HubSpot is its expensive paid subscription plans, which could be steep for small nonprofit organizations. To learn more about this platform’s full feature set, read our in-depth HubSpot review.
How We Evaluated the Best CRM Software for Nonprofits
To determine the best CRM for nonprofits, we considered niche product features specific to managing a community service, philanthropic, or trade organization. For instance, donation processing tools, features for tracking volunteer time, and email capabilities to nurture the donor base are crucial to nonprofits. We also looked into each software regarding standard product attributes such as price, general CRM features, ease of use, and customer support.
The tabs below offer insight into our evaluation process for the best CRM for nonprofits:
15% of Overall Score
Pricing takes into account free plan availability, various scalable pricing options users can purchase affordably, and the availability for a subscriber to either pay monthly or save by paying annually. Additionally, we looked at the specific costs for built-in features or integrations with nonprofit solutions.
25% of Overall Score
In addition to specialized nonprofit features, we look at the overall functionality necessary for all CRM systems. This includes various CRM integration options, reporting and analytics tools, and a mobile app. We also evaluated other common capabilities in most CRM platforms, such as contact management and workflow automation.
25% of Overall Score
The best CRM for nonprofits will have features relating directly to managing nonprofit operations and marketing. For instance, email campaigns, donor and contribution tracking, and volunteer management solutions are non-negotiables for organizations serving a societal cause or advocating for political or commercial interests.
20% of Overall Score
Extensive support and service help prevent poor user experiences and outcomes users may encounter while using these systems. Help and support are evaluated in terms of customer service hours and the availability of support via phone, live chat, and email. We also look at online resources for users to review, like tutorials, forums, or training modules.
15% of Overall Score
In addition to firsthand experience with these software systems, we evaluated what real users say about each product. These criteria consider how customers representing nonprofit-based organizations feel, based on their reviews, to gain insight into platform popularity, ease of use, and overall value for the price.
Choosing a CRM for Nonprofit Teams: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why do nonprofits need a CRM?
Nonprofits need CRM software to manage and analyze their interactions with donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders. It can help them automate routine tasks such as sending thank-you notes, organizing fundraising campaigns, and managing memberships. It can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of fundraising efforts, donor retention, and outreach campaigns.
Can a CRM tool help nonprofits acquire new donor leads?
Yes. A CRM can help nonprofits get donors by collecting and analyzing data on donor behavior. By using existing data, a CRM system can provide valuable insights into the motivations and preferences of different donor segments, allowing nonprofits to tailor their outreach campaigns and messages accordingly.
Nonprofit CRM solutions support organizations through premade modules or customizable options for fundraising, donor and volunteer management, and marketing outreach tools. While Bloomerang is our pick for the best nonprofit CRM platform, the other products on this list could be a far better option depending on your usability requirements, feature demands, and tolerance to customizing the platform to your needs.