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Heller Consulting Study Shows Most Nonprofits Planning for Constituent Relationship Management (CRM)

Consulting Firm's Report Offers Results of Interviews With Executives From 30 Large Nonprofits About How They Are Approaching CRM to Overcome Challenges and Meet Their Goals (July 17, 2012)

OAKLAND, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 07/17/12 -- Heller Consulting -- a consulting firm that helps nonprofit organizations streamline their operations and maximize their use of software for fundraising and mission management -- today announced the findings of their recent study about how nonprofits are approaching Constituent Relationship Management (CRM).

The study involved in-depth interviews with executives at 30 large nonprofits, and uncovered how nonprofit organizations are approaching CRM to overcome challenges and meet goals. The resulting report shows that while nonprofits' definitions of CRM vary, many are approaching some form of CRM to consolidate scattered data, improve processes, and support strategic goals.

"In the past several years, CRM has become a hot topic for nonprofits," said Michael Wilson, Executive Vice President of the American Heart Association. "At the American Heart Association, we're striving to know more about how we can apply CRM approaches and technology to not only address the problem of disparate systems and processes but also help us reach our strategic goals."

Here are some of the top findings from the study:


  • Nonprofits' definitions of CRM vary significantly. Participants view CRM as everything from a database and related processes to a focused approach on delivering constituent service or a proactive strategy to engaging with constituents.

  • Many organizations devote substantial time and resources just to keep their existing technology systems going. This leaves them less time to engage with constituents, provide top-notch service and consider CRM more strategically.

  • Disparate systems and scattered data are top challenges for nonprofits. Organizations are facing significant challenges with fragmented (versus consolidated) technology, information, processes and strategies.

  • Almost all nonprofits point to changes in technology as enabling them to move toward some form of CRM. They agree that today's technology offers better solutions, often at lower prices, than in the past. They most frequently mentioned integration, business intelligence tools, web-based point solutions, and the Cloud as part of this discussion.

  • Most nonprofits are in some stage of planning for a CRM system. About one-third of participants have moved forward with some aspect of CRM implementation.

"As implementers of CRM systems and processes for nonprofits, it was important for us to find out more from top nonprofits about what challenges they're facing, and how they think CRM can help," said Keith Heller, CEO, Heller Consulting. "Our findings from interviews with executives at 30 nonprofits give us and the sector helpful tips based on participants' experiences as well as valuable insights into how nonprofits are approaching CRM today."

The report, Insights into CRM for Nonprofits, can be downloaded online at www.theconnectedcause.com/CRMinsights

About Heller Consulting
Heller Consulting helps nonprofits streamline their operations and maximize their use of software for fundraising and mission management. The company specializes in software selection, implementation, optimization and training for products from Blackbaud and Salesforce.com. With offices in San Francisco, Chicago and New York, the Heller Consulting team has helped hundreds of nonprofits nationwide. www.teamheller.com

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