CRM Survey: Top requirements and pain points for not-for-profit UK organisations


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Access recently conducted a survey where 100 representatives from NFP organisations across the UK, considered their top requirements and concerns regarding the evaluation and implementation of a new CRM solution, whilst considering a new business relationship with the provider.

The survey touched upon; top three factors to consider when choosing a new CRM system, and the need for wider integration, with both finance systems and third-party platforms. The survey further reviewed the top pain points considered when reviewing, evaluating and implementing a new system, whilst acknowledging expectations in three keys areas to consider for both new CRM system and the vendor providing the solution.

Top three factors:

73% believe that their CRM system should be cost effective.

Almost three quarters of those surveyed agree that the right CRM solution should be cost effective. For some the upfront cost might outweigh the long-term return on investment. What this means is that, there should be a full analysis into the potential benefits that implementing a new CRM will have on your organisation.

This could be in the form of time saved, extended functionality, detailed reporting, and targeted engagement. Whilst support is another key area that needs to be taken into consideration for long term gain, knowing that if you have a problem, your future vendor will be able to help you as much as possible. This will save any potential down time that may cost your organisation whilst dealing with a problem or query.

53% agree that full product functionality should be a given

When implementing a new CRM system, you require longevity to contribute to your return on investment. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re constantly having to review your products functionality instead – plan for the future in a series of phases. Start with the functionality you need, whilst enquiring into other areas that will benefit your long term objectives. This will aid your growth and efficiency when your CRM proves to secure operations and development.

35% desire a solid track record

As with the above statistics, having a vendor with a solid track record, and a recognised passion for the third sector is crucial for any form of long-term relationship with NFP organisations. Finding a vendor who is actively trying to provide the best possible solutions, advice, and care for their customers should be considered when looking for a new CRM system.


62% of participants agree integration between both CRM and finance systems is important. The ability to integrate between processes is a crucial part of development, whilst in the short term this may not be a consideration. It should definitely be part of a long term plan to ensure optimised results for both your CRM and the bigger picture, your organisation.

Top Three Pain Points:

42% prefer a lack of third party integration

The lack of third party integration is an area that has expressed concern amongst survey respondents. This is partially through the use of online donation platforms, and social media as well as additional integration into other management software, such as finance or projects systems. It is important to rule out any CRM solutions that limit your ability to integrate, not only for your current processes but possible future requirements.

28% experience a lack of management information, KPIs, reporting

A quarter of those surveyed currently experience a lack of access, visibility and control that enable management to effectively and productively carry out their duties. The key areas in which a strong management environment are seen to be limited in solutions that don’t offer complete product functionality and integration.

This is a crucial area. A solution should be able to provide accurate reports, in depth analysis and clear visibility and control over both data and processes. With the right system this can dramatically improve processes whilst securing a greater level of audience satisfaction.

18% believe it’s too costly

A fifth of participants admitted that the cost of implementing a new CRM system was of concern. This short term effect may be costly but the long term gains could far outweigh the short term loss.

The long term return on investment, ease of use and additional functionality that can not only develop but offer a greater range of tools and resources can help maintain strong engagement qualities, as well as, reduce administration.

It is therefore important to consider, and seek the appropriate advice and consultation from a potential vendor to ensure that they can clearly see a direct path to greater efficiencies, productivity and a return on investment that eliminates the need for cost to be a consideration.

What do NFP organisations expect from a CRM solution?

  1. Easy to use is an expectation that was rated the highest on the list. This is incredibly crucial as it allows organisations to reduce time spent on technical problems that may arise; this may not only be for staff, but volunteers and temporary works. It is important that familiar and functional software doesn’t require a ‘technician’ to operate the database.
  2. Integration shouldn’t be compromised; it enables the organisation to streamline and consolidate all their processes. This helps fortify memberships, marketing activities, events and all other organisational activity that could benefit from the integration of one centralised database. This can help to contribute to efficiency and productivity, whilst offering smarter insights into the activities of the organisation and audience.
  3. Excellent support should be meticulously thought out when looking to implement a new CRM system. The ability to be able to offer areas of expertise, advice and consultation into how the correct CRM system will benefit your organisation, should be consistently practice by your new software vendor.

For more information and to read the survey in full take a look at The Not-for-profit Finance Software Survey.

Rob Barr
Rob Barr is Divisional Director for Access' Not-for-profit division, with responsibility for nearly 1,000 customers and the NFP product roadmap. Rob has many years' experience in the NFP sector and is passionate about ensuring that Access software remains relevant and adds value to the NFP sector.


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