Don't be left in the dark.

Little Green Light is a cloud-based donor management system for fundraisers.
Subscribe to get our latest product updates, best practices and tips to grow your nonprofit.

Can a CRM help you to be a better fundraiser?

Updated July 17, 2023 by Timi Paccioretti

Can a CRM help you to be a better fundraiser?

When it comes to nonprofit fundraising, finding the right systems and tools to simplify your development operations is an amazing time-saver. Utilizing a nonprofit CRM can not only save you valuable time, but it can also truly transform your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts! Want to know more?

Before we begin, what exactly is a CRM?

Wikipedia describes Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as a “model for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers that uses technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.” If you’ve placed a customer service call to a company, for example, and received a personalized thank you for being a loyal customer, that’s a CRM at work.

When it comes to fundraising, CRM stands for Constituent Relationship Management and is similarly a system that nonprofit organizations use to track their various supporters or as we call them in Little Green Light: Constituents.

To really get a full picture of all the various people and businesses that support your nonprofit organization, including donors, volunteers, members, foundations and more—and the interactions you have with them over time, having a comprehensive donor management system that includes CRM functionality can be a game-changer in your organization’s development efforts.

We believe that having a donor management system that incorporates CRM functionality can be integral to your fundraising success.

Here are a few ways using a CRM can transform your fundraising:

Manage more than just donors in your database.

Every day, you interact with a variety of people who have not yet given to your organization. Volunteers, members, family members, staff, event attendees—all are potential donors and people with whom you have relationships. Adding them to your organization’s database allows you opportunities to communicate with them (i.e., send newsletters, invite to events, etc.) and engage them in your mission.

Make it a habit to use your database every day.

If you think of your database as the foundation of your fundraising and outreach efforts, it’s imperative that you get in the habit of using it every day.  In addition to entering gift information, consider using your database to document contacts you’ve had with your supporters:  Just got off the phone with a board member and they mentioned they had a candidate for your open board position? Or did they suggest a possible sponsor for your upcoming event? How about that chance meeting in the parking lot with one of your organization’s biggest donors who shared they are expecting their first grandchild? Be sure to document that information in your database.

The benefit? Adding a quick note of the conversation will help you recall that important piece of information and commit it to your organization’s “institutional memory,” where it becomes part of your ongoing relationship with the constituent.

LGL Contact Report

Example of a Contact report from Little Green Light

Set reminders to do future followup activities. 

While entering a contact report, you can set task for yourself or a team member to do some follow up (i.e., call the board candidate or send a congratulatory card to the new grandparents). You can set up tasks to remind yourself to connect with a single constituent or a group of constituents, or assign that task to a member of your team.

The benefit? You can focus your energies on the items that most deserve your attention and keep track of items not yet completed.

Create follow up tasks in LGLExample of a Task entered into Little Green Light

Invite others in your organization to use your CRM.

Relationship management is not a one-person job! Everyone from your Executive Director to your front office staff interact with your supporters. Encourage your team to add contact reports, manage tasks, and share pertinent information about your supporters in the database. (Look for a donor management system that allows for various permission levels of users so you can manage access to your data.

The benefit? Your entire organization can have “buy-in” to the important role they play in the advancement of your mission.

Manage Team members in LGL

View of the Team page in a Little Green Light account

Document all the mailings and emails you’ve sent.

Using your CRM to manage your mailing lists and email contacts and the communications sent to those lists is yet another component of your relationship management strategy. Document who has received mailings or emails, as well as responses to those communications.

The benefit? You will better understand your constituents’ interests and their willingness to support your mission, which will better equip you to develop a more personalized plan for future outreach or solicitation.

A comprehensive nonprofit donor management/CRM solution can capture all your organization’s interactions with your constituents—whether by phone, email, mailings, or in person—and can play a vital role in your organization’s ability to develop lifelong relationships with your supporters.

Mailing summary page in Little Green Light
Mailing summary page in Little Green Light


A comprehensive nonprofit donor management/CRM software solution can be used to capture all your organization’s important interactions with your constituents—whether by phone, email, mailings, or in person—and it can play a vital role in your organization’s ability to develop lifelong relationships with your supporters.

Would you like to learn more about how Little Green Light can help you to transform your fundraising?  See Little Green Light in action by joining a live, guided tour and ask questions of our team in the Q&A session that follows.

Register for an upcoming session today!

Ready to try LGL? Get your first 30 days free. No credit card required.