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Nonprofit CRM Customization: What You Need to Know

Michael Evert

If you’ve used a nonprofit CRM (or any type of database) before, you understand how frustrating it is when you can’t get the system to work the way you want it to.

Even when you’re presented with customization features, they may only take you so far — especially when you’re rushing through your day-to-day tasks. We’ve all been there: working up to the last minute to get a campaign out, and you realize the data point you need to send out that appeal is actually in a rogue spreadsheet. Instead of creating a custom field and importing that data into your database, you just do some manual work in Excel because you’ve already missed the deadline and your boss really needs you to get this email out ASAP. The campaign is launched, and you forget about that spreadsheet that needs to be imported…until this happens again, next month.

We all know this type of messy data management is not sustainable. Over time it can lead to data missteps, less effective constituent engagement, and hours of wasted staff time. But building a truly customized solution is also time-consuming, and you may be limited by budget or technical requirements.

That’s why NeonCRM introduced Custom Objects — an approach to CRM customization that makes it easier than ever before to create a tailor-made CRM solution that’s customized to work for your needs.

What are Custom Objects?

Imagine being able to store any type of constituent data your organization, regardless of how specific or “nontraditional” it is. Wouldn’t it be great to have this data integrated with your core database?

Custom Objects are a tool you can use to build a home for the unique data your organization tracks. They enable nonprofits to manage, configure, and report on any kind of organizational data beyond standard demographics and transactions (i.e. exam certifications, scholarship management, child sponsorships, animal adoptions, and more).

You can think of Custom Objects as the building blocks of your nonprofit CRM. They help you build a home for all of your data, even unique types of data that may not “fit” elsewhere in your database. Tracking that data in one centralized place helps you create more personalized experiences — which means you’ll build deeper relationships, retain donors and members more effectively, and see better results with your fundraising appeals.

What are the benefits of nonprofit CRM customization?

Comprehensive reporting and metrics

Nonprofits are increasingly asked by donors and foundations to prove the impact of their fundraising efforts. According to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, that need for data goes beyond standard fundraising metrics as funding trends show nonprofits using multiple data points to demonstrate overall program effectiveness.

To adapt to this, data tracking must be flexible and scalable in order to provide the information most relevant to key stakeholders.

Deep segmentation and personalized engagement

Following trends in the for-profit sector, nonprofits embracing personalized experiences are getting results. Email marketing campaigns that leverage CRM data to segment prospects and personalize messaging have seen a 760% increase in revenue.

Personalization matters to your supporters. With all your data in one place (including custom, program-specific data) and ready to be used for personalized engagements, you’ll be on a proven path to seeing better results in your fundraising appeals and membership programs.

Save time and increase productivity

Maintaining a database costs your organization time and money — especially when you’re working in more than one. According to estimates from SiriusDecisions, average data maintenance costs are as high as:

  • $1 to verify a record upon entry
  • $10 to dedupe and clean a record after input
  • $100 per bad record if not updated or removed

More systems means more work, and more opportunity for bad data — which can lead to lost opportunities and revenue. Centralizing data and automating processes will help you increase efficiency and decrease data missteps.

Why are Custom Objects different than other CRM customization options?

Historically, nonprofits have had fewer options than other sectors to create fully customized databases. Only a few nonprofit software providers offer functionality like Custom Objects, but these typically require costly developer implementation that simply isn’t realistic for most organizations.

Our approach ensures that your core needs are covered out of the box, with deeper customization available as you need it — in a way that works best for you.

And at a fraction of the cost of other providers, NeonCRM’s Custom Objects make customization more accessible to all organizations, regardless of budget.


For more information about Custom Objects and our network of partner integrations and apps, check out our NeonOne program and custom development opportunities.

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