I went to an event at NCVO for charities looking to get on the cloud recently.
There was a Q&A with staff from Salesforce, an incredibly powerful and relatively cheap Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that maintains all your supporter relationships, automates lots of processes and lets you work from anywhere. One man asked what small charities like his were to do if they just didn’t have the money to pay a Salesforce consultant.
We spoke afterwards, and I told him he didn’t necessarily have to.
How small charities can do cloud CRM for free.
First, put all your supporters in a spreadsheet. Something basic, like this. Think about how you’d divide them up – funders, volunteers, corporate funders, organisations, etc.
1. Free email, calendar and documents (that never go down)
Sign up for Google Apps. This gives you and your team free document sharing and collaboration, calendar, intranet, and emails.
2. Free alternative to your expensive server
Sign up for Dropbox. This gives you and your team a way of sharing files with your team on your computer. Like your server, but accessible from anywhere, and free.
3. Free event management programme
Sign up for Eventbrite. This lets people sign up to your information days or any other events, for free. Once they’ve signed up, you move their name, email address, etc. into Mailchimp.
4. Free email newsletter programme and CRM
Sign up for Mailchimp, a fun way to keep in touch with supporters.
Then just import your supporters from that basic spreadsheet you did at the start.
5. Combine the tools
Import your supporters info from Eventbrite, update it in Mailchimp, and do the day to day stuff in Google Apps and Dropbox.
Now you have the ability to:
– send professional looking email newsletters to your supporters
– update your interactions with them on Mailchimp
– share application forms, information PDFs or any document with your supporters
– work from home, Starbucks, your phone or even abroad as easily as in the office
All for free.
You might have to switch between websites a bit (though they do all talk to each other), but this is more within the reach of small charities than finding thousands of pounds to pay for all-singing all-dancing solutions.
Let me know if you want help getting set up!