I regularly help Not for Profits select a CRM solution for their organisation. Through these projects, I’ve evaluated a lot of different CRMs during my time for charities, professional associations and even NDIs providers.

Vendor risks - rectangle

As such, I see CRM vendor risks through the selection process that may be less obvious to the average staff member in the Not for Profit. So, here’s a list to get you started if you are considering a CRM:

CRM vendor risk signs before you buy:

  1. Their website has not been updated in years.
  2. Salesperson refuses to give you indicative pricing until you see a ridiculous number of demos.
  3. It does not meet the most basic cybersecurity requirements.
  4. User interface feels very outdated.
  5. Their responses are slow during the sales process.
  6. They only offer meeting times during US/European business hours.
  7. There are math mistakes in their proposal.
  8. The salesperson won’t admit to any mistakes or omissions when questioned.
  9. They don’t have a functional roadmap and regular release cycles.
  10. You’ve seen the demo(s) but later discover that a lot of the functionality shown was not native but requires 3rd party plug-ins or other modules for additional costs.
  11. They don’t understand the underlying license prices, especially if dependent on a 3rd party like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics.
  12. They have no or few integrations available with popular finance systems like MYOB and Xero.

If you recognise any of these CRM vendor risks during the procurement process, you can handle them in a few ways. Depending on type the risk, you can either eliminate them completely from the selection process, or you can add a price risk adjustment to give you budget contingency.

As mentioned, I help Not for Profits select CRMs all the time. Please let me know if you need any help or advice in your process.

Tammy Ven Dange is a former charity CEO, Not for Profit Board Member and IT Executive. Today she helps NFPs with strategic IT decisions, especially around investments.

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