CRM Migration: A Guide for Non-Profits

Are you considering switching CRMs for your non-profit? It's a significant undertaking, but the rewards can be well worth the effort. A new CRM can offer improved efficiency, better data management, enhanced donor engagement capabilities, and more. Whether you're moving from a legacy system to something more advanced, the key to a successful transition is thorough planning and execution.

A CRM migration involves several critical steps to ensure you select the best system for your needs and that your data is transferred accurately. This guide will walk you through the essential steps to ensure your team is well-prepared and your organization can take full advantage of the new system's features.

When is it Time to Make a CRM Change?

Deciding to switch CRMs is not a decision to be taken lightly. However, there are several compelling reasons why a non-profit might consider making a change:

  • Approaching the end of a contract: If your current CRM contract is ending, it may be an opportune time to evaluate other options.
  • CRM price is increasing: Rising costs can be a significant factor in deciding to switch to a more cost-effective solution.
  • Frustration with the current system: If your team is continually frustrated with the limitations or complexities of your current CRM, it might be time for a change.
  • Unable to hit goals with the current system: If your current CRM isn't helping you achieve your organizational goals, it’s worth exploring other options.
  • No product innovations or updates: A stagnant CRM system that lacks new features or improvements can hinder your non-profit's growth and efficiency.


At the same time, many non-profits are hesitant to switch due to:

  • The headache of making the change
  • The pain of learning a new system
  • Migrating after using a legacy system
  • Inconveniencing leadership or staff
  • Adding implementation of a new system to an already long to-do list


So, when should you change? When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. If the limitations and frustrations of your current CRM are holding back your organization, it may be worth enduring the temporary discomfort of migration for the long-term benefits of a more effective system.


How to Choose a New CRM

One of the main reasons donors stop giving is due to impersonal communication or messaging that doesn't resonate with them. If your current CRM isn’t keeping data that makes messages relevant or thank-you notes timely, donor retention will continue to fall. To choose a new CRM that better serves your non-profit’s needs:

Outline Fundraising and Marketing Goals

Clearly define what you want to achieve with your new CRM. Understanding your goals, whether it's better donor retention, more effective fundraising campaigns, or improved marketing outreach, will guide your CRM selection process.

Research Non-Profit CRM Options Based on Those Goals

Look for CRM systems tailored to your specific goals. Compare features, pricing, user reviews, and scalability to ensure you choose the best option for your non-profit.

Consult a Checklist for Key Functionality All Non-Pofits Need in a CRM

Ensure your new CRM includes essential features such as:

  • Data analytics to understand donors better
  • Email and marketing features for effective communication
  • Marketing automation to streamline processes
  • Essential integrations with other tools your non-profit uses
  • Online giving and donation pages for seamless donor experiences

Download the Virtuous Checklist here.

Set a Go-Live Date for Implementation

Establish a realistic timeline for when you want the new CRM to be fully operational. This will help you plan the migration process and ensure that all necessary steps are completed on time.

Map Key Milestones to Start Proving Value

Identify key milestones throughout the implementation process that will demonstrate the new CRM's value. These could include completing data migration, conducting initial training sessions, and launching the first successful fundraising campaign using the new system.

CRM Migration Steps for Non-Profits

When your research is complete and you have found a new CRM, you can ensure a smooth migration process with a structured approach. Here are the key steps to consider:

Plan Your Data Migration Carefully

Start by developing a detailed migration plan to ensure that important customer data is transferred accurately and completely. Clean up your existing data by removing duplicates and outdated information. Establish data governance policies to maintain data quality in the new CRM. Data accuracy is paramount, as it forms the foundation for your new system's effectiveness.

Understand Your Data

Data preparation is critical for successful system implementation. Merely transferring your data to a new system won't suffice. You need to clean up any bad data to ensure it's useful in the new CRM. Assess the extent of data clean-up required. Identify duplicate records, outdated information, and necessary data for future operations. This step ensures that your data is not only accurate but also relevant and useful.

Prepare Your Team for the New CRM

Transitioning to a new CRM can be a significant change for your team. Provide training and resources to help them understand how to use the new system effectively. Clearly communicate the new CRM's benefits and how it will improve their daily tasks. Consider appointing a CRM champion or expert within your team to support others during the transition. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and confident in using the new system.

Testing and Feedback

Conduct thorough testing of the new CRM in a sandbox environment before going live. This allows you to identify and resolve any issues without impacting your live data. Gather feedback from your team during the testing phase to identify any potential issues or areas for improvement. This step is crucial to ensure that the new system works as expected and meets your organization's needs.

Change Management

Develop a change management plan to guide your team through the transition smoothly. Keep an open line of communication with your team about the changes and the timeline for the switch. Change management ensures that everyone understands the reasons for the migration, the benefits, and their roles in the process. Effective change management can significantly reduce resistance and ensure a smoother transition.

Ongoing Support and Training

After the migration, ongoing support and training are essential. Have a plan in place for ongoing support and maintenance of the new CRM. Regularly review the system's performance and stay updated on new features and best practices. Continuous training will help your team stay proficient and leverage the full capabilities of the new system.

Measure Success

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the new CRM's success. Monitor and analyze data to track improvements in customer relationships, sales, and other business goals. This step ensures that you can quantify the new system's benefits and make any necessary adjustments to maximize its effectiveness.

Watch Our Webinar Recording to Hear More

For a deeper dive into the CRM selection and migration process, watch our webinar recording here.


Leveraging NPact Services to Migrate CRMs

At NPact, we specialize in helping non-profits and community foundations migrate to new CRMs like Blackbaud Raiser's Edge NXT and Virtuous. Our team of experts can guide you through every step of the process, ensuring a seamless transition and minimal disruption that allows you to quickly get the maximum benefit from your new platform. 

Migrating to a new CRM can be a complex project, but with careful planning and consideration, you can ensure a smooth transition and successful implementation. By focusing on your business needs and involving your team in the process, you can make the most of your new CRM and drive your non-profit forward.

Ready to make the switch? Contact us today to learn how NPact can assist you in your CRM migration journey.

Consulting Team

Consulting Team