Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 12 seconds

CitizenCRM is a donor management web app, purpose built with the intention of being able to serve as much as 95% of small to mid-sized nonprofit organizations.  The product scales to the size of the database to provide services to smaller organizations that would often only be available to much larger ones.  The company is extremely focused on connections, saying: “We connect your CRM data to your third party apps’ data, we connect your organization to your donors’ social networks, we connect everyone in your organization to the data the need; anytime, anywhere.”

In Use

The app has been designed in a way that allows it to already be integrated with a wide variety of third-party applications that are popular with nonprofits.  For example, it integrates with email blast gateways like Constant Contact and MailChimp; online payment processors like PayPal; event management software like Brown Paper Tickets; and social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter.  

The goal of the app is to keep the nonprofit professional from wasting time moving data around from disparate “data silos,” simply to accomplish mission-critical, day-to-day fundraising and development tasks.  Instead, the app does the heavy lifting.  For example, an email blast campaign will allow you to track opens, click-throughs, and RSVPs directly in the CRM app, automatically and without having to export data from one database simply to use it in another.

Technology Employed

CitizenCRM is Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS.  It is a cloud-based, powerful, and secure web application.  There is nothing to be downloaded, and data is accessible to those who have rights to access it with just a browser and Internet connection.  The big selling points include the fact that there is no need to back up data or update software.

Ease-of-Use

The app was purposefully designed to be simple, easy, and intuitive to use.  Market and product design research showed that many products on the market, though potentially powerful, were quite complex and difficult to use.  CitizenCRM was intended to be something that everyone in the organization can use, despite the degree of their technical expertise.  

Configuration and deployment requires a few minutes to establish an account.  The user uploads or imports a CSV file of legacy donor data by following the online instructions on proper configuration of the file.  There is a configuration wizard to establish secure connections to an existing email blast gateway, online payment processor, and event management app accounts.  No training is necessary, and all instructions are provided in-app.

Recap

This product was truly developed with the small to mid-level nonprofit in mind and with an eye toward how these organizations work.  It is a simple, straight-forward tool that connects the apps and services that many nonprofits are already using.  Pricing reflects both of these points, and it is worth noting that, unlike most other donor management tools, there is no per-user limit or fee.  Instead, all costs are based on the size of the database.  

  • 0-2,500 donors = $25/month
  • 2,501-10,000 = $50/month
  • 10,001-25,000 = $100/month
  • 25,001-50,000 = $200/month
  • 50,001-100,000 = $300/month

Advantages/Disadvantages

Advantages:

  • Integrates with many of the most commonly used software applications
  • No per-user fee
  • Doesn’t require specialized training
  • Affordable for almost any organization

Disadvantages:

  • Still growing the list of compatible software
  • Newer company without a long track record

My Opinion

CitizenCRM does a nice job of taking a variety of isolated services into account.  The design seems to recognize some of the most common aspects of small to mid-sized nonprofit operations in order to integrate them.  While there are products out there that do the job of email blasting, processing payments, and managing events, the truth is that so many organizations really do use several different (often low-cost) products and services.  CitizenCRM seems like a common-sense approach to integrating these services in a way that functions in a way that is similar to a much more costly software solution.

Last modified on Tuesday, 21 May 2013
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