Better data management will give you more time to develop your small business or nonprofit.

by Meg Kreikemeier, owner of 488 Park Consulting

I’ve found when I help nonprofits and small businesses, they either have a system they’re not comfortable using or they don’t have a database and are relying on spreadsheets or information in accounting systems to gauge how the business or organization is faring. Whether you’re contemplating a CRM (customer relationship management system) or a donor database, consider the following.

Your workflow defines the process of how you acquire, interact with and retain customers, clients or donors. Think about:
• Your customer’s, client’s or donor’s journey
• The information you need to get out of the system
• How you onboard and interact with clients, donors or customers
• What products or services you offer now and plan to offer in the future
• What activity falls through the cracks
• How you categorize information
• The unique aspects of your business or nonprofit you want to build into a system

Pain Points
These are the bottlenecks and frustrations you may have with your current workflow or way of tracking data. The pain points can be at a task level or staff level, and they often create data quality issues. Consider the staff member who may be the expert in Excel who keeps having to add new columns to a worksheet to accommodate the growing organization. Often these issues can be solved with automation like programmed tasks, emails, and field updates which free up staff to do more important work.

System and Budget Considerations
When considering databases, check to see if the cost per user increases incrementally between plan levels and tops out at a reasonable price, or if the cost increases exponentially where moving up to the next plan level is out of your budget. The key is to think about what features you will eventually need. You don’t want to start with one CRM and have to migrate to another as the database ultimately goes over your budget. Factors that drive the cost are:
• Complexity and adaptability of the database
• Amount of customization you require
• Integrations with other systems
• Automations and built-in tools

Reach out to me at I will work with you to find the best CRM or donor database and configure it to suit your needs.

Meg Kreikemeier started 488 Park Consulting to help small business and nonprofits with their databases, websites and business workflows. She worked in the insurance industry for over 13 years and for a local nonprofit for nearly 9 years. She is an expert with many CRMs and donor databases like Salesforce, Zoho, Hubspot, Quick Base, Little Green Light and Donor Perfect. 488 Park Consulting is an active member of the La Grange Business Association. Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash