Nonprofit organizations make life better for a lot of people. Their raison d'être is to provide needed services, education, and other types of programs to improve the quality of life of community members. But just as with everything else in life, it costs money to run them.
This reality presents a conundrum for those in charge of running them: How to balance spending funds on administrative needs with allocating most of the resources towards fulfilling their philanthropic missions.
This is where HubSpot provides practical options: You can run operations as efficiently as possible, maximize the use of resources, and still leave you with enough money to fulfill your nonprofit’s community services.
Nonprofits may have many similarities to running a traditional business — such as overhead, payroll, marketing, and administration. However, they have several aspects that sets them apart in a different category:
Nonprofits exist to benefit society. They choose a cause, they work to serve that sector. Meanwhile, other business entities go into business to make a profit. They provide a service, yes, but their north star is to bring in revenue and benefit the entity itself. This means that nonprofits focus on what they can do to make the greatest impact within the communities they serve. They’re not going to spend hours on end looking at cutting-edge technology options.
For-profit organizations typically set aside a specific percentage of their budget for technology. When it comes to non-profits, this range is about 4.2% for larger organizations, and 1.7% for smaller ones. The majority of their operational budget goes towards their community service programs and administrative costs.
When you’re serving a community, there are many instances where time is of the essence. You want to host an event, collect donations, increase your list of volunteers, or collect funds by a specific date. You don’t have time to try to figure out how to use complicated tech. Therefore, it’s crucial to find technology that’s ready to use immediately, without requiring a technology background.
There are several reasons why using HubSpot would be an excellent SaaS platform to run a nonprofit entity:
1. CRM is Free
You can get really effective customer relationship management (CRM) software for free. If you’re not using one yet, let’s cover what it is, in a nutshell: A CRM is a centralized location where you store all of your contacts’ information — their names, companies they work at, their job roles, where you met them, whether they’ve made previous donations, or volunteered their time, or have used their network to somehow help your organization.
In addition, you can install a tracking code on your website to get information about their user behavior, so you’d also know which pages they visit the most, the content they’ve consumed, if they’ve downloaded anything, etc…
As a result, you can approach every communication within context, set up workflows (explained below) to send them Thank You emails, happy birthday wishes, newsletters, or anything else that may be relevant to their circumstances.
And don’t think for one minute that because it’s free, you’ll only be able to store a handful of contacts. Nope. You can add up to a million (yes, one million) contacts, and you get to add unlimited users. And the free features are free forever. It’s not a trial period.
2. Contact Segmentation
Your donors, volunteers, vendors, partners, and the community you serve should all be receiving different types of emails, and HubSpot’s CRM enables you to segment your contacts based on their categories. This makes it more likely that they will continue to open your emails, since the recipients will know that what you’re sending applies specifically to them.
3. Email Templates
Even if you’re working at a nonprofit, you want your email communications to match your brand, and to look attractive to the reader. HubSpot’s CRM includes a wide array of email templates with drag-and-drop functionalities and CTA creators, so that you can design emails to look the way you want them to look, no coding knowledge required. This alone saves you the money it would cost to hire someone to create them for you.
4. Lead Nurturing To Establish Long-Term Relationships
The nature of nonprofits often requires establishing long-term relationships with prospects — especially those with shared values who have shown an interest in donating their time and/or money. And this doesn’t just happen with one event or one communication. HubSpot simplifies this process with their contact segmentation and drip campaign capabilities. You can schedule a collection of communications based on specific goals (brand awareness, educational, or celebratory, to name a few).
5. Automated Communications
One of HubSpot’s most effective tools are workflows. This tool enables you to automate email communications based on a user’s behavior. For example, sending a Thank You email after a donation, or additional instructions to a volunteer, or a page with resources to a member of the community who reached out to you for assistance.
This ensures that all information received is always timely, and that no one ever falls through the cracks. You can also set up workflows to follow up with people who’ve fallen off the radar as you attempt to re-engage them with your organization.
6. Playbooks Feature
Nonprofits are often able to keep their doors open thanks to both staff members and volunteers who show up regularly; and whether they’re on the payroll or not, they all need to work like a well-oiled machine. While you should always provide extensive training, HubSpot makes a lot of their jobs easier with Playbooks. This is a feature you can use to create How To guides, as well as scripts, and other relevant information, so that your representatives can always know what to say or do whenever a potential donor asks a question or raises concerns.
7. Document Sharing
The HubSpot documents tracking tool lets you create a library of frequently used content that you can easily distribute through your email, then keep track of each of them — Who has signed what? Who needs a follow up? You can even see who has viewed the document, but hasn’t engaged with it yet. These insights let you know what performs well, or what may need to be modified to incentivize the recipient to act.
8. Reporting Dashboards
Any entity — for profit or not — should be able to know whether their efforts are effective. How many people are visiting your website? Reading your emails? Making donations? Contacted you as a direct result of a specific marketing campaign? HubSpot tracks the performance of all of your efforts: website activity, marketing emails, revenue generated by each campaign, etc… You can also set them up to look any way that makes it easier for you and your teams to read them.
9. It’s User-Friendly
While HubSpot does come with a learning curve, you can go through the onboarding process with plenty of assistance — a knowledge base, community forums, and free HubSpot Academy courses. And if you can allocate some of your budget towards its use, you can also get a HubSpot partner agency to offer consulting or management services, so you can focus on running your nonprofit without having to take too much time off to learn how to use it.
If you’re still hesitant to take the plunge, reach out to us to discuss how HubSpot CRM tools can align with your nonprofit’s goals. You can also get a free demo to walk you through how each process works, so that you can make an informed decision about whether this platform is right for you.