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Budgeting Question for Migration to a new CRM

  • 1.  Budgeting Question for Migration to a new CRM

    Posted Nov 13, 2018 15:01
    My organization has been growing its development activities steadily for decades.  We now have about 15 staff, manage corporate relations, foundation grants, fundraising galas, do it yourself fundraisers, and individual direct marketing and major donors - all in Raisers Edge as a backbone with a number of other systems used for specific functions such as email, donation, personal pages, website marketing etc.

    We are considering upgrading our system to a more comprehensive and scalable CRM - we have not made a final decision on which but might be considering Salesforce, BBCRM or another comparable platform.  Our RE system has 105,000 records currently, and we have about 30,000 active email subscribers.

    Are there any users in this forum who have recently made a comparable switch (in past 4 years) who can provide me with info about how much time your implementation project took, and what it really cost (not just the base software costs, but all third-party integrations, training any customizing or required add-ons)

    I understand that what someone else spent might not be comparable to my needs, but I am trying to get a ballpark budget together.
    Your feedback is appreciated

    Thank you

    Rob Dickar
    Director Development Systems & Strategy
    Safe Horizon
    New York, NY
    Tech Accelerate

  • 2.  RE: Budgeting Question for Migration to a new CRM

    Posted Nov 14, 2018 08:36

    Hi Rob, the short answer is that the cost can vary quite a bit. It depends on your specific needs, how well those fit with the platform you go with, what features you can live without (and therefore avoid the customization costs for those), and the payment model of the solution you choose, among other things. We do a lot of CRM work for many clients, most of which are at a smaller scale than this.


    You can probably expect to pay not less than $30k for this transition. I wouldn't be surprised to see something in the $50k-$70k range, and could definitely be more.


    FYI, a lot of this cost is not in the technical steps themselves. The majority is usually consulting (really understanding your needs and translating this into a software choice and implementation structure) and training (transitioning everyone to the new tools and processes). These are really critical parts of the transition. The cost of the technical work is likely only around 30% of the project cost.


    You should also expect ongoing costs. I wouldn't be surprised to see around $300-$2000 /month. This can really vary depending on the payment model for the software. The lower end is where you would have paid upfront for the software, whereas higher end when it's a subscription model.


    Timing, likely around 8-12 months.


    Hope this helps!





    Martin Hansen
    Senior Consultant / R&D Lead
    519.725.7875 x2120 | 888.817.3048


    PeaceWorks™ Technology Solutions
    101 - 554 Parkside Drive,
    Waterloo ON  N2L 5Z4


    Mission driven technology solutions





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    Tech Accelerate

  • 3.  RE: Budgeting Question for Migration to a new CRM

    Posted Nov 14, 2018 13:33
    Edited by Medha Nanal Nov 27, 2018 11:11
    Hi Rob,

    I help organizations with similar transitions and take a strategic & holistic approach to determine the best product and approach to fit their needs, goals and budget.

    The objectives you described are not only limited to data migration, but also include setting up the entire ecosystem and organizational processes around the main database platform. In my experience, what impacts data migration costs is not simply the number of records alone, but also the variety of information that is to be migrated. Also, depending on which new system you choose, this data needs to be re-organized as per the underlying data model pertaining to that platform. This is the bulk of the migration work, and to achieve this, occasionally custom scripting and other tools/techniques are used. All these contribute to the wide variation in costs/estimates.

    I have seen similar projects running from $20K all the way to $80K.

    One approach I suggest my clients is to decide at least an initial budget, allocate time and resources for careful CRM selection, and prioritize based on their short-term and long term goals. Based on those, a project road map can be produced to accomplish the complete transition.

    If you wish to discuss further, feel free to reach out. I work with organizations using a variety of database/CRM platforms, and I advise them independently (i.e. I do not accept any referral commission from any of the product companies).

    Medha Nanal
    Strategic Data/Database Consultant for Nonprofits (Fundraising, Operations, Programs)

    Tech Accelerate

  • 4.  RE: Budgeting Question for Migration to a new CRM

    Posted Nov 14, 2018 13:51
    The Marine Mammal Center is wrapping up a technology assessment right now and will be deciding on our systems very soon. I highly recommend using a consultant to help guide you through this complex process. Yes, it's expensive but IMHO well worth it. Your database is your biggest asset. After an RFP, we selected Robert Weiner https://rlweiner.com/ and have been happy with him.

    Dale Anania
    Direct Response Officer
    The Marine Mammal Center
    Sausalito, CA
    pronouns: she/her/hers

    Tech Accelerate

  • 5.  RE: Budgeting Question for Migration to a new CRM

    Posted Nov 15, 2018 10:33
    There's a great guide out earlier this year called Making Wise Decisions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Selecting the Right Data System from Public Profit and B3 Consults.  It was based upon extensive interviews with a variety of nonprofit leaders, consultants, and data system vendors.

    The website features a short self-assessment that's helpful in and of itself.

    I first learned about this when Betsy Baum Block was looking for consultants and software vendors to interview, but now AGH Strategies is doing a CiviCRM implementation with an organization that was an early user of the guide, and I can tell that they are a lot better prepared than many similar organizations.

    Also, they did a RFP which really struck the right balance between outlining detailed needs and leaving room for an implementor to recommend the right solution in the context of the CRM system.  So many RFPs either omit key details or list an overwhelming list of requirements that the organization often doesn't understand or actually care about.  That work on the front end made it possible for us and other vendors to provide helpful proposals, and that helped them intelligently choose among the options.

    Andrew Hunt
    Nonprofit Relationship Consultant
    AGH Strategies, LLC
    Washington, DC

    Tech Accelerate

  • 6.  RE: Budgeting Question for Migration to a new CRM

    Posted Nov 26, 2018 13:19
    Edited by Betsy Block Nov 26, 2018 13:19
    Thanks for the nod, Andrew!  The Making Wise Decisions toolkit has a lot of resources behind it, including a budget template in Google Docs to help make sure you are thinking about all the associated one-time AND recurring costs.  We just re-launched our website at the beginning of the month, and added more resources.  I'm happy to set up some time to make sure you can use the toolkit.  This is a foundation-sponsored initiative, and the toolkit is very robust - this isn't a consulting offer, but rather making sure you can use the resource to support you whether or not you decide to engage a 3rd party consultant.

    I can also 2nd Robert Weiner as an expert in the arena of donor management specifically.

    My best,

    Betsy Block
    B3 Consults
    Oakland, CA

    Tech Accelerate

  • 7.  RE: Budgeting Question for Migration to a new CRM

    Posted Nov 27, 2018 11:25
    A rule of thumb, based on years of helping nonprofits with this work, supplemented by Gartner research on IT and CRM spending more generally:

    A major CRM overhaul will cost you about 1-2% of your annual budget - more if you're a small org, less if you're large. This number is the all-in number that includes your data conversion, consulting, and customization. Put another way, if you're looking at a project that is at the high end of this range or breaking past it, you may be considering projects that are not in line with your general scale.

    Isaac Shalev
    Stamford CT

    Tech Accelerate