July 09, 2021

Use Case
4 min

Streamline Your Nonprofit Operations with Cloud-Powered Data Solutions

A cloud-hosted CRM can enable advanced analytics for optimizing nonprofit operations.

Nonprofit organizations are constantly striving to do more with less. And when it comes to data management systems, less can indeed do more. Legacy environments often include disparate systems that make it inefficient to access the data that powers nonprofit services. Selecting a single CRM that can best meet the needs of multiple lines of operations, and hosting it via the cloud, can deliver huge cost savings — while enabling advanced analytics for optimizing operations in the future.

Consolidate Billing and Data Through a Single Solution

Data scattered across multiple platforms can be a huge challenge, but above all it can be costly. Multiple systems require multiple invoices – invoices that may be especially redundant if different operations functions are still needing to access the same data, just on slightly different platforms. Public cloud solutions are relatively inexpensive. Similar to more traditional on-premise CRM solutions, one public cloud subscription allows you to store data across your organization, but you likely don’t need, say, marketing and programming to store donor data on separate cloud subscriptions.

One CDW customer, a Florida-based nonprofit specializing in on-the-job-training and employment placement, was facing data challenges because their seven business functions were housing data in siloed systems. Inconsistent data access was slowing down the job-related activities of their 1000+ employees at over 20 locations across Florida. Monthly charges and colocation fees were piling up. CDW worked with the customer’s IT teams to determine the CRM with the best mix of services for their needs and chose a solution compatible with their Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. This CRM could then be integrated with an advanced analytics platform — also hosted in AWS — to improve operations.

When the implementation was complete, the customer would be left with one cloud-based solution that all operational functions could access at any location or even on mobile field devices – for a fraction of the cost of their original environment.

Create a Scalable Cloud CRM to Make Your Data Go Further

Easy access to data from a single source of truth is critical to nonprofit operations, but so is the ability to scale. The advantage of a cloud-native CRM is that once existing data is migrated, it is easy to add as more space as your services reach more people, or even temporarily add storage for a particularly busy Giving Tuesday.

The other advantage of scale involves building a data warehouse that, with proper data management and a robust analytics solution, can help you iterate on operational processes. The Florida-based nonprofit, for example, has already dived deeper into data around donation levels and the shopping habits of their in-store customers. This allowed them to improve the organizational management of their workforce, as well as provide greater employment opportunities and stronger job training services for those they serve. In the future, they plan to expand their analytics tool to other use cases, including harnessing insights into greater prospect acquisition and donor retention, and finding further savings on their cost per dollar raised.

Efficient data management is powerful for any organization, but it can be most powerful for the organizations that do the most good. A single CRM solution combined with scalable data management can create real-world impacts, like quickly connecting Floridians with new skills and livelihoods. 

Have a Clear Migration Plan

Cloud environments can simplify operations, but modern cloud environments are increasingly complex. An efficient cloud investment relies on a clear plan, especially if your data involves compliance requirements. Our Florida job training nonprofit, for example, houses sensitive personal data for not only their own employees, but those that they are helping seek employment. Migrating that data is one challenge, but compliance and security are another. An experienced partner can help lift and shift your CRM to a cloud platform without sacrificing integrity, often by helping implement additional layers of security or even outlining a governance plan.

Beyond security, some nonprofits may have additional groundwork to do before they move all operations to the cloud. When budgets are tight, technology refreshes may not have kept pace with the market. A nonprofit still running data center operations on a physical Windows Server 2003 is going to need to take several additional steps to virtualize that data before they can move it to a new environment.

Taking stock of your current environment can help determine the cost of a new migration. And it can cut down on hidden costs down the line by making sure that applications you move to the cloud aren’t still dependent on any outdated hardware.

Consider CDW for Your Nonprofit Cloud Solution

No matter where you are in your cloud journey, CDW consultants can design and implement a cloud environment that keeps your nonprofit agile and allows you to reach donors on a global level – and can even manage your environments when your team needs to focus on serving your mission. Our cloud specialists are dedicated to leveraging our partner discounts to help your nonprofit keep upfront and operational costs low.