Implement Classy Before Your CRM to Save Time and Money

4 min
William Schmidt
Will Schmidt

There’s no denying that switching fundraising software can be a difficult process. The situation can be further compounded when you realize you need to orchestrate a constituent relationship management (CRM) implementation alongside your new fundraising software as well.

We met with one of Classy’s enterprise solutions engineers, Kate Norton, to show you that this situation doesn’t need to be as overwhelming as it might appear at first glance. In fact, it can be an opportunity for your organization.

To make the most of this transition, Kate urges nonprofits to implement their online fundraising software, like Classy, before their CRM implementation. That way, they can avoid wasting time, draining resources, and losing money during the process.

Avoid Having to Wait to Raise Money   

According to Kate, it can take as long as 12 months to get your CRM fully set up and working properly. We’ve seen this timeline verified by certain nonprofit partners like First Book, who took between 9 and 12 months to set up their CRM.

Read the Full Story About First Book’s CRM Implementation

If you wait to set up your online fundraising software until after the CRM is in place, you could essentially wait for an entire year to really start fundraising.

Image of Kate Norton, Enterprise Solutions Engineer

The biggest thing you have to gain by implementing Classy first is that you can immediately start getting value out of your tech purchase.”

Kate Norton
Enterprise Solutions Engineer

If you get Classy up and running first, you can launch fundraising campaigns at the same time your CRM is being implemented. During that time, you’re able to capture supporters and their information, donations, and fundraising data that lives in the Classy platform.

“If you do it right, you can essentially fund the cost of your CRM implementation through your Classy fundraising campaigns.”

Kate Norton
Enterprise Solutions Engineer

Further, Classy has what’s called a historical sync where it automatically pulls all the historical fundraising data from your past Classy campaigns and syncs with the CRM. You can get near-immediate insight into all the data points you’ve accrued on Classy while your CRM was being set up.

Allocate Your Resources

Let’s say you have five dedicated developers that you can task with setting up your online fundraising and implementing your CRM.

According to Kate, you don’t need an entire team of individuals to get Classy up and running, since the process only takes a few weeks to a month. In fact, you can likely get away with assigning one developer resource to push it live.

Image of Kate Norton, Enterprise Solutions Engineer

The resources you need for Classy are different, and not as intense as those needed for a full CRM implementation.”

Kate Norton
Enterprise Solutions Engineer

That leaves four others who, at the same time, can start to implement your CRM. Once the developer working on Classy has finished, they can simply join the other four on the CRM implementation project and pass off Classy to the fundraising team.

On the other side of the equation, let’s say you choose to wait to set up Classy and instead allocate all five developers to the CRM implementation, which takes nine months. At the end of the CRM project, you take one developer and have them work to push Classy live, which takes another month.

If you allocate all five developers to Classy after the CRM implementation, you may in fact speed up the Classy go-live timeframe. However, at the end of the day, you’re still waiting for more than nine months to get your online fundraising engine started.

According to Kate, it’s a much more effective decision to build out Classy first and take the remaining time to focus on your CRM implementation. During this time, your entire staff can familiarize themselves with Classy, strategize around new campaigns, and begin fundraising.

Analyze the Opportunity Cost

From a time and resource standpoint, it behooves your organization to implement Classy before your CRM. And to drive the point home further, we met with Classy’s data insights team to create a formula that can show just how much money you may leave on the table if you don’t set up Classy first:

*As computed on your current platform

On average, we see most organizations that fundraise with Classy have checkout page conversion rates of 25 to 30 percent. Given that, we can populate the rest of the formula with hypothetical numbers and run a quick thought experiment:

  • 9-month CRM implementation
  • $75 average donation amount
  • 3,500 average donations per month
  • 15 percent conversion rate on your checkout pages

The total amount of money you potentially leave on the table while you wait for your implementation is: $1,575,000.00

Throughout the process, frame this as an opportunity for your organization. If you set up Classy before your CRM, you can start raising money to cover the cost of your implementation. And even if you don’t use the funds for that, you can still put them towards another important program or initiative.

It’s not always easy to switch online fundraising software or to implement a new CRM alongside that new software. If you need any help, or would like to talk with our fundraising experts for assistance, we’re here to help.


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