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Reply To: Searching for the right CRM system please

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Hi Nerys,

There are a couple of options I can think of. Which way you go will depend on your preferred timeframes, budget etc. I recommend you have a read of as it includes some good points to think about when choosing a CRM.

Simple options:
Start with bulk EDM software such as MailChimp / Campaign Monitor / Vison6. They support multiple lists and custom fields, so you can create a list for Alumni and use custom fields to capture additional data. They all support placing forms on another website (usually as embedded iframe or javascript).
They are great if you are looking to build a list and communicate with the audience.
Not good if you’d like to run more complex queries, manage events or process payments etc

Only Vision 6 is hosted in Australia, with the others hosted in the US, which may be an issue with data storage/sovereignty.

OpenSource CRM
CiviCRM is an open-source CRM that manages Contacts, Events, Payments, Memberships, Mailing, SMS. It was created for NFP audiences primarily so has a good feature fit for many Alumni organisations.
Data sovereignty can be managed by hosting the site on an AU/NZ webserver
Does need to be installed with a CMS such as Drupal / WordPress / Backdrop for setting up the basic pages that your audience will interact with.
Can be an issue to run on ‘cheap’ hosting, so you’re best off running a VPS (dedicated server) for better performance which would typically be $2-3000 a year.
However, there is a cost effective hosted solution provided by the core dev team that is well priced at $15 – $50 a month.
CiviCRM is good if you will be using most/all of the core features, especially payments and paid events alongside email marketing. Not many CRM systems support that combination.
Civi has an API that can be used to automate the import/export data. You can also import/export data manually via CSV.

Propriety CRMs
Salesforce, MS Dynamics etc
These are all generally very powerful and configurable but can have reasonably expensive subscriptions and can be complex to setup. They generally don’t support payments, event management or memberships, so that would require third-party integrations of some type.

Hopefully this is some help.

Chris Frost
Firefly Interactive

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