by Stephanie Watson
Published on 30 November 2012
Confusion is common with the volunteer organizations I belong to. That's why I was interested to review NeonCRM by Z2 Systems, Inc. They say they can offer nonprofit organizations and associations an easy-to-use, accessible platform to house all of their most important information about their members, donors, event attendees, Board members, and volunteers in one system. One of many non-profit software solutions, it allows staff and constituents the ability to interact, organize, donate, join, renew, sign up, purchase and anything else you might want in your online platform. Let's see how it works.
NeonCRM is a Constituent Relationship Management system, or CRM. Most nonprofits and associations have trouble tracking donor or member activity and involvement because the organization is working off three to five different databases, all independent of each other. This means that different types of data about the same people who contribute or interact with your organization may be scattered between several systems making it is hard to see the full, 360-degree view of all of their involvement. The NeonCRM consolidates the traditional silo-based "donor database", "membership database", "event database", "online store", "email communications" system, and more into one system where all of a nonprofit organization or association's data resides. Information about all aspects of the nonprofit is consolidated into one system and easily available.
In other words, within one NeonCRM, clients can track donors, event attendees, volunteers, members, and store purchases. Plus the system allows you to send mass emails, automate system email responses, process real-time payments, pull reports and it even integrates payment pages with the client website to feed the data into NeonCRM instantly. NeonCRM can be considered as an all-in-one "People Database" because there an organization probably has people who may be long-time members, have donated multiple times, possibly volunteered in the past, and attended the major event each year. With NeonCRM, you can pull up one person's record and see all of this 360-degree activity/involvement on one record.
Any nonprofit or association that wants to make it easy for donors, volunteers, members and employees to communicate can benefit from NeonCRM. You can track how much individuals donate, how often they attend events, whether they have been a Gold Member for 10 years, if they open your emails, what other people in the database they have relationships with, or if they sit on the Board of a certain committee. This lets staff personalize outreach to donors, members, attendees and volunteers. The more information you have about these individuals, the better you can reach out in a personal way. The more they feel a connection to your nonprofit, the more active they become. That's easier to achieve when all the information about them is in one place.
Bill Bro, President and CEO of The Kidney Cancer Association, offered that testimonial to the effectiveness of NeonCRM. He went on to say, "The NeonCRM is the single best investment our organization has made in technology. Any Charity that is considering improving how it interfaces with donors and other constituents would do well to consider NeonCRM." The bottom line for any nonprofit is raising the money to do their work. The NeonCRM system has a track record of helping them do just that. Adopting NeonCRM in 2004, the Kidney Cancer Association even increased their operating budget by 4-fold and continues to streamline their operations year to year.
The platform offers integrated online forms and mobile-ready forms that match the exact look-and-feel of a nonprofit's website. They even offer organizations the ability to track and monitor activity on their NeonCRM online forms using their own Google Analytics account. At the core of any good CRM database, NeonCRM offers many ways to track and analyze donations, membership join/renewal, event revenue, and any type of incoming revenue. It handles events, ticketing, sessions for workshops and calendars.
NeonCRM also offers a constituent login portal, that allows constituents to manage their profile, addresses and transactions. It even allows organizations to offer exclusive access to members by creating restricted member content, membership directories, event discounts, and log-ins for volunteers, members and donors.
NeonCRM offers your staff and administrators one-click reports on just about any aspect of the nonprofit, plus organizations can pull any type of custom report with a user-friendly querying interface that allows for in-depth data extraction across the system. Organizations can communicate to their people with a built-in email system, track it in a number of ways and use mail merge and merge queue as well. Accounting will appreciate the fact that it integrates with QuickBooks and the custom reporting allows financial data to be exported to work with any accounting platform's import methods. Organizations can even open an online store and control tax, shipping, handling, downloads and discounts. Staff can keep track of volunteers with applications, mileage and other expense forms and time tracking.
Here is an example of an overview Dashboard showing information about a client's account activity. Here you can see charts and clickable tables to see exactly what type of records make up an organization's constituency.
Here is a quick view of the Constituent Login Portal where your donors, members and volunteers can manage their own personal account, transactions and more. Every page behind this login will also copy over the organization's look and feel of the website.
Now to the website integration.
Here is an example of a donation page that is fully integrated into the Health in Harmony website and is connected to the NeonCRM platform. All of the information entered on the form will automatically feed into the NeonCRM and the transaction will occur in real-time, even allowing for scheduled recurring donations if the donor prefers. The client's website look and feel is maintained from entry to exit after payment
Here is a view of the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests membership application. Though it is a natural part of that group's website, the NeonCRM system is managing the database and all of the start dates, renewal dates, auto email reminders and more. Tasks that used to take much IT department coordination and many staff members to achieve are now being automatically performed by the NeonCRM.
Standard forms are included with the system plus you can use the custom form builder for surveys, membership voting and other special needs.
NeonCRM makes tracking your donors, members, and volunteers easy, allowing staff to see them as individuals. They in turn feel a sense of personal connection and have a stake in the organization. Since the platform is cloud-based, it is easy to access from any device connected to the internet. The interface is simple to learn and has a variety of modules to fit your organization's specific needs.
Videos for training and basic online support are part of all packages. Premium live chat and phone support are extra.
NeonCRM has direct integrations with MailChimp, an email platform, in case your organization wants to choose from many wonderful newsletter templates. It is also integrated with QuickBooks for pushing transactions to their accounting software automatically or in batch. Plus, NeonCRM is integrated with 5 payment processing vendors, allowing the client to choose their credit card processor and save on transaction processing.
Lastly, they will be releasing an API in early 2013 that will allow nonprofits to further integrate with any system in order to pull important data back to the "central database" which is NeonCRM.
Fees are monthly and based on the number of constituent records (ie, how many members, donors, attendees, volunteers, etc you are tracking). There is a fee structure for choosing modules a la carte and another for all-in-one. There are also some additional one-time fee options available for other premium services to further expand the integration and functionality of the system. Most organizations will find the price to be affordable considering everything that the system offers in one place.
If your nonprofit or association wants an easy way to track and communicate with each other and with your all-important donors and volunteers, NeonCRM is a good place to look. It can easily become a natural part of your existing website and the deep database functionality allows your staff to work much more efficiently on a day-to-day basis. NeonCRM makes it simple to connect personally with your constituents, building a family of donors for your nonprofit or to grow your member-base without creating a ton of manual entry and tasks for your staff.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 5/5, value 4/5 and ease of deployment 4/5