CRM for Fundraisers: SalesForce or Highrise

Matt Stauffer

The question I hear from campus staff often than any other is “How do I manage my contacts?” There’s a term for this in the business world: Constituent Relationship Management tools.  A few months ago I asked around about the options available to campus ministers, and after some great feedback decided to develop Karani. However, despite the fact that I built Karani to meet the needs of people who fundraise like me, there are certainly people who would benefit from one of the other systems available. This week I’ll be giving a short introduction to each of these.

The world of the CRM was originally developed for salespeople, and SalesForce is probably the largest force in the public CRM world. Highrise is a young upstart competitor with a hipper feel and audience.

Both sites charge you a monthly fee (although Highrise has a free plan for people with under 250 contacts) to provide complex CRM (contact management.) They offer probably the most powerful means of tracking your relationships with your contacts of the options we’re viewing; however, there is no customization or even options for fundraisers, so they only really meet one half of our needs.


  • Powerful: The contact managers in each app are extremely powerful, refined, and feature-laden
  • Industry standard: They’ve been around and the have thousands upon thousands of clients. They know what they’re doing.
  • Cloud-based: Both are web-based, meaning you can view it from any Internet-enabled device.


  • No fundraising-specific information: Not only is there no automatic way to track your gifts and pledges with these apps, they don’t even have much space for you to track it manually.
  • Unnecessary sales-related functions: There are some sales-related features and functions that have no benefit for us that you’ll just have to ignore.
By Matt Stauffer | Posted: Nov 16, 2011
Category: Fundraising | Tags: | Permalink | Post a comment | Trackback URL.

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