CRM for Fundraisers: Karani

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.


Full disclosure: I built Karani. I’m going to do my best to give it the same fair assessment I did the other options, but I might be just a little biased.

After I did all of my research this summer, I became convinced that none of the options presented earlier this week were really what today’s campus staffworker (and personal fundraiser in general) needs. We need a cloud-based contact manager with interaction history that allows for tracking gifts, pledges, and tasks that allows separation of contacts into groups, adding custom fields, and syncing with the services we use for our partner communications.

Karani is designed to allow personal fundraisers to manage your contacts and fundraising in one place. The CRM isn’t as fully-featured as SalesForce, Highrise, or BigContacts; there aren’t as many features as TntMPD; but it’s simple, and I hope it can meet the needs of as many of you as possible.

View a quick introductory video I recorded on the launch of the alpha (things have already changed since then–it’s a work in progress!)

Pros

  • Cloud-based: Not only is it available online, it’s custom-built to display correctly for whatever size screen you’re using, meaning you’re not fighting with Google Spreadsheet on your mobile device.
  • Contextual: Like TntMPD, this app is built specifically with a campus minister’s context in mind.
  • Simple: This could be both a pro and a con, but Karani tries to identify the most important information you need and present that to you. It’s designed to be easy to use and quick to set up.
  • Tracks interaction history and finances: You can track your tasks related to a contact and a history of your interactions with them.
  • Custom reporting: Coming soon, there’s a custom reporting solution where you can generate and save reports on dozens of criteria.
  • Automation: Currently there’s a DTR importer for InterVarsity staff that allows near-instant import of your donation information. TntMPD server support is on the way, giving you all the features of TntMPD sync in a cloud-based solution

Cons

  • Alpha: It’s still in alpha testing (a few weeks away from beta), which means it doesn’t have all of its features in place yet. Most noticeably, some of its most appealing features like TntMPD and Mailchimp integration are still in development and at least a few weeks out.
  • Simple: Because I’m keeping mobile users in mind, thinking that more and more of our work is done on the go, there are less features than a more robust solution than TntMPD which is intended for use on a desktop.
That’s it for our round-up of the CRM solutions available to fundraisers! Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
By Matt Stauffer | Posted: Nov 18, 2011
Category: Fundraising, Web Services | Tags: | Permalink | Post a comment | Trackback URL.

2 Comments

  1. November 18, 2011, 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Are there any plans to build a mobile app for this fundraising tool?

    Reply
    • November 21, 2011, 10:30 am | Permalink

      Hey Russ,
      It’s currently web-optimized, meaning if you visit it in a smartphone you’ll get a smartphone-specific design. If you save it to your home screen, it’ll have a hi-res logo, and you can use it like it’s an app.

      As long as enough people are interested it, I see hope for a mobile app one day–the benefits, of course, being A) access to the information when you don’t have an Internet connection and B) faster connectivity by caching the interface locally.

      As time goes on, I’m tweaking the site to work even better on mobile devices, taking advantage of new technologies to make it more and more app-like.

      Please feel free to try it out and give me your thoughts about the mobile experience!
      -matt

      Reply

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