When implementing CiviCRM in our organisation, we got for the first time a complete overview of all our contacts, mailing lists, partners, members in one tool. You do not need to be a database genius to use it on a daily basis, and my colleagues have embraced the tool due to the easy and user-friendly interface. It meets all our needs as a contact management system and as a mail manager. I am sure that we will start using more of its components in the future.
We feel there are too many obstacles facing not-for-profits (NFPs) considering commercial CRM offerings, including many of those that are charity oriented. From licensing models which restrict the fluid expansion of an organisation's user base (why should you be punished with higher costs for being successful?), to support from commercial companies being inherently tied to one supplier; a NFP would benefit from the option to 'shop around' for those most appropriate, e.g. based on: proximity and availability on-site, cost, experience, value added services... They also often lack the capacity for charity relevant workflows, necessitating either customisations, complicated and inefficient workarounds or an en-masse call for new functionality, as individual charities do not appear to carry the weight required to influence subtle NFP-only changes to market leading software, without large expense.
On the flip side, CiviCRM is completely free and open-source, carrying with it a friendly, hard-working and enthusiastic community of developers and implementers, constantly listening to the users' needs and sculpting future releases to the requirements of NFP organisations. This is exciting!
As non-profit consultants working for non-profit organizations, we found CiviCRM to be particularly well suited to answer the common needs of activist associations, charities and other medium-sized groups. Based in Montréal, we've helped local and international organizations migrate to CiviCRM to manage their memberships, events, communications and fundraising campaigns. We empower our clients and assist them when they need us.
Its great to work on a project that has a profound impact on non profits. I am very excited about the work we do on CiviCRM which involves building on each other's ideas to create best of breed solutions for non profits. The fact that CiviCRM is an open source project with an amazing community and dedicated developers is an icing on the cake.