The ideal information system is a single shared secure information system.  Large organisations pay hundreds of thousands to get such solutions custom built.

For charities, on more limited budgets, it is possible to create a virtual single shared solution by integrating a small number of applications together.




The client relationship management [database].  This is the centre
of a shared information system. It contains all client data, all donors, all
stakeholders, all referrals, assessments, care plans and actions.


Financial accounting solution

A key criteria for selecting an accounting system is one that integrates with other systems
electronically. An example of a financial accounting system with intetgrates
well with CRM systems, while providing charities with what they need to meet
their best practice in reporting requirements is AccountsIQ.



Often, the Contact Us page of a website only
sends an email to a staff person.  It is much more logical for the Contact
Us form to send the person’s details into the CRM, add the person’s record to
the CRM if they do not already exist and then send an email to the relevant
staff with a link to the record in the CRM.  Even better, if someone makes
a donation on the website, the person, donation information and payment
confirmation are sent to the CRM, the person added and the donation recorded
against that person and  an automatic thank you email sent.  Then,
the magic happens, the transaction is passed from the CRM into the financial
accounting system ready for bank reconciliation. All without a staff person
lifting a finger.


Communication [email, social media and SMS] tools with
the CRM

We have got used to sending email from a separate email client, e.g. MS
Outlook or Gmail, and receiving the emails into an Inbox.  It is much more
logical that all communication records be associated with the person on the
CRM.  Therefore any staff who communicates with a client, by any means, is
recorded on the client record.

These separate systems can talk to each other using an API. Application Programming Interface.  This is a library of languages and two
applications e.g. Salesforce CRM and AccountsIQ – both with APIs – agree a
common language, share a security key and pass data from one to another in
agreed format.

An integrated system puts the people charities
engage with at the centre. It is client centric, and supports both much better
relationships with all client and donors as well as much easier reporting.
Client-centric information was the way we organised before PC – a single file
for each client with all information in that file.  An integrated system recovers this logical way to
organise our information