What is a CRM and Why Do You Need One?

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Tools can be really simple. They can be an easy to set-up and access shared and secure place for storing relevant information. Or they can be really complex, taking months to develop and linking in with multiple other tools and helping you administer every process in your organisation.

Smaller charities, or those starting out, can often feel intimidated by them. The cost, the time to set-up and maintain, the amount of training, the ongoing costs etc. can be daunting. And they do take a bit of effort to set up, and get used to. However, once you’ve done this, you end up with an efficient and secure way to manage and share your organisation’s information. And if you do it right, you also end up with a system that can evolve and grow as your organisation does.

Here are some of our top reasons why you should consider a CRM…

  1. It Reduces Your Risk – The age of GDPR has brought more obligations (and risk) to every organisation when it comes to handling data – whether staff and volunteer records or Special Category Data. A CRM can provide you with a secure, cloud based storage solution for this data that enables you to set different levels of access for different users. No more Excel files full of client contact details being stored on an unsecure PC, or having to remember who can access what folders. Your CRM can handle this and in doing so, reduce your risk.
  2. They Save Time – Yes it can take some time to get set-up, but once it’s done, it’s done. You’ll have all of your data in one format and in one place. Whether stakeholder contact details, staff records, board meeting minutes or client histories, you get to decide what data needs to be added, the format it should be in and then it is there and accessible, regardless of staff illness, holidays or changes. Adding data becomes second nature, and consistent data means your reports will start to become a lot more reliable, and can be automated!
  3. Easy Reporting – With a CRM, once you’ve got your data into it, you can view that data in all sorts of ways. Reports might show staff shift patterns, the number of clients seen in a given month or year, the amount of donations received as a result of particular campaign and more. The ability to integrate multiple tools into your CRM makes the possibilities endless – if that’s where you want to go.
  4. You Can Start Small – Don’t be put off by everything a CRM can do, instead focus on what you need it to do. What are the things that would make your life easier and your organisation run more efficiently? For some it might just be having a secure, shared and online way for your team to log contact information, inbound enquiries, manage diaries, sickness and annual leave or manage shared resources such as meeting rooms or equipment. Get the foundations right, and it will be easier to add other functionality as you grow – for example, recording service user data, case management plans, donations, fundraising campaigns, marketing campaigns, integrating online forms etc.
  5. It is Cost Effective – Our mission at Enclude is to help charities access technology solutions that can increase their impact, and be cost effective about it. Our eStart and eService packages are based upon a Salesforce* environment and pre-configured to help charities get going faster. They provide the benefits of a tailored and relevant Salesforce environment, without the price tag of a bespoke solution.

Get in touch with the Enclude Team here to find out more!

*The Salesforce Power of Us programme allows any eligible non-profit to apply for up to 10 donated full Salesforce licences.

Purple House Cancer Support – Case Study

“Enclude are very helpful and very accommodating. They are a charity, with a charity focus and so understand the challenges that a charity faces… I feel like they’re one of us.”

The Challenge

Purple House have been an Enclude Salesforce client for several years. Installing a CRM provided security and consistency of data, automation of processes and made life generally a lot easier. However, the team were still telephoning clients to remind them about appointments, classes, transport arrangements etc. With 40 to 50 clients a day visiting the centre, this meant the team spending anything from 90 minutes a day, or 7.5 hours a week making these calls alone. This process was pricey in terms of resource and resultant phone bills. It wasn’t always successful either as people might be busy, or simply unwilling to answer the phone or check their voicemail.

The Solution

Enclude introduced their SMS Package. The package works as a “plug-in” to Purple House’s Salesforce instance. Taking the range of appointments and services delivered into account Enclude were able to configure the package so that clients could be sent SMS alerts quickly and easily, with little human intervention. Not only that, but the messages were also recorded against the “Contact” record, along with any response.

People don’t always want to check their emails. An SMS is short, informal, to the point, a quick reminder, it’s there.” Conor O’Leary, Purple House Cancer Support

The Result

Over a day a week was saved in terms of time. Time that could be spent focusing on direct service delivery, or priority matters such as planning services and the administration and client follow-up involved in maintaining clinical governance standards.

As well as saving a day a week in time resources, the solution also helped Purple House deliver a more meaningful, and responsive service to clients. Clients’ recorded responses, or lack of responses, could be used by the team to determine next steps with that client, or prioritise them for other interventions. This became particularly important during the Covid-19 pandemic when the team were a lifeline to those in a highly vulnerable group. Conor O’Leary told us “when we started interacting with our clients in a more technical way, they adapted and responded in kind. This has had significant benefits to multiple areas of service from using SMS to quickly and easily confirm appointments to the ability to provide information resources digitally.”

About Purple House

Purple House Cancer Support (Purple House) provides professional Cancer Support & Psycho-Oncology services to people affected by Cancer. In 2022 they supported over 1,500 families across the nation. Their services range from non-medical supports such as counselling, complementary therapies and survivorship programmes, to practical supports such as transport, delivery of food hampers, advice on benefits and entitlements, as well as group classes focused on exercise and other pastimes.

eSAFE Case Study

eSAFE is a data management system created specifically for domestic violence services in Ireland. It was developed by Enclude in partnership with Quality Matters and Safe Ireland. The solution allows to capture all the details of client-related work and keeps the Clients’ data secure.  

The Problem

There are 37 domestic violence (DV) services providing support to women and children across all counties in Ireland. Services are free, confidential and available to all women and their children.  They support over 13,500 women and children each year who are in violent and abusive relationships. 

DV services were using a variety of data collection systems, ranging from traditional paper-based filing, Excel spreadsheets or customised Access databases. They needed a better system to manage Clients’ data in order to inform service development, national policy and general funder compliance requirements.

The Solution

Initially 16 services committed to take part in the eSAFE project. Quality Matters with Safe Ireland’s support led the consultation phase which aimed to develop common protocols. The protocols detailed all processes and data-points that the CRM system should include. This step helped to maximise engagement and buy-in from services. It also ensured that the system would be fit for purpose.

These paper-based documents were used by Enclude to design the eSAFE package. eSAFE allows staff to record initial enquiries, Client details, Assessments, Referrals, Support Plans, Service Interventions and manage of Refuge occupancy. It also includes a suite of reports configured to meet the funder’s requirements.

The eSAFE prototype was thoroughly tested by a number of services and piloted in one. Following successful pilot, eSAFE was implemented in 21 services over 12 months. In the rollout phase Enclude trained over 250 end users, provided additional training for system administrators and ongoing support through eSAFE clinics.

The Result

Currently the eSAFE system is used in 25 services, which is more than a half of all DV services in Ireland. In 2022 nearly 7,000 new client files were set up using eSAFE.

eSAFE enables access to Clients’ history and support needs. It is easier for staff to hand over work after the end of their shift and retrieve the information they need. This leads to more efficient support offered to the service users and ensures that the tasks are followed up on as required.

Staff spend less time on administration and reporting. After the system is well bedded in, it can save up to 20% admin time.

Management of the services can easily oversee the work done with Clients and monitor Client’s progress. They can also identify red flags, trends and gaps, such as unmet refuge needs.

The system provides an evidence base to reflect the level of work carried out in support of victims of DV. This can be a potential driver for increased access to funding and support for the sector.

The data collected by different services is more standardised and will allow collecting statistics at a national level in the future.

What’s Next?

Enclude is providing ongoing training and support to the services as part of eSAFE Community of Practice. The system is continuously reviewed and improved based on the feedback collected from the users. eSAFE Membership is growing with a 26th implementation planned for 2024.

Enclude and Safe Ireland are planning to develop a module which will allow to collect key anonymised data from all the services using eSAFE. This will provide independent, timely and good quality data to the sector and wider audiences for awareness raising, research and service development.

Dublin Simon Outreach Team – Case Study

As part of an overall Salesforce Simon 360 CRM digital solution for Dublin Simon Community, Enclude developed an app in partnership with the Outreach team. This works in the office and on mobile phones, so can be used as the Outreach staff are on the streets or in the office.

Outreach staff can see where the rough sleeper is, respond to the alert and update the contact attempt status while they are out and about or in the office.


Dublin Simon Outreach Team – Case Study

The Problem

The Dublin Simon Community Outreach team work with people who are sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin. They receive emailed rough sleeper alerts via the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) in two different formats.

The Outreach team alert must follow up within a certain timeframe and further follow up work is required depending on the context of each alert.

Tracking the alerts response times and contact attempts is complex and takes a lot of time. It is difficult for the Outreach Manager and staff to coordinate and check contact attempts and responses.

Training new staff on the Outreach team to track and respond to the alerts properly is difficult and time-consuming.

Staff spend a lot of time on administration which could be spent helping those sleeping rough.

Reporting to the DRHE takes a lot of time and effort for the Outreach Manager.

The Solution

As part of an overall Salesforce Simon 360 CRM digital solution for Dublin Simon Community, Enclude developed an app in partnership with the Outreach team. This works in the office and on mobile phones, so can be used as the Outreach staff are on the streets
or in the office.
All of the alerts from the DRHE come automatically into the Simon 360 CRM and can be viewed by the team on their mobile phones. A colour-coded traffic light system shows the status of each alert.

Outreach staff can see where the rough sleeper is, respond to the alert and update the contact attempt status while they are out and about or in the office.
The Outreach Manager is easily able to check that Dublin Simon Community have responded to all alerts.
The Outreach Manager can report easily on all alerts and contact attempts to the DRHE and on its work to Dublin Simon Community Management.

The Result

Staff spend less time on administration and more time engaging with and supporting people sleeping rough.
It is quicker to teach new staff how to view and update the alerts.
It is easier for staff to see the status of an alert.
There is improved communication between team members on alerts.
The Outreach Manager spends less time checking staff have made contact attempts for all alerts.
The Outreach Manager can easily run reports for Dublin Simon Community and the DRHE.

What’s Next?

The Simon 360 system continues to be developed and rolled out to all services in the Dublin Simon Community including the Outreach team.
This will allow the Outreach team to make referrals and create support plans with service users.
The work done by Dublin Simon Community to help people experiencing homelessness and sleeping rough in Dublin will be recorded in a secure, consolidated environment that facilitates reporting for internal and external purposes.


Go to Dublin Simon to Find out more about the work of Dublin Simon Community 


Download Case Study PDF




“Enclude has helped us enormously in understanding how best to utilise the Salesforce platform to satisfy our organisation’s needs. Their technical knowledge, paired with an innate understanding of the challenges facing charitable organisations, has been invaluable in helping us leverage the maximum benefit the platform offers with minimum confusion, cost, and effort.”

Paul Dietrich, MS Readathon Manager, MS Ireland




Our challenge was to move all data and functionality from our legacy database systems to Salesforce, while seeking out opportunities to automate and streamline related business processes.

We also wanted to enhance reporting and monitoring of our campaign activities and enhance communication, to improve donor care to the thousands of campaign participants each year.


Enclude helped map our legacy system processes to the Salesforce platform. They also provided additional code to supplement, streamline, and automate activities wherever possible.

This has provided us with useful automation processes and functionality, improved communication with our donors, and helped minimise administration and manual processes for staff.


Enclude helped provide us with the following benefits:

  • Online registrations are automatically classified and directed to the appropriate staff, with additional information pulled in from their registration and dynamically linked to the campaign in question.
  • Packing lists are instantly formatted and generated at the click of a button, helping speed up our fulfilment and distribution processes.
  • Dashboards and reports now provide much better segmentation and clarity on our donor activities nationwide.
  • Large-volume data is now easier to enter by staff, with a much-improved user interface.
  • Communication with our donors is more targeted and frequent, with outbound emails to provide constant and relevant updates.


Multiple Sclerosis Ireland
80 Northumberland Road
Dublin 4
Phone (01) 6781600



“Working with Enclude to transfer our CRM system has helped us to save countless hours of valuable staff time from administration and allowed us to invest time where it matters with the change makers we support in our post primary schools working to eliminate LGBT+ bullying.”

Oisin O’Reilly, Fundraising and Office Manager




BeLonGTo contacted ENCLUDE initially in November 2015.  They had just received a large bill from their current CRM providers to continue hosting their fundraising CRM.

    • A new CRM had to be designed
    • All of the current Workflows had to be incorporated
    • All the current donor data had to exported from their current system and placed in the new system. This had to be seamless so that standing orders due to go out in January were not missed.
    • Staff had to be introduced to the new system.
    • And it all had to be done by the 26th December when their current contract ran out.


    • Initial meetings were held and a timetable agreed to. This was challenging as ENCLUDE had other clients that were also expecting work delivered and BeLonGTo were busy as well. It was agreed which part of the system had to be delivered immediately and which could be delivered in 2016.
    • ENCLUDE looked at the current fundraising CRM that BeLonGTo were using, and discussed with BeLonGTo where they wanted a similar solution and where the opportunity could be taken to provide for better workflows and processes.
    • A cut off data was arranged when data would be migrated from the old system and used to populate the new Salesforce system.
    • Testing was arranged to ensure that January Standing Orders were accepted by the new system.
    • The system went live ahead of the deadline.


    • BeLonGTo have saved hugely in on-going costs.
    • The CRM they used before was primarily for fundraising – their Salesforce CRM can be used for other purposes.
    • ENCLUDE continue to partner with BeLonGTo to refine and develop their system including campaigns and a case management system

Parliament House
13 Parliament Street,
Dublin 2
D02 P658
Phone (01) 6706223



“If someone asked me what Enclude has done for Meath Transport/Flexibus, I’d say it has changed us- completely, totally and absolutely. We went from having no information management system to having one that’s fantastic”

Miriam McKenna, Manager




Flexibus Locallink provide rural transport to Meath, Louth and Fingal. They needed a solution that would support their Passenger Management and Bus Management needs.


The result was the development of a comprehensive Rural Transport Management Solution for Passenger, Fleet and Driver Training Course Management built on Salesforce CRM. The new systems managed all their core processes via a web based solution. ENCLUDE wrote an app for Android devices to meet the info requirements of the key users of the system – the bus drivers. They access the system through their smart phones. At the start of the day, the app downloads the details of today’s routes and passengers for the bus it is assigned to.


Using the app, the driver can:

    • Complete the standard Road Safety Authority daily bus check. Any items not checked as satisfactory generate a picklist of fault options, from which the driver selects the fault. All faults identified by the driver are workflowed to the maintenance department.
    • Enter the mileage of the bus at the start and end of the journey.
    • Check-in a passenger as he/she gets on bus.
    • Retrieve a list of passengers listed for the current route and notes about the route.
    • Quickly add unscheduled passengers and their companions.
    • Access the passenger’s emergency details if required.
    • Fuel purchased, and mileage at fill, can be logged directly into Salesforce and reconciled with the fuel invoices and bus performance.
    • Depending on data availability and cost, data logged during the journey can either be sent directly into the Salesforce CRM or stored and downloaded back at base.


Meath Accessible Transport Project CLG
Unit 23
Mullaghboy Industrial Estate
County Meath
Phone (046) 9074830


“eCASS has brought huge benefits as a way to record and report on actual contact time, outcomes and progression of clients… feeding into a larger statistical gathering exercise providing timely and relevant information to funders and policy makers.”

Development Worker With The North Eastern Regional Drugs & Alcohol Task Force



The NERDATF North Eastern Regional Drugs & Alcohol Task Force funds and supports four drug and alcohol services located across Louth, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan. In partnership with ENCLUDE and Quality Matters, the eCASS (electronic Collaborative Addiction Services Solution) was customised to the needs of each local project as well as the specific needs of the Task Force. eCASS is an ambitious information management project which currently involves 72 local addiction service around the country, and their funding and support agencies – the Task Forces. The NERDATF, is one of 5 Task Forces who are involved in eCASS.

The project aims to support services to share data about substance misuse in their area and to enhance understanding of service user needs and substance misuse trends across a wide geographic region.


Thinking strategically, NERDATF proposed a common data set in partnership with their funded addiction services. This data set fulfils statutory reporting requirements for the National Drug Strategy and the Health Research Board.

At the start of this project, all addiction services agreed to this common data set, which ensured that all participating organisations collected the same information. This data set included key metrics which have potential to answer important research questions. This included data on assessment details, demographics, and substance misuse trends, gaps and blocks that negatively affect service users. All data collected is shared with the Task Force anonymously and does not include any personal details, like phone number or home address.

A Salesforce CRM solution was developed, leveraging the ten free licences that Salesforce.org make available to eligible charities.

In the implementation phase, staff and managers were trained to use their customised eCASS system to effectively gather data about their service users and service delivery. Using Salesforce has helped services to develop custom reports that analyse data to supports improvements in service provision.

In the final phase of the eCASS project, data from local addiction services was shared with the Task Force. To support this process, the NERDATF consulted with local addiction services and developed a memorandum of understanding to clarify the terms and scope of eCASS project; this meant that quarterly reports are shared electronically with the Task Force


The eCASS system supports each service to manage and record all their work in one system, including client care plans and assessments, keeping staff diaries, as well as supporting automatic report generation, and sending of reminder texts to clients.

A recent evaluation of eCASS showed that the system significantly improves:

  • 96% of respondents reported that eCASS improved how services show the range of their work.
  • 91% of respondents said it helped managers to have oversight of staff work.
  • 89% reported that eCASS had provided information to support improvements in their work.
  • 87% (n=39) reported eCASS had increased consistency of service provision in their service (i.e. staff are more aligned in their work).
  • 84% (n=38) also reported that eCASS had improved communication between staff and management

Over the next year, the Task Force plans to begin analysing this data to share important learning with service providers, identify emerging substance misuse trends and support improvements in service delivery and provision.

North Eastern Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force 1
Castle Street Kells
Co. Meath
www.nedrugtaskforce.ie Info@nedrugtaskforce.ie