Nonprofit group: Targets, Leads or Contacts?

I’m working with a nonprofit that puts on talks and events. I’m new at SuiteCRM though I’ve used other CRMs in the past (and wrote my own years ago, haha). I’m hoping some experienced users here can help me figure out how to best use SuiteCRM.

We’ll have these categories of people in our CRM:

  • mailing lists: people who have signed up to get our mail (we have a few different lists now)
  • members: people who pay for membership
  • speakers: people who speak at our talks/events
  • funders: people who donate (or might)
  • steering committee and board members: the people who run things

Only “funders” is really a traditional sales cycle, target -> lead + account + opp -> contact. Though perhaps members are too. But what about the mailing list? The SuiteCRM docs say “targets are disposable” but our mailing lists are considered high value. Does that mean it should be stored as leads? Or maybe even contacts?

I assume I can apply some kind of tags to these people to indicate their source (mailing, web, event, etc.) and other characteristics no matter whether they’re targets, leads, or contacts.

Any experienced SuiteCRM folks have advice?

This might help

(and the other articles under “concepts” heading here )

Your mailing lists are “Target Lists”, you can add all 4 kinds of “emailable” records there: accounts, targets, leads, contacts.

For simple organizations, the full flow of Target > Lead > Contact is overkill. Sometimes it’s better to use only two levels, or even to make everyone a Contact and use a field to distinguish different kinds.

(I also run SuiteCRM for a non-profit that gives courses, and I use Lead for “Candidate” and once they’re approved and pay, they become a Contact). I use Accounts for Classes (the group of people attending some course), since Accounts are a good way to group Leads and Contacts.

I would see what Salesforce NPSP has done with converting their app to a non-profit space by changing names of properties to align with the non-profit space.

I work with both SuiteCRM for commercial use and NPSP for non-profit so I have experience with both use cases.