Here's what we'll cover:
What Is Donor Management and Fundraising Software?
Benefits of Donor Management and Fundraising Software
Common Features of Fundraising & Donor Management Software
Key Considerations for Donor Management and Fundraising Software
Fundraising and donor management software provide a platform for nonprofit organizations (NPOs) to track their collected dollars and the donors contributing them. It helps organizations of all sizes maximize their potential through multiple channels and marketing campaigns. Meanwhile, donor management features manage existing donors while strategically sourcing prospective supporters for an organization. These tools work together to recruit, engage and retain donors while optimizing their strategies.
Key performance indicators screenshot in DonorPerfect
This buyer's guide will cover both cloud-based and on-premise deployment models. For more on online fundraising platforms, visit our buyer's guide here. Additionally, churches and faith-based nonprofits may find dedicated church management solutions useful for tracking contributions and donations from members.
The several benefits offered by donor management and fundraising software include:
Better trend analysis of donors. An important feature of the software is the tracking of interactions. This feature records the outbound and inbound interactions between staff and donors. It helps organizations develop and introduce various patterns and trends that eventually enable them to target the right donors for specific campaigns.
Higher response rate. The software allows segmenting various donors based on the specific causes they support. It helps nonprofit organizations effectively target the relevant donors after segmenting them into different groups as per their donating patterns and demographics.
Allocation of work hours. With this software, staff can spend their time on more useful activities such as developing relationships with donors instead of doing time-intensive activities such as manual data entry.
Reduction in errors. Usage of fundraising and donor management software is bound to decrease the number of introduced errors. It will integrate the nonprofit organization’s accounting system with the donor management system. It will also reduce the chances of data errors and eliminate duplicate entries.
Reduction in campaign costs. The implementation of donor management software in nonprofit organizations will increase their efficiency and automatically reduce the operational and campaign costs.
Campaign management. Whether launching a single fundraising campaign or establishing an ongoing effort, this feature helps users create personalized, direct email and online marketing campaigns. These tools also measure the overall success of former and current campaigns, helping improve strategy over time.
Custom fundraising solutions. The days of direct mail are not over. Nowadays, donors often vie for simple online donation forms and, in some cases, social media channels, to donate to their favorite causes. Donation software allows NPOs to manage donations from online and offline channels in a single system. There are also specific programs for on and offline giving like online fundraising software for nonprofits and online donation software.
Donation and pledge management. These tools measure the effectiveness of a campaign by tracking donations and pledges made toward a particular campaign. These tools also calculate all inbound donations, whether from individuals, matched gifts, company donations, recurring contributions etc.
Donor tools. Donor software tracks one-time and recurring donors, and organize donor information, with an ultimate goal of turning transactional donors into lifetime supporters. These features help organizations increase contacts and acquire new donors by looking at giving trends and assigning prospective supporters to specific campaigns.
Reporting and analysis. Reporting and analysis features provide summaries for all donations, pledges and grants. These tools also measure donor retention and year-over-year fundraising performance so an organization can measure their success and develop strategies to improve efforts.
Grant tracking and management. Some solutions provide features for nonprofits that monitor application statuses, proposals and awarded funds. Once an award is issued, these tools allocate the funds to their respective department.
Other fundraiser features. For other features commonly found in nonprofit systems like accounting and volunteer and constituent relationship management, visit our nonprofit management buyer's guide.
Here are some more points to keep in mind as you evaluate donor management and fundraising software products:
Assess your requirements beforehand. Before buying any donor management and fundraising software, thoroughly evaluate your requirements. Make a list of all the features you wish the software would offer. You should consider a product that meets your needs and don’t choose one that either offers too little or a lot more than what you require. In addition, avoid solutions that advertise “cool features”; many of them may not be relevant to your business.
Ease of customization. Another thing you should consider is the ease with which you can customize the software. As all nonprofit organizations have different requirements and their programs keep changing, it is crucial to select a solution that enables customizations.
Ease of use. As the software will become a fundamental part of the organization, it must be easy to use and be intuitive so as to be adapted to the organizational requirements. Therefore, it is advisable to watch several demo videos before selecting the software.
Fits into your budget. It is important that the software fits into your budget, both current as well as in the future. To ensure this, you need to check the total cost of ownership with the vendor, which includes various costs such as those for license, installation, training, support and future upgrades.
Data security. As your nonprofit organization would deal with the bank accounts and personal information of several donors, you would require a software that also effectively addresses any and all security concerns your donors may have.
Technical support. This aspect is often overlooked when it is really one of the most important considerations to be made. In case of a technical glitch, you must be able to contact the solution’s technical support team through various communication channels such as email, online, phone, FAQ, written documentation and training videos.
Import and export data. The software must also be able to import and export data to and from your database efficiently. Data, such as a list of donor names and addresses, would need to be imported and exported often for activities such as email marketing and campaign management.
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