Donor Management Software: How Should Nonprofits Decide?

How does your nonprofit track your donors? Chances are, you are using some form of donor management system, whether it’s a simple spreadsheet or a complex online database.

Donor management software has become an increasingly popular and convenient way for nonprofits of all sizes and financial states to track donor data.

The software itself is ever-evolving, but there are some quality programs available today that can be of great help for your nonprofit if you find that you need a full-fledged donor management system.

Let’s discuss the ins and outs of donor management software, including the benefits, special considerations, and other options that you may have as a small to medium-sized nonprofit.

What Is Donor Management Software?

Donor management software is a platform to track all aspects of the donor engagement cycle while also monitoring overall resource development. There are many programs out there, and each one contains different capabilities.

Here are a few common features of donor management software programs:

  • Track donor information, including:
    • Demographics
    • Gift amounts
    • Interactions and communications with staff
  • Provide basic marketing and communications capabilities such as sending targeted emails.
  • Remind staff to follow-up, contact, or research a donor/gift
  • Quickly produce pertinent tax and contribution statements
  • Capture data on donor trends

The Benefits Of Using Donor Management Software

The benefits of using donor management software depend on the size and scope of your nonprofit. But, for the most part, almost all nonprofits can benefit from using one of these platforms.

Let’s discuss a few of the most important benefits donor management software programs provide a small to medium-sized nonprofit:

Organization– Nonprofits feel pressure to do more and more work with oftentimes ever-decreasing resources. Donor management software aids in increasing a nonprofit’s efficiency by capturing all data in one place, thus streamlining the work done by staff.

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Data Collection- Tracking all aspects of the fundraising process is sometimes overwhelming because there is a ton of information being gathered all the time. Donor management programs provide an overarching support framework.

You simply input data as needed and when the time comes to pull information, a quick data search (sometimes referred to as a ‘data mine’) provides a wealth of knowledge quickly and easily.

Retention– We know that donor engagement leads to retention. But, how do you keep track of every single donor in order to provide a personalized philanthropic experience? It’s difficult!

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Donor management software aids in increasing retention by providing a platform for a fundraiser to track donor data. When the time comes to meet with a major gift donor, all you have to do is quickly search their name and you’ve got access to your donor’s entire history.

Considerations When Deciding on Donor Management Software

There are many advantages to using donor management software, but there are also some things to keep in mind before you take the plunge and purchase a product.

  • Cost– The price of these programs varies greatly depending on the size and needs of your nonprofit. Figure out how much money you have (and need) upfront. Also, consider any ongoing or subsequent costs of the program that you may encounter down the road.
  • Technological Capability– What type of server and internet bandwidth do you currently have? The scope of your technology will impact that type of donor management program you purchase. You can choose from:
  • Scope– Some donor management programs are set up to track large amounts of information for nonprofits bringing in tens of millions a year. As a result, they are generally complicated and, for the most part, you won’t necessarily be utilizing all the capabilities as a smaller nonprofit. Therefore, it is important to find a program that supports your nonprofit’s individual needs.

Take some time to think through what you really want out of your donor management program. You may find that you don’t need a large system. In fact, it’s possible that your current fundraising platform may be capable of tracking the information that you need. For example, the Causevox platform provides fundraisers with detailed information on donor location, contact information, and a number of customizable donation fields that can easily be exported into a CSV.

Donor Management software

When using a donor management software program, nonprofits are likely to find the fundraising process simplified and organized. There are many options out there, and each one has it’s own set of benefits.

It is important to do your research to find the program that best suits your nonprofit. However, don’t jump the gun. You may find that your current fundraising platform has the ability to track the information that you’re looking for, saving you time and a potentially steep learning curve.

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