By guest author Dan Quirk. Dan is the Marketing Manager at DonorPro/Salsa Labs, the premier fundraising software company for growth-focused nonprofits. Dan’s marketing focus on content creation, conversion optimization and modern marketing technology helps him coach nonprofit development teams on digital fundraising best practices. Dan received his degree in Business Management from Grove City College and earned a Marketing Strategy Certification from Cornell University. In addition, he is a Certified Inbound Marketer, Certified Hubspot Marketer, and a Certified Customer Advocacy Marketer.
3 Ways Donor Management Software Can Help Your Organization with Fundraising
What are you using to track and manage your donor data? If you’re using an Excel sheet and that’s not working anymore, it is time to look into donor management software.
To give you an analogy — Excel sheets are to donor management software as fires are to stoves. Both share a function, but the latter can get you to your goals far more effectively and with far less margin of error.
Your software will be a major player throughout the entire donor experience. It can:
- Send out an email to a prospect
- Keep track of the data that the prospect enters when he or she makes a donation
- Automate a receipt with various reminders, like one promoting matching gifts
- Add the donor to a newsletter list, so that he gets frequent updates
- Help ask the supporter to make another donation when the time is right
Then, the cycle starts over again.
Definition of Donor Management Software
Donor management software goes by many names, most commonly some variation on the term nonprofit CRM.
CRM stands for constituent relationship management system.
This system has the task of storing your nonprofit’s data and using that data to help fulfill a bevy of your organization’s needs, like:
- event management
- donor communications
- donor management
Your CRM can perform even more nonprofit tasks, but these three are a good start to introduce you to the opportunities donor management software offers. It’ll forever alter how your organization fundraises. You won’t look back.
#1: Event Management
A CRM will help you make the most of your fundraising events.
- Crowdfunding events bring in donors from sources you never would have been able to reach any other way. If you don’t keep track of all that new data, your first-time donors will remain one-time donors. Your CRM can take the raw data and manage it so that you can schedule communications to develop the relationships.
- Your CRM will manage your online ticket sales for future events. When the tickets are sold online and instantly funneled through the donor management software, you automatically have pertinent information stored, thereby streamlining the process.
- Any event with an auction will run much more efficiently if you have the assistance of an auction-compatible CRM. Many software services give you enhanced checkout capabilities to quicken the process at the close of a long night and will even generate reports so you can better strategize for the auction the next time around.
The list could go on and on, and you’d start to notice a trend with each of the examples. CRMs cover the tracking and event management busy work. With that taken care of, your fundraisers are freed up to actually run the event. Your donor management software will position your staff to host the best fundraising event possible.
#2: Donor Communications
Communicating with your donors has never been simpler. Genuine and informed donor communications are at the heart of any stewardship program. Your CRM will elevate your communication strategy and capacity.
CRMs generate and manage various types of correspondences, including:
- email campaigns
- direct mail
You’ll have the ability to do all of that from one place. Plus, you’ll have an enhanced ability to track responses and the like.
Just remember, the software will improve how you communicate and adjust communications, but your organization is going to have to create promotional and educational content that your supporters will be interested in.
Understand the best strategies for online communications, and incorporate them into your CRM-enabled mailings. The same goes for offline fundraising methods. Your donors will appreciate it.
#3: Donor Management
Donor management is arguably the biggest benefit of a CRM. There is a reason that CRMs are often called donor management software.
An active nonprofit will have so much data flowing through its database on a daily basis that a self-sufficient system is a must. It’ll not only speed things up, but it will minimize chances for human error, too.
In addition to donation tracking, most CRMs come standard with:
- an easily maneuverable dashboard
- a recurring donations feature
- a way to check in on donor trends and pull various reports
- and the multiple communication features listed in point two
If you want to learn about your donors and you need that information readily available, there’s no better place to store it than in your CRM. If everything is kept in one place, all employees can find what they need.
For instance, imagine you have gaps in your knowledge of your donors. Your nonprofit performs a prospect screening to remedy the issue.
Fast forward two years to when the person who lead the research is retiring. If all that researched donor data is in your CRM, the transition will be seamless. If it is scattered across files and spreadsheets, that transfer of knowledge is going to be almost impossible to complete.
At its core, CRM is about ease. The earlier your organization invests in and starts utilizing donor database management software, the sooner you’ll be able to maximize your fundraising. In the nonprofit world of limited time and resources, that point cannot be undersold.