For your non-profit organization, donations likely make up a significant portion of your operating budget. If they don’t, they can! The right fundraising software can make a big difference in your ability to raise funds to help accomplish your mission. Most organizations will have some type of donor or constituent database. But is it the right system? The right solution will help you raise more money, execute more effective campaigns, cultivate stronger relationships with donors, grow the constituency, and expand your reach.
Read on to find out more about your options and how to find the best solution for your organization.
Fundraising software applications allow for tracking the acquisition of donor contributions and for facilitating related communication and data management tasks. Fundraising software applications are a critical IT resource for non-profit organizations which depend on the support of contributors to deliver resources and services.
Important benefits enabled by fundraising software applications include:
These type of software categories can be used interchangeably in conversation, but hold different meanings in practice. Fundraising software helps you acquire donations through communication and campaigns, while donor management software is more of an industry-specific CRM tool that can record necessary data about a donor (giving history, amount of gifts, personal details).
|Donor database||Donor database capabilities provide the ability to track contact and transactional/communication histories with donors and prospective donors, allowing for improved fundraising and better reporting|
|Membership tracking||Capabilities that support registration access to specified privileges, often as a result of one-time or subscription payment|
|Credit card processing||Features that support donation or registration payments via credit card|
|Contact management||Contact management allows for information about contacts and communication/events histories related to contacts to be entered into a centralized management system|
|Events tracking||Support for event scheduling (such as calendaring) can be important for non-profits who drive fundraising with event activities|
|Volunteer management||Volunteer management functionality provide features to track individual time commitments|
|Email template management||The ability to create, store, and edit fundraising email templates can help refine the effectiveness of donor communication and create efficiencies by preventing individual fundraisers from having to craft custom messages from scratch in common situations|
|Online donation portal||An online donation portal provides another access point for potential donors, providing a means of increasing fundraising revenues by tapping into new channels for fundraising|
|Matching contributions tracking||Support for corporate matching services provides another means of increasing per-donor giving rates|
|Fundraising/campaign tracking||Fundraising/campaign tracking capabilities provide reporting analytics to identify why fundraising activities have yielded the best results, enabling refinement of ongoing fundraising efforts|
Software should help keep your efforts focused on the people you serve rather than the donors who give. At times, organizations make fundraising overly complicated. And, that can stand in the way of raising funds and serving your cause. Fundraising should be fun, simple, and managed efficiently. If someone wants to know where they are with their giving and how much they owe, this should be a simple thing to report. Find out who is paying your organization, how much and when.
The right fundraising software should provide the following important reporting capabilities:
Fundraising software can be used for after the fact reports and provide valuable information before your fundraising efforts even begin. Some software can help identify the demographics of your donating community. Demographic insights allow you to predict probable donors so you can target your efforts accordingly. This can greatly improve the success of your fundraising campaigns.
Multiple standalone products are available for your non-profit needs. Fundraising systems have accounting interfaces that can make it easy to transfer transactions directly to your accounting system.
The software you choose should pay for itself by increasing donations, freeing up time by increasing operational efficiency and improving donor satisfaction. With the right software, every letter, email, phone call, activity, donation, campaign, event registration, survey, volunteer, relationship, and more are tracked in one place.
Efficient fundraising combines a realistic development plan with appropriate staffing and the financial and technical resources needed to achieve your plan. Fundraising applications let you control your entire fundraising process from goal setting to achievement. Donor focused fundraising strategies can be easy to implement and track with the right solution.
The Internet has truly transformed the way non-profits operate. Whether it’s connecting with constituents and building awareness for your cause or processing online donations, your organization has a large amount of online tools available to you.
Does your organization host fundraising events? Fundraising solutions can even include functionality designed to help organize and optimize the results from events such as galas, balls, tournaments, luncheons, conferences, and meetings.
All versions of QuickBooks can be used by nonprofits. QuickBooks markets itself as being a viable choice for your nonprofit accounting software needs, to provide commonly used functions such as fund accounting, donor management, and specialized reporting.
QuickBooks allows you to accept donations via credit/debit card, bank transfer, cash, or check. QuickBooks also has mobile applications available that would allow a user to process one of these transactions from their mobile device.
A potential downside of using QuickBooks Pro as a fundraising software is that it’s not specifically developed as nonprofit accounting software. Because of this, donations need to be recorded as invoices made out to the donor’s name and paid in full. You could record a pledge by opening up an invoice and setting a due date for it (the date you expect the pledge to be fulfilled). However, this may cause your accounting process to not be as straightforward as you like, leading you to look elsewhere for a solution that was developed with nonprofits in mind.
As QuickBooks is one of the most used accounting software solutions, popular fundraising software solutions offer integration with the platform as an add-on. Solutions such as DonorPerfect allow you to record fundraising and donation efforts in their software and send data back to QuickBooks to eliminate double data entry and give more of a complete audit trail.
Low donor engagement. Some fundraising campaigns will run year-round while others will run at certain times of the year. Nonprofits need to understand that all donors give for different reasons and give in different quantities at different intervals of the year. The best way to nurture this relationship is by contacting the donor when they are ready to hear from you. Being able to time your fundraising campaigns accurately will help save your organization time and effort trying to engage donors who are not ready to give. It will also not put any unneeded strain on the relationship to ensure that the relationship that you’ve developed with your donor will be one that lasts for years.
Retaining donors is difficult. One of Blackbaud’s more recent Charitable Giving Reports (from 2016) found that the average donor retention rate for first-year donors ranges from 21-29%, depending on the platform they used to give on. This means that for every 10 new donors your organization acquires via fundraising efforts, only 2 to 3 of them will return next year to continue giving. Fundraising software developers have been taking strides to help companies better nurture their relationships and to help retain donors.
Fundraisers lack the tools they need to be effective. Our Fundraising Technology Trends Survey found that while 4 out of 5 fundraisers felt that technology leads to increased success, only 1 in 3 admitted to having the tools they needed to implement a path to that success.
Online fundraising efforts are paying off. The 2018 Charitable Giving Report from Blackbaud found that since 2016, online giving has grown 17%, with the average online gift rising as well. 24% of all online transactions were made with a mobile device. Fundraising software that provides an organization with the ability to have donors pay online and even via their mobile device should have a net positive on your charitable goals.
Monthly giving programs solve the problem of donor retention. While the donor retention rate for first-year donors may range from 21-29% (mentioned above), repeat donor retention rate is at 60-70%. Implementing a monthly giving program can increase this figure as high as 85-90%. Donors with limited income may find the ability to pay small amounts monthly as convenient and less of a strain on their budget as opposed to one lump sum at year-end. Fundraising software that can plan mailers or email reminders for monthly giving (or even automatic payment each month) will retain donors more often than companies who do not implement these practices.
Innovation in web technology is fueling improvements in fundraising. In a discussion we had with 13 experts, they discussed how technology is improving fundraising. Some of the key takeaways were how experts are trying to reach new donors in new places (via social media), tell stories more vividly (through video), and make giving easier for contributors (through mobile giving).
Finding the right system to track all or your relationships and plan for campaigns can seem like a difficult task. But it doesn’t have to be. Our free software search service will help save you time finding the right fundraising software program for your organization. Get started today!