Donor Management Software

Donor management software is primarily utilized by non-profit organizations to manage and document donor relationships. These solutions enable users to manage donor information, such as the amount donated, the date of the donation, as well as personal and contact information, that can be used to help generate further donations. A core feature is the ability to easily communicate with donors and invite them to donate, whether online, in-person at an event, or through various other payment methods.  Read the full software guide...


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What is Donor Management Software?

Donor management software is a tool used by nonprofit organizations designed to help with managing donor relationships and developing personalized strategies to boost donor engagement and retention.

Donor management solutions are a type of nonprofit software that allows any nonprofit organization to efficiently manage donor information, which includes donor profiles, donations, volunteer work and more. The donor data collected can then be analyzed and used to develop sustainable strategies for donor retention and engagement.

Depending on the fundraising campaigns initiated by the organization, this software solution can be implemented to invite potential donors to donate online and on social media. It can also facilitate in-person donations at any given fundraising event, as well as use the software to process various payment methods, including checks, credit cards, electronic transfer, online payment services, etc. In some cases and with the right strategy, it may even be used to encourage really generous donors to double the donation, if they want.

Donor management software not only helps you manage your donors and facilitates your ever-growing donor database; it also provides multichannel communication that is a crucial aspect in maintaining a strong and healthy relationship between your nonprofit organization and your generous donors. A donor management system has to be integrated with several other applications, such as donor prospect research software to ensure up-to-date donor data. It may also be integrated with nonprofit accounting and fundraising software to help you match donors with the right fundraising event and to track donations and payments more efficiently.

While some donor management software solutions are better than others, especially when it comes to features and capabilities, there are several tools and functions that they all have in common. These normally include automated messaging and email marketing, contact information and metrics, donation history, segmentation and tagging. The segmentation and tagging feature allows you to segment and tag your contact lists so you will then be able to target specific types of donors and green-light them for the right blast messaging and email marketing strategy.

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Types of Donor Management Software

As previously mentioned, donor management software is just one of the many types of nonprofit software designed to help nonprofit organizations not only build donor relationships, but also improve donor engagement and retention, initiate fundraising campaigns, organize donor profiles, manage donations and more. The following are some of the main categories of nonprofit solutions that are often used in conjunction with a donor management system:

Donation management software

Donation management software is designed to help a nonprofit organization gather, monitor and distribute funds. The software is also used to manage and maintain donor records, as well as network with potential donors during fundraising campaigns and events. Donation management solutions have the ability to help nonprofits with organizing and analyzing donor data and creating effective communication strategies, such as email marketing campaigns whenever necessary.

Donation management software typically comes with a donor management feature, making this an ideal option if you’re looking for a more comprehensive nonprofit software solution with more functionality than your standard donor management software. Some of its other features include donation tracking, online donation function, payment processing, pledge management and dashboards for creating intuitive charts and graphs to keep track of statistics and other relevant metrics.

Donor prospect research software

Unlike donor management software, this particular software solution focuses mainly on helping nonprofits find potential donors. Donor prospect research software is used by nonprofit organizations to help identify hidden prospects through analyzing large volumes of donor data provided by various vendors. The software can provide organizations with access to donor profiles and other information, matching nonprofits with the right type of donors based on common interests.

The more advanced versions of donor prospect research software include tools that leverage AI to provide smart recommendations on the proper way to approach certain donors. It also has the ability to score and group prospects based on their affinity, interests and capacity to give donations. This type of nonprofit software typically integrates with nonprofit CRM to help manage donor relationships. It can also be used in conjunction with fundraising software and nonprofit accounting to help with matching gift donations and tracking payments.

Fundraising software

Fundraising software is another category of nonprofit software often used in conjunction with donor management software and donor prospect research software. It is used by a variety of nonprofit organizations to help manage their funding initiatives and processes. The main goal of using fundraising software is to attract and retain potential donors, as well as to ensure their loyalty and continuous patronage. With this software, nonprofits are able to run fundraising campaigns online via social media and through email marketing campaigns or even during live events.

A nonprofit organization that uses this type of software solution often requires the ability to track the efficiency of their fundraising initiatives as well as to build long-term donor relationships. Fundraising software usually integrates with accounting and payment processing solutions for more optimized financial transactions. It is most often integrated with both nonprofit CRM and donor management software as well, especially if such features are not readily available upon deployment.

Nonprofit CRM software

This particular nonprofit software is used by organizations looking to manage their relationships with constituents, such as volunteers, group members and donors. The CRM in nonprofit CRM does not stand for customer relationship management; instead, it stands for constituent relationship management. It helps organizations attract, engage and retain potential members who are willing and able to support the organization either by doing volunteer work or through financial means.

This type of software solution is mainly used by nonprofit organizations and their employees, specifically those that are tasked with reaching out to donors, email marketing, public relations (PR) and fundraising campaigns. Managers use nonprofit CRM software to facilitate efficiency tracking of the organization’s marketing efforts, as well as to evaluate and estimate the involvement of their members regarding various activities and initiatives.


How to Choose Donor Management Software

Finding the right donor management software may take a bit of your time and effort, especially with the number of vendors and products available on the market. However, there are a few key factors you can consider when evaluating different products. These should keep you from feeling overwhelmed while deciding which software solution to purchase for your nonprofit organization.

Evaluate the features offered

There are a few basic features and tools that most donor management software will be able to provide, whether it’s on-premise or cloud-based, such as a secure donor database, donation history tracking, contact management and donor engagement reporting and analysis. Along with those essential features, however, are a variety of tools and applications that essentially separates the best donor management solutions from the mediocre ones. It is best to determine beforehand which features you want in your donor management system, so you will have a good starting point to finding the right software solution.

Consider the software capacity

This is perhaps the easiest yet most important place to begin your assessment of donor management software products. You have to consider the size of your donor database when choosing a donor management system. Some donor management solutions are primarily designed for a smaller nonprofit organization, while others are geared towards bigger and more global nonprofits with fairly extensive donor contact lists.

If you’re starting from scratch but you’re looking to expand your operation down the road, you should consider getting donor management software that suits your current requirements but still offers scalability, allowing you to easily scale the software solution for future development and growth.

Determine integration capabilities

Another important factor you have to consider is integration support. A nonprofit organization cannot maintain a successful operation on just one software solution alone. In order for you to streamline your entire nonprofit operation, from finding potential donors and conducting fundraising campaigns to managing donor relationships, boosting engagement and retention, as well as processing donations and payments, distributing funds and doing some accounting, you’re going to need more than a single application.

You will want your donor management software to integrate seamlessly with donor prospect research software, fundraising software, nonprofit CRM and other systems you might already be using from your technology stack.


Benefits of Donor Management Software

There are many benefits to using donor management software. Different nonprofit organizations use this kind of software solution for various reasons. The following are just a few of the benefits that make excellent reasons why you should start looking for one:

Manage your donors more efficiently

One of the main objectives of using donor management software is to have the right tools at your disposal to effectively manage your donors, including their information, their accounts and your organization’s relationship with each and every one of them, your patrons and supporters. With this software solution, you can easily manage donor relationships, contact information and donor profiles, as well as fundraising campaigns to raise funds and awareness towards your cause.

Retain and reengage donors

Aside from being able to conduct fundraising events, organize campaigns and process donations and payments, donor management software also allows users to improve their donor engagement and retention initiatives by providing open lines of communication between the nonprofit organization and its donors, through email marketing and personalized messaging. The key to any successful nonprofit is having the ability to engage and retain existing donors, while still being able to win over new prospects to the cause.


Common Features of Donor Management

API Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.
Calendar Management Manage and update calendars for scheduling or consolidation of events across teams, departments or business functions.
Contact Management Manage large amounts of personal or business contacts in a centralized system.
Contact Sharing Share contacts across teams or platforms to give access to others or to migrate address books across different systems.
Customer Management Manage customer databases and/or track outstanding shipments, payments and more.
Dashboard Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.
Data Export Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.
Data Import Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.
Email Integration Integration with email clients or providers to create and send emails as well as view received emails within an application.
File Sharing Share files with colleagues, customers or other stakeholders for easier access across platforms, collaboration and/or version control.
Multi-User Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.
Notifications Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.
Payment Processor Integration with external payment processors like PayPal, Master or Visa, generally for credit cards and similar methods.
Scheduling Schedule tasks, resources, appointments, payments, communications, etc.

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