Non-profits have found tools like donor management software valuable for their operations. These tools are now very much in demand considering the need to establish an efficient and sustainable fundraising model.
In particular, donor management software can help you build and maintain strong relationships with donors. More notably, the software will be useful for developing an integrated fundraising system. It presents a wonderful complement to other technological elements.
That said, the software is not about promoting donor relationships alone. It can also be helpful for crowdfunding campaigns, text-to-give fundraising, and creating a dependable donation database, to mention a few (uses).
The significance of donor management software in fundraising is simply undoubted. However, one can’t afford to go for just any donor management application – as there are quite a lot of them.
You have to pay attention to specific details to help you make a good choice. This informs the objective for writing this piece – how to choose donor management software. So, let’s delve into the main discourse without further ado.
Identify Your Needs
The use of technology is, no doubt, appealing, but one doesn’t have to be overwhelmed by the sophistication of innovation without putting his/her needs in view. This is especially necessary for non-profit organizations that must be judicious in their spending. As such, it is essential to spare some time to identify and understand your needs.
Identifying these needs will enable you to go for donor management software tailored to your operations. So, you need to ponder this: “why do I need this software?” and ensure you answer the question with clarity. This should lead to defining the specific issues you will use the software to address – consider this as a way of setting priorities right.
Moreover, it is on the basis of such evaluation you will be able to know the features that need to be activated per time. Hence, rather than activating the entire set of software features at once, you will only get the ones required for your current operational objectives.
You can refine the setting as your organization’s activities scale up. It is the analysis at this first stage that will ultimately lead to the next line of action – conducting research.
Carry Out Necessary Research and Scrutinize Options
There is definitely more than one software application that can be used for donor management. It is up to you to find out the best through extensive research over the internet.
Firstly, you want to see whether the options before you can aptly and satisfactorily fulfill your needs. At the initial stage, you can resort to customer reviews and software provider reputation to whittle down the options presented on the search engine result page.
To this end, you should operate the demo of the top donor management software applications you will eventually select for consideration.
While running the demo, you should score the software on functionalities such as donor database segmentation, generation of automated receipts, payment processing, multiple payment enablement, workflow integration, donor engagement improvement, etc.
Your focus shouldn’t be on the product – the software – alone; you should scrutinize the providers too. You can simply do this by engaging the provider to evaluate their responsiveness.
Take note of how attentive the company’s representative is to your queries – are they readily available to customers? Some of the best donor management software providers may even take it upon themselves to analyze a non-profit’s operational needs so that they can offer a customized [or tailored] service plan.
Consider The Features
The features of technological innovation are the elements that hold things together. As it were, integrating relevant features into donor management software will promote its usability and effectiveness. This is an aspect you should not leave out while evaluating your software options. It is crucial that the software has the resources to function properly for you to get a good value for money – after subscribing to a particular one.
What are the features to look out for in donor management software [you may ask]? Different software providers may incorporate various features, but some crucial features include donor segmentation resources, donor communication tools, fundraising tools, reporting/tracking tools, integrations, etc.
You will see how these features work while running the software demo. But you should feel free to ask the provider if you need to learn how certain features work.
You don’t have to pay a fortune to get the most efficient donor management software. This is another aspect you have to factor in as you assess the service providers that work your way. You should go with the provider or company with the best offer. This may have you making some cost comparisons without neglecting service and product quality.
You should also take note of the companies that may attach hidden fees to their product – you should avoid such as much as possible. Ask the company’s representative about this to clear things up from the get-go.
Again, there are instances where some donor management software providers place charge fees for training, set-up, additional user account, etc.
It is, however, good to know that some providers occasionally do promotions and give discounts on donor management software. You can take advantage of this to get along with the flow to save some costs. Over and above all, you should take pore over the pricing plans of the service providers before finally hitting on the purchase trigger.
Donor management is not an area of operation any serious-minded non-profit wants to joke with. And finding a way to get this done expediently without delays makes things even more gratifying. This explains why donor management software has become a precious tool in the non-profit sector.
It is not something you want to leave out of your resource bank if you wish to maintain some competitive edge in the industry today. Against this backdrop, it becomes of utmost importance for you to choose your donor management software wisely. The information shared in this article should guide you into doing so.