What is Donor Management Software? The Basics + Top Tools

Donor management software, also known as a donor management system or a CRM for nonprofits, can help nonprofits save time, connect with donors more deeply, and boost fundraising. Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:

  • What is donor management software?
  • How are donor management platforms beneficial to nonprofits?
  • Does donor management software work with other apps?
  • What is the best donor management software for nonprofits?
  • What features are included in donor management software?
  • Are donor management tools useful for small nonprofits?

What is donor management software?

Donor management software is a type of nonprofit software that helps organizations track, assess, and grow their relationships with their donors. As a tool that’s designed to help with donor relationship management, the software helps nonprofits organize donor data, identifies donor trends, and makes recommendations to increase the likelihood of receiving future donations.

As the name suggests, donor management software allows you to manage your donors and their donations. With donation software, not only can you track the donations that come in, but you can also review information about the donors themselves.

This is an example of Kindful's donor management software.

Why is donor management software beneficial for nonprofits?

Donor management software is designed to help you manage all your donor data in one place. It’s a great alternative for organizations that have outgrown spreadsheets or are looking to really understand and utilize their data to maximize their fundraising efforts.

Donor management software can also use wealth screening to predict which donors are more likely to give larger amounts of money, show if and how donors are connected, and highlight giving habits. For instance, Bloomerang’s donor management software integrates with DonorSearch, a prospect research tool. This integration allows nonprofits to find new donors who have supported similar organizations in the past and appropriately upgrade existing donors.

Donor management software also improves efficiency by organizing donations by giving levels and managing all donations in one location, even if they are obtained across multiple platforms like social networking sites, email campaigns, and organization events.

Does donor management software work with other apps?

Most donor management software solutions integrate with other apps to provide nonprofits with additional tools, like donation processing software.

For example, all nonprofits need the ability to process payments and send emails to their donors, but not all donor management software will come with built-in tools to do those things. Nonprofits can integrate their donor management software with apps like Stripe and Mailchimp to create a more comprehensive platform that meets a wide range of needs and keeps all of their data in one convenient location.

Your nonprofit may prefer to use integrations instead of built-in solutions because you can continue using the best-in-class software tools you already rely on instead of having to adjust to built-in solutions. Many donor management platforms offer both options to help you choose the best option for you.

We recommend conducting a data audit of your online fundraising ecosystem to understand what software you will need to connect with your donor management platform.

You can download our free Data Audit Checklist to help you identify all the sources your organization is using.

What is the best donor management software for nonprofits?

Investing in donation management software makes engagement with your donors so much easier, but looking online for the best software can feel overwhelming.

Thousands of nonprofits have found their ideal donor database in Kindful’s comprehensive solution. Our tools are part of the Bloomerang donor management system. Using these platforms together, you can track donors with a centralized database, measure engagement metrics, conduct prospect research, manage online giving, and more.

To help you continue your research process, here are some resources that compare the best donor management platforms on the market:

Remember, before making your decision, it’s important to consider cost, features, size, capacity, and current customer testimonials and references.

What features should I look for in donor management software?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to finding the best donor management software. There are many options to choose from, each with its own set of features. That’s why we recommend that you consider which donor management features are most important for your nonprofit when evaluating solutions.

We’ll include a list of features in five different categories to consider when making your checklist:

Fundraising Tools

  • Recurring giving. Allows donors to make automatically scheduled donations.
  • Donation pages. A landing page where your donors can make online donations.
  • Donation forms. A form on your website where your donors can make online donations.
  • Donation buttons. Embeddable buttons on your website that will redirect to your donation page.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising tool. Allows you to launch campaigns where your supporters create teams and fundraise on your behalf.
  • Crowdfunding tool. Allows your supporters to launch their own campaigns and fundraise on your behalf.
  • Event registration tool. Allows you to accept online event registrations and give tickets for your events.
  • Wealth screening. Uses public records to estimate the giving potential of your donors.
  • Matching gift tool. Find employee matching gift opportunities for your donors.
  • Text-to-give. Allows you to collect donations over text.
  • Payment processing. Collect donations via credit card.

Donor Communications

  • Email receipts. Generate email receipts for donations, usually automatically.
  • Automatic tax summary generator. Generates tax summaries for individual donors and usually allows you to send out your end-of-year tax summaries simultaneously to all your donors.
  • Email marketing. Send mass mailings to your contacts.
  • Communication history. Shows every interaction you’ve had with your contacts, including visits, phone calls, emails, and direct mailings.
  • Contact & donor segmentation. Filter out your contacts based on a set of criteria, allowing you to target your communication to a relevant group and include personalization.

Donor Management

  • Pledge tracking. Track and collect donation pledges from your donors.
  • Contact profiles. Create pages for each of your contacts with their giving history, communication history, and more.
  • Donor accounts. Give your donors the ability to view and manage their giving history, recurring donations, tax receipts, and more.
  • Group segmentation. Create lists of your contacts based on certain filters.
  • Tasks and reminders. Automatically set tasks and reminders to help maintain donor relationships.
  • Household tracking. Track relationships among your donors and streamline communication.
  • Donor tracking. Track every transaction you receive through cash, check, credit card, etc.
  • Self-import tool. Import data into your database from offline sources.
  • Custom fields. Create custom fields for your donation page and registration forms.
  • Contact duplicate finder. Identify multiple data sources for a single contact and merge them together.
  • In-kind gift tracking. Track, report, and document in-kind gifts from donors.

Tracking & Reporting

  • Donor analytics. See high-level insights on your donors using a system like donor analytics, donor pyramid, etc.
  • Custom reports. Create your own reports based on certain criteria.
  • Scheduled reports. Set certain reports, like lapsed donors, that will email to you or another group of people on a recurring basis.
  • Donor and contact records. See detailed insights on your contacts with records of all the interactions between your organization and the contact.
  • Donor dashboard. Visualize your organization’s health in one simple dashboard.

Apps & Integrations

  • Email marketing integrations. Integrate data from email marketing tools like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Emma.
  • Accounting integrations. Integrate data from accounting software like QuickBooks.
  • Fundraising tool integrations. Integrate data from other fundraising tools you’re using like GoFundMe Charity, Classy, and iDonate.
  • Event registration & auction integrations. Integrate data from other event registration, event ticketing, and auction platforms like Eventbrite, TicketSpice, and Handbid.
  • Payment processing integrations. Use outside payment processors to collect donations like Square, PayPal, and Stripe.

Is donor management software good for small nonprofits?

Small nonprofits can also benefit from donation management software. Smaller nonprofits can have tighter budgets, and they usually have smaller teams too. That’s why we recommend investing in a donor management solution even when your nonprofit is a small operation. It can do the work of a part-time or full-time staff member for as little as $100 a month, depending on which software you use.

Investing in nonprofit management software early is also essential for setting the foundation for organizing your fundraising and donor data. Many small nonprofits that use spreadsheets to manage their donors find that their data becomes more and more disorganized and difficult to understand. This can be a headache for staff members whose time is already limited by development efforts, leading their team, and communicating with their supporters.

If you’re a small shop, it’s important to choose the right donor software for small nonprofits. Complex donor management systems for nonprofits like Salesforce require a lot of customization and maintenance—specialized resources that small nonprofits often don’t have. Others require multi-year contract commitments—locking in small nonprofits for up to three years.

We recommend choosing donor management software that’s simple, scalable, and still powerful. The best donor tracking software offers onboarding and training to help you move all your data into your new system. They’ll also be able to integrate with the other tools you’re already using, so you don’t have to learn entirely new systems for everything you do like email marketing and events.

The bottom line

Donor management software for nonprofits organizes and analyzes donor information to help you maximize your fundraising efforts.

If you’re interested in learning more about these solutions, check out these additional resources: