Donor Management Software

Donor management software, also known as a donor management platform or donor management system, can help nonprofits save time and boost fundraising. Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:

What Is Donor Management Software?

Donor management software is a type of nonprofit software that helps organizations understand and maximize their relationships with their donors. The software organizes 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. Not only can you track the donations that come in, but you can also get information about the donors themselves. With donor management software, you have all of this crucial information in one place.

screenshot of Kindful donor management software
Image: Example of donor management software.

Why Is Having Donor Management Software Beneficial For Nonprofits?

Donor management software is designed to help you manage all of 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 the most likely to give larger amounts of money, showing if and how donors are connected to each other, and highlighting giving habits. For instance, with donor management software you can track when donors give and how often they give and predict when and how much they are likely to donate in the future.

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 social networking platforms, email campaigns, and organization events.

Does Donor Management Software Work With Other Apps?

Donor management software works with other apps to provide nonprofits with tools that the donor management software doesn’t already offer. In the world of nonprofit technology, these are called integrations.

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 have the best understanding of what software you will need to connect with your donor management platform. Some examples include:

  • Transactional sources like Classy, GoFundMe Charity, and Shopify
  • Payment processing sources like PayPal, Stripe, and Square
  • Marketing and communication sources like Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Squarespace, Facebook, and Twitter
  • Event and auction sources like Eventbrite, BidBoz, Golden, and Zoom
  • Accounting sources like QuickBooks and Aplos

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

Download Data Audit Checklist

Donor Management Software Comparisons

Donor management softwares come in all shapes and sizes. From stacks to suites to portfolios and platforms, there is a donor management solution fit for every nonprofit.

Technology Stacks

Simply put, a technology stack is the combination of software services you use to accomplish your daily tasks. For nonprofits, examples of these might be platforms for accounting, event registration, and email marketing. There are three approaches to stacking software services: suites, portfolios, and platforms.

Suites

A technology suite is an all-in-one bundled software with features to meet every need of the user. Tech suites might bundle donor management, online fundraising, volunteer management, and more–all onto one convenient platform. Technology suites offer organizations convenience and ease-of-use; however, their frequent feature updates require users to stay up-to-date on the changes and relearn and readjust as needed.

Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of applications and software solutions created by the same company. However, just because they are produced by the same company doesn’t mean they’ll interact seamlessly. Getting them to share information back and forth may require integrations.

Platform

A platform is an operating system or database under which various applications are designed to run. The platform approach provides one primary system while also offering apps and integrations for things like email marketing and volunteer management. Not only does this provide a smooth user experience, but it also allows for greater data analysis.

Donor Management Software Feature Checklist

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to 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 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 campaign 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. Finds 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.
  • Donation 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.

    Donor Management For Small Nonprofits

    Small nonprofits can also benefit from donor management software. Although smaller nonprofits can have tighter budgets, 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 a little as $100 a month, depending on which software you use.

    Investing in donor management software early is also essential in 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.

    It’s important that small nonprofits that are looking for donor management software choose a solution that’s right for them. A complex donor management system like Salesforce requires 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 a donor management software that’s simple, scalable, and still powerful. The best donor management providers offer 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.

    Bottom Line

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

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