Updated January 29, 2022
Consider this—7 out of every 10 donors only donate once. Not enough to shock you? Let’s add to the mix that 77% of donors leave due to a lack of communication. A donor database trumps a post-it note or spreadsheet any day of the week, but what one is right for your nonprofit?
With the right donor management tool to fit your organization’s needs, you have a better shot at communicating in the right way and building better relationships. When you communicate well with the right frequency, donors don’t leave your nonprofit behind!
To make it easy for you to navigate this article, we’ve broken our discussion into three helpful sections:
- Small Nonprofits: You have donors, but not a ton of them. You’re probably using a spreadsheet or accounting software to manage your list.
- Medium-Sized Nonprofits: Maybe you have a donor database, but it’s not performing at the level you need, or, it’s cost-prohibitive to stick with as you grow.
- Large Nonprofits: Bringing your A-game is a must. Your nonprofit and fundraising team needs a strong tool with many features.
Let’s get started shopping for the perfect database!
1. Yes, There are Donor Database Solutions for Small Nonprofits!
As a small nonprofit, your budget doesn’t have much room to, well … budge.
Just because money might be tight doesn’t mean you should sacrifice comprehensive donor management tools! Like their larger counterparts, smaller nonprofits should use a donor database that allows them to gain insight into their constituents. With more insight comes more ability to strategize, and with better strategy comes support! These software options are well-suited for nonprofits that don’t need an extensive array of fundraising tools but still require the functionality of a database that a spreadsheet can’t provide.
This is the rare situation where “you get what you pay for” doesn’t apply. Although you have to apply to use GiveLively’s software, it is truly a free donor software for nonprofits! While not robust in terms of marketing support or the other bells and whistles larger platforms offer, it is a solid tool for new nonprofits. If you’re currently using a spreadsheet to track donors, this is a great way to get started with a more secure and sophisticated solution.
Donor Perfect’s solution is a long-standing and pretty highly regarded software. Through your Techsoup membership (free for nonprofits!) you can secure a base DonorPerfect package at a deep discount. If you’re running a simple operation you may find it a bit overwhelming, but for small nonprofits that have complex operations, it is a great solution. It helps your team manage donations, contacts, receipting, reporting, and email, from a single system.
Unlimited contacts? Yes, please. That’s just one of the “grow with you” features of this up-and-coming donor database solution. DonorDock boasts a pretty comprehensive suite of features and an Apple-Esque intuitive interface. Don’t let the fact that this software is newer to the market distract you from the fact that it’s ahead of the pack in modern capabilities.
All the bells and whistles of the big guys with an easy-to-use interface and affordable price – that is Auxilia! With a design built for small teams and those seeking a user-friendly interface, Auxilia is a low-stress (sorta fun:-) way to manage donor data. This software is especially great as it prioritizes integration with social media platforms. If your nonprofit is (or, is striving to be) digital-first in your donor acquisition and correspondence, this is a highly recommended tool.
2. Many Options for Donor Databases for Medium-Sized Nonprofits
If your organization is smack dab in the middle, you’ve got a little bit of money to invest in donor management, and your number of constituents is growing. Even if you’re quickly on the rise, your nonprofit probably doesn’t have the budget to spend an arm and a leg. You’ll need to find a donor database that can accommodate your ever-changing needs and afford you the flexibility you need to grow your donor list. These middle donor management systems are for you!
You’re forward-thinking, so shouldn’t your donor database be, too? Driven gets high marks for social integration and helping nonprofit leaders to see donors from a 360-degree perspective. There’s nothing worse than realizing you overlooked one of your volunteers or members as a top donor, and this software won’t let you make that mistake!
Network For Good is a platform that can affordably scale with your organization if you’re seeking a standalone CRM/donor management tool. While a change to their software packages has added cost for event ticketing, a full suite of functionality is still there for nonprofits with multi-channel approaches.
At Bloomerang, nonprofit success relies on donor engagement and satisfaction. With their database, your donor retention rates are upfront and center on the dashboard so you know exactly how your organization is doing. You’ll also get a view of each individual constituent’s giving history to track fundraising success on a macro or micro scale! Bloomerang engagements are measured in “cold,” “warm,” “hot,” and “on fire!” You’ll get smart reports, a timeline of individual constituents, access to email distribution designed to increase retention, and printed direct mail pieces.
As your nonprofit grows, you’ll be doing more and more to attract and retain support, right? So, you’ll need a donor database that does a few more things, too. Humanitru will help your organization grow through almost any channel, including membership, events, and even volunteers. Best of all, it’s highly integrated with platforms commonly used in the nonprofit sector, including MailChimp and Constant Contact.
3. The Bigger you are, the Bigger the Deal Your Donor Database is!
As a large nonprofit, you’ve got more constituents and a little bit more to spend. That said, you need a database that can accommodate a significant number of contacts without sacrificing usability. If that sounds like the kind of database you’re in the market for, check out these donor management systems that were built to handle large amounts of donors.
Raiser’s Edge, Blackbaud’s fundraising and relationship management solution, offers tons of different giving options all in one place—major giving, annual fund giving, planned giving, and online giving. Plus, you can build a 360-degree view of your supporters and host all of your management in the cloud. With a strategic look at your constituents, you’ll have no problem retaining current donors and building your database through targeted marketing efforts. Bonus – they have a mobile app so you can track your donors on the go!
Well known in the for-profit space, Salesforce is also available for large nonprofits with complex fundraising and donor management needs. Instead of sales, track donations and manage your donors like you would a sales contact. After all, nonprofits are in the business of sales. Unique to the Salesforce system, you’ll have access to pre-integrated applications that can help you with events management and more.
What has your experience been with these nonprofit donor management systems? What would you add to the list?
Originally posted 3.3.14 | Updated 7.12.17 | Updated 1.28.22