Features NGOs should consider when purchasing Fundraising software

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Donor management software helps nonprofits conserve resources and supports better relationships with donors. Choosing the right donor management tool can help a non-government organization raise more money for a worthy cause.

With so many different types of fundraising and donor management software available, it can be difficult to narrow down what’s best for your organization. The first step in deciding which software to choose is to determine your organization’s needs.

A quick needs assessment can be done by answering the 5 W’s – Who, What, When, Where, and Why: 

  1. Who are you trying to support? Is it your employees, donors, or volunteers?
  2. What functionality do you need to support them?
  3. When will you use this software (is it for specific campaigns or all-year-round)?
  4. Where will you use it (is it on the go or in the office)?
  5. Why do you need it (what problems are you looking to solve with fundraising software)? 

With the knowledge that there is a lot to consider, we’ve created the following checklist of must-haves in
any donor management software to help put you on the right track. Here are 12 features NGOs should consider when purchasing Fundraising software.

Integration

When you’re ready to adopt donor management software, powerful integration is important. Tools that include online donation functionality and seamlessly incorporate established platforms such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, QuickBooks, etc. are invaluable.

So you basically need to question whether the software you plan to buy incorporates other online donation tools and communication platforms, and if so, which ones? What additional costs are associated? What does the integration look like?

Communication

Your software should give you a 360-degree view of your donors to help you to build personal relationships through
vigorous communication tools. You’ll need communication tools that allow you to segment donors, create donor personas, understand giving behaviors, and target groups of donors for specific campaigns.

Security

Online security is a top priority for nonprofit organizations. Your software technology should provide the
highest level of Internet security available. Choose a provider that is PCI Level 1 Audited so you can rest easy knowing your donors’ information is protected.

Analytics

Your platform should provide all the features necessary for comprehensive reporting on your constituents. Good donor management software has flexible and powerful query tools. You’ll also need to easily export and update information in custom reports.

Mobile Optimization

Today’s technology allows us to work from almost anywhere! Why should your donor management software be any different? As a busy nonprofit professional you should be able to send personalized emails, receive detailed reports,
import data, and manage donation functionalities whether you’re using a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

Customization

Whether you’re an established nonprofit or a small grassroots organization, your software should accommodate your growing needs. Look for a solution that allows you to infuse your own brand identity in your emails, reports, and direct mailings.

Software Add-ons

Software is most effective when combined with tools your nonprofit is already using. When you are ready to choose the software that is best for your organization makes sure it can incorporate what’s already working for you.

For example, effective donor management software should allow you to import data from programs such as Outlook, Excel, FileMaker, etc. Additionally, it should let you export custom reports to the most common formats, and support add-ons such as Web Collect, Import Services, and more! 

Implementation

Perhaps one of the most important features of a fundraising platform is how easy it is to use and how quickly you can get started. Some of your employees may be experienced users of donor management software; others could be new to these types of technology. You’ll need a solution that helps you hit the ground running. You also may not have the ability to budget time for a complicated implementation process that takes weeks or even months!

Training and support

The better you understand the software, the more effective your fundraising will be! Look for a software provider that offers a personalized onboarding process with training options, an extensive online support library, ongoing technical support, and on-demand “How To” videos.

Versatility

The software should be versatile enough to take on all your identified fundraising needs. What’s most important to your organization? It could be a donation and pledge management, SmartLists, comprehensive reporting, strong communication tools, or powerful third-party integrations. The donor management software you choose should meet all of your requirements! Don’t settle for a partial fit. 

(Unlimited) Emails

Such software often comes with a limit on the number of email records you are allowed to have for free. Once you exceed a certain number, you will be charged additional fees.

Software availability

It’s wise to consider software that’s located in the cloud rather than on individual computers. With a cloud-based donor management solution, you’ll be able to access your files from anywhere, plus there will be more flexibility and collaboration for your staff.

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