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Perhaps you've outgrown your precarious system of spreadsheets and copy-and-paste email lists. Or, you're ready to gain a deeper understanding of your donors to strengthen relationships and maximize your fundraising efforts. With donor management software, your nonprofit can finally manage and access all of your supporter data and activity in one place.
But which donor management system is right for you? We’ve combed through the top-rated options and compiled five must-have features below. Plus, we've compared four top platforms for nonprofit organizations to consider in their search.
5 must-have features in your donor management software
Also known as contact relationship management (CRM), donor management software is a must-have for growing nonprofit organizations. While the various CRM platforms may seem quite similar at first glance, small differences and missing features can impact the value you get from your platform.
Here are the five donor management tools your donor software should offer.
1. In-depth donor profiles 👤
Donor profiles are where you’ll store all the important information about your contacts: donors, volunteers, sponsors, partners, and other supporters. This donor data is the foundation of the entire platform, so it should be easy to view, add, and customize. Here’s a window into a typical donor profile:
- Contact information 📞 Name, address, email, phone number, age, etc.
- Engagement timeline 🗓 Donations, volunteer activities, email opens and clicks,
- Giving history 📖 Date of first donation, last donation, average time between gifts, etc.
- Family units 🏠 Households and relationships to current, past, and prospective supporters
- Donor segments 🏷 Categories made via groups, lists, or tags like “prospect” or “monthly donor”
- User-defined fields ✍️ Notes and custom fields you can create and add to profiles
Donor profiles should update in real-time so you can monitor donor activity as it happens.
2. Automated reporting 📊
All the data your platform collects is only as good as your ability to see it, analyze it, and share it. So, your donor management software should make pulling reports as quick as the click of a few buttons.
Most platforms come with report templates built in, such as fundraising dollars by week or new donors added in the past month. But you’ll also want the ability to create custom reports and drill down to the insights that you need.
Some platforms let you use automation to save time. For instance, you can request an email with certain reports every week rather than generating them yourself.
3. Ample donor communication tools 👋
One of the main reasons organizations start using donor software is to improve donor cultivation and retention. Donor engagement, done at the right time, on the right channel, and using the right language, is key. That’s why you should look for platforms with built-in donor messaging tools, helpful templates, and rich marketing analytics.
Standard features include email marketing, SMS text messaging, and direct mail letter creation.
Create personalized messages by pulling in information for your donor database and speak directly to each unique supporter segment.
On some platforms, you can also assign communication tasks, like responding to a question on Facebook or making a thank-you call.
4. Donor giving insights 💡
The best donor management software includes fundraising tools that go beyond your standard donation forms and fundraising pages. Features like “giving potential” scores, gift predictions, and wealth intelligence can help you learn who’s most likely to give and when.
Like Bloomerang’s “Generosity Score," these tools go by many names, but each offers a more complete picture of your donor base, identifying people who are most likely to become major donors or estimating the dollar amount of a donor’s next gift.
Work this information into your fundraising plan, and it’s a game-changer for nonprofits that rely on individual donations rather than sponsors, grants, and government funds.
5. Helpful software integrations 🔌
Finally, every donation management platform should let you connect the software tools you already use and streamline your overall organization. Integrations make it possible to sync up all your go-to platforms and websites—like accounting software or your email marketing platform—with your donor software without skipping a beat.
Let’s see seamless integration in action. Say a new supporter makes a $25 donation on your fundraising platform, which immediately creates a new donor profile, complete with their contact details and donation amount. Their gift is automatically recorded in your QuickBooks account, and your email software automatically sends them a donation receipt with a personalized thank-you note.
Bonus tips for choosing your platform
Here are a few more quick to-do items to check off your list when you’re comparing donor relationship software:
- Ask your team 🙋 Before you start weighing options, collect feedback from the staff members who will use your donor management software. What challenges do they run into with your current system? What are their software must-haves and nice-to-haves? What technical skills would they like to develop?
- Understand all costs 💰 In addition to a monthly subscription cost, your software may come with some additional fees you’ll need to factor into your budget. Ask about payment processing fees and charges for setup, training, data migration, number of donor profiles, and number of account users.
- Make sure it’s mobile-ready 📱 Sign up for a demo of the platform and see how well it works on mobile devices. When you’re out to meet with a major donor and wondering how to connect with them, you want to be able to pull up their donor profile on your phone.
- Look for scalability 🚀 Growth and turnover are a reality for every organization. Look for a platform that makes it easy and affordable to add new contacts and users. Also, make sure you can set and adjust account permissions with ease.
4 top contenders for best nonprofit donor management software
Ready to start comparison shopping? We’ve rounded up the best-in-class donor management software for small nonprofits as well as mid-sized and large organizations.
1. Givebutter 🧈
Givebutter brings together everything nonprofits need for successful fundraising, and that includes free donor management software. Designed to be an all-in-one fundraising solution, Givebutter makes charitable giving as fun and frictionless as possible.
💸 Cost: Givebutter is free. With a 100% transparent tip-or-fee pricing model, the platform has no subscriptions, tiered access, or add-on costs.
⭐️ Our take: From modern, custom donation forms and fundraising pages to peer-to-peer campaigns, event ticketing, email marketing, and nonprofit auctions, Givebutter's integrated suite of features makes life a whole lot easier for busy nonprofits. Plus, the platform's modern donor management tools are designed to scale with you—and you'll never have to pay more as you grow.
2. Bloomerang 🌷
Bloomerang is a user-friendly donor management platform designed to help nonprofits retain donors and boost fundraising revenue. With an interactive dashboard and comprehensive profile histories, this platform equips nonprofits to manage supporters and partners with ease.
💸 Cost: Bloomerang pricing depends on how many contact records you have and how much you raise in a year. Plans start at $79/month (billed annually).
⭐️ Our take: We love Bloomerang's thoughtful tools like the Ahern Audit, which lets you paste the text of your marketing messages (emails, direct mail letters, etc.) to see if they pass the “you” test. From robust email marketing to "listening features" that enable you to monitor mentions of your brand on social media, Bloomerang has much to offer.
3. Salesforce 💪
One of the most well-known names in the for-profit sector, Salesforce has expanded its reach into the nonprofit world, too. The platform's nonprofit fundraising features are expansive, and organizations can access the Salesforce AppExchange, a powerful business marketplace with hundreds of apps you can use to build your ideal nonprofit management system.
⭐️ Our take: The Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud is a complex donor management system for nonprofits with a lot of functionality, so it’s mostly recommended for large organizations. Users note there is a steep learning curve, but it’s a top pick if you have a high volume of contacts and interactions.
4. Little Green Light 🟢
Little Green Light is first and foremost donor management software, so you know you're getting advanced tools for constituent and membership management, goal tracking, custom reporting, and even direct mail communications.
💸 Cost: Like Bloomerang, Little Green Light pricing is based on the number of contact records in your donor database. Plans start at $45/month, and LGL offers a discount for annual billing.
⭐️ Our take: Little Green Light reviews speak to the platform's comprehensive contact management features, but nonprofits looking for a full suite of fundraising tools, like event management, nonprofit marketing, and team fundraising features, will need to look elsewhere—or rely on a number of integrations.
Take your donor management to new heights
Donor management software meets all-in-one fundraising
With Givebutter, nonprofits get a free donor management software system and so much more. Here are a few more reasons that thousands of nonprofits choose Givebutter:
- 😍 Custom fundraising pages and donor-friendly donation forms
- 📱 Easy offline and online donations
- 🎫 Seamless fundraising events, ticketing, and livestreaming
- 👀 Trackable team progress and goals
- 💳 Popular payment methods: credit card, Venmo and Paypal, donor-advised funds, Apple Pay, text-to-donate, and more
Givebutter also integrates with other first-class donor management software, including Bloomerang, as well as must-have platforms like Double the Donation.
It’s free to sign up! Create your account and start experiencing better nonprofit fundraising today.
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