In today’s fundraising environment, personalization is key. 62% of consumers said they would no longer be loyal to a brand if it delivered a non-personalized experience. Donors want to feel seen and understood as individuals with unique interests and motivations.
Nonprofits use donor management software to organize donor data, ensure its accuracy, and reach out to donors with personalized communications. This helps build more genuine relationships with their supporters.
That makes finding the right donor management software solution for your organization crucial. In this guide, we’ll cover how your nonprofit can find the best solution to solve your most pressing needs. We’ll do this through the following points:
- What is donor management software?
- How much does donor management software cost?
- Benefits of donor management software
- Optimize your donor management software with integrations
- Top 9 donor management software solutions
- How to choose donor management software
Let’s get started by exploring common donor management software features.
What is donor management software?
Donor management software is a tool that allows your nonprofit to collect, organize, and report on supporter data. Storing this data in one place lets you create a more effective fundraising and communication strategy and deepen donor relationships.
You may have heard this software referred to by a few different names, including donor management software, nonprofit CRM, donor database, donor software, and donor tracking software. Each refers to the same database used to manage supporter data.
Effective donor management software offers features like:
- Donor profiles. Donor profiles show each supporter’s history with your organization. Each profile shows the donation history of each donor, their contact and demographic information, and every interaction they’ve had with your organization in the past (emails opened, calls-to-action taken, events attended, etc.).
- Constituent timeline. The constituent timeline is a part of a donor’s overall profile, showing the interactions they’ve had with your organization over time. Examples of milestones listed in the timeline include emails opened and engaged with, gifts contributed, events attended, and other engagement opportunities. They’re listed in chronological order so your organization has an accurate record of each supporter’s engagement history.
- Data segmentation. Once you’ve collected relevant data in each donor profile, you can create segments in your donor management software, organizing supporters and grouping them by common engagement histories or interests. For example, you might create a segment for first-time donors and another for monthly contributors.
- Fundraising metrics. Your dashboard can provide insight into your most important fundraising metrics. For example, Bloomerang customers can track their donor retention rate on the main dashboard to see how well they’re engaging and building relationships with current supporters.
Every organization is different, so consider your nonprofit’s unique needs and the features that will help meet your specific goals.
How much does donor management software cost?
Donor management software pricing can vary widely, with some solutions charging a monthly or annual fee while others are free. Many solutions scale prices based on the number of records in your system.
When you demo different software options, ask about pricing as well as additional fees that could be hidden in the pricing plans. This will allow you to set aside the correct budget for your solution.
Benefits of donor management software
The primary goal of most nonprofit fundraising strategies is to build relationships with donors, encouraging larger donations and a better donor retention rate.
Because it’s so much less expensive to retain donors than to acquire new ones, nonprofits can save a substantial amount of money simply by building these relationships and incrementally increasing their donor retention rate.
How does donor management software make this possible? These solutions allow nonprofits to:
- Create more accurate and effective marketing materials. You can create emails targeted to specific donor segments and individuals by referencing the data saved in your database. For example, you can auto-populate donors’ names in your email greetings. Then, you can send specific messages to segments that will respond best to the messages. For example, you might send a welcome series to your first-time donors, providing additional information about your mission.
- Track fundraising campaign progress and grant application tasks. Track your fundraising progress throughout campaigns so you can make sure you’re on track to meet your goals. You can also track your organization’s tasks for grant applications, ensuring you take all of the necessary actions that you need to build relationships with grant funders and submit applications on time.
- Identify major donors and personalize outreach. Your supporters with the highest giving capacity and engagement rates qualify as major donors. To cultivate these donors, you can use the data you’ve collected to personalize your interactions with them, organizing face-to-face conversations and meetings. You can also conduct targeted prospect research so you know exactly how much to ask for from these valuable supporters.
- Pull reports highlighting opportunities for improvement. You can pull different reports to understand what your organization is doing well and where there’s room for improvement. For instance, you might create a report to assess your average donation amount and brainstorm strategies to boost your overall donation revenue.
Donor management software also increases your organization’s efficiency because it integrates with other key fundraising software. For example, when your donation pages integrate with your donor management software, you can automatically update and create new profiles for those who give online. Or, when your marketing solution integrates with your donor database, you can apply your donor segments to your marketing initiatives, making it easier to reach out to specific groups of supporters.
Let’s take a closer look at how donor management software integrations work in the next section.
Optimize your donor management software with integrations
The best way to maximize your donor management software is to look for a solution with extensive features that also integrates with the rest of your tech stack.
Your donor management system is the centerpiece of your nonprofit’s tech stack and strategy. Therefore, the more integrations you have with your other technology solutions, the more you can cut down on manual tasks, creating more efficient processes.
Look for integrations with solutions such as your:
- Fundraising software. Automatically save new donor information to existing donor profiles or create new profiles for first-time donors who give via your online donation platform. Your software should integrate with other solutions that offer features like event registration and event management features, peer-to-peer tools, and auction tools and help you automatically save and leverage donor information.
- Marketing solutions. Integrations with your marketing software should allow you to both automatically save new information to your donor management software and use the information in your database to inform marketing decisions. For example, when a donor opens, reads, and responds to your latest email, you can automatically save that information in your donor management system. Plus, you should be able to leverage segments and data in donor profiles to create personalized emails and messages before sending them.
- Financial software. Your nonprofit should be able to record all of your supporter data from different solutions, including your financial or accounting software. Be sure all of your systems are connected so that you always have an accurate view of the financial health of your organization.
Even if your donor management system doesn’t have a native integration with all of your other software systems, you might still be able to connect them. Software like Zapier allows you to make further connections between your various systems.
Top 9 donor management software solutions
The first step to finding the perfect donor management software for your organization is to review potential solutions. Below, we’ll discuss some of the top donor management software systems as well as some supporting software solutions that can help you raise more funds.
Bloomerang is our recommended donor management software provider. Bloomerang’s powerful solution provides all of the essential tools you need to build lasting relationships with donors and raise more funds for your organization, with a strong focus on donor retention. You can track your retention rate and keep an eye on progress over time directly from your dashboard.
You’ll also have access to additional features like:
- Constituent timelines to view each donor’s past interactions with your organization
- Fundraising tools to collect online donations and automatically generate new donor profiles or add information to existing profiles
- Engagement and generosity scores for each supporter that reveal their giving capacity and likelihood
- Data segmentation capabilities to group donors based on shared characteristics and send tailored marketing messages to each group
- Custom reports to dig into the metrics that matter most to your unique fundraising and marketing strategies
Because of a strong focus on donor relationships, Bloomerang users see a 10% higher donor retention rate than the industry average. The platform makes fundraising easier for both donors and your nonprofit’s team with a user-friendly, intuitive interface.
Bloomerang offers flexible, scalable pricing that adjusts as your nonprofit grows, making it an affordable solution for organizations at all levels.
Most small or growing nonprofits launch and begin tracking their donor relationships in Excel. This system of cells organized by columns and rows allows new organizations to track basic donor information, including names, addresses, and any other important details.
Spreadsheets are a great and powerful tool to get started with because they provide as much space and as many configuration options as you need to collect key information about all supporters. But as your spreadsheet system continues to grow and evolve, it can become more challenging to navigate, which often leads nonprofits to invest in their first dedicated donor management software solution.
3. Little Green Light
Little Green Light is a lightweight, cloud-based donor management software system that allows nonprofits to track donations, communications, and other engagement opportunities with supporters. The customized dashboard provides real-time insights regarding your most important key performance indicators and metrics.
Little Green Light also offers customizable reports, goal tracking, and gift tracking.
4. Blackbaud eTapestry
Blackbaud eTapestry is a donor management software solution that’s part of the Blackbaud ecosystem. If your organization uses Blackbaud for other purposes, this solution will integrate seamlessly with other products in the network.
eTapestry offers features that allow you to accept donations online, track how your content is shared, consolidate event management, and communicate with supporters.
EveryAction provides a suite of nonprofit tools that you can use to increase your organization’s efficiency and help you build relationships with donors. You can invest in this CRM to manage donor data and use the fundraising tools to raise money, process payments, and manage events.
DonorPerfect is donor management software that provides a centralized location for your nonprofit’s important data. The platform offers features like unlimited users, email marketing, a mobile app, auction management tools, and automated workflows. To manage relationships, it allows you to personalize messages to donors, email official gift receipts to supporters, and sync your data to ConstantContact.
7. Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT
Another Blackbaud product that some organizations leverage to manage their donor relationships is Raiser’s Edge NXT. This solution provides integrated donor management and fundraising tools so that your organization can make the most of its donor relationships.
Virtuous offers donor management software designed to simplify nonprofit processes and amplify fundraising and marketing strategies. You can save donor data such as campaign participation, donation history, engagement activity, and more in a centralized location. Plus, you can search, filter, and segment this information directly in your database.
9. Neon One
Neon One is a platform that helps power nonprofit growth and build supporter relationships. The CRM comes with standard features plus customizable fields so that you can record the supporter data that is most important for your organization’s mission.
How to choose donor management software
Whether you’re purchasing your first donor management software solution or switching systems, there are several steps you should take before selecting and investing in your new solution.
1. Conduct research to create a list of potential donor management software solutions.
The first step in finding your donor management software solution is to review the different systems that are available to organizations like yours. Use search engines and check review sites like G2.com to see what current customers think of each solution.
2. Determine the most important features for your organization.
After you have your initial list of software solutions, start narrowing it down based on your organization’s specific needs. Create a list of the must-have features for your organization and another list of nice-to-have features. Cross off the solutions that don’t have your must-have features.
Then, assess each remaining solution by asking these questions:
- Does it meet your current needs?
- Will it meet your future needs?
- Is it within your budget?
- Will implementation cost extra?
- Do you have access to training materials?
- What does customer support look like?
As mentioned, all nonprofits are unique and require slightly different features in their donor management software. Asking these types of questions for each of the solutions you evaluate will ensure your final choice will meet your specific needs.
3. Schedule demos for your final choices.
Compile a list of questions you’d like to know more about for each of your final donor management software options. As you demo each solution in your shortlist, ask these questions and take notes for each system. This will help you make direct comparisons after you’ve received a demo of each.
If you’re still unsure of which software to choose, consider getting a second demo of your favorite solutions. This will help you determine your final choice and allow you to make an informed decision.
4. Create an implementation and training plan for your solution.
After you’ve chosen your ideal donor management solution, create an implementation plan to ensure your entire fundraising team is set up for success. If you’re already using a different database or spreadsheet, you might need support to migrate the data saved in your system to the new donor management system.
You’ll also need someone to configure your new donor management software to reflect the most important information for your cause. Because every organization prioritizes different information, make sure your software will cover your priorities. For example, an animal shelter may want to record information about whether donors are cat lovers or dog lovers.
Ask the software provider about any additional educational resources they have to help your team continue making the most of the system. For example, Bloomerang offers resources at Bloomerang Academy for anyone on your team to continue learning about the system.
Donor management software is the most essential tool in your nonprofit’s tech stack, allowing you to grow your fundraising efforts to new heights.
With the tips and steps in this guide, you should be well on your way to finding the perfect solution to serve your organization and develop deeper relationships with your donors and supporters. If you’re looking for more information on this subject, check out the following additional resources:
- How to Buy Fundraising Software That Lasts: Essential Guide. Choosing the right donor management software isn’t a decision you should take lightly. Explore our software buyer’s guide for more tips on finding the best platform for your nonprofit.
- 15 Top Online Fundraising Platforms to Ramp Up Donations. Your online fundraising platform will help you grow your fundraising revenue. Review and compare 15 top solutions that may integrate with your donor management system.
- 7 Best Practices for Effective Donor Management. After investing in a donor management platform, you’ll need to follow several best practices to make the most of this system. This guide offers tips for better managing donors using tools like your software solution.