Nonprofit organizations require a number of software solutions to raise funds, host events (both in-person and virtual), and keep operations running smoothly. Each software solution you invest in has a slightly different purpose at your organization and accomplish a different aspect of your nonprofit strategic plan.
Identifying the primary software solutions used by nonprofits and realizing each of their purposes is important to fill any gaps in your strategic plan and to maximize your fundraising potential.
Here at Bloomerang, we’re dedicated to ensuring nonprofits have the tools they need to raise funds effectively and fulfill their philanthropic goals. That’s why we’ve put together this guide. We’ll walk you through the different types of nonprofit software available, explain its purpose, and even provide a list of our top favorite providers.
The different types of nonprofit software we’ll cover includes:
- Donor Management Software
- Fundraising Software
- Prospect Research Software
- Events Software
- Grant Software
- Auction Software
Use the navigation above to jump to the type of software that most interests you or follow along with us from the beginning. Let’s get started.
Donor Management Software
Donor management software, also known as constituent relationship management (CRM) software, is designed to help keep track of your nonprofit’s donor information. By storing key data on your nonprofit supporters, you can then use this information to better reach out to and build relationships with them.
It’s important for your organization to invest in a CRM solution that is dedicated specifically to serving the needs of nonprofit organizations.
While for-profits may use CRM solutions to track sales progress, nonprofit CRM needs are different. Your nonprofit relationships with supporters work differently because you’re not selling a product, you’re selling a mission. A donor database dedicated for nonprofits will be sure to meet your needs when it comes to recording interactions with supporters, collecting donation information, and integrating with your other nonprofit software.
In accordance with our guide to choosing the best donor database, some of the features you should look for when you invest in this nonprofit software include:
- Robust donor profiles. Your donor profiles should be able to track and record all interactions with supporters, including events attended, donations received, emails received and read, and notes from phone calls or meetings.
- Communication tools. Your donor management software should help your organization reach out to your supporters in an effective and personalized manner. Features like donor segmentation and email tools help make this possible.
- Fundraising dashboards. Fundraising dashboards help track your nonprofit’s campaign progress and organize key metrics regarding your initiatives. These insights are helpful because they reveal the strengths and weaknesses in your fundraising strategy. This way, you can make adjustments where necessary to maximize efforts.
It’s clear that CRMs with specific specializations regarding donor management and fundraising are recommended for nonprofits. For example, our favorite solution, Bloomerang, is built to help nonprofits manage their donor relationships and in turn improve donor retention rates.
Bloomerang’s donor database is the perfect nonprofit software solution for organizations focused on building stronger relationships with their supporters. With a system built around the idea that strong nonprofits should foster strong relationships, the Bloomerang team recognizes the importance of high engagement levels in order to boost donor retention rates.
Every nonprofit can benefit from boosting their donor retention rates. Just a 10% boost in your retention rate can result in tens of thousands of additional fundraising dollars for a mid-sized nonprofit.
Bloomerang is designed with features that help you start engagements right, foster relationships, and catch potential lapses before they occur. Some of these features include:
- An interactive dashboard. Bloomerang makes sure your donor retention rate is front-and-center on the dashboard so that your organization can track it easily throughout activities.
- Donor engagement and generosity scores. Each supporter in your Bloomerang donor database receives an engagement and generosity score that provides high-level insights into your relationship with individuals. Plus, the combination of high engagement and high generosity scores mean that you may have found yourself a potential major contributor!
- Donor timelines. Keep up with every interaction your supporters have with your organization on their comprehensive timeline. This handy feature shows when donors haven’t contributed in a while and can be incredibly handy to re-engage those in danger of lapsing.
- Comprehensive reporting tools. With Bloomerang, your organization can create reports that drill down into the specifics of your marketing initiatives, fundraising campaigns, and more.
Not only does Bloomerang have a multitude of features to help the various aspects of your nonprofit strategy, but the platform also integrates with other favorite nonprofit technology platforms like Mailchimp, Qgiv, DonorSearch, TrueGivers, Fundraise Up, and GiveButter.
NeonCRM is a well-known donor management platform in the sector. Its customizable donor-facing pages make it engaging for supporters to interact with your organization. Some of the features offered by Neon include:
- Login portal. With Neon’s donor login portal, you encourage your supporters to take control of their relationship with your nonprofit.
- Segmentation. Segment your supporters within NeonCRM to ensure all of your fundraising appeals and marketing initiatives hit the mark.
- Online store. Embed an online store into your website to give donors another way to contribute to your organization by purchasing branded merchandise.
NeonCRM’s front-facing dashboard makes it easy to check in on your fundraising and relationship-building initiatives. Plus, their customer support has a 93% satisfaction rating!
DonorPerfect is a nonprofit software solution designed to help keep all your organization’s team members on the same page regarding your fundraising strategy. With a mobile app and effective reporting tools, everyone at your organization will have the tools they need to keep up with operational tasks and raise funds no matter where they are.
Some of the features offered by DonorPerfect include:
- Automated workflows. Use these workflows to assign tasks and due dates to your team for actions such as sending welcome baskets to new supporters.
- Client resources. In addition to the CRM, your organization will have access to resources from DonorPerfect, including their webinars and fundraising guides.
- Email marketing. DonorPerfect integrates with Constant Contact to ensure that your fundraising team can keep up with supporters effectively in your CRM.
DonorPerfect can help your nonprofit streamline both relationships with your supporters as well as the internal operations of your organization’s team.
When people think of nonprofit software, one of the first solutions that probably comes to mind is fundraising software. These solutions are designed to facilitate the donation collection process for organizations.
There are many types of fundraising software that help nonprofits host various types of fundraising campaigns. For example, here are some crowd-pleasers:
- Online donation software. Online donation tools enable supporters to give to your nonprofit via your website. Look for a platform that can be customized with your nonprofit’s colors, fonts, and logos, seamlessly blending with the rest of your site. Be sure to also choose a solution with recurring giving options so that your organization’s supporters can set up regular gifts.
- Peer-to-peer fundraising software. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a platform that allows volunteer fundraisers to raise money on behalf of your organization. Supporters can create their own fundraising pages and encourage their friends and family to contribute to the cause. Just like your online donation page, your peer-to-peer fundraising pages should include your organization’s branding. However, your volunteers should also be able to add a personal touch, such as pictures of themselves and their connection to your cause.
- Matching gift software. Matching gift software takes advantage of an underutilized source of revenue for nonprofit organizations. Many supporters work for companies that offer corporate philanthropy programs that provide financial matches to contributions their employees make to nonprofits. However, these supporters may not realize their eligibility. Matching gift software allows supporters to research their own eligibility after (or during) the giving process.
Before your nonprofit invests in fundraising software, be sure you have a specific goal you’re working to achieve. If you want to increase your annual fundraising revenue by encouraging year-round donations from supporters, you may consider an online fundraising platform to embed on your website. Meanwhile, if you’re working to boost event revenue while spreading the word about the opportunity for attendance, you may prefer a peer-to-peer fundraising platform.
You should also take into account your budget and the features offered per platform. It’s expected that you should get more from software if you’re paying more for it. The inverse of this is also true. If you look at free fundraising software, you may be missing out on key features or sacrificing on data security.
In terms of features, take into account the devices that your supporters will use to contribute. About half of all web traffic happens on mobile devices. Therefore, you can expect that many of your supporters will also be contributing via mobile. One key feature to look for in your fundraising software is that it is mobile-responsive or associated with a mobile app.
Some of our favorite fundraising software solutions include Qgiv, GiveButter, Fundraise Up, and Double the Donation. Here’s why:
Qgiv is a state-of-the-art nonprofit fundraising platform that offers multiple types of fundraising options for nonprofits. With Qgiv’s online donation forms, peer-to-peer fundraising pages, text fundraising capabilities, auction tools, and event management, your organization will have everything you need to raise money from your supporters in a single nonprofit software solution.
Some of the features you can find when your organization invests in Qgiv include:
- Customizable fundraising pages. Brand your fundraising pages to your organization with your standard colors, logos, and fonts. Then, embed donation forms directly on your website.
- Fundraising thermometers. Let supporters see the immediate impact of their gift towards your fundraising goal. Thermometers can inspire them to give even more to maximize that impact!
- Offset processing fees. Give your supporters the option to cover the processing costs for the gifts they give to your nonprofit. This also ensures you receive more of the funds.
Qgiv helps nonprofits raise more by streamlining the entire giving experience for supporters. Learn more about how they can help you raise funds by visiting their website.
GiveButter is a nonprofit software solution built to help organizations collect donations year-round as well as during specific campaigns. The tools they offer include their donation collection forms, peer-to-peer fundraising pages, and event registration. Some of the features you can expect from this incredible fundraising tool include:
- Venmo and Apple Pay compatibility. With GiveButter, you can provide multiple ways for supporters to give, including credit/debit cards, Venmo, and Apple Pay.
- Recurring gift options. Encourage your supporters to set up regular payments to your organization with recurring gifts. They can give every week, month, or frequency of their choosing.
- Suggested giving amounts. Donors tend to give more when they have a reference for how much others give. Suggested giving amounts provide this context to drive fundraising higher!
GiveButter also has the advantage of integrating with top donor management solutions like Bloomerang. This means you can streamline your donor information directly from the GiveButter platform into appropriate donor profiles.
Fundraise Up is a nonprofit software solution designed to help drive conversions. This platform makes it fast and easy for supporters to contribute to your cause so that you don’t lose them during the checkout process. Some of the features they use to make this possible include:
- Fast load times. Fundraise Up donation pages load in an average of 1.5 seconds. This ensures that your supporters can quickly access the information they’re looking for.
- Limiting forms on donation pages. Fundraise Up has only 7 forms that supporters need to complete in order to contribute to your cause.
- Donate buttons. Fundraise Up offers simple, but bold and colorful donation buttons sure to attract your supporters.
Fundraise Up’s donation features help drive conversion rates by focusing on the supporter’s user experience. Learn more about their features on the Fundraise Up website.
Double the Donation
Double the Donation is a nonprofit software solution that helps your organization augment your take advantage of matching gift opportunities. As we mentioned earlier, matching gifts are a drastically underutilized fundraising opportunity for nonprofits.
Double the Donation offers a matching gift database and search tool where supporters can check their eligibility for matches. The process looks like this:
- Your nonprofit embeds the Double the Donation search tool on your fundraising page or confirmation page.
- Supporters type the name of their employer into the search tool and hit submit.
- The search tool will provide information about whether the employer offers a matching gift program.
- Your donor clicks through to the form that they’ll need to fill out to submit to their employer and secure the gift.
If you have a lot of potential when it comes to matching gifts, you may consider Double the Donation’s larger product, 360MatchPro. This is a fully-automated tool that helps organizations identify and reach out to eligible supporters to submit for a match.
Prospect Research Software
Prospect research software is essential for nonprofits to make the most of their mid-tier and major giving strategies. Generally, major gifts make up a large portion of an organization’s fundraising revenue. In fact, according to this study, 88% of fundraising revenue comes from the top 12% of donors.
Prospect research software is used to identify a donor’s philanthropic and wealth indicators. These data points show whether or not a certain supporter will make a major gift for your organization. Here’s a little more information about these indicators:
- Philanthropic indicators: Philanthropic indicators are used to determine how likely a supporter might give to your particular cause based on their charitable history or a connection to your mission. This includes indicators such as past contributions an individual has made to other similar causes or past engagements with your own organization.
- Wealth indicators: Wealth indicators show the potential capacity a supporter has to give to your organization. Information such as stock holdings, real estate ownership, and political giving can lead your organization to learn more about how much a supporter may be able to contribute to the cause. These indicators can guide your fundraising asks so that you don’t overshoot, but also don’t undersell yourself.
These indicators are most effective when they’re paired with information in your nonprofit CRM. For example, you may find that your CRM and prospect research software integrate (like Bloomerang and DonorSearch do). When this is the case, you have immediate access to your donors’ engagement and generosity scores from your donor database. You can start stewarding them right then and there to become major donors!
While it is possible to conduct prospect research manually and without a dedicated software solution, it takes a considerable amount of time. Plus, you may run the risk of missing out on key information. Therefore, it’s more comprehensive and time-efficient to invest in an already-built out database such as DonorSearch, WealthEngine, and iWave.
DonorSearch offers the largest prospect research database that helps nonprofits like yourself identify potential prospects. Some top features of DonorSearch’s prospect research software include the following:
- Marketing lists. Use DonorSearch’s tools to develop perfect marketing outreach lists of supporters based on 300 financial, demographic, and interest categories.
- Heat mapping. A Google Maps integration allows your organization to develop heat maps based on congregations of supporters in local areas so you know where to geographically reach them.
- Screening analytics. Analytics will help show your organization what type of prospects you’re looking at. For example, potential prospects include major donors, annual givers, and planned giving prospects.
DonorSearch is also the tool that powers the generosity score featured on Bloomerang’s donor profiles! Their full software functionality can provide even more insights into your supporter base.
WealthEngine is designed to help your organization identify and manage wealth indicator information about your prospects. This nonprofit software uses scores and ratings to help your nonprofit organize and manage the data provided. Some of the features you’ll find with this solution include:
- Data Enrichment. Use the data scores and reports to better understand and prioritize your outreach to your supporters.
- Data Cleaning. WealthEngine detects inaccuracies in your database of information so that you can find solutions and ensure everything is correct.
- Secure Delivery. WealthEngine uses the Cloud to seamlessly and securely deliver, process, and transfer important files and data for your organization to use.
With WealthEngine, your organization can better plan out your strategies for major gifts, planned gifts, and establishing ask amounts.
iWave is a prospect research tool that’s easy to use and provides valuable information to enhance your organization’s fundraising strategies. Some of the features that make iWave so simple and easy to use include:
- Automatically prioritized donor list. iWave will prioritize a list of supporters for your organization so that you know who’s most important to reach out to.
- Comprehensive donor profiles. Create profiles for each donor prospect to contain relevant information that your organization can use to raise funds.
- iWave scores. iWave has their own scoring system that helps rank donors according to their affinity and capacity to give.
iWave moves within and beyond the nonprofit sphere, helping nonprofits, educational institutions, healthcare, and the arts all conduct prospect research. You can learn more about how your organization can make the best use of this software on their website.
Event software is a type of nonprofit solution used to plan and execute fundraising events as a part of your organization’s overall strategy. Keep in mind that these solutions can be used for both in-person and virtual fundraising events for your organization.
If you’re looking to host an in-person fundraising event, look for a software solution that will help organize information about the venue, the vendors, and the attendees.
Meanwhile, if you’re more interested in a virtual event, be sure you have a dedicated platform for live streaming, choose an activity that can be easily completed from home, and extend your invitation to a greater geographic audience.
The best event software for nonprofits should include features such as:
- Streamlined registration. Registration should be a quick and easy process for your nonprofit supporters. This will prevent many from abandoning the registration form.
- Donation options. Provide an additional donation opportunity during the event registration process so that supporters can give more if they feel compelled to do so.
- Marketing tools. Marketing tools help your nonprofit reach your attendees as well as encourage more people to attend.
Don’t forget that your nonprofit’s events can be used for more than just fundraising. Stewardship events are integral for building relationships with your supporters. Plan a fun activity that your supporters can do as a community without spending their money to attend. This will help your organization build relationships centered around the donor rather than around fundraising. In turn, this can boost fundraising as supporters feel more connected to the cause.
Our favorite event management solutions each provide a range of features available for nonprofits to use for fundraising and stewardship events alike. These solutions include Regpack, Eventbrite, and ePly. Learn more about each:
Regpack is an event registration platform that makes it easy for nonprofits to set up and execute an effective event for their supporters. They’ve also designed their software so that it’s applicable for both in-person and virtual event experiences.
By incorporating features that make it easy for supporters to sign up for events, you can make the most of the registration process. These features include:
- Embedded registration. Embed your organization’s registration directly onto your website to make them easy to find and complete.
- Group registration. This makes it easy for one person to register multiple people for your event, whether that’s a team or a family who all want to attend.
- Discounts and coupons. Encourage supporters to sign up for your next event by offering special promotions that they can use in return for their email address or participation in another organization activity.
With Regpack, your organization will not only successfully plan your next event, but take it to the next level with increased attendance rates.
Eventbrite is a top event platform for organizations planning stewardship events that are free of charge to attend. This is because Eventbrite doesn’t charge anything to organizations that aren’t charging their attendees. The platform will be free. Some of the features you’ll receive on this platform include:
- Quick event creation. It only takes a matter of minutes for your organization to create your event registration form and start marketing to attendees.
- Mobile app for creators. As an event creator, you can check to see how the event attendance rates are going, when people sign up, and other event details all within a mobile app.
- Built-in marketing. You can post your event on Eventbrite’s event listing page to get a head start on marketing and encourage more people to attend.
Eventbrite for nonprofits is a well-known and well-trusted event registration solution. Therefore, you can trust that your organization’s event data will be secure on their platform.
ePly is the best event management software solution for nonprofits designing and hosting their own conference. While you can use it for any type of nonprofit event, ePly is perfect for conferences because the software offers features such as:
- Event microsite. Direct supporters to a complete event microsite to learn more about the event and register in a single comprehensive location.
- Event check-in app. Scan supporters into your event quickly and easily with a check-in app that allows you to scan barcodes on tickets and badges for admission.
- Conference app. Design a branded conference app with information about attendees, speakers, activities, sponsors, and more so that supporters can view it at any time during the event itself.
While ePly is an effective event management software for any type of event, their conference tools are really what make the software stand out from the crowd.
While nonprofits earn much of their revenue from their fundraising efforts, there is also a lot of revenue potential in nonprofit grants. That’s why grant software is a vital nonprofit software solution that organizations should add to their tech ecosystem.
Grant software helps nonprofits manage each step in the grant application and acceptance process. These steps include:
- Identification. This is where you identify the grant opportunities that are best suited for your organization’s cause and direct needs. Remember, if your cause is somehow connected to the mission of your funder, you’ll be much better suited to win the grant.
- Application. During the application process, make it easy for your funder to say “yes”. You should explain as specifically as possible what the funding will be used for, why it’s necessary, and how it will advance your mission. Your grant software should track how far along you are in the grant application process so that you’re sure to never miss a step.
- Acceptance. Graciously accept the grants you win and provide a way for your funders to keep up with your organization. Your software should keep you accountable and track to make sure you’re using the funding as you promised you would.
Consider how your nonprofit organization uses grants currently. Could you be better optimizing your process? For instance, are you following up with funders after unaccepted applications? Simply asking what your nonprofit could have done differently in your application process can improve your strategy drastically over time. Not only does it develop a relationship with that particular funder, but it also helps you find ways to strengthen your strategy.
Our favorite grant software helps nonprofits at various levels according to what you want from the solutions. For example, one may offer complete outsourced grant management, while another may simply help you locate the grants most applicable to your organization. Consider what you need, and then browse our top solutions below:
Foundant’s grant software solution, GrantHub, makes it easy for nonprofits to identify potential grant opportunities, manage the grant application process, and track and report fundraising progress. Some of the features available as a part of GrantHub include:
- Funders lists
- Task and deadline tracking
- Proposal creation
- Documents repository
- Comprehensive reporting
With Foundant, your organization can not only find new opportunities but also track your progress in winning grants.
While not a nonprofit software solution per se, Grants Plus can help your organization ensure effective grant management. Outsource certain aspects of the grant process and get consulting on your grant strategies from their experienced team. Grants Plus can also help you:
- Write grant proposals
- Review the proposals your team writes
- Train to more effectively optimize your grant process.
- Bridge the gap regarding grants if you’re experiencing staff changes
Grants Plus helps nonprofits with their grant seeking and proposal processes to ensure you’re getting the most from your applications. You can learn more about their resources on their website.
Auction software is a type of nonprofit software that pairs perfectly with your event software. Auctions are a classic fundraising tool that organizations can use to appeal to the general audience or simply to top funders. It all depends on the items procured and the environment you choose to host the event in.
It’s also important to know that there are several types of auctions that your nonprofit can choose to host for your supporters. You may use your auction software to host any of the following:
- Silent auction
- Live auction
- Online auction
When you look for software for any of the above, you should look for a solution that guides your organization through the whole auction process and makes it easy for supporters to bid via their Smartphone.
The auction event process starts with item procurement. Make sure to track where you receive auction items, how much you spend (if any), the item’s retail price, and other relevant information. Then, ensure you also have access to event registration tools (jump back to the event software section) and a streamlined checkout process.
When supporters are able to bid on items at your auction from their cell phones, you can create a more organized and personal bidding system for auction attendees. This can boost revenue as your supporters receive notifications as they’re outbid or check more frequently on their favorite items.
Our favorite nonprofit solutions for auctions include OneCause, Handbid, and Clickbid. Learn more about each below:
OneCause helps nonprofits during every stage of the auction event planning and execution processes. They offer tools to ensure your nonprofit hosts the best online or in-person, live or silent, auction. This software provides options for nonprofits to better optimize aspects of the auction process like:
- Item procurement. Manage the information necessary to effectively procure your top items for your auction. Make sure to have just one or two top tier items, then medium and small items that will appeal to all of your supporters.
- Event registration. Invite supporters to register for the event using the same platform they’ll use to bid and complete other event activities.
- Mobile bidding. Whether from home or from your event, make sure to offer mobile bidding options. This way, your supporters can relax and mingle with others, enjoying every aspect of the event without concern of being outbid. If they are, they’ll receive a notification and can quickly place a new bid via phone.
OneCause’s software solution also makes checkout an easy and streamlined process for your supporters. They won’t need to wait in long lines if they’re giving from their phones! They can just check out from their mobile devices.
Handbid is an auction app that’s specifically designed to improve the user experience of your nonprofit’s auction attendees. Consider hosting your next silent auction online and trust that your supporters will have all of the tools they need to engage with the event through Handbid’s comprehensive mobile app. With Handbid, you’ll find features such as:
- Live streaming. Live stream to your event attendees during the virtual event. You may choose to show off various auction items during these live streams or simply tell donors more about your mission.
- Auction management tools. Manage your guest list, get new item ideas, and view important statistics about the auction itself in real-time. This means you have accurate and up-to-date information at any time about how many supporters are bidding and the fundraising potential of your event.
- Online and mobile bidding. Your auction attendees have the option to bid on your auction items from their phones with Handbid’s mobile app or from their computers on the dedicated auction site.
If you’re interested in online auctions or how Handbid can help you plan your next event, you can check out their blog. They offer all sorts of educational resources that your nonprofit can use to learn more.
Clickbid specializes in mobile bidding to help nonprofits pivot their classic silent auction to the virtual sphere (or a hybrid event). Their easy-to-use, user-facing features make it a compelling platform to satisfy your supporters. These features include:
- Pre-event check-in. Check your supporters into your event faster so that they can get started bidding in your auction quickly.
- Mobile check-out. Allow your auction winners to quickly and easily check out from your auction event without waiting in line with mobile check out options.
- Mass messaging. Use mobile messaging to get in touch with all of your supporters and send quick updates throughout the event.
Clickbid has been working with organizations to help establish the mobile-bidding sphere since 2002. They’ve only worked to improve their software capabilities since that time. This experience means they’ve seen it all and can answer any questions your supporters might have.
Nonprofit software is designed to help various aspects of your organization’s fundraising strategies. With the tools in this guide, your nonprofit is armed with the knowledge you need to create a comprehensive nonprofit software ecosystem.
However, you can never learn too much about nonprofit software. Check out our other resources below to continue your research and build the best toolbox possible.
- Buying Fundraising Software: 6 Important Factors to Consider. If these nonprofit software solutions look intriguing to you, be sure to check out our guide to purchasing fundraising software and dive deeper into the decision-making process.
- Donor Database: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide. Are you in need of donor management software? While we offer a brief explanation here, this donor database guide helps advance your research to the next level.
- Fundraising Apps: Must-Have Tools for Your Nonprofit. Looking to take your nonprofit software mobile? These top fundraising apps are designed to help you fundraise on the go!