Nonprofit organizations need software to raise funds, host events, and keep operations running smoothly. Identifying the primary software solutions used by nonprofits and understanding their features can help you fill any gaps in your strategic plan and maximize your fundraising potential.
In this guide, we’ll walk through the different types of nonprofit software, explain their purpose, and provide a list of some of the top providers.
The types of nonprofit software we’ll cover include:
- Donor Management Software
- Fundraising Software
- Prospect Research Software
- Events Software
- Grant Software
- Auction Software
Each of these types of software will streamline various elements of your donor management and fundraising processes, letting you identify new fundraising opportunities and grow support for your nonprofit.
Best Nonprofit Software for Donor Management
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 connect and build relationships with them.
While for-profit organizations 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 promoting a mission. Donor management software will meet your needs when it comes to recording interactions with supporters, collecting donation information, and integrating with your other nonprofit software.
When choosing the best donor management software for your nonprofit, some of the features you should look for include:
- Robust donor profiles. Your donor profiles are an element of your donor database where you’ll track and record all supporter interactions, 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 of your fundraising strategy. Then, you can make adjustments where necessary to maximize efforts.
Read on for an overview of our favorite donor management solutions.
Bloomerang’s donor management software is the perfect solution for organizations focused on building stronger relationships with their supporters. Every nonprofit can benefit from boosting its donor retention rates. Bloomerang is designed with features that help you acquire new donors, foster relationships, and increase the chances that donors will continue supporting your nonprofit for the long term. Some of these features include:
- An interactive dashboard. Bloomerang makes sure your donor retention rate is front-and-center on the dashboard, helping you understand where your organization stands at all times.
- Donor engagement and generosity scores. Your Bloomerang donor database assigns engagement and generosity scores to each supporter that reveals how engaged donors are and how likely they are to donate again. When you come across an individual with engagement and high generosity scores, you may have found yourself a potential major contributor!
- Donor timelines. Keep up with every interaction your supporters have with your organization using a comprehensive timeline. This feature shows when donors haven’t contributed in a while, letting you create a strategy for re-engaging them.
- Comprehensive reporting tools. With Bloomerang, your organization can create reports that highlight the specifics of your marketing initiatives, fundraising campaigns, and more.
Bloomerang also integrates with other top nonprofit technology platforms like Mailchimp, Qgiv, DonorSearch, TrueGivers, Fundraise Up, and GiveButter. This makes it easy to manage different aspects of your fundraising strategy, such as donor acquisition and prospect research, all under one roof.
NeonCRM is a well-known donor management platform in the nonprofit sector. Its customizable donor-facing pages make it easy and convenient for supporters to interact with your organization. Some of the features offered by this software include:
- Customizable fields. The flexible donor management platform allows you to add customized data to each supporter profile, helping you keep track of the information that’s most important to your nonprofit.
- Segmentation. Segment your supporters within NeonCRM to make your fundraising appeals and marketing initiatives more relatable and applicable to each group.
- Online store. Embed an online store into your website to give donors another way to contribute to your organization by purchasing branded merchandise.
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.
Best Nonprofit Software for Fundraising
Fundraising software 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. Here are some solutions you might come across:
- Online donation tools enable supporters to give to your nonprofit via your website. Look for a platform that allows you to create customized donation pages with your nonprofit’s colors, fonts, and logos. 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 are platforms that allow 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. Your volunteers should be able to add a personal touch to their pages, such as pictures of themselves and descriptions of their connection to your cause.
- Matching gift software helps you earn more through matching gifts. Many supporters work for companies that offer matching gift programs, where the business matches donations that their employees make. Matching gift software allows supporters to research their own eligibility after (or during) the giving process and helps your organization follow up with these individuals.
When determining which fundraising platform to invest in, consider your budget and the features offered on each platform. It’s expected that you should get more from the software if you’re paying more for it. The opposite of this is also true. If you look at free fundraising software, you may be missing out on key features or sacrificing data security.
With that in mind, here are a few of the top online fundraising platforms:
Kindful is a comprehensive fundraising platform that nonprofits can gain access to when they use Bloomerang for their CRM. Kindful equipped with tools that help nonprofits raise more and understand their donors on a deeper level.
A few standout features of the Kindful platform include:
- Customizable donation pages. Kindful makes it easy to create branded donation pages that enable your nonprofit to collect one-time or recurring donations. You can also highlight recurring giving opportunities and automate donation receipts to acknowledge and thank donors for every donation you receive.
- Peer-to-peer and crowdfunding pages. With Kindful, your supporters can create and customize their own fundraising pages that let them express their connection to your cause through storytelling, photos, and videos.
- Seamless Integrations. One of the most valuable features of this platform is the ecosystem of integrations that allows your nonprofit to connect Kindful with other software solutions you already use. Popular integrations include Mailchimp for email marketing, Eventbrite for event planning, DonorSearch for prospect research, and many more.
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 it needs to boost funding with 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 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 on 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 their contributions to your nonprofit. This also ensures you receive more of the funds.
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 donation collection forms, peer-to-peer fundraising pages, and event registration. Some of the features you can expect from this 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 at a frequency of their choosing.
- Suggested giving amounts. Donors tend to give more when they have a reference for how much others give. Provide some context for your supporters with suggested giving amounts.
GiveButter also integrates 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 drive conversions with the help of machine learning. 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 seven fields that supporters need to complete in order to contribute to your cause.
- Machine learning AI. Fundraise Up’s machine learning algorithm analyzes donor behavior to help you determine a tailored suggested donation amount for each user and create donor segments for streamlined communication.
Double the Donation
Double the Donation helps nonprofits raise more through matching gifts. As mentioned earlier, matching gifts are a drastically underutilized fundraising opportunity for nonprofits.
Double the Donation’s flagship product, 360MatchPro, offers a matching gift database and a 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.
Also, your nonprofit can reach out to match-eligible donors who haven’t yet submitted a match by sending automated email reminders.
Best Nonprofit Software for Prospect Research
Generally, major gifts make up a large portion of any nonprofit’s fundraising revenue. In fact, 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 reveal whether a certain supporter has the capacity and willingness to make a major gift to your organization. Let’s take a closer look at these 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 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 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). 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!
DonorSearch offers the largest prospect research database that helps nonprofits 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.
WealthEngine is designed to help your organization identify and manage wealth indicator information about your prospects. This nonprofit software uses scores and ratings to organize and manage your data. 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 so you can quickly identify and correct any data issues.
- Secure delivery. WealthEngine uses the cloud to seamlessly and securely deliver, process, and transfer important files and data for your organization to use.
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 user-friendly include:
- Automatically-prioritized donor list. iWave can create a list of supporters to prioritize based on their giving capacity and likelihood, location, your organization’s goals, and other categories.
- Comprehensive donor profiles. Create profiles for each prospect to store relevant information that your organization can use to raise funds.
- iWave scores. iWave features a scoring system that helps rank donors according to their affinity and capacity to give.
Best Nonprofit Software for Events
Event software allows nonprofits to plan and carry out successful fundraising events. These solutions can be used for both in-person and virtual fundraising events.
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, look for 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, making it more likely that more attendees will sign up.
- 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.
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 carry out engaging events. The software is applicable for both in-person and virtual event experiences.
A few stand-out features of this platform include:
- Embedded registration. Embed your organization’s registration forms 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.
- Additional sales opportunities. Regpack also helps organizations earn more by enabling them to sell merchandise, subscriptions, and session-based event packages throughout the event process.
Eventbrite is a top event platform for organizations planning stewardship events that are free to attend. Eventbrite is free to use if your organization is hosting a free event. Some of the features you’ll receive on this platform include:
- Quick event creation. In minutes, you can create an event registration form and start marketing to attendees.
- Mobile app for creators. As an event creator, you can 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.
ePly is one of the best event management software solutions 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 an 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.
Best Nonprofit Software for Grants
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.
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 positioned 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. 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.
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
Grants Plus can help your organization effectively manage the grant process. 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.
Best Nonprofit Software for Auctions
Auctions are a classic fundraising event that nonprofits can use to appeal to a general audience or top donors. It all depends on the items procured and the environment you host the event in.
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 type of auction, look for a solution that guides your organization through the whole auction process and makes it easy for supporters to bid via their smartphones.
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.
Learn more about top auction software below:
OneCause helps nonprofits during every stage of the auction event planning and execution processes. They offer tools to ensure your nonprofit hosts exciting and engaging auctions, whether they’re in-person, virtual, live, or silent. 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. Create solicitation letters, track procurement updates, bundle items into valuable packages, and more with the help of OneCause.
- 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. Mobile bidding allows your supporters to 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.
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.
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 checkout options.
- Bulk messaging. Use mobile messaging to get in touch with all of your supporters and send quick updates throughout the event.
With the tools in this guide, your nonprofit can build a comprehensive, effective nonprofit software ecosystem. To learn more about nonprofit software and the best ways to use it, review these additional resources:
- Virtual Fundraising Platforms: 17+ Solutions For Nonprofits. If you’re looking specifically for software to help manage online fundraising, this Bloomerang guide is a great place to start.
- 20 Best Practices to Optimize Your Nonprofit Donation Page. Designing a streamlined, visually-appealing donation page is crucial to driving online donations. Find out the best ways to design your giving form with this guide.
- Peer-to-Peer Fundraising | A Nonprofit’s Guide for Success. Peer-to-peer fundraising is an effective online fundraising opportunity. Learn more about how to launch a successful campaign.