Keeping track of donor data, including past gifts, correspondence, event attendance and personal information, is one of the many tasks in a fundraiser’s job description. For organizations – big or small – it is often difficult to make sure that this information is organized, clean and able to be analyzed.
Fundraising and donor management software eases the burden for many nonprofiteers by making engagement with donors more productive and increasing donor retention. Software Advice, a fundraising technology consulting firm, asked users of donor management software in the U.S. and abroad which systems they use, what the benefits and challenges of the software are and how they plan to invest in software in the future.
According to the study, 30 percent of fundraising respondents cited interaction tracking as the most-used function of their software. This function keeps track of interactions and communications that fundraisers, volunteers and other employees have with constituents. Storing this information in a single, centralized system gives staff easy access to donor information, which is especially helpful during appeals and campaigns. With donor retention being all the rage recently, market researcher Janna Finch of Software Advice believes that having accurate and detailed data allows fundraisers to craft personalized and relevant messages to donors, often making them into repeat donors.
"A recurring theme in my conversations with nonprofit professionals who use fundraising software is that it enables them to segment donors into groups based on their interests, past interactions, giving levels and other criteria to craft highly-relevant messages," said Finch. "When email, direct mail, or another type of outreach speaks directly to a donor's needs and interests, then, of course, they're more likely to continue engaging with and donating to an organization. The Bay Area Children's Theatre, for instance, analyzed records in its database to find its most engaged supporters--those who had attended every performance last season. Then, the fundraising team created a special campaign to appeal to that group, which resulted in a very high response rate and continues to be successful for repeatedly engaging those donors."
Additionally, the majority of respondents said that their software had a “positive” or “very positive” impact on their fundraising activities. Ninety-nine percent cited the number and amount of donations collected as most positively affected, followed by recordkeeping, financial reporting and workflow efficiency at 98 percent. This data shows that a nonprofit organization will likely see improvement in many areas of the organization following the implementation of fundraising software.
New software also comes with its own set of challenges, however, and the biggest challenge for 67 percent of study respondents was an unexpectedly high learning curve and lack of customization options. Luckily, many fundraising software providers provide a host of training opportunities. ResultsPlus, for example, offers one-on-one remote services, consulting services, classroom training, demo videos and an extensive “How-To” section included with the software.
Despite these challenges, the research found that 56 percent of respondents expect their organization to increase spending on donor management software this year, either by upgrading or purchasing a new system. In contrast, only 1 percent of Software Advice study respondents said that they would decrease spending on software in 2015. The data proves that nonprofits find fundraising software to be a valuable asset to their organizations and they are willing to put the time and money into making sure they are up-to-date.
So, where does ResultsPlus fit in?
We provide high-quality donor management software to help you keep all of your constituent information in one place. Nonprofits are transitioning to a digital, technological age and, in doing so, they are increasing efficiency, donor retention and personalized engagement with constituents. We know how hard fundraisers work, and donor management software is available to make sure that you reach your fundraising goals.