Recently, I had the opportunity to surf the TV tube and stumbled across an oldie but goodie movie called, Dragnet, and the famous lead character, Joe Friday appeared. I didn’t have the opportunity to watch very much, but it made me contemplate the question during my trip back from a trip from the lake, “How would Joe Friday handle the challenge of searching for software today?”
While I certainly do not know everything old Joe Friday would do, I do believe that today nonprofit executives are required to think like “detectives” in their search for software. And, it made me think about some tips to help you think like a detective when it comes to Donor Management Software searches today.
5 Clues in Securing Your Best Fit Donor Management Software
With the year more than half way done, you need to make sure you pay attention to your LYBNTs. Never heard of them? It’s an acronym that means Last Year But Not This year. It’s far easier to reconnect with someone who has already given, than someone who is yet to give to the organization. It’s not only easier, but it’s also less expensive. It’s worth the time to make phone calls, schedule visits and reach out to donors who gave the year before because they have already demonstrated they believe in your cause. Look for software which can store data in a way which is easy to find and ultimately take action upon.
All Donors Are NOT Created Equal:
Segmenting lists is crucial when working with a donor management system. It helps you send an appropriate appeal to your donors. Your major donors need more than an annual appeal letter. They need a personalized letter with a handwritten note at the bottom of the appeal letter… and a promise for a follow-up call. Donors who give consistently, monthly, and in smaller amounts need a planned giving appeal. It’s critical to find a solution which has good segmentation capabilities for pinpointing these factors and many others to help personalize appeals.
Timing is Everything:
Some of your donors will only make a year-end appeal… others only give gifts during the summer… others when you make a personal visit. Timing is everything when making an appeal. Spend time looking for trends and data to help you organize your appeals when the timing is right. Set up reminders or “ticklers” in your donor software for nonprofits. Let the computer remind you to make timely visits, phone calls or other appeals. A good donor management system must have basic Customer Relationship Management features like activity tracking at a personal level.
Gather Your Details…Details:
Financial information and demographic information should be readily available to development officers and executives in donor systems today. If you want information about giving trends, quarterly reports, or tracking for a critical campaign — someone has to be responsible for data entry. All of those numbers and records will help create a case for approaching donors. And, likely as important is tracking the demographic details about the donor. The system needs to be able to store as much as you need to develop a relationship with a donor. When is their birthday? What school did they attend? The more details the better.
Just the Facts Ma’am:
Finally, this is the statement that made Joe Friday famous… and it is especially appropriate for non-profit work. Good donor management software will include the facts about the person and your visits. It is important to capture the flow of conversations, questions and even objections made by donors. Sometimes, it will help you include timely stories and details to help the donor know you remember specifics about their personal lives. The more personal and relational — the better!
Today, notes about an individual can be pulled into a donor management system to understand not only basic financial history but also relevant social signals which can help you develop a good understanding of what a donor truly cares about in addition to his or her background. Social intelligence features are huge! Get details, enter them into the system, and use them to help make long term lasting relationships.
Now, strap on that fedora (it’s the hat Joe Friday wore), arm yourself with some great donor management software, and find the resources you need to save the world!