Like it or not, a nonprofit organization is a business, just as much as any profit-making business. While the profit-making business has the “Great App” or the “Super Smart Service”, the nonprofit should be focused on building relationships which support their cause and mission.
But, what keeps a business continuing is information–more precisely, the proper disciplining of that information. And how do you maintain that discipline and process? In successful businesses today, you do it with enterprise database software. In this article, we discuss the importance of having a unified place for the nonprofit to store information about your donors in order to be successful in a NPO’s business today.
The Key to Finding Love with Donors is Data
It truly doesn’t matter what type of nonprofit you are. Whatever you may call your NPO, in order to remain viable, you need information management & good processes in place. And, in a nonprofit organization, donor management software is the tool which may be the key to helping your nonprofit develop strong relationships with your donors today and long-term.
Alyce Lee Stansbury notes that donor software for nonprofits “is not a luxury.”
“It’s a critical fundraising tool designed to maintain constituent records, process and track donations, acknowledge gifts promptly and accurately, establish fundraising goals and track progress, manage different fundraising campaigns simultaneously, identify major donor prospects, analyze fundraising results and increase fundraising effectiveness. It is also designed to track relationships, affiliations, notes, and other significant information. Properly utilized, donor software can significantly help staff and volunteers achieve their fundraising goals.”
The Field of Options
The good thing is that there are a number of donor management software packages in the market. And, the bad thing is that there are a lot of good packages on the market. It can be a full-time job to find what the right size is for you. So, don’t get your heart set on any one before you answer some questions about your organization and its goals, such as:
- What do you want the software to do for your organization?
- What will be the total cost of ownership?
- Can all of your people use it?
- What do we want the ROI of the Software to be?
The Main Functions to Consider
Some of the functions that donor management software needs to perform:
- Accounting (A critical issue, since nonprofits have to submit yearly Form 990 reports to the Internal Revenue Service.)
- Managing donors & membership
- Managing grant applications (if your organization seeks grants)
- Management of volunteers (if outsiders assist your organization)
- Marketing & outreach
- Website e Commerce
If you are running a nonprofit association with a foundation, specialized association management functions along with some of these features may need to be considered:
- Preparation of financial statements
- Membership Management
- Certification management — for example, if it is a sports organization, do you certify coaches or referees? Or, to use the Russian literature example, do you validate that your members have done X amount of work in the field?
- Committee management — do you have Committees on X, Y, or Z, do you certify their membership on these committees, and do you record their work?
- Content management — if you publish anything, how do you manage its distribution?
We spend a ton of time and resources researching options so you don’t have to. Use us for that! If you have further questions then please contact us. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.