As a fundraising management executive, you essentially function as the driving force behind donor acquisition and retention within your organization. Am I Right? But, that being said you may not always get the support you need or the donor software you deserve to help your efforts. May I get an Amen to that? In this article, I outline some recent data which supports the value of donor software which may help your plight in securing that much-needed new tool.
News to Use About Donor Software
As mentioned, I recently read a study conducted by Software Advice, which unveiled a number of profoundly interesting statistics. In this study, they indicated that non-profits understand the benefits of moving away from manual management, such as, spreadsheets and outdated systems, along with citing that 56% of respondents reporting that they expect to increase spending on donor and fundraising management software in 2015. Another 44% say they neither expect to increase nor decrease spending. Interestingly, only 1% reported that they expect to decrease spending.
To be fair, this statistic may need some context. Most folks who are likely associated with this study are probably actively involved in a software search. But, despite that being said, the numbers are quite encouraging for those Development Officers struggling with their day-to-day “whirlwind”. To put this into some further perspective, according to the NCCS Table Wizard, there are currently over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. So, if those numbers hold true even marginally, there are going to be quite a bit of nonprofits seeking software in 2015!
In other areas of the report, they reported that among executives evaluating new software, many are doing so due to the shortcomings of their current system. Now, this may not be that shocking data either but it’s worthy to explore the reasons nonetheless. Some of the reasons they outline include lack of a user-friendly interface, outdated system and less than desired functionality. In our experience, we seem to hear over and over again that our clients call us because they want to eliminate disparate systems. So, I found it interesting that is not included in the top challenges. However, that likely referenced in the “Lacks integration”.
How does fundraising software impact donation collection? Well, the study shows that most respondents reported either a “positive” or “very positive” impact on fundraising. The greatest influence shows up in the area of amount and number of donations at 99%. Following closely are record-keeping, workflow, and financial reporting, at 98% each. Here again, I would also add “building stronger relationships”. When nonprofit executives explore their critical business issues with us, they often outline that “the support for better relationships” is a key value add with donor software.
According to the report, interaction tracking and accounting were the number one and two features they desired. In my opinion, some of the other functions which many of our clients demand are the following in their donor management software:
- Managing grant applications (if your organization seeks grants)
- Management of volunteers (if outsiders assist your organization)
- Marketing (communications & outreach)
- Website e Commerce integration
The fundraising manager of a non-profit that takes the time to carefully consider the needs of their organization, and the capabilities of the prospective software, will likely be rewarded with improvement in all of the above mentioned areas. The greatest reward of all, being an increased strength of overall fundraising efforts and the satisfaction that comes with a job well done.
In the study, they found that their respondents felt like the following were most impactful or greatest improvement areas after utilization:
- Workflow Automation
- Data Analytics (Reports)
In my opinion, it truly does not 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 software is the tool which may be the key to helping your nonprofit develop strong relationships with your donors today and long-term.
If you are exploring options and contemplating a change, we would enjoy helping you decide what makes sense. And, help in your efforts to make a smart choice. So, Contact us for more information on our unique approach to assessing readiness, finding the proper fit, and matching your needs to the best donor database.
Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.