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Guest Blog: 4 Tips to Make the Most of Your Donor Management Software

The market for donor management software is growing in the United States and is projected to reach $2.12 billion by 2028. New nonprofits are founded every day, and with that comes the need to keep nonprofit data organized and easily accessible. 

Donor management software allows nonprofits to maximize their revenue and reduce manual task loads. However, some organizations may struggle to determine whether or not they are using their software tools to their full potential.

We will review four tips to help ensure that your nonprofit is making the most of its donor management solutions: 

  1. Act on engagement and wealth data. 
  2. Leverage integrations. 
  3. Maintain database hygiene. 
  4. Assess reports regularly. 

According to Bloomerang’s guide to donor management software, your donor management solution should enable you to organize data and use that information to personalize your donor outreach. Use these tips so you can leverage all of the features available in your current system to see the highest return on your investment. 

1. Act on engagement and wealth data. 

Top donor management solutions allow you to easily start major gift fundraising by providing a variety of donor information automatically. After analyzing the potential major donor data in your donor database, you can create personalized outreach strategies for these prospects. 

For example, let us take a look at how donor management software can streamline the major donor cultivation process: 

  • Step 1: Your donor management system highlights wealth screening and engagement information to help you identify potential major donors. Depending on the type of donor management system you use, this information could be revealed as an engagement metric or giving capacity metric.
  • Step 2: Your nonprofit develops a personalized outreach strategy for each potential major donor. For example, perhaps you discover a certain prospect has volunteered with your cause in the past. You can invite this individual to participate in an upcoming opportunity and show them how donors’ gifts positively impact your volunteer program. 
  • Step 3: Your nonprofit maintains a variety of touch points with your potential donors over a few weeks or months. You track every interaction using the moves management tools in your donor management system. After building strong relationships with prospects, you send a donation request or meet with donors to ask for their support in person. 

As you can see, acting on the engagement and giving capacity information in your donor database can help your nonprofit maximize its major gift fundraising. 

The best part is that most donor management systems will offer this information for all donors, not just potential major donors. This allows you to treat every donor like a major donor by creating segments based on shared characteristics and personalizing content for every supporter. 

As a result, you can create an engaging donor stewardship approach for donors at all levels, making each supporter feel valued. 

2. Leverage integrations. 

Integrations extend the functionality of your donor management software and allow you to seamlessly transfer data from your other software tools to your core system. 

Using the integrations available within your donor management system eliminates the need for manual data transfers. This can save your team time and maintain better data security.

Assess whether your current donor management system offers integrations with software tools like: 

  • Marketing software. This includes email marketing platforms, video marketing tools, social media marketing platforms, and any other tools you use to help promote your cause. Marketing software integrations enable your nonprofit to easily pull donor information from your database to personalize your marketing outreach efforts. 
  • Matching gift tools. If your organization uses a matching gift database, it is helpful to integrate it with your donor management system. This way, you can easily identify supporters who are eligible for matching gifts through their employers. 
  • Fundraising platforms. Integrating fundraising software like your online giving platform with your donor management software allows you to instantly transfer new online donor data into your donor database. 
  • Accounting software. Syncing your accounting software and donor management system keeps all financial and fundraising records in one place. This helps you stay within your budget, track bookkeeping, and automatically align donation data. 

Evaluate whether or not your organization is using all of the integrations available with your other existing software tools. Contact your donor management software provider for support if you need any assistance setting up or making the most of your integrations. 

3. Maintain database hygiene. 

The data in your donor management system will only be useful to your organization if it is organized, accurate, and updated. Data hygiene is the process of regularly evaluating your database, eliminating unnecessary information, and setting procedures for more accurate record keeping. 

NPOInfo’s nonprofit data hygiene guide recommends taking the following steps to clean your donor data: 

  • Conduct regular database audits. Identify unnecessary, outdated, or duplicate information. Remove or update this data to avoid clutter.
  • Check whether your donor management system offers nightly automated updates. Many donor management platforms offer automated database updates such as birthday updates, NCOA updates, and deceased suppression. These updates help keep information like donors’ ages and addresses up to date. 
  • Establish clear data management practices. Standardize the process your team uses to add new data to your system. For example, set regulations for inputting home addresses or phone numbers. You can also adjust your donor-facing forms to ensure they only ask for necessary information. This helps prevent extraneous information from making its way into your database. 

After this process, you will be left with updated, clearly organized data that you can rely on for marketing and fundraising campaigns. 

4. Assess reports regularly. 

Reports give you a bird’s-eye view of your nonprofit’s strategies. They allow you to take stock of your donor relationships, marketing efforts, and fundraising strategies to see what is working and what needs improvement. 

Ensure you are running regular reports to analyze metrics such as: 

  • Supporter satisfaction. Learn more about what draws donors to your cause and their level of engagement with donor satisfaction reports. 
  • Donor retention. Assess your donor retention rate year over year to see whether or not your nonprofit effectively maintains donor support. 
  • Lapsed/downgraded donors. Analyze your downgraded or lapsed donors to understand why they decreased their involvement. 
  • Marketing engagement data. Understand your marketing successes and challenges by evaluating engagement metrics like email open rates and direct mail response rates. 

You should be able to run reports automatically using your donor management software. Set up recurring reports to go out to your team at periodic intervals. This ensures everyone is on the same page about how your nonprofit’s strategies are playing out. 

Before launching a new software system, use these steps to make the most of the tools you already have. Most top-quality donor management software platforms will offer all of these features and other effective tools to simplify your team’s workload. 

Your software provider likely also offers ongoing support resources to help you maximize your use of their platform. Take advantage of these opportunities to ensure your donor management system is set up to support your nonprofit’s mission-critical activities.