Fundraising Software

5 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Needs Fundraising Software

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How would you like to raise more money this year? Improve constituent relationships? Provide enhanced reports on fundraising activities?

All of this and more is possible when your nonprofit uses fundraising software. Fundraising software offers better oversight and management of all of your fundraising activities. And, you’ll raise more than organizations who do not use it, while saving time.

Raising more money and saving time might be enticement enough to purchase fundraising software. There are additional benefits you might need to know to persuade your director or board to budget for fundraising software.

The 5 Big Benefits of Using Fundraising Software

Spreadsheets, office productivity packages, and free email systems are sufficient for startups. Still, once your organization matures, you need robust software to manage the entire donation and fundraising process end-to-end. Top fundraising software such as Abila MIP integrated with Mobile Cause provides a comprehensive system that enables you to manage records, send promotions and appeals, and report on activities easily.

Other benefits of using fundraising software include:

  1. Raising more money: According to Mobile Cause, nonprofits using their software raised 4x more than those relying on other systems. Fundraising software enables you to store and manage all of the constituent data in one place. Such systems, called CRM systems, also allow you to link records to analyze relationships among donors. These patterns can be used to create sophisticated campaigns that leverage data for best results. Additional information from your donors can be used to solicit matching gifts, establish fundraising activities, and much more.
  2. One database: Bouncing among various databases, spreadsheets, and office productivity software is exhausting. Make a mistake in one document, and you have to hunt through multiple files and spreadsheets to find and correct it if it’s proliferated. Moving data from one system to another requires time and energy that you’d rather put towards other activities. Fundraising software offers all of the functions found in various productivity, contact management, and spreadsheet programs in one single database. It makes it so much easier to manage multiple campaign aspects.
  3. Satisfying your board: Boards require comprehensive reports on activities conducted by the organization. If you’re using disparate systems, you’re probably spending a lot of time creating spreadsheets, charts, and other data that can be used in reports. With fundraising software, you have the option of running multiple types of reports from the database. These reports do not need additional formatting. They are already formatted attractively and cleanly making them easy to understand. They can satisfy even the pickiest board member requesting information.
  4. Connect with donors: Not every donor appreciates the same amount and frequency of information. With separate systems, it’s hard to juggle campaign customization. Fundraising software makes it simple to add fields to a donor’s account so you can customize the frequency and type of connections they request. If Donor A prefers email and Donor B prefers snail mail or text, you can customize their system’s preferences to reach them in the method they require.
  5. Send thank-you notes faster and easier: Saying “thank you” to donors is one of the essential steps in the fundraising campaign process. The quicker you can thank a donor for their gift, the more favorably they will view your nonprofit. Fundraising systems enable you to send customized thank-you letters to donors as soon as donations are received. Donors who receive a thank-you within 48 hours of giving are more likely to give again. Maximize this feel-good period by sending thank-you notes quickly and easily.

Fundraising software is much more than tracking inbound donations. It leverages the sophistication of CRM systems with the business intelligence reports of a good accounting program. If you’re interested in learning more about fundraising software, please visit our website or contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

Put Dollars Where They Count When It Comes to Software Subscription Fees

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Software subscription fees can sneak up on you. What seems like a small purchase at one time adds up as monthly charges continue to ding your credit card or bank account. Those recurring charges can slowly and insidiously drain your resources and should be avoided, especially if you don’t use the software frequently,

Review Software Needs Quarterly

It’s a good idea to review software charges quarterly and check with your staff to see who is using which software package. While it may be clear to all that an annual subscription to Microsoft Office is necessary for business, you may not know what other software is being used. Have a team member review subscriptions to ensure that you don’t accidentally cut off something that’s needed by a department or group.

Fundraising Software: a Smart Investment

One area where you won’t want to skimp is fundraising software. Although fundraising software came with a hefty price tag years ago, there are several platforms available that offer plenty of functionality at a low cost.

What should you look for when shopping for fundraising software? To get the most for your money, look for the following features:

  • No contract: Contracts work in favor of the software owner, not the end user. Even though they may look good on the surface by locking in a rate or special features, your organization’s needs may change. Instead of long-term contracts, look for cancel at any time or at least a monthly contract that enables you to leave without cost with notice.
  • No or low fees: Some software offers a free trial and free or low cost fees for nonprofits. Others enable nonprofits to have up to a certain number of users before fees are applied. Read the fine print and look for software with low or no transaction fees.
  • Payment processing with standard rates: Review the fees the system charges for payment processing and compare them to standard rates. Make sure that the software vendor isn’t overcharging for payment processing to make up for giving away the software subscription ‘free.’

Best Features in Fundraising Software

Not all fundraising software is created equal. Each offers unique features and benefits. The right software for your organization is the one that solves the problems your team faces when it comes to managing fundraising activities.

When reviewing fundraising software, look for the following features:

  • Easy integration: New software such as fundraising software should integrate easily with your existing software. If it doesn’t, you’ll end up spending precious resources to make it work. For example, manual data entry gets tiresome quickly if you have to import everything from the fundraising system into the accounting system by hand. Check to make sure that any new fundraising software under consideration integrates easily with your existing platform. If it doesn’t, what might you need to do to make it work? What are the costs, opportunities, and benefits of using it over another platform that does integrate easily?
  • Customization: Can you customize messages to constituent groups? This is important because customizing messages can increase donation and gift size. The more you can speak directly to the interests and needs of groups on your list, the greater the potential opportunity. “Canned” responses that cannot be customized limit your fundraising abilities.
  • Tracking potential: Does the software enable you to track potential donations or just incoming ones? Those that have layered tracking, giving you different views of where potential donations stand in the pipeline, offer greater flexibility.
  • Planning capacity: Lastly, does the fundraising software allow for planning events and donations?

Not all software is needed or needed all the time. Fundraising software contributes directly to an organization’s cashflow and, as such, should be considered an important technology to keep. That doesn’t mean that you can afford to waste money on it, however. Reviewing your current package and considering a new one should be a routine step to maintaining the right fundraising software for your organization’s needs.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.