The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Your Worst Fundraising Enemy

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It’s likely your nonprofit has an enemy lurking in its midst. An insidious evildoer that is working an inside job.

This enemy wastes your time, limits your fundraising potential, and is probably causing you to lose donors. Sounds pretty scary, right? Well, it is.

It’s your spreadsheet.

You know that giant donor management Excel file that you cobble together every month or after every campaign? It likely has multiple tabs, various stages of formatting, and complex formulas that were created so long ago no one left at your organization knows how they work. In many cases, it’s an enemy that has grown and multiplied, leaving various revisions along its path of destruction.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Excel’s fault.

Excel and I, too, have had a long love affair:  manipulating data, creating pie charts, lingering over a pivot table late into the night. But, just like you and I, it was put on this earth for a purpose—and managing your donor data wasn’t it.

The truth is simple: you can’t use a spreadsheet to do a donor management system’s job. Here’s why:

You can’t act on data you can’t easily access or manage. And when you’re not acting on the data you should be collecting with each campaign, you’re losing money

When you manage your donor information in a spreadsheet (or, frankly, in another solution that wasn’t specifically built for nonprofit donor management) you will:

Miss fundraising opportunities.
Since a spreadsheet is not a database, it can’t help you track relationships and trends. This means you won’t be able to quickly and easily identify lapsed donors, repeat givers, major gift prospects, and matching gift opportunities. These are key aspects of improving your fundraising results and maximizing lifetime donor value, not to mention the basics of donor retention. Good donor management software will flag opportunities, illustrate patterns, and make reporting a snap.

Be stuck with sub-par donor communication.
It’s difficult to track donor details and behavior in a spreadsheet. This makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to segment your donors and tailor your communications to speak to the reasons why they give to your organization. Your spreadsheet also can’t help send those communications for you, or alert you to key follow-up tasks. A donor management system will help you do all of this.

Suffer from data inaccuracy and lack of security.
Who has the latest version of the spreadsheet? Did someone accidentally remove some columns, overwrite formulas, or delete the whole darn file? If these are questions you’ve ever asked (or worried about), you’re putting your donor file (and fundraising future) at risk.

Waste time that is better spent on your programs, donors, and optimization.
Admit it, you’re probably wasting a lot of time and energy just managing your spreadsheets and searching for info that most likely isn’t found.

So consider the opportunity cost of continuing to manage your donor data via spreadsheets and get started with a donor management system ASAP.

But, don’t do it for me.

Do it for your programs. Do it for your donors. Do it for your sanity. Do it for our old friend Excel.

Network for Good’s new donor management software was built for nonprofits like yours. It’s based on our many years of fundraising insight and input from hundreds of fundraisers and administrators. And it’s easy to use—so you’ll actually use it.

Want to find out more? Schedule a quick personalized demo today to see what a friendly, modern donor management system could do for your organization.

Raise More This Year with Easy-to-Use Fundraising Software that Gets Results

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About This Blog
Caryn Stein hi res

Caryn Stein
Vice President, Communications and Content, Network for Good

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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