The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Goodbye Spreadsheets: A Donor Management Software Success Story

Founded in 2005, Ovarian Cancer Connection (OCC) is no stranger to fundraising success during its 11-year history. In fact, this Ohio-based nonprofit has raised $36,000 just for their program that provides financial assistance to women undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer.

This fundraising success, however, came with its own challenges. Without the right tools in place, the OCC’s system for tracking donors and donations ended up being a lot of manual work.

Gini Steinke, OCC’s founder and executive director, knew that there was a better way to track OCC’s donor data. Gini decided getting a new database, known as donor management software or a donor management system (DMS), would help the OCC get all their donor data in one location. After exploring different options, OCC migrated their donor data from spreadsheets into Network for Good’s donor management system.

Gini recently shared how she manages OCC’s donor information and fundraising now that they have a system better equipped to get the job done.


Tracking Individual Fundraising

Like many small nonprofits, the OCC raises most of their funds through individual gifts. These donations either come in through events or donations from individuals who have a personal connection with organization. Currently, the OCC has more than 3,000 donors in their database.

Before Network for Good’s DMS, the OCC’s donor database was a detailed spreadsheet with tabs representing each year’s gifts. Although it’s not ideal, this system for tracking gifts is pretty standard among many nonprofits.

Network for Good’s donor management system brings it all together.

The primary problem with this practice is that a spreadsheet isn’t ideal for accessing donor information. If Gini was looking for a specific donor, she’d have to search through multiple tabs to find the donor’s complete giving history over the course of his or her relationship with the organization. According to Gini, transitioning to a system built to manage donor information has made this process much easier:

“We did track donations through spreadsheets, but I’d have to go through all the tabs to find a donation. But now, Network for Good’s donor management system brings it all together.

Transforming Online Giving

I went into the donor management system and the online donation was right there. Everything was already entered. It was like a miracle! It was wonderful!
Before using Network for Good’s online donation page and donor management software, OCC was collecting online gifts through PayPal, which made tracking a very cumbersome process:

“Donations would come in through PayPal. We’d get an email notification and transfer the money to our bank. Then, I’d input the donation in QuickBooks and enter it into a spreadsheet. It was time consuming to make sure everything was recorded accurately.”

Now, online donations are automatically added to OCC’s DMS. Using Network for Good’s donation page and donor management system together means there’s no manual lift required:

“I went into the donor management system and the online donation was right there. Everything was already entered. It was like a miracle! It was wonderful!”

Gini is especially excited to use the donor management system and donation pages during the organization’s big events.

“This is going to be great when it comes time for our major events! More and more people are getting comfortable with online giving. This is great because it makes it easier for [donors] and it saves us money.”

Managing Offline Gifts

Donor management software isn’t just for tracking online donors, it can track offline gifts too. If Gini gets a check handed to her at an event, she can easily log the donation in the DMS and track specifics like the gift’s designation or if the gift is made in someone’s honor or memory.  Notes on why the donor gave can be attached to a donation too.


Making Segmentation Easier

Smart fundraisers like Gini use segmentation to send more relevant (and more effective) messages to different groups of supporters.

And, because of the nature of their work, they need to be especially diligent with keeping track of those supporters who are survivors of ovarian cancer.

Using the group feature in Network for Good’s donor management system allows the OCC to track survivors easily. When Gini is inviting survivors to a luncheon, she can seamlessly send the email through the system by simply selecting the group labeled “Survivors.” There’s no need to sort through a list, run a filter again, or import/export a spreadsheet.

donor-management-software-system-screenshot

Ovarian Cancer Connection’s executive director saves 2-3 hours of work a day after switching from Excel to Network for Good’s donor management software.


Keeping Track of Donor Notes

Gini truly understands that fundraising is about relationships, not transactions. For this reason, Gini needs to keep notes on every donor she speaks with. But with thousands of donors, details about important donor conversations can’t be kept organized with post-it notes or in someone’s memory. This is why Network for Good’s donor management system’s notes feature is so important to the OCC and Gini in particular:

“In the donor management software, I can pull up the [donor’s] records and see my notes so the next time I talk to them, I can ask them ‘how was your son’s move?’ Otherwise, it would be in a paper file. But now, everything is right there in the donor record.”


Reporting Success to the Board

Network for Good’s donor management system offers built-in dashboards that are easy to understand and can help people like Gini explain the organization’s financials to those who aren’t digging into the numbers on a regular basis:

“At board meetings, I plan to give a snapshot of our fundraising efforts so far. The dashboard clearly explains to everyone, especially to those without a finance background, the most important information:  average donation and giving to date. I think our Board will be surprised with what our average donation really is!”

Saving Time by Getting Out of Spreadsheets

Gini estimates that she saves about 2 hours of work a day by using Network for Good’s donor management software.

The Ovarian Cancer Connection has an incredible mission and is fortunate to have a savvy executive director like Gini who has created fundraising strategies that work. Gini estimates that she saves about 2 hours of work a day by using Network for Good’s donor management software. And during events season, she estimates she’ll save 3 hours of manual work every day.

Now that they have the tools to help save time, keep donor records organized, and raise more money, the Ovarian Cancer Connection can focus what matters most: their mission.


Are you ready to make the switch from spreadsheets to a donor management system that will save you time and help you streamline your fundraising processes? Schedule a demo and see Network for Good’s donor management software for yourself! Our easy-to-use system that’s helping organizations like Ovarian Cancer Connection save time everyday can help your organization too. Schedule a demo today!

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi
Content Manager

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

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