In order to build meaningful donor relationship that results in ongoing support, nonprofits must optimize the donor experience: the path of a donor’s engagements, interactions, and activities with the organization.
With the right tools, building and managing an exceptional donor experience isn’t difficult. Even the smallest nonprofits can create systems and processes that are simple to manage, with automated elements that reduce the amount of hands-on work needed.
Choosing Your Donor Management Systems:
While you can use individual tools (such as an email marketing software, a contact database, an event registration software, etc.) and manually connect them, it’s easier and faster to use an all-in-one tool. Good fundraising software will have all the individual tools you need, integrated into one technology suite. Here’s what to look for in an all-in-one system:
- Is the donor management software easy to navigate? Is it easy to find a specific contact record when you need to?
- Are you able to track donations made by each contact? Can you quickly see the time and type of each donation, by contact?
- Can you track communications and view them within each contact record? Is it simple to find out when the last communication with a contact occurred and the nature of the contact?
- Can you group contacts and categorize them? Is it easy to create groups of contacts based on a set of criteria?
- Does the software have a built-in email system? Can you email your contacts within the system?
- Can you send newsletters through the system? If so, how easy is it to create and customize the newsletters?
- Can you send emails and thank you letters through the system? Can you handle all your communications within the system?
- Does the system let you create surveys? Can you build and track the results of surveys easily within the system?
- Are there easy-to-customize templates? What do the system’s templates look like, and how easy are they to use and customize?
- For event management, does the software track contacts who have registered for each event? It will save time if you’re able to quickly identify who has registered for an event.
- How easy is it to get your reports? Will you be able to access the data you need quickly and easily?
- Is the dashboard easy to use? Can you quickly see data visualizations at a glance?
- How secure is the system? Does the system address security vulnerabilities?
- How easy is it to set up the system? How quickly can you be up and running on the system?
- What kind of support does the provider offer? If you have a question or an issue, how quickly will it be resolved?
- What kind of training does the provider offer? Are there online training resources, and do you have access to live support if you need it?
- Does the provider offer coaching and guidance on how to improve the results of your campaigns? Beyond questions about the software itself, are you able to learn from experts in the industry who have run successful campaigns?
- Does the provider offer a pricing structure that works for your organization? Long-term, will the platform be a viable option for your organization?
As you evaluate different software solutions, think through what tasks you’ll need to perform. Then ask how the software you’re considering could streamline those tasks. And be sure to demo the systems you’re evaluating to get a feel for what it would be like to use each one in your organization.
Learn why the donor experience is vital to a successful organization and how to implement an effective donor experience program by downloading “A Better Donor Experience: Is it the Cornerstone of Donor Loyalty?”