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What is fundraising software?
Fundraising software provides a platform for nonprofit organizations to track and manage pledges, contributions, and donor data. The software helps nonprofits target potential donors more efficiently compared with doing these activities manually. It also offers tools to check on the effectiveness of the fundraising campaigns.
The benefits of fundraising software
- Streamlined volunteer management: Fundraising software can speed up registrations and improve communication with volunteers. It stores details such as volunteers’ contact information and their assigned tasks. You get quick access to volunteer information, which can be used to plan the workforce for future events such as an annual fundraiser.
- Simplified reporting for data analysis: Fundraising software automates the process of compiling and analyzing donor data. It allows nonprofits to generate custom reports as well as compare and share the pledge and donor data in a simple format such as PDF or CSV. It offers a dynamic view of the data to help you effectively evaluate the status of your fundraising goals.
- Wider presence and reach: The software helps you manage data about donors, prospects, events, and donations. This data can be used to classify donors on criteria such as demographics and donation patterns. Based on the classification, you can create custom marketing strategies for different types of donors and expand your reach.
Typical features of fundraising software
- Donor management: Manage donor relationships during various stages/activities by collecting data such as contact information and previous outreach information.
- Payment processing: Accept, record, and reconcile financial transactions such as accepting or declining credit card transactions.
- Contribution tracking: View and track the donor contribution history.
- Campaign management: Create a collection of marketing actions to complete your nonprofit’s marketing and sales goals.
- Recurring donation management: Manage and track gifts that have been pledged monthly or annually or at a fixed interval of time.
- Event management: Schedule and manage registrations, donations, auctions, ticket sales, and event communication.
Considerations when purchasing fundraising software
Payment processing fees: As most donations are done online, the software should allow donating via a payment portal or mobile app. Check the fees for each transaction, so that it doesn’t significantly reduce the donation amount. This will allow you to efficiently plan your financial resources.
- Type of solution: Before you purchase a tool, figure out the type of software your nonprofit requires. There are various types of fundraising software such as donor databases or nonprofit CRM, online fundraising software, association management software, event planning software, and mobile giving software. If a solution doesn’t have the necessary functionalities, check out other tools in the market.
- Ease of managing data: Nonprofits often have to deal with a large amount of data such as donor data, donations, volunteers, event schedules, and logistics information. Look for data automation features such as data cleanup, record merging, reports generation, and tracking of data submitted through online forms.
- Multiple donation options: As online giving is a core function of fundraising software, it’s important to have diversified online donation options. The fundraising software should support options such as text giving, peer-to-peer fundraising, and matching donations. It could also have inbuilt or integrated payment processing capabilities.
Relevant fundraising software trends
- Online donation is the way to go: Nearly half of Baby Boomers in the U.S. donate online. Donors are also adopting digital wallets because of the widespread use of mobile phones. Therefore, mobile-optimized giving pages and forms are vital in attracting and converting donors across all age groups—from the tech-savvy Gen Z to Baby Boomers.
- Video engagement is rising: A HubSpot study found that millennials have a strong preference for video and social-based content. According to a survey by Wyzowl , in 2018, 87% of businesses were using video as a marketing tool to increase user engagement and improve brand loyalty, especially among millennials. Nonprofits are also picking up on this trend and using videos to engage with their audience.
- Chatbots to be added in fundraising software: The popularity of voice-based search and social messaging apps is rising, and so is the need to provide donors instant gratification. This is where chatbots come into the picture. A chatbot integrated into social messaging apps helps you engage your donors better. You can automate several tasks such as solving queries, helping donors make payments online, as well as recording and managing donor data.