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How Does Donor Management Software Work?

Last editedJan 20222 min read

Charities might be non-profit organisations but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be run like businesses. The goal of any charity, after all, is to raise as much capital and awareness as possible for the cause. And without proper management in place, how can you expect best practice to be followed and the best results to be attained?

For most non-profits, the vast majority of their operating income comes from donations, so managing those donations should be a major consideration. That’s why donor management software is so vital for all charities and nonprofits.

What is donor management software?

Anyone who has ever run a non-profit or charity organisation will probably tell you that it’s the people that make it all go around; the donors. Being able to keep track of those donors, how much they have donated, their donation patterns and their information is the bread and butter of any well-run charitable organisation.

While in the old days a filing cabinet full of contact information or an Excel spreadsheet might have sufficed, we are living in an age where data is everything. Data can be used to automate processes, improve efficiency and create opportunities that simply wouldn’t have been possible ten or even five years ago.

Donor management software allows non-profits to maximise their data and their relationships with their donors by collecting information, identifying trends and making automated recommendations as to how to maximise future donations. At its core, it’s a database that allows you to track donors and donations but it’s the opportunities opened up by that database that makes these solutions so powerful and so necessary.

What does donor management software offer?

Think of it as a content management system engineered specifically around donations. The best donor management software should allow you to do the following and plenty more besides:

•   Track detailed contact information, including every interaction donors have had with your organisation and your staff.

•   Monitor specific campaign metrics such as donation sources, donation sizes and any information about individual donors.

•   Segment information to suit your organisation’s strategy and build campaign strategies.

•   Use wealth screening to predict the donors that are most likely to give larger amounts.

•   Highlight how donors are connected.

•   Track donor habits to predict how much they might donate in the future.

•   Improve efficiency by bringing all donations into one centralised location regardless of where the initial donation came from (social media, physical events, email etc).

What to look for in your donor management software

This will depend on the size of your organisation and what you hope to achieve. For some, open-source or free donor management software might suffice, as there are dozens of free options that provide surprisingly deep functionality.

For many other charities, meanwhile, the direct debit solution offered by GoCardless should be more than enough. Our cloud-based service uses instant bank pay to allow for same-day, one-off donations via paylink. It also allows donors to pay via paper, telephone or online and includes features that allow donors to upgrade or downgrade recurring contributions with a single click.

However, if you’re looking for a more comprehensive donor management solution, one of our partners should be able to help you take things to the next level with complete GoCardless integration.

Donor management platforms provided by GoCardless partners such as Donorfy and TotalGiving will allow your organisation access to a diverse range of features. These will include a range of fundraising tools, donor communication tools and tracking and reporting tools, as well as integration with other platforms.

In essence, a donor management software solution exists to do the work of a full-time employee for a fraction of the cost. And the more you can save on the bottom line, the more you will have to give to the people that really need it.

We can help

If you’re interested in finding out more about donor management software, or any other aspect of your finances, then get in touch with our financial experts at GoCardless. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

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