i on Fundraising Technology: Integrating Your Web Site and Database for Greater Donor Engagement
So, how can it be achieved?
Some have tried to import data from the database into the Web site and vice versa. On the face of it, this seems to be a relatively low-cost, if somewhat low-tech way of achieving the solution. However, it is notoriously difficult to keep both systems in sync, and there is always a "lag" between an update being made online and it being imported into the donor database. So if donors make any changes to their addresses online, while others make changes to their records from the office, the two changes are in conflict when the synchronization is attempted, and often one change is dropped as a result.
A better level of integration is made possible when the database offers what is known as a Web service. This is a piece of software that runs on the database server and acts as a gateway — offering database functionality to your Web developers. Thus, the developers can create Web pages that dynamically interact with the database.
Better still is a combined Web site and database solution. Content management systems that incorporate the database as content enable you to build Web sites that naturally contain database functionality, whether for donors or for staff use. It’s one system, so it’s always up to date, and your donors will appreciate the efficiency gains you achieve as a result.
Robin Fisk is senior charity technology specialist at ASI.