5 Keys to Make Sure Your Fundraising Software Is an Asset
I am not sure I have ever encountered a nonprofit that really fully utilized its fundraising software to capacity.
The ability to process gifts, enter demographic and access other vital information (visit reports, etc.) is vital to the success of any sophisticated development operation. In fact, the move to professional software or the need to upgrade often marks either reaching a level of fundraising success or having the internal commitment to reach new heights.
There is some great, innovative software on the market. Here are five tips to be sure that your software is an asset to your fundraising program:
- Pick the right software for your organization today — and for the next five years. Know where you are and where you are going. Find the software that will get you there.
- Update records regularly. Don't let data entry — updating addresses, contact information, birthdays — get behind. Have sufficient staffing whose primary role is gift and donor records.
- Get trained — and have your team cross-trained. Be sure that the staff that is responsible for gift processing is fully trained on your software — never have only one person trained. Have backup with cross-training for at least one other person in your organization.
- Develop regular reports. Get daily, weekly and monthly reports that let you know who is making and fulfilling gifts and how you are progressing on key indices — your "dashboard." Be sure that the right staff and volunteers in your organization also get the report that they need.
- Benchmark your progress. I mentioned that few organizations are using their software to capacity. Reach out to your vendor and to other users and ask for suggestions that will make you more effective and efficient. Commit to ongoing training.
Attention to detail improves the fundraising "net." By having a strong gift-processing, accounting and donor stewardship function, you have vital tools to deepen donor relationships.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.