Nonprofit Donor Database Management

Fundraising isn’t easy. You need strong relationships with your donors, effective marketing communications, and helpful donor database management programs that enable you to fundraise with grace and ease.

Typically, fundraising requires an understanding of your donors, facilitated by comprehensive data analysis. This usually means financial analysis, email builders, mail merge, social media campaigns, direct mail campaigns to build awareness of your cause, and more. 

Fundraising data is also important for mergers and acquisitions if your organization is able to do them. Nonprofit donor database management can save you hours by tracking receipts, monthly giving, tribute giving, matching gifts, and clicking on a button for tax receipting. It’s also perfect for event management.

Why Should You Use a Data Management System?

Nonprofit donor database management programs allow donors to give online and allows them to track their own account information, too. It’s a tool for integrating fundraising and development activities. Often these systems are cloud-based management solutions aimed at reducing donor attrition. It’s a way to increase your revenue while decreasing your operating costs, and that increases your bottom line while giving you insight into your budget needs. 

Acquire and Manage New Donors

When you have a new donor, you want to first add him or her to your address book. You want that person to become a fan (person) of your organization. 

Perhaps you want the donor to consider volunteering, which will open the door to better communication. You want that new donor to also tell others about you and communicate your value proposition to friends, peer-to-peer and become an advocate. You want the relationship to become almost like that of a marriage with great discussions and with relevance.

Communicating to him may involve email marketing and even personalization of the communication via proper semantics in telephone calls, paying careful attention to his preferences, social networks, and using a fair degree of intuition in the process. 

With donor database management, you can predict trends that are usually unseen in the industry. The software utilizes an artificial intelligence component that has the capability for data analysis in minutes. 

Once you have a better understanding of how the donor base is thinking, you can communicate with them better.

Access Data Easily with a Friendly User Interface 

These types of data management systems are easily accessed on mobile phones and devices so being around a computer isn’t essential. They are economical as well, and affordable for even nonprofit startups at anywhere from $10-40/month per user for beginning level software, up to $50 per month for mid-level software, and then above $50/month for top level advanced database management. 

The premium products may also include client management and tax management features. Asking for product bundling may also help if your preference is the premium products. 


Q: What is a donor database?

A: A donor database is a software solution for nonprofit organizations that gives you insight into why your donors are giving, what they are giving, and your nonprofit results / success. Donor databases are great for customer retention analysis. 

Using information technology in customer relationship management for market capitalization gives you leadership in the community as you reach your individual consumer base. The data acquisition strategy and methods in the database software are based on solid decision making for best practice business processes. 


Q: How does a donor database benefit nonprofits?

A: Here are the benefits you can expect:

  1. It stores all your data on your supporters.
  2. It allows you to interact in multiple ways with your donors while maintaining a good reputation and the donors’ trust. If you want to give them a telephone call, their number instantly appears. If you want to email them a note of encouragement or announce an upcoming event, you can do it quickly.
  3. With this type of software, your relationship with your donors improves. They begin to feel more well connected to you because of more frequent contact.
  4. You can more easily create business reporting monthly (annual reports and tax reports).


Q: Is there free donor database software? Or economy versions?

A: There are free donor databases, but they’re usually trial versions only. The complete version is never available for a free donor database trial period. You get what you pay for! The difference between free donor database software and premium database software is significant. If your desire is to streamline your nonprofit, this tool will help you immensely.


Q: Can’t I just use spreadsheets to track my donors and donations?

A: The problem with spreadsheets is the integration of data with business reporting. You won’t be able to do that with spreadsheets. The data management system acts as a resource for your entire business. You can see it as a business opportunity and a tool for your nonprofit’s portfolio (finance).


Q: What types of questions should we ask our professional team before investing in a donor database software management system?

A: Ask your top management these questions:

  1. What does our organization hope to change in regards to our own organization and our sponsor base? 
  2. How do we currently manage our data with our value proposition in mind? Will this purchase be a viable resource and aid or hinder the performance of employees? 
  3. How many donor records do we have? What type of business reporting do we need?
  4. Do we need to integrate with other platforms like blogs, newsletters, web content, mobile apps, etc.?
  5. What is the software’s functionality? What will fit the suggestion of our technical support team?
  6. How much does the software cost? Will grant money cover it? Does the usability make sense to us and our needs for personal data? What does the computer programming department think?
  7. Are we ready to grow our nonprofit? What will fit our planning needs?
  8. What technical standards do we need?
  9. Do we need a document management system and will a donor database management system handle that?


Q: What are the key features we should consider when purchasing a donor database software management system?

A: Every nonprofit organization is a little different but here is a list according to different categories:

Customization of the Data Accumulated

  • Does the software allow customizable online giving forms that may be added to your website, and simultaneously adds new records to your database?
  • How will you be able to leverage the information in the donor and volunteer profiles found in the database?
  • Does the software allow you to group the donors into categories you wish (market segmentation)? For example, can you group them in your agriculture nonprofit according to different types of farmers or those that signed up for the loyalty program and those that didn’t?
  • Possibility to generate surveys with extensive measurement capability 
  • Customer engagement email marketing for outreach and lead generation and diversification (marketing strategy) 
  • Scoring meters for your donors via goal progression systems
  • Types of trends that are occurring and how to apply them to individual helping behavior 

Payments and Payment Processing and Costs

  • Accuracy and precision of the program regarding payments and money intake
  • How the payment processor works 
  • Costs for installation, training, and consultations for software maintenance, as well as for updates. 

The Donor Database Management System Itself

  • Are there options so your nonprofit can scale upwards or downwards? Or will you have to replace it in 2 years?
  • Can a demo be scheduled to see it in person?
  • Is there some type of ebook, study guide or training program for employees on the job learning to use the database software? Is there a software development kit? Can it be in a form for download? 
  • Project management, strategic management and content management system capabilities 
  • Will the partnerships we have see this as a way to boost interpersonal relationships with our sponsors?
  • Integration with crowdfunding and smartphones. What about the vertical integration and the horizontal integration aspects?


Purchasing a donor database system is a big decision for any organization. Consider all the information in this article if you are making that decision in the next few months. You will want your organization to be able to grow and expand, and not be limited by making the wrong choice. 

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