Operating a successful non-profit or charity can be a rewarding labor of love that supplies invaluable service and support to the community and culture at large. While it’s admirable to pour your heart into a worthy cause, devoting countless hours every day to growing your membership and raising vital funds to truly benefit both staff and membership, working hard has to become synonymous with working smart.
The focus of every non-profit is to increase revenues in order to expand reach and effectiveness, and these goals – and so much more – can be accomplished with the aid of a software management system. Whether your membership is growing faster than your service capabilities or you are finding it difficult to realize your financial goals, consider these six compelling reasons why your non-profit needs donor management software.
1. Peace of Mind
When you are asking individuals to donate their hard-earned money or valuable time, even if it’s for the best of causes, you need to make them feel comfortable that their personal and financial information is going to remain private. Donor management software provides a safe and secure online transaction environment that alleviates common concerns such as scams, viruses, and data breaches while ensuring complete accuracy and transparency.
According to a recent survey published by PRNewswire, not only do organizations that fail to deliver easy, glitch-free online transactions pay a hefty toll in transaction abandonment, but “91% of those who have experienced problems question companies’ ability to keep private data secure.” A system that supplies everything from data encryption and intrusion monitoring to firewalls and security policies wins the trust of valued members by delivering the comprehensive protection they deserve.
2. Increased Presence and Reach
The mark of a healthy non-profit is steady growth in revenue and participation. Effective software solutions for donor management allow organizations of any size to present a more polished public image by offering modern e-commerce services, professional looking member materials, and attentive customer care.
Perhaps more importantly, donor management software can help expand reach through social network fundraising tools for creating personalized web pages, soliciting donations, and making it simple for existing supporters to spread the word by promoting your organization to their extended social networks. A recent study confirms modern Internet marketing capabilities are a growing essential for non-profits to compete. The study cites that “47% of Americans learn about causes via social media and online channels,” while more than half of those who engage with nonprofits via social are inspired to take further action by donating money, volunteering, and making a public online display of their support.
3. Modern Efficiency
The bottom line means everything to your non-profit, making efficient operations and cash management essential ingredients to your ongoing success. Donor management software can effectively reduce expenses and overhead, making it possible for a single worker to achieve that which previously required an entire team. Not only can a top donor software application automate the online payment and registration process, but it can also reduce fees associated with processing credit cards and checks. From timelier transaction processing and deposits to the ability to eliminate duplicate accounts and send filtered communications, you can make the funds you raise work more powerfully to achieve your goals.
4. Reduced Workload
The moment you switch to a donor management platform, you can dramatically reduce the effort it takes to run your organization. It typically only requires a few hours of training for the average user to get acclimated to the system. Once it’s implemented, you can save even more time automating administrative tasks, such as sending out tax documents and donation acknowledgments or filing and categorizing memberships.
A national study of challenges facing nonprofits confirms “Many nonprofit organizations lack basic fundraising systems,” and high performing nonprofit organizations are more likely to utilize a donor database and spend more time on strategic planning than those that are failing. From creating customized forms for simple online registration to collecting donations and managing volunteer sign-up sheets, integrated management software covers many of the small, yet important, details so you and your staff can devote more time and energy toward putting a successful fundraising plan in place.
When you bring donor management online with a comprehensive software solution, you adopt a system that allows you to painlessly grow with your member base. As stated in the Unit 4 report, Managing Non-Profits and NGOs in a World of Change, “A key advantage of new technology platforms is the ability to very rapidly scale up (and down) to handle fluctuations in user numbers, field offices, data volumes, and process flows…allowing modern organizations to cope with rapid business change.”
Rather than having to create new forms and add rows and columns to Excel spreadsheets, donor management software scales to your needs with a few clicks of a mouse. With an application in place that puts every individual on a donation schedule of their choice and automatically sends out payment reminders, statements, and personalized communications, you make the crucial aspect of keeping your members happy infinitely more manageable.
6. Data Collection and Analysis
Donor management software allows your organization to seamlessly import existing data into the system, and then add unlimited new accounts as your database grows. Since not all members are created equal, or respond to the same interaction, it’s possible to segment groups of members based on their level of involvement, preferences or tendencies, and potential for investment. This helps you communicate with them strategically so that you can reach out to your most dedicated donors during critical fundraising campaigns, and also seek engagement with individuals who have recently lapsed in participation.
According to the aforementioned Unit 4 study, “An up-to-date system should offer management real-time visibility into operational activities and progress against strategic goals,” while also delivering, “operational metrics or key performance indicators and provide alerts when there is a variance, allowing for the rapid investigation of the underlying issue.” The end result is an organization equipped to access the information needed to more efficiently manage its database and adjust strategies.
The key to realizing the full potential of your donor-funded non-profit rests on fusing old-fashioned hard work and determination with modern software solutions. Whether your organization is under-performing or growing at a rapid pace, quality donor management software can provide the support you need to cut overhead and expenses, automate time-consuming tasks, supply more intuitive member services, and cultivate strategies to maximize efficiency.
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