Nonprofits live in a constant space of trying to do more with less which often leads to high turnover in staff and exhausted leadership working overtime just to make ends meet. On top of that, many nonprofits don’t have the luxury of high-tech or automated systems due to budget restraints. Keeping track of donations can be a time-suck for many nonprofits, especially if your database is currently a stack of unorganized papers or multiple excel spreadsheets where you have to sift through the information to understand how many people donated to a specific campaign, who received a thank you note, or who expressed interest in chairing a fundraiser next year.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably thinking “you’re telling me? I’m living in it!” Well, we’re here to tell you that automated donor databases are actually within reach!
Donor Database or CRM?
How do you know which one is right for your nonprofit? Let’s start with the basics:
A donor database is more than just a list of all the information you have on your nonprofit’s donors. Automated donor databases are specifically designed for nonprofits to manage the different types of people (volunteers, donors, board members, etc.) that interact with you daily. Also known as donor management systems, these systems are usually cloud-based software programs that allow you to store your donor records electronically, manage relationships, and automate processes like tracking fundraising goals and accepting online donations. In a sense, automated donor databases are customer relationship management (CRM) software specifically designed for the nonprofit space.
CRM software is also cloud-based software that helps businesses track customers throughout their interactions with a company and report on ROI. These software programs are more focused on helping sales reps manage the customer journey from first interaction to first, second, and third sale. While there are many similarities between CRM and donor database systems, the key difference is that CRMs don’t typically have the integrated fundraising aspects that nonprofits need. Plus, they often cost much more because they were meant for larger for-profit companies.
Your mission deserves the time and attention you currently spend on tedious paperwork! Automation will allow you to get the small details done in the background while you focus on the big impact your nonprofit can make. If a potential donor is surfing Facebook late at night and comes across a friend’s P2P campaign page for your nonprofit, they can easily donate online and be automatically added to your donor database with all the necessary tags (think virtual post-it notes) to push them into a “New Donor” marketing campaign where they receive a thank you email instantaneously – all while you were working on a program or – gasp! – resting.
Here are a few more reasons why you should automate your donor database:
- Reduce administrative burden
- Increase productivity
- Engage with your donors
- Reduce operating costs
- Get organized
- More accurate data
- Make better projections
- Increase donations
How to Automate Your Donor Database with UncommonGood
Now that we’ve identified that donor databases don’t have to be the bane of your existence and that they are at the core of donor management systems, let’s talk about how to automate your donations. Automation might seem intimidating but with the right tool, it’s as simple as a click of a few buttons on a computer screen.
With UncommonGood’s nonprofit software suite, you can be up and running in a few hours. Like what you see? Sign up for our 30-day free trial now!