When it comes to fundraising software there are a lot of choices out there. However, knowing how to choose the right one for your nonprofit can be a challenge.
This post will help you determine how to select the fundraising software that is right for your organization by defining your wants and needs. We will also help identify the best features to look for that can enable you to raise more money.
How to Define Your Fundraising Management Software Needs
Before we get into must-have features, let’s discuss how to define your organization’s needs to ensure that the fundraising management software you select is the right fit for your nonprofit.
Engaging key stakeholders
It is important to engage your fundraising staff and other key stakeholders in the process. You want to choose a software that will support your whole fundraising team and increase revenue, but this cannot happen if your staff don’t use it!
Engage key stakeholders in choosing fundraising management software:
- Determine who will be using the software
- Create a working group of stakeholders to evaluate the options
- Meet with your fundraising teams to understand their needs from the software and what features would best support them
Define current and future needs
While it is key to consider your current needs, you should also think about your fundraising team’s future needs. Launching a new fundraising tool requires investment of both time and money. Choose a software that can grow with your nonprofit so you do not have to repeat this process in a few years.
Determine your needs:
- What does growth look like for your fundraising team?
- Are there specific areas of fundraising, like major gifts, that you would like to focus on?
- Are there fundraising processes that could be automated?
- How will your priorities shift as your program grows?
Define your budget
Your nonprofit’s spending power is the biggest factor in investing in the right software for your nonprofit. Features are important, but your budget shapes what you can actually get.
Here are some tips for budgeting
- Look for a software with add-on features, this allows you to start small and build as your grow
- Prioritize features into “nice to haves” and “must-haves”
- Budget with the future in mind, it can be more expensive long term to choose a cheaper option that cannot keep up with your growing goals
Must Have Features to Increase Revenue
The goal of your fundraising management software is to support your fundraising team and increase revenue, so the software needs to have the right features for the task. Here is our list of must-have features to guide your decision making.
One of the best ways to increase revenue is to consistently add new prospects to your fundraising portfolio. That’s why tools to support prospect research and management are a must-have for your team.
The right features will make prospecting a breeze by
- Identifying prospects within your database automatically, saving your fundraising team time on manual reporting and analysis
- Adding new potential donors to a fundraiser’s pipeline and set up a cultivation journey
- Finding the right people who not only have capacity, but are qualified to support your nonprofit’s mission
Change management strategy
Following a change management strategy for your donors will help build stronger relationships and increase revenue. Using a tool like Wisely, that includes built in features will save time and ensure that your fundraisers never miss a step.
Here are a few change management features to look for:
- Plan and track donor cultivation activities
- Easily add notes from donor outreach and next steps
- Pre-existing change management templates that save time, plus the ability to customize donor journeys
Usability and ease of access
A fundraising tool can only help increase revenue if your fundraising team uses it, if the software is complicated and difficult to learn your team may not want to invest time in using it.
To find a tool with good usability, ask yourself these questions:
- Is it easy for staff to log in to the tool from any device, including while they are out of office and meeting with donors?
- Does it have a user-friendly interface?
- Is the user interface intuitive, so your team can start using it right away with basic training?
- Does the vendor offer training and support services?
AI capabilities and automations
Artificial intelligence (AI) can help your fundraising team unlock better data insights and automations to save time. AI for fundraising is becoming more prevalent and a tool that includes AI features will help your team stay way ahead of the curve.
Here is how AI can support your team:
- Predict when a donor will make their next gift and how much
- Flag at-risk donors before they lapse
- Identify new potential donors
Integration and compatibility
One of your primary objectives should be to find a tool that makes your fundraising program run more efficiently. To do this, the software that you proceed with needs to integrate with other tools and be compatible with your nonprofit’s current processes and policies.
Integrations and compatibilities to look for:
- Integrated data flow between the software and your CRM
- Integrations with other platforms like online giving
- Compatibility with your fundraising team’s current processes and policies
Wisely has all of these features and more. We are passionate about supporting fundraising teams to help them raise more money to achieve their goals. If Wisely sounds like the right fit for your team, we would love to get to know you.
No matter which fundraising management software you invest in, following these guidelines and searching for the features that provide a better ROI, will help you find the right fit to reach your nonprofit’s goals!