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Donor Database: The Essential Software for Every Nonprofit

See why a donor database is the essential software for every nonprofit.

The basis for great donor stewardship, a donor database helps your organization’s staff get to know your donors, so you can cultivate strong and meaningful donor relationships.

A donor database is crucial not only to a nonprofit’s outreach and communication strategies, but also to their fundraising strategies as well as many others. This organizational element helps nonprofits, large and small, function smoothly and record necessary information about their loyal supporters.

So now that you know just how important donor databases are, it’s normal have a few more questions. Don’t worry, we’ll cover all the basics so you have a thorough understanding of a donor database or donor management solution:

  1. What is a donor database?
  2. Why should my organization use a donor database?
  3. What are the features of a donor database?
  4. What can I use a donor database for?
  5. What other software can I integrate with my donor database?

If you’re ready to learn about donor databases and strengthen your nonprofit’s strategies, let’s dive in!

What is a donor database?

1. What is a donor database?

A nonprofit donor database is a software solution that offers nonprofits a comprehensive, 360-degree view of their donors.

It enables nonprofits to track their donor data, like  giving history and interaction with the organization, and get to know their loyal supporters from one centralized location.

Salsa’s solution even extends as far as giving nonprofits the ability to plan and execute three important strategies (outreach, communication, and fundraising), all based on donors’ favorite communication methods, preferences, and other interests.

Why should my organization use a donor database?

2. Why should my organization use a donor database?

Nonprofits often use donor databases because of the seemingly unlimited benefits that come along with the software.

Because these solutions let organizations record custom details about their supporters, they’re able to cater to their supporters’ interests. For example, nonprofits can craft personalized messages, which maximizes fundraising potential for future campaigns.

Donor databases are typically the first software solution nonprofits invest in because they focus on the heart of your nonprofit: your donors!

Plus, a donor database is the first step toward organization because it manages the financial and general support behind your nonprofit. Investing in this software means spending less time manually entering data.

With a donor database, you’ll host all your data in one spot, as previously mentioned, which means you can save time and maximize your staff efficiency!

Your donor database will also offer reporting and analytics that allow you to dissect your strategies, eliminating aspects that don’t work and honing in on what does.

What are the features of a donor database?

3. What are the features of a donor database?

Salsa’s donor database offers multiple in-depth features to create a comprehensive solution for your organization.

Detailed Donor Profiles

These donor profiles will help your nonprofit keep track of your contacts’ data, relationships, interests (philanthropic and general), and demographics. You can even link donors’ social media handles to their profiles, too.

Plus, you’ll be able to add different users with different accessibility, restrictions, and security.

So, for example, a fundraiser helping out with your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign might be able to view your donors’ basic contact information, but not the payment information they have saved on file.

Similarly, they might be restricted from editing and making changes to the profile, but they’d be able to view it for deeper insights.

Plus, Salsa’s donor database offers deduplication features, so you don’t have repeat data and can instead keep your database clean and running smoothly!

Create rich donor profiles with your donor database.

Donor and Donation Tracking

In addition to each donor profile, you’ll be able to view and manage each donor’s giving history. You can use this data to craft personalized outreach for donors when you haven’t heard from them in a while!

Plus, you can add in detailed notes and use custom fields to record an in-depth picture of your individual donors, which you can use for future fundraising and outreach strategies, too.

You’ll be able to implement smarter fundraising with Salsa’s Relationships & Householding feature, which lets you see how your donor base is connected. You can group profiles based on their households to make note of combined donations, event attendance, and overall interactions.

For example, if you have profiles for your donor and her husband, you can then link those two profiles so you don’t accidentally send two letters to the same home but still send an email to both of their email addresses.

Track your donor interaction and donations with your donor database.

Donor Cultivation

You can track all of your major gifts prospects through every step of your cultivation process. Create custom workflows, set priority settings, assign users different ownerships, and even set task reminders so your major gift prospects are always tended to!

Use the donor cultivation tools with your donor database.

Direct Mail Fundraising

Speaking of sending out letters, Salsa’s donor management solution also offers direct mail fundraising!

Your organization can create crisp, professional letters with Salsa’s built-in word processor and capitalize on powerful mail merge tools. Plus, you’ll get the best in breed label printing and be able to use barcode scanning for large scale direct mail solicitations!

With Salsa, creating letter templates and sending off the perfect fundraising appeal is a piece of cake.

See how direct mail fundraising is possible with your donor database.

Grant Management

Salsa’s grant management tools let you customize your workflow so your team is equipped with the right documents and collaboration efforts! Creating a schedule for your grant writing process with Salsa’s tools guarantees you’ll make every deadline.

Manage your grants with your donor database.

Member Management

Salsa will help you manage your members with triggered dues reminders, targeted event messages, and other tools to help bring in other revenue!

You can even manage your members with your donor database.

Reporting and Analytics

Salsa makes reporting easy with customizable dashboards for up-to-date visualization. In addition, you can measure your most important metrics with one click to create custom reports with the information that’s most important to you.

You’ll even be able to query your donor database for different metrics and manage your donors with Salsa’s Easy Query Tool.

Your donor database will even create robust reports.

Salsa Engage

Lucky for you, Salsa’s donor management solution, known as Salsa CRM, comes with their other software option, Salsa Engage which includes the following features:

  • Digital Marketing, including marketing automation, email marketing, social media, marketing, drag and drop sign up forms, and marketing dashboard analytics
  • Online Fundraising, including online donation forms, automated gift acknowledgment, online event registration, secure payment processing, and fundraising dashboard analytics
  • Online Advocacy, including online petitions, targeting actions, social advocacy, click to call advocacy, and advocacy dashboard analytics
  • Peer to Peer Fundraising, custom event pages, personal and team fundraising pages, built-in fundraiser coaching, free mobile fundraiser app, peer to peer dashboard analytics


Annual Development Plan Checklist


What can I use a donor database for?

4. What can I use a donor database for?

We’ve mentioned before that a donor database can be used for improving fundraising strategies, but how does it really help?

We’re happy you asked!


Donor databases are the perfect tool for any kind of fundraising campaign because stewardship is a huge aspect of any fundraising strategy.

Your donor database records all of your donors’ important details, like personal and contact information, in one centralized location, so you can access this data at any point, allowing for an in-depth look at every donor whenever you need!

You can then use their preferences to approach them with the perfect, individualized strategy to invite them to attend upcoming fundraising events or participate in your next campaign.


Because Salsa CRM integrates seamlessly with Salsa Engage, you’ll be able to use the online fundraising elements in conjunction with your donor base.

Creating mobile-friendly online donation forms will allow your organization to process contributions at any time, seeing as it’ll be automated with your donor database.

Your donor database can help improve your fundraising strategy, especially when it comes to donations!

The more forms are completed, the more donor data will be automatically transferred to your donor database!

Major Giving

Salsa’s donor cultivation tools pair perfectly with their donor database solutions. Because major gifts are ultimately determined by your supporters, your organization will more than likely want to do everything you can to encourage major contributions.

This means you’ll want to track any interaction or engagement with major gift prospects to be sure your donors have positive experiences.

By looking into a donor’s giving history, you can even roughly predict when they might be likely to give again!

What other software can I integrate with donor database?

5. What other software can I integrate with a donor database?

Integrable solutions depend on your donor database provider.Good donor databases should integrate primarily with fundraising and membership software so that nonprofits don't have to manually transfer data between different software.

After all, the data collected from online donation, fundraising event registration, and other forms is key to acquiring and retaining new donors, which is why Salsa sells Salsa CRM and Salsa Engage as a package!

Salsa offers multiple integrations with providers like:

  • Double the Donation. The Double the Donation plug-in for Salsa allows nonprofits to use their matching gift tools on any donation page. With this widget, your donors can search their employer to determine their eligibility for matching gift programs. That way, donors know if they can submit matching gift requests from the moment they donate! 
  • DonorSearch. DonorSearch’s integration to your Salsa CRM software provides information from 25 different databases and uses algorithms to help your organization find your best prospects in your database! Your donor database might include major donors. They could be sitting right underneath your nose, you just need the help of wealth screening to uncover them.
  • WealthEngine. WealthEngine uses prospect data to give you valuable, up-to-date information you can act on! They'll help you complete the image of your donors while helping you find the best ways to connect with donors online and in person.

Different donor databases integrate with different software, but Salsa's partnerships with Double the Donation, DonorSearch, and WealthEngine will give you enough data to master donor management.

Donor databases make a difference when it comes to stewarding your supporters and ensuring positive interactions.

With the help of this essential software, your organization can improve communication, outreach, and fundraising strategies to cater to your loyal donors so you can prove how much you value their support!

If you want to unlock more supporter management and fundraising tips, check out these additional resources:

Personalized Demo Salsa CRM

Topics: Donor Management