Donor Management Software | 7 Tips to Choose a Solution

Wendy Levine
April 14, 2020

Check out these seven tips for choosing donor management software.

Donor Management Software provides organizations with a system to track information about not only their donors, but all of their supporters including volunteers, advocates, event attendees, and board members. Donor Management Software is also known as Nonprofit CRM or Constituent Relationship Management software, and is used to manage supporter data and record of interactions with each supporter. Choosing the right Donor Management solution for your organization requires a thoughtful and thorough approach.

1) Choose donor management software built for nonprofits

2) Look for donor management software with comprehensive donor profiles

3) Look for fundraising features in your donor management software

4) Track fundraising campaigns and donations in your donor management software

5) Use your donor management software to secure major gifts

6) Make sure your donor management software offers the best reporting options

7) Check out the best donor management software on the market


Choose donor management software built for nonprofits

There are many CRM systems available today. Make sure that you are looking only at Nonprofit-specific CRM systems or Donor Management Software. Nonprofit organizations have requirements that differ significantly from for-profit organizations. You need a system that will allow you track volunteers, donors, and event participants all in one place - along with their donor and activity history. You do not want to have to deal with making a for-profit CRM system fit your organization's needs!

Look for donor management software with comprehensive donor profiles

Donor software should provide you not only with the ability to track every piece of information you need on your donors, but should also deliver the dashboards and reports you need to make use of that data. When evaluating donor management software, look for the following:

  • Constituent groups: The system should allow you to categorize constituents so that messages can be targeted appropriately.  Different systems will use groups, lists, or tags to do this.
  • Family units:  Most organizations need the ability to track donations and activity by family as well as by individual. You should be able to build relationships between constituents easily in the donor software.
  • User-defined fields: No system is going to provide every field you need out-of-the-box. Be sure that you have the ability to track any and all unique information that is important to your organization.
  • Standard reports and dashboards that give you a good picture of individual donor history, as well as organization and campaign-level status.
  • Customized reports and queries that allow your staff to get to the data they need to make decisions quickly.

Look for fundraising features in your donor management software

Your donor management software should support your fundraising campaigns in multiple ways. While some of your outreach and campaign management might be done in fundraising software integrated with your donor software, the core donor system should be able to track donation and campaign information. For example:

  • Fundraising forms and payment processing
  • Offline donation processing
  • Donor history that includes both online and offline giving
  • Largest, most recent, and average gift amounts used to determine a calculated "next suggested gift" amount
  • Direct mail support, including ability to create customized and personalized letters (via word processor), label and envelope printing, and national change of address (NCOA) support.

Learn more about Salsa's donor management software.

Track fundraising campaigns and donations in your donor management software

Donor Management Software should also track a constituent's participation in campaigns and events. The ability to record activity by campaign and track a constituent's activity by campaign and across all campaigns is important in monitoring campaign success. Campaign reports should give you a detailed look at which campaigns are raising the most money and generating the most engagement.

You can track the revenue and donor count in your donor management software.

Use your donor management software to secure major gifts

Identifying and cultivating major donors is an important part of any nonprofit's fundraising program.  Strong donor management software will allow you to track the information you need to identify major donors and create a strong major gifts program.  

Identify major donors by using your donor management software to view donors who give regularly and/or have given over a certain dollar amount in a single gift.  Grouping existing and potential donors into appropriate lists will allow you to combine standard emails with personalized outreached to ensure that your major donors receive the attention they deserve!

Using a wealth intelligence tool, such as WealthEngine or DonorSearch, will give you additional information on the giving history and capacity of your current donors and prospective donors.

Make sure your donor management software offers the best reporting options

The information you store in your donor management software is only as good as your ability to view and analyze that data. Make sure that your donor software has the following:

  • Analyze campaign results and determine what works and what doesn't
  • Prioritize activities - For example, which donors normally give during the current campaign, but haven't yet?
  • Personalize messaging and requests - add personalized information to emails, customize an ask amount based on giving history, and use a donor's preferred communication channels.

Check out the best donor management software on the market

Salsa CRM

Salsa CRM is donor management software designed to help your nonprofit better track the relationships you have with your supporters. Track donations, communications, and engagement at all levels - and ensure that you have the information you need to engage with your supporters.

Salsa CRM includes:

  • Extensive Donor Profiles.  Salsa CRM tracks donation and communication history, but also allows you to create as many customized fields as you need to track the information that is unique to your organization.
  • Online Fundraising.  Use Salsa CRM to manage your direct mail campaigns and online fundraising.
  • Reporting & Dashboards. Salsa CRM includes many standard reports and dashboards for each member of your nonprofit team - along with the ability to create your own queries and reports as needed.

Use Salsa CRM with Salsa Engage for a complete marketing automation, fundraising, advocacy, and event management system.


Salesforce is a great CRM option for organizations with more complex requirements. Most organizations require a dedicated resource to implement and maintain Salesforce systems, but with extensive customization options it can be the right choice for larger organizations or those with more unique needs.

Salesforce is also tightly integrated with Salsa Engage, providing a complete supporter engagement platform.


Get a 360-degree view of your current and prospective donors with WealthEngine. WealthEngine's tools provide pre-scored wealth profiles, giving you detailed insights into an individual's propensity, capacity, and intent to engage with your organization.


DonorSearch provides accurate and actionable information that identifies your best prospective major gift donors, based on proven philanthropy and wealth analysis.

Double the Donation

Double the Donation provides technology and tools to nonprofits looking to increase matching gift revenue. Their tools allow donors to easily identify qualifying matching gift programs - and double their donation to your organization!

Topics: Nonprofit Marketing
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