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Donor Software: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide for Nonprofits

Check out this ultimate guide to choose the best donor software for your organization. Your donors are the life source for your nonprofit. Without their generous gifts, you wouldn't be able to give back to the community in the capacity that you do currently. 

Along with completing your mission, one of your top priorities should be adhering to the needs of your donors to encourage continued giving. How can you make sure you're giving your donors everything they need?

Using donor software to manage your donors can answer this age-old question. Donor software can solve more of your fundraising concerns than you'd initially think. You can read through this guide to hear about these uses, or use the navigation below to see how it can fulfill your specific needs:

  1. What is donor management software?
  2. Track support through your donor software.
  3. Reach out to donors through your donor software.
  4. Streamline your systems with donor software integrations.
  5. Leverage donor software to strengthen your fundraising strategy. 
  6. Grow your nonprofit using donor software. 

Your donor software does more than just help you maintain organization. Let's dive in to see what else it can do for your nonprofit!

What is donor management software?

1. What is Donor Management Software?

Donor software's primary purpose is to help you manage compiled information for those who have historically given to your organization.

When you're able to accurately maintain an organizational database of donors, it's easier to appeal to them in the future and use this network for more support for your efforts.

You may ask yourself: Why can't this be done through a simple spreadsheet? While general information like a name and contact information could be managed in a spreadsheet, you'd be missing out on a whole slew of other important information. 

Your donor software tracks not only this general information, but also makes connections between donors, tracks every donation made, and includes any other information you may want to save for future use.

Plus, when your donor management software is integrated directly with fundraising software, this information is automatically saved into the constituent relationship management (CRM) software. This saves you from having to complete the extra step of inputting this information into a spreadsheet. 

Track your support through donor software.

2. Track Support Through Your Donor Software

As stated in the last section, one of the primary purposes of donor software is to manage your donors' information. This is done through robust donor profiles that are saved in your donor management software

Donor profiles at any level include information such as the donor's name, address, email, and other biographical information. But there is more you could be getting from your software to make the most of this management system.

Make sure your donor software also tracks historical interactions with your donors such as:

  • Past donations. Some CRM software tracks the past gifts made by your donors. This makes it easy to see exactly when they donated and the precise amount. 
  • Past petitions. You can see what kinds of causes your donors have supported through their signatures and social sharing of petitions or other advocacy campaigns. 
  • Relationships. Track the relationships your donors have with others. These may be professional or personal relationships they have with other donors.

With all of this information about each donor compiled into individual donor profiles, you'll have a complete 360 degree view of each individual donor. Knowing more about each one can help you make more targeted appeals and communications. 

For instance, Salsa CRM tracks complete donor profiles featuring each donor's contact data, relationships, demographics, social media accounts, and more in a secure location. You can control who has access to all of this information through role-based restrictions and access. 

Reach out to donors through your donor software.

3. Reach Out to Donors Through Your Donor Software

Not only can donor software help you manage the information about your donors themselves, but it can also help you manage your outreach to donors and prospects.

Your primary outreach strategy is likely in the form of email, and there's good reason for that! Email is an easy method of outreach for your organization; plus, your message is delivered straight to your supporter's inbox, increasing the likelihood that they will open it.

Your email marketing strategy should start with the contacts you already have stored in your donor software.

Instead of wasting precious time transferring donor contact information from your donor software to a separate email merging software, send marketing emails as an integrated feature of your management software.

Plus, with access to all of their personal information, you can be sure you are reaching out to the right donors with the right message at the right time in order to get the best return. 

When sending your marketing communications, be sure to:

  • Personalize your messages. Auto-populate the name of the supporter to the header of the email you're sending. Be sure to make the email as individualized as possible without spending too much time on it. 
  • Segment your email lists. Segmenting email lists can help to reach certain groups within your donors. For instance, you may send a message targeting groups in a certain location, age, or gender group.
  • Send regularly scheduled emails. Whether sending a newsletter or donation letter, try creating email templates for the messages you send frequently, adjust it as needed, and set up automated schedules for sending those messages

With Salsa CRM, you also have access to marketing software called Salsa Engage. This software contains marketing capabilities that streamline the processes from your donor information to your outreach strategies. 

To learn more about email automation and Slasa Engage's other features, check out the video below:



Annual Development Plan Checklist

Streamline your systems with donor software integrations.

4. Streamline Your Systems with Donor Software Integrations

As mentioned briefly earlier, streamlining your systems can help save your organization quite a bit of time. Because your donor software is a central resource for your organization's operations, it makes this a great place to start streamlining services.

The more integrated services offered with your donor software, the more time your organization will save in the long run.

Comprehensive donor software that is integrated with your fundraising efforts helps to streamline the information about your donors into your CRM. Furthermore, donor software providers that integrate with other research software can open up new opportunities for donor and prospect engagement.

For instance, when your prospect research and wealth screening are both integrated with your donor software, you can obtain even more information about your donor. This even further simplifies your donor outreach and stewardship strategies.

Seeing a prospect research score, which defines the affinity for giving and approximate potential gift amounts, can make reaching out for major gifts a much easier and more effective process for your nonprofit.

Salsa integrates with DonorSearch and Wealth Engine for this very reason. If you have accounts for these other programs, you can better target your major gift outreach strategies in accordance with the prospect research score assigned to each individual.

Leverage donor software to strengthen your fundraising strategy.

5. Leverage Donor Software to Strengthen Your Fundraising Strategy

Fundraising software that automatically flows your donor's information into donor software helps improve future fundraising strategies. 

Donor software that is connected with your other online fundraising platforms can make a huge difference in your management. For example, consider the following fundraising platforms for these important ties:

When your donors submit their information into any of these fundraising platforms, their personal information is added to their donor profile in your CRM software. If they have given previously, that gift amount and information is added to their existing profile.

In addition to automatically saving information from your online donation platforms, you can also use the information already stored in your donor software for direct mail fundraising. Use the contact information to auto-populate receiver information into a template so you can send individualized fundraising letters to major (and mid-level) gift prospects. 

Donor software enables you to set up automatic "thank you" messages for each donation you receive online. Also include a social media button to the donation pages so that your donors can share their charitable gift to all of their friends. This combines your fundraising efforts with your donor software as well as your marketing strategy to streamline your holistic online approach. 

When you buy Salsa CRM software, you automatically gain access to Salsa Engage, their fundraising platform that gives you access to online donation platforms, gift acknowledgements, and direct mail fundraising options. 

Grow your nonprofit using donor software.

6. Grow Your Nonprofit Using Donor Software

Your donor management software can be used as a tool to continue to expand and grow your nonprofit organization.

Make sure your organization can easily access records of past financial and donation data in order to determine the next best steps for your organization. 

These records should be available online so that you can see them directly in the software, but also available for export for work on-the-go. Plus, they're used regularly to pull together your annual report for your donors. 

Your records can indicate when it's time for your organization to expand its reach in the community. When your donor software provider offers scalable options, your nonprofit won't need to worry about transferring systems when you decide it is time to expand. 

You can simply gain access to the next highest donor software level. Without transferring data, you'll find the growing process that much easier. 

To learn more about performance dashboards and how you can find all this important information, check out Salsa's video featured below: 



Your nonprofit works hard to keep everything organized for the current and future success of your mission. Donor software can help you maintain this high standard of organization while encouraging future growth. 

There's no need to rush into a purchase though! Asking the right questions and conducting extensive research can help you to see what donor software is best for your organization to make sure your needs are fulfilled now and into the future.  

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

Personalized Demo Salsa CRM


Topics: Donor Management