Improving donor acquisition and retention are two of the best ways to increase your fundraising revenue.

But how can you be sure you are connecting with donors in the most effective way possible?

Donor management software records and organizes information about your supporters, allowing you to automate donor outreach to be personalized to each of your constituents.

This way, your team will spend less time and resources ensuring that each of your supporters has a unique experience engaging with your cause.

Think your team could use a donor management software refresh? Make the most of your donor management software in the following ways:

  1. Create robust donor profiles.
  2. Build segmented donor lists.
  3. Track engagement metrics.
  4. Manage donor communication.
  5. Process donor data reports.

Following these donor management software best practices will improve your donor relations and set you on your way to meeting and exceeding your fundraising goals.

1. Create robust donor profiles.

A donor profile is a compilation of all the data you have collected about a given constituent.

Donor management software allows you to maintain and organize donor profiles according to your own specifications for more efficient record keeping and donor outreach.

Having these profiles in clear and simple formats saves you from wasting time crawling your notes for information.

But a profile has to include the right information in order to be useful. Fill your donor profiles with information like:

    • Contact information. Keeping your constituent’s contact information accurate and up-to-date will ensure clear and effective communication. Go beyond address and phone number with data like nicknames and social media profiles.
    • Philanthropic interests. Knowing your donor’s interests allows you to cater your appeals specifically to them. For instance, you could find through prospect research that your donor is interested in healthcare philanthropy. This would make them a prime candidate for your hospital revitalization project and should make them a top priority for donor outreach.
    • Giving history. Does this donor give regularly or intermittently, and in what amounts? Knowing your donors’ donation history helps you set appropriate gift amounts before you reach out to donors with an ask.
    • Wealth. Knowing your donor’s income, real estate and stock ownership, and other wealth indicators will keep you from asking for a donation that is too low or too high.
    • Family and business relationships. Your donor may know other like-minded people who could consider donating to your cause as well. Use your donor management software to track personal and professional relationships among constituents.
    • Preferred outreach method. Avoid unnecessary emails and letters, and know which forms of communication are most likely to be successful with a particular donor. Ask them for their preferred communication channel or track channel success in your nonprofit’s CRM.

Keeping these data points in your records will go a long way to improving your donor outreach.

However, the data you in your donor management software doesn’t mean much if it is full of errors, redundancies, and outdated information.

Donor management software can also help you keep your records clean. Make sure your DSM lets you run a National Change of Address audit so you can keep your donors’ contact information current.

Similarly, you should go through your donor list every year or so and purge any people who have not donated in a few years, as they are not likely to donate again.

Using your donor management software to cut out redundant or outdated information is a simple way to avoid confusion and keep your outreach efficient.

2. Build segmented donor lists.

With donor management software, you can also segment your donor lists into relevant categories.

Managing lots of donors can be difficult and time-consuming. By organizing your donors into segmented lists, you can quickly tailor your communications to large numbers of similar donors without giving the impression that you are sending out a form letter.

Your nonprofit could create segments based on:

  • Donor type
  • Gender
  • Professional industry
  • Region
  • Political party
  • Giving channels

Making segmented lists out of any or all of these categories could help you reach donors while saving time and money. For instance, by creating a list of donors who prefer to donate using online giving software, you can minimize your nonprofit’s use of costly and time-consuming snail mail for solicitations.

Building segmented donor lists opens the door to many of these types of improvements, simplifying organizational tasks and clearing up time for other work.

Optimizations such as these can make all the difference for nonprofits with tight administrative budgets.

Check out Salsa’s list of successful donor segmentation strategies for more tips on how to most effectively segment your donors.

3. Track engagement metrics.

Engagement metrics show you which forms of communication, or engagement opportunities, are most successful with your community, and your team can leverage donor management software to track the metrics that are most important to your nonprofit’s strategy.

Analyzing engagement metrics will let you modify your communication according to stats such as email open rates and event attendance.

Here are some of the most important engagement metrics to track for a successful nonprofit:

  • Frequency of contact. You want to do all you can to secure funding for your nonprofit, but you don’t want to come across as pushy. Compare this data to the frequency and value of donations. What frequency of contact yields the best results?
  • Event participation rate. Keep detailed records of your events’ attendance. How many constituents attended, and how many of those also donated to your nonprofit? Keep these people on your radar, as they are clearly devoted to your cause.
  • Email conversion rate. Your donors likely receive emails from a large number of charitable causes. Keeping track of your email conversion rate will let you know when you need to adjust your approach to email outreach. Perfect your emails and make them  stand out from the pack!
  • Email opt-out rate. If lots of donors are opting out of your emails, it is time to adjust your strategy. With donor management software you can catch changes in opt-out rate early and act accordingly.

Not only can engagement metrics give you insight about your community generally, but they also let you track your success with specific donor segments so you can further optimize your outreach.

4. Manage donor communication.

Donor management software also allows you to track and improve your nonprofit’s communication with its donors.

Poor communication can lead to false starts and dead ends in the donation process. Your donors have busy lives; don’t make giving any harder than it needs to be! Meanwhile, effective communication leads to interactions that quickly progress from outreach to discussion to donation.

Donor management software offers several features that can help you perfect your outreach:

  • Monitor the success of different forms of outreach. By monitoring which donors respond to which types of communication, DMS enables you to fine-tune your outreach for the best possible results. For instance, if you have a loyal donor who you hope to convert into a major gift donor, it would be useful to find out if they are most receptive to phone, mail, or email outreach.
  • Easily administer efficient communication strategies. DMS allows you to manage email templates and automate your outreach. Automation is useful for reminders, thank-yous, and other forms of communication that can save your nonprofit a huge amount of time.
  • Correct or cut out ineffective communication channels. See which forms of outreach aren’t working to avoid wasting company time, annoying your donors, or wasting money with unnecessary letters and emails.

Outreach is the backbone of nonprofit success, and donor management software helps you do it quickly, easily, and effectively. Improving your communication techniques will secure you more funding and free up time that can be used helping your cause.

5. Process donor data reports.

The whole point of donor management software is to make it easier to view and read your donor data. So what good is it if you can’t prepare the data in ways that fit your company’s needs?

Donor management software lets you process and customize your reports to make them convenient and versatile.

Export your donor data reports to certain file types or easily print them so you can circulate, review, and implement them for your organization. You also want to make sure your data can be imported to your organization’s financial planning, accounting, and other software that you rely on.

Automatically use your contacts to create mailing lists, format complex data into easily shareable documents, and automate daily data reports so the right information always goes to the right people.

Sharing data is essential to any nonprofit, and donor management software allows you to easily create spreadsheets, charts, and other documents so your staff is never left guessing.

In the creation of these reports you may find that you’re missing key donor information such as the wealth or philanthropic indicators that may mark a donor as a prospective major donor. Having the right research tools on hand can help fill in these knowledge gaps.

There is so much data to track when running your nonprofit that it can be overwhelming to store it, let alone implement it in your daily practices.

But using the above features of your donor management software can lift some of the burden and leave you with more time for other tasks. You are so passionate about your causelet donor management software help you support it!


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