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Is your nonprofit organization (NPO) struggling to find adequate funding? While collecting funds or payments is a core aspect of any NPO, a cash crunch hampers the functioning of the organization. Also, it adversely impacts the beneficiaries of your NPO’s services.
With fundraising software, you don’t need to worry about cash crunch. The software helps you address the key challenges of managing your NPO’s funds by identifying donors through marketing campaigns. Donors can contribute to your funds through a recurring payment model such as subscription pricing. In this model, a fixed amount of money is debited from the donor’s bank account on a recurring basis such as every month or week.
With so many fundraising solutions to choose from, it can be difficult to shortlist one that fits your nonprofit’s requirements. To help you narrow down the search, we have created this buyer’s guide. The guide assesses some key factors to consider when purchasing fundraising software.
Here’s what we will be covering:
Fundraising software is a tool for tracking payments and managing donors. It’s also known as donor management software. The software is intended to be used by NPOs, so that they can maintain an optimum level of cash flow by improving and automating their processes.
The tool features a donor management portal that includes a contact list of donors, along with their phone numbers and email address. The portal helps NPOs run marketing campaigns that target donors based on their type. Donors can also access the portal, where the dashboards and reports show them their donations to various initiatives.
Another crucial aspect of fundraising software is managing donor payments as it requires a secure payment process. The software helps you secure all donations via a payment portal that processes all monetary transactions based on SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption—a security protocol that encrypts all online communication.
Before purchasing fundraising software, you should plan out how to use the software, i.e., how the software will be deployed in your offices.
Fundraising tools are generally available as two deployment options—cloud and on-premise—or a combination of both. Pricing for these options is based on key factors such as hardware and software requirements, customer support, training, number of features, number of users, as well as annual/monthly subscriptions.
Here are the details of the two common deployment options:
On-premise deployment: In this option, the software is installed on the NPO’s server that lives in their premises. The tool is sold as a single-user license that’s renewed annually, or lasts a lifetime. However, it can be accessed only on authorized desktops or systems so that your data is secure. This restricts access as only your employees can use the tool when they are in the office.
Cloud-based deployment: These tools are deployed on the vendor’s remote server and can be accessed anywhere and anytime on the internet. Though multiple users can access the tools from multiple devices, data encryption secures the tool. Unlike on-premise tools, cloud-based fundraising tools offer mobile payment features.
At GetApp, we recommend cloud-based software to small and midsize businesses. Not only is cloud one of the most common deployment options, it’s also easy to access on a web browser and mobile app. Cloud-based tools also let donors make contributions from their phones.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Which deployment option will suit my business and meet my requirements?
Once you’ve decided which deployment option will suit your organization, the next step is to read about the common features of fundraising software. Knowing all the features will help you match those to your business requirements, so that you can estimate the total cost of the tool.
Here are some common features of fundraising software:
Contribution tracking: Tracks donations/contributions made by each donor. The feature provides an assessment of the total volume of contributions over a period of time.
Contribution tracking in Bloomerang
Donor management: Features a dashboard with a database of donor contact details, donor activity, contributions, and other details that are relevant in a fundraising campaign. Storing the donor details in a centralized location helps campaign managers reach out to donors and inform them about the various upcoming campaigns or events.
Donor management in Little Green Light
Payment processing: Allows donors to select payment types, such as credit card or debit card, and the type of subscription—whether recurring or one time. The feature makes it easy for donors to make contributions using a variety of payment options.
Payment processing in Kindful
Key questions to ask your vendor before you buy: What is the pricing plan that offers the most number of core features to meet my business requirement? What are the core fundraising software features offered under each deployment option?
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations, obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.