What Should You Look for in a Donor Management Software System?

What Should You Look for in a Donor Management Software System?

When it comes to sustaining your nonprofit programs, investing in an excellent donor management software system is a must. Maintaining a good relationship with your existing donors keeps your nonprofit well-funded, attracts new donors, and ensures your fundraising campaigns are well-attended. But with so many donors to keep track of, how can you possibly manage all their data and offer each donor a personalized experience?

Donor management software can help with all this. Just as for-profit companies use customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage client dealings, nonprofits use donor management software to keep track of thousands of donors and improve relationships. This becomes vital when you’re planning a big fundraiser or need to send out personalized emails to each and every donor.

In this article, we’ll examine what you should look for when investing in a good donor management software system. We’ll examine the type of online tools you’ll be using the most and how you can use donor management software to grow your nonprofit, manage donors, and improve your fundraisers. And we’ll give you an in-depth look at how PayBee’s donor management software system helps manage your donor data.

What is Donor Management Software?

Donor management software is essentially CRM software for nonprofits. This software gives your nonprofit organization a simple way to organize and store all your donor data. This allows you to review every important bit of data about each of your donors, from how they found out about your nonprofit to how many of your fundraisers they’ve attended to how much money they’ve donated (so far) to your programs.

This is vital donor information that comes in very handy when you want to strengthen your existing relationship with your current donors. Could being able to access your donor’s address, preferred name, dietary restrictions, and favorite nonprofits be useful when you’re inviting them to a charity luncheon or fundraising dinner? Absolutely — and a good donor management software system can provide all this important donor data on all your major contributors.

A good donor management system also makes it easy to update your database to include donor information on all the new donors you’ll attract over time. You can sort all this new and old data through special filters, giving you a better perspective on your support network and letting you keep track of important details.

Some donor management software can even provide recommendations on how to increase your donations by analyzing all the data. This provides a cost-effective solution for generating more reliable streams of revenue.

What Online Tools Do You Need to Have in Your Donor Management Software?

Different donor database systems offer many different options, some of which are better suited for large nonprofit organizations or nonprofits that need to reach out to a specific demographic. In addition, new nonprofit organizations need to consider how their nonprofit will grow in the next five or ten years to ensure their donor management software can keep up with their business needs.

Nevertheless, there are certain features every nonprofit organization needs to have in their donor management system. Here, we list those online tools down by category and show you how a fundraising software platform like PayBee can manage donor data efficiently.

Online Fundraising Tools Increase Donation Opportunities

Every nonprofit organization needs to host multiple fundraisers to attract donations and keep their programs running. And these days, the variety of in-person, virtual, and hybrid fundraisers means you need to have certain fundraising management software to manage your galas effectively by offering every donor personal attention. Your donor management software should allow you to:

  • Build customized donation pages and forms: Whether you’re holding an in-person, virtual, or hybrid fundraiser, today’s galas all need a webpage and online form you can direct supporters to so they can donate online. PayBee lets you build customized donation pages and forms with your nonprofit’s personal branding information, letting you raise money while increasing awareness about your nonprofit’s mission.
  • Customize and post donation buttons: Donation buttons are embeddable virtual buttons that redirect people who click on them to your donation page. PayBee’s donor management software lets you place these buttons anywhere on your website or online marketing materials, making it easier for guests to contribute.
  • Offer donors a recurring online giving option: Donors who make relatively small online donations every month often end up giving nonprofits more money on average, granting a stable revenue stream for your programs. PayBee enables donors to make automatically scheduled donations with just a few clicks on your fundraising page, making the process quick and easy for everyone. We also recommend letting donors know the impact a recurring donation will make in their community through your nonprofit’s programs. This can add to donor incentive.
  • Let staff and volunteers build peer-to-peer fundraising websites: Peer-to-peer websites are built by individual volunteers and staff members to promote your fundraiser to their social network. Friends and family then donate to these multiple websites, raising more donations for your nonprofit. PayBee offers peer-to-peer fundraising campaign tools that not only make website building easy but also direct all donated funds back to your nonprofit.
  • Support crowdfunding campaigns: Crowdfunding campaigns involve building a single fundraising website and asking large numbers of people to donate relatively small amounts of money to your nonprofit. Provided that you can reach a wide donor audience, this campaign can raise a large amount of funding for your nonprofit organization and raise awareness of your nonprofit and its cause.
  • Host auctions: Live and silent auctions are some of the most profitable fundraising activities you can host. PayBee provides tools that support you every step of the way as you plan, host, and analyze your fundraising auctions.
  • Sell tickets and accept registrations to your event: PayBee ticketing campaigns make it easy to sell tickets online while our guest list management software lets you collect and organize RSVP information from thousands of guests, letting you prepare for and manage your upcoming fundraiser efficiently.
  • Offer a text-to-give option: More donors are donating straight from their smartphones. Having software that allows them to send money to your nonprofit via text or texting them a direct link to your donation form is a great way to keep online donation channels open.
  • Process payments from multiple options: Different donors prefer paying through different means. A good donor management software system like PayBee can accept payments from multiple credit cards, PayPal, direct deposit, or even Apple Pay.
  • Screen wealth: Some donor management software allows you to use public records to screen donors for wealth and assess their giving potential. This lets you learn who your best future donors might be.
  • Find matching gift opportunities: Some companies match the donations given to your nonprofit by their employees. Donor management software can find these opportunities, giving you a way to double your revenue flow. This is something you want to investigate, especially if you learn that many of your supporters come from the same company.

Donor Data Management Tools for Online Fundraising Campaigns

Keeping donor data up-to-date is very important when you need to contact your donors or review their contributions for your reports. Donor management software gives you many options to keep this information organized and available, including:

  • Contact profiles: As new donors enter your support network, they’ll provide your nonprofit with information through their RSVPs, online giving history, and communication history. Your software can create pages for each of your donors, letting you view their contact information and history.
  • Filter options: Depending on what information you need from your files, it’s useful to have features that let you place filters on your donor information and bring up only the demographics, contact information, or donation history you need to see. This makes it easier to make sense of your vast database and share your findings with your staff.
  • Pledge tracking: If donors pledged to donate to your nonprofit, donor management software offers features that let you track those pledges and make sure you collect any outstanding pledges after your fundraising event.
  • Donor tracking: Having a donor database and software system that lets you track every transaction received from every donor via cash, check, credit card, online payment etc. is extremely useful when putting together your financial reports or assessing how successful a given fundraiser was.
  • Donor accounts: Donors themselves can have access to their online giving history, enabling them to manage their recurring donations, view their tax receipts etc.  

Using Your Donor Database to Improve Communication

Keeping in contact with your donors improves and sustains positive relationships with your supporters. Since it’s very difficult to keep in contact with thousands of donors manually, a good donor management software system streamlines the process by providing features that:

  • Automatically emailing receipts: Your fundraising software should automatically generate and email donation receipts to each donor for their records.
  • Generate tax summaries: Likewise, your software can help you generate tax summaries for your individual donors while also sending out end-of-year tax summaries to all of your donors at the same time.
  • Keeping track of communication history: Having all the interactions your donors have had with your nonprofit — such as phone calls, emails, and visits — lets you learn all about your existing relationships and better personalize your communication, especially with key donors.
  • Send marketing emails: Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to advertise your nonprofit’s activities, including fundraisers. Donor management software makes email marketing easier by letting you send mass mailings to everyone in your contact list.

Donor Tracking and Donation Reporting Tools

Keeping track of all your interactions with donors and building insightful reports from this data plays a major role in producing more successful fundraisers, improving relationships with your supporters, and generally keeping your nonprofit organization healthy and well-funded. Donor management software lets you sift through the data you collected and:

  • Provide insights on your donors: Donor analytics can analyze your donor demographics and offer some surprising insights. For instance, maybe you’ll learn most of the people who attend your in-person fundraisers fall into the Gen Z demographic. Or maybe you’ll learn that many of your online donors live in a time zone that’s several hours behind your own.
  • Help you plan your future strategy: Learning that many of your supporters fall in a younger demographic could indicate you want to consider TikTok as a platform for future marketing. Likewise, knowing a large donor population lives in a different time zone could affect the way you schedule your next virtual or hybrid event to make it easier for everyone to attend.
  • Send you scheduled reports: Donor management software can arrange to have reports on key data points — like the number of one-time vs. recurring donors — sent to you and your team on a regular basis. This ensures you stay informed of important topics and deal with them regularly.
  • Easily visualize the current status of your nonprofit: Software like PayBee organizes your data into an easily understandable dashboard that lets you understand the state of your nonprofit’s activities immediately. This is a much more coherent way of presenting your findings than the usual spreadsheets that can be difficult to read during meetings and updates.

Using Donor Management Fundraising Software to Engage with Your Donors

Making sure you have an excellent virtual manager running your donor database and having effective donor management tools for your fundraisers is important — but what’s more important is knowing how to use these tools when an opportunity to engage with your donors presents itself. Here are some of the best ways we’ve seen donor management software help increase donor satisfaction.

Improving donation opportunities by contacting donors on their birthday

There are certain times in the year when contacting your donors just makes sense. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Giving Tuesday are all days when people tend to be in a generous mood and willing to contribute to your cause. Donor management software can make sure you send emails to touch base with your donors at these times.

However, donor management software can also be used to contact individual donors on days that are significant to them. For instance, you can arrange to email some well wishes to your donors on their birthdays. Likewise, you can use your software to send an email on the first-year anniversary of their original donation to remind every donor how much you appreciate their contributions (and how much you’d welcome additional support). These types of messages help establish a more personalized relationship with your supporters and shows them you see them as individuals.  

Thanking donors for participating in your online fundraising campaigns

Donors do a lot for nonprofits, from attending your fundraisers to participating in your charity auctions to making online contributions to your cause. Donors may also make unexpected contributions by raising the amount of their recurring monthly donations.

Whenever any of this happens, it’s important to recognize every donor by sending them all thank you emails. Donor management software can automate this, ensuring you don’t let any act of kindness go unacknowledged. In some cases, it may be appropriate to send hand-written thank you notes or make more personal phone calls if a supporter’s donation is particularly generous.

Use the data from your reports to show the kind of impact your donors’ contributions are making in their community. For instance, if you can communicate how their one-time donation of $500 helped feed shelter animals for the last six months or how a recurring monthly donation of $50 provides clean water for children in your programs, that will make their donations more meaningful and concrete.  

Asking for feedback on your fundraising campaigns and more

Not all interactions between a nonprofit and its donors will be positive. Sometimes, a long-time donor may stop showing up to your fundraising events. Other times, financial difficulties may cause a donor to reduce or cancel their recurring donation.

When this happens, it’s important that these events be recorded by your donor management software so you can manage them appropriately. Send your donors emails indicating you haven’t seen them at recent galas and ask them if anything has changed. See if your donors have any feedback to offer on how to make interactions with your nonprofit organization more convenient for them.

If it turns out a donor needs to withdraw support, let them know how sorry you are to see them go, but thank them for all their support. All this goes a long way in sustaining positive relationships between your nonprofit and your donors. 

Choosing the Donor Management Software System That’s Right for Your Nonprofit

So, after seeing how all the features of a good donor management software system can benefit your nonprofit, how can you decide which software is right for your organization?

We recommend considering three things:


Investing in donor management software means knowing which pricing options work best for you. Some software options in the market may have a lot of bells and whistles attached to them and be linked to a well-known brand name, but if the monthly fees that come along with them are more than you can afford, it’s best to go with a less expensive software that still provides you with all the essential online tools.

We also caution against investing in software systems that require your nonprofit organization to enter into a multi-year contract. While the donor management software systems offered by these companies may look sophisticated and attractive, if you learn you don’t need their features to help manage your nonprofit and attract donations, you could be stuck paying high prices for a system you’re not using.

That’s why PayBee offers transparent pricing with no hidden fees or contracts. A single visit to our pricing page will show you exactly what we charge for donation/silent auction, virtual, and hybrid/in-person online platforms. We even offer an option for donors to cover the credit card and bank account transaction fee attached to online donations, increasing the money your nonprofit can save in your fundraisers.   

Your Nonprofit’s Growth Plan

Newer or smaller nonprofits need to consider how their organization might look in the next five or ten years. If you plan on growing your nonprofit and hosting more elaborate fundraising galas, investing in a donor management software system that can provide the necessary support is something that should definitely be part of your plan. Consider how many new donors you’re working toward acquiring in the coming years. Will your current management software be able to manage all of them?

Feedback from Your Event Team

Don’t forget to ask the rest of your event staff what they need. Knowing the software tools and online features that make their jobs easier will shape the type of donor management software you need to invest in. Also, understand the types of online platforms they’re already comfortable working on and see if the donor management software you’re considering will integrate well with them. If your support staff knows how to livestream events on YouTube already, it makes sense to use a donor management software that works with this system. 

Keep in mind that a good donor management software system also comes with a support team that can provide you with the technical backup you’ll need when using your new online tools. Get to know this team and see how well they provide support to your staff and volunteers.

Moving Forward

One of the best ways to see if a donor management software system provides the right features for your nonprofit is to test it out yourself. PayBee realizes this, which is why we offer a free demo of our online fundraising platform. During this demo — which can be done in groups or in smaller one-on-one sessions — you’ll be able to test out all our online tools and features see how intuitive our platform is for your users to engage with.

You’ll also get a chance to participate in a mock virtual auction and chat with PayBee experts about the online tools the PayBee system offers and our pricing options. This is an excellent chance to see how well your nonprofit meshes with PayBee’s management software and support staff, so sign up for a free demo today!

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Nonprofit Fundraising
Nonprofit Tips
Michael Jung


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