Finding the best of anything is very much a matter of perspective. As a case in point, if you Google “best nonprofit fundraising software,” you’ll see nearly half a million results. Capterra provides a list of 167 systems while Software Advice narrows the list to 77 systems.
Fortunately our list is much smaller. In our experience we’ve found the top nonprofit fundraising software that best fit the needs of nonprofit organizations. Before we get to that list, let’s explore some background on what you should be looking for and what should drive your decision making process.
Fundraising Software Requirements
If you step back a bit from what can too often be a singular focus on the technical aspects of selecting software, you need to first clearly define your overall goals. This should be true with any tools used in your organization.
With fundraising, it’s all about building relationships. In our blog post titled “Why Donors Give,” we cited acting from the heart and acting from the head. Both of those required the donor to have a clear understanding of and a connection with your organization.
With that background, the question becomes what tools do you need to find prospective donors and then build those relationships? In a simple analogy, you’re making lists. Lists of those you feel would be good donors, those who are donors, and those who’ve donated but that you’ve lost somewhere along the way.
That simple paper list, or perhaps it’s Post-It® notes on a bulletin board, must be replaced with a comprehensive database. That’s really what you’re doing here. Finding the electronic list that everything else can build upon.
Fundraising Software Capabilities
Here’s a starting list of what nonprofit fundraising software can provide:
- Contact management (CRM or Customer/Constituent Relationship Management)
- Donor profiling
- Donor segmentation
- Managing volunteers
- Email management and tracking
- Ecommerce, including payments and online donation processing
- Website management
- Event registration
- Online store
It’s a whole host of options, not all of which you’ll need for your organization. That’s part of the challenge—selecting what’s needed and what’s affordable for your organization. Ideally, you’ll select a system that can be built upon as your organization grows and adds further capabilities.
Fundraising Software Recommendations
With that background, here are our recommendations for the best fundraising software.
Salesforce. This software integrates sales, service, marketing, community, analytics, as well as developing mobile apps. We recommend Salesforce for Nonprofits which includes program management, community engagement, marketing communications, fundraising, analytics, and apps.
They’ve done an excellent job of tailoring their software to fit nonprofits. For example, they suggest starting with their NGO Connect and the Nonprofit Starter Pack. The starter pack pre-configures Salesforce for nonprofits. That can provide a very helpful jumpstart to your efforts as it truly fits nonprofits rather than everyone in your organization trying to translate for-profit systems to the nonprofit world.
HubSpot. This software is driven by content marketing. For nonprofits content marketing results in attracting more website traffic, growing the size of your member/volunteer/donor database, and driving the actions that result in success for your organization, including increasing donations.
It does all this by providing a website content management system, blogging platform, email and social media marketing tools, marketing automation workflow, contact database, search engine optimization, and a reporting tool. For further insight, I like HubSpot for Nonprofits: Brilliant Ways to Market and Generate More Donations.
Blackbaud. This software is focused on fundraising and relationship management. There are a number of options across their full suite of tools including eTapestry for smaller nonprofits seeking a cloud based solution, Raiser’s Edge NXT also a cloud-based solution but for midsize to larger nonprofits, and Raiser’s Edge an on-premises hosted solution.
Software Advice notes that Blackbaud has been addressing nonprofit fundraising for more than 30 years and remains one of the most popular fundraising tools. With that kind of user base, there’s quite a bit of support and advice available across the nonprofit industry based on years of experience, including a number of best practices that you can emulate.
Are You Ready to Make a Change?
To help you assess your organization’s ability to make this move, Salesforce has developed a Nonprofit Readiness Survey. It’s worth trying out to help you and your organization gain further insight into making a huge change to your operation.
I also like Nonprofit Hub’s article “The 10 Biggest Myths When Purchasing Fundraising Software.” Their list can help debunk some commonly held beliefs and get you past them in your own search process.
Campaign Now Can Help
Campaign Now works with a wide variety of nonprofits at various stages in their acquisition and adoption of fundraising software across quite a few different systems. With that background, we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. We can bring that experience and expertise to your organization.
Contact us at (855) 329-4327 or email@example.com.