The final of an exciting guest series written by Chris Logan from NPower Seattle. Today’s post provides some key things to remember when choosing a new donor management system. Thanks Chris for an excellent series. See his earlier posts Evaluating Your Donor Management Software: A Daunting Task and Step by Step with Donor Software.- Jason
- Don’t have a Technology Plan? Now might be a good time to put one together. There are many resources available to assist you with this. Remember that this process will not just impact development – but other departments as well. A strong technology plan and strategy will ensure the best choice possible.
- Hire a consultant or find a technology savvy volunteer. If you don’t have the expertise on staff, then find someone. It is strongly recommended that you go through this process with someone on your side of the table that knows technology and your agency. I don’t like the “us versus them” attitude, but Sales Reps spend all of their time figuring out how to close the deal. That’s what they do.
- Remember that the software can help you with your development success – it cannot create it for you. In other words – if you do not have good fundraising “best practices” in place now, then even the best most expensive software in the world cannot help. Start at the basics and work your way up.
- Keep your eye out on happenings in the software industry through trade publications. The donor management software industry is under-going heavy consolidation, and unfortunately that means smaller companies get swallowed up, and their products disappear in favor of the big boy that bought them out.
- Can your agency pass “Stable and Secure” benchmarks? Will the software even run on your systems that are 8 years old and running Windows 98? What about security? Remember – you will often have credit card information and other important personal data – is it safe from hackers or snoops? If you are not sure about the security level of your network – go back and review “Step Two”.
The bottom line is that although the process is long and arduous at times, hang in there! Use the resources that are available to you. Very little of the research you will do has not already been done elsewhere. The best strategy in this case is to have a strategy.
In my estimation the best donor management package out there is the one that is being used, day in and day out, and getting the job done.