That ole donor database

Last week we queued up an intro to our next series of blogs that will highlight thoughts on the tools we need in our Toolbox as fundraisers.  Some of them are old and familiar and may need replacing.  Some of them may be new and we are getting to know how to use them well.  Others may be missing and need to be added asap!  The goal here is to simply increase the likelihood of getting our jobs done more effectively.

So if you work as a fundraiser, and have raised any dollars, you have a place where this information is tracked.  It is the <drum roll please> Donor Database!  This promising but sometimes overwhelming and underperforming tool can significantly enhance our efforts but also really, really bog us down if we have not chosen a product carefully or do not know how to use it properly.  Raiser’s Edge, Salesfore, E-tapestry, Neon, Donor Perfect, and Kindful are all popular and helpful options, though some non-profits are still rolling Excel style.

In order to actually help us, Donor Databases should (at a minimum) provide:

  1. Intuitive and user friendly interface
  2. Easy and compelling reporting and query features
  3. Direct connectivity to our giving platforms (mobile and web)
  4. Access for multiple users
  5. Automated notifications between assigned moves management tasks and our calendars

But making this tool really work for us is a two-way street.

In order to ensure our Donor Databases operating at the highest level, we should (at a minimum) provide:

  1. Accurate data entry from our gift processing staff, volunteers, or gift officers
  2. Consistent, clear, and helpful notes, updates, and relationship information on all of our donor interactions
  3. Enough time and training to make sure we really get how these things work

So, a few questions to consider:

  1. Is your donor database really working for you?
  2. Are you really putting in the time to make it work?
  3. Is this tool in your toolbox or does it need to be replaced or used more frequently?

We’d love to hear what’s working and what’s not.  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog

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