The business landscape is crowded with software and tools. This makes sense. Technology empowers commercial and non-profit organizations alike to grow. For many NPOs, technology is becoming a core part of their fundraising strategy. Non-profits are turning to tech to track donor info, accept donations online and in the field, automate marketing efforts, and so much more. With all the options available, it can be challenging to identify the best nonprofit technology for your organization.
6 Benefits of Nonprofit Technology
Technology can do a lot for your organization. Fundraising software provider, Classy, shares a great article on the benefits software can deliver for non-profits. Among these are the ability to:
- Automate processes so you can get more done
- Execute creative campaigns that will better engage donors
- Leverage donor data for smarter outreach
- Connect and empower global and remote teams
- Raise more money
- Increase ROI and organizational impact
What Types of Nonprofit Technology Are Most Important?
Before you start to investigate tools, you first want to document your fundraising strategy and goals. Your technology road map needs to be aligned with your organizational goals. Tech itself is not a strategy. These tools are enablers that allow you to execute your strategy.
For instance, if you’re striving to strengthen donor relationships and increase retention, then you want to start with a CRM (customer relationship management software). If on the other hand you already have a CRM in place, but you need to expand your audience, then a donor research tool might be in order.
Here are some of the primary tools that serve as the core foundation for non-profit organizations.
CRMs for Non-Profits
As your your supporter base grows, you collect a lot of information about donors. A CRM records basic data like contact info, birthdays and donation amounts. It also tracks campaign engagement. These insights can be applied to improve performance over time.
Some non-profit CRMs are able to interpret donor activity and suggest engagement opportunities that will result in recurring donations. Other helpful features include:
- List segmentation to support personalized marketing
- Email capabilities or integration with your preferred email provider
- Reporting, queries, and analytics
- Integration with other technologies
There are a dozen or so non-profit CRMs to consider. G2, a peer-to-peer review site, is a great source to reference if you’re seeking the best non-profit CRM for your organization.
Donor Research Tools
Donor research software helps non-profits find potential donors by analyzing large volumes of vendor-provided data. These tools can match you with potential supporters based on donor interests. Some tools make intelligent recommendations on how to engage prospective donors. While others offer prospect-scoring to help you identify those most likely to donate to your cause.
In addition to these more sophisticated features, all donor research tools will give you access to:
- A database of potential donors, including their contact info, behavioral data, and financial profiles
- Search and filter features to find the prospects who are most likely to support your cause
- Tracking tools that help you prioritize outreach activities
- Performance reports to analyze donor outreach, history of donations, donor retention, etc.
Here’s a review of nine top donor research software tools that may fit your needs.
Marketing Automation Platforms
From our view, marketing automation (MA) is second only to a CRM in order of importance. Many software vendors understand this and offer both CRM and marketing automation capabilities. Essentially, MA tools do exactly what their name implies – automate marketing activities. This is important for fundraising teams that need to maximize efficiency. But efficiency is not the only benefit of MA platforms. In addition to automating tasks, they also allow you:
- Segment donors by activities, engagement, and preferences so you can send more relevant communications
- Improve donor experiences through personalized emails and other content
- Nurture and improve relationships with donors by sending regularly cadenced communications
- Ensure prompt thank you communications and campaign follow-up
Salesforce.org shares a great view of what life is like for non-profits and their donors before and after marketing automation.
Analytic Tools for Non-Profits
Some analytics capabilities are built into all of the above tools. But they don’t necessarily give you all the data you need to improve your fundraising efforts. Your CRM can provide data around funds raised, donor lifecycle and donor retention rate. Your MA will measure email engagement, form submissions, and donor signups. But if you’re seeking for more detailed insights around marketing performance, consider adding some third-party reporting tools to the mix, like:
- Google Analytics measures your website performance by monitoring traffic, visitor behavior, entrance, and exit pages and landing page conversion.
- Moz is a search engine optimization tool that helps you ensure your website shows up in search engine results when people conduct an internet search related to your cause.
- Optimizely is an A/B testing platform that helps you optimize your website so it will attract more visitors and convert more visitors to donors. It does this by allowing you to create two different versions of the same page, experiment with the page copy, images, buttons, etc. and see which page yields a higher conversion rate.
These are just a few common tools you may want to evaluate. The list of non-profit analytics tools is long. Those that are right for your organization will once again depend on your fundraising strategy.
If you need a hand finding the tools that are right for your non-profit, drop us a note. We’re happy to share what we know or connect you with resources that can help build a tech strategy to advance your impact.