Fundraising software can help your nonprofit organization achieve its goals and save you from feeling like you’re drowning in spreadsheets. If you’re looking for new software, RBP Methods offers Abila Fundraising Online and Abila Fundraising 50, software to help you manage your fundraising activities. You may also want to check out the Abila Fundraising Quick Guide for more information.
Many young startups use spreadsheets to track donor data. Others use free software downloads or other inexpensive software tools to manage donor information. Over time, as your needs grow, such solutions become too unwieldy to support an efficient donor management system. The results can make you feel like you spend more time managing software than you do supporting your organization. Here’s how to get out of the spreadsheet spin and feel more in control of your data.
Five Important Questions to Ask
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you spending more time managing ‘free’ software than you are reaching out to donors?
- Are you worried that there are mistakes in your data?
- Do you spend a lot of time looking at videos or training support materials to figure out how to get your spreadsheets to do what you want them to do?
- Are donors complaining that they aren’t getting information from you – or they’re receiving duplicate messages?
- Do you feel like you spend too much time as the software ‘answer person’ at your organization when people need to access the donor files?
Your job title probably isn’t software manager, and we’re betting you’re not in the IT department, either (although if you are, that’s great, too!). You probably joined the nonprofit organization where you work so that you could help others. Unfortunately, like most nonprofits, yours may have tried to cut corners over the years by using free or simplistic spreadsheet software to manage an ever-growing list of donors.
The results? Spreadsheet chaos, with the feeling like you’re drowning in data and thirsty for information.
There’s a better way to manage your donor information. Fundraising software can help you manage donor information, campaigns, and results with ease.
Fundraising Software Implementation: A Quick Guide
You don’t need to spend months searching for the right software and years implementing it. Instead, you can be up and running quickly with a great fundraising software package such as Abila Fundraising Online.
To get started, follow these quick guide steps:
- Follow the leader: Designate a team leader who will lead the initiative to find and implement the fundraising software. Someone who is currently working with your existing database is ideal to lead the project since they are intimately familiar with the details of the current data and the needs of the organization.
- Review your current data: Think about your current data and review it carefully. Analyze and define the data structure prior to data migration. Review all sources of data, including spreadsheets, scans, and even paper-based information that may need to be input into the new system. Develop a data dictionary that defines captured fields and creates data rules about what gets entered and when it gets updated.
- Discard what’s not needed: Many databases get clogged with useless data, redundant and outdated data. Migrating data to a new fundraising system is a great time to clean up the existing database.
- Build your case: Build your case for the new fundraising software. Outline with other key members of the staff who will use the database what’s needed and how you plan to use it to further your organization’s goals. If you need finance committee approval for the expenditure, you will need a business case to demonstrate how such software will improve organizational efficiency and donor support
Once you’ve chosen your fundraising software and received the go-ahead from your finance committee, it’s time to do some serious data work. RBP Methods can help you with your software selection, implementation, and training. With the right software partner by your side, database migration and fundraising software implementation become easier. The resulting efficiencies will help you help more constituents at your nonprofit.
RBP Methods helps right-brained people navigate a left-brained world. We offer nonprofit software and consulting services. We’d love to talk to you about your online fundraising or other needs. Contact us today or call 503-648-9051.