We all know it’s true: technology is becoming more vital with each passing day.
As useful (and addictive) as technology can be, many nonprofits still don’t know how to reap the full benefits of their various software platforms.
Between donation tools, donor or member management software, online community platforms, and other technological tools, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the capabilities and forget to make the most of these amazing solutions.
That’s why we’ve put together a refresher course on some of the greatest advantages of using technology as part of your nonprofit fundraising strategy. We’ll discuss the following ways that the right software can boost your fundraising power:
In addition to highlighting the benefits of powerful software, we’ll also give you some tips for implementing these tools at your own organization.
Technology is evolving by the minute, so let’s not waste time!
One of the most comprehensive types of nonprofit technology, constituent relationship management (CRM) software is practically a necessity for managing your organization in today’s world.
If you’re unfamiliar with what these tools can do, let’s recap the basic features of your standard CRM software:
The CRM’s greatest strength is that it merges a variety of different fundraising and donor management functions into one all-encompassing platform.
While your CRM may not necessarily take away the need for additional fundraising software, the most robust constituent management tools should give you insight into most areas of your organization. Areas not covered by your CRM can be filled in with integrated data from your online community, marketing software, and other technology. With all of your data in one place, your nonprofit will be able to streamline your operations and holistically manage your efforts.
And remember: both large and small nonprofits can take advantage of CRMs! Whether you need a lightweight platform that gives you more insight into your donors than an Excel spreadsheet, or if you truly need an end-to-end tool to centralize complex operations, the right CRM can be your organization’s new best friend.
Need to implement an enterprise-level CRM solution? The nonprofit tech consultants at DNL OmniMedia have got you covered with this guide to Blackbaud CRM, one of the most robust CRM software choices on the market.
As technology becomes more advanced, so do nonprofit strategies. Luckily, the two can go hand in hand when you utilize software that’s customizable and scalable.
Many different types of software (including general fundraising software, online giving tools, marketing software, online communities, and CRMs) offer some amount of customization.
Whether you’re adding fields to your donation forms or building out one-of-a-kind fundraising solutions, follow these steps for most effective configurations:
Obviously, the more customized your technology, the more you’ll be able to engage with constituents and carry out fundraising campaigns in a unique way.
When supporters see that you’ve taken the time to think out your fundraising strategy and promote your mission in such personalized ways, they’ll be excited to donate, participate, and rally their own networks to the cause!
Long gone are the days of mailing in a paper check to support your favorite nonprofit! Thanks to smart giving technologies, your constituents have more of a say in how they give to your organization than ever before.
In fact, donors can make their gifts using any of the following channels (plus many more):
Like we said, that’s just a sample of the wide variety of giving options your donors will have thanks to the magic of fundraising software. (For more insight into the different types of technology on the market, check out MobileCause’s Buyer’s Guide to Fundraising Software.)
The more fundraising channels your nonprofit offers, the more likely you are to connect with a wide range of individuals. That said, the best way to capitalize on different giving tools is to first understand which channels your donors are most receptive to.
You can analyze your constituent data (stored in your trusty CRM, of course) to discover any existing preferences and make inferences about how you could best expand your fundraising strategy.
For example—if your nonprofit website gets significant traffic from mobile devices, consider incorporating text-to-give into your end-of-year fundraising campaign. If nothing else, make sure your website is optimized for your mobile users through responsive design or use an online community app to give mobile users easy access to your website’s interactive sections.
Whether you’re promoting your fundraising campaign or keeping supporters updated on the goings-on at your organization, finding a way to stay in touch with constituents is key for developing relationships that result in long-term retention.
Thankfully, nonprofit marketing and online community software can help you keep supporters in the loop in the most targeted, efficient ways, resulting in more informed, involved constituents.
Let’s look at a few specific benefits of using technology to improve your multichannel marketing and communication efforts:
Since marketing and communications are only one aspect of your larger fundraising and donor engagement strategy, it’s important that you’re able to connect these tools with the rest of your fundraising software.
Many CRMs have some built-in marketing tools, but if you need to take a more comprehensive approach, you can integrate a dedicated marketing platform with your other software.
Before you decide what kind(s) of marketing, engagement, and communications software you want to implement, consider how extensive your needs are.
While there is no shortage of email marketing or content management solutions, you might also consider finding one end-to-end marketing solution that can cover all of your various needs in one place. For example, Blackbaud’s Luminate Online Marketing platform offers holistic email management, online fundraising, and digital marketing tools that can integrate with other key tools like online community software.
So far, we’ve covered a number of different types of software and the many effects they can have on your organization.
However, you may be wondering how exactly you can take these various solutions and implement them in a way that uniquely meets all of your nonprofit’s requirements. For most organizations with a broad spectrum of needs, seamless integration is the key to a complete fundraising software system.
By connecting all of your software together, you’ll have a more complete view of your operations and your constituents. Plus, your team won’t need to worry about bouncing back and forth between different platforms; everything you need to access should be available in a central location.
For example, consider implementing these common (and important!) integrations for your nonprofit CRM:
Of course, with a little development know-how, there’s almost no limit to the kinds of fundraising software you can pair together.
Be careful, though—integrations can be complicated! You’ll need to make sure that each platform lines up so that data transfers correctly. For best results, seek out the help of a nonprofit technology consultant or your platform vendor to oversee the integration process.
Leverage Technology to Engage and Motivate Your Constituents
In the fundraising world, innovation is key to keeping your constituents excited and invested in your organization. With the right technology on your side, you’ll have everything you need to develop out-of-this-world strategies that will appeal to any and all of your supporters.