So, you think your organization is ready for its first fundraising database/CRM? Or maybe you hate your current one and you’re thinking about making a change. Where do you even begin?
How to Select the Best Fundraising Database
The key is not to select THE BEST fundraising database. Chances are you don’t need the one with every single bell and whistle. You need the one that is right for your organization and your staff. You have budget constraints, staff skills, time constraints and conversion issues to take into consideration.
My top recommendation is the take a step back and figure out what you actually want and need before you start looking at specific products. There are a ton out there and it quickly gets overwhelming. Knowing your requirements before you start will allow you to quickly eliminate options and move others to the top of the list.
Here are a few other articles and resources to help you with this process:
- How Not to Choose Fundraising Software (guide) (credit: Bloomerang)
- Fundraising Databases – What Questions Should You Ask (article) (credit: Marc Pitman)
- A Buyer’s Guide to Fundraising Software (eBook) (credit: Bloomerang)
Current Fundraising Database / CRM Options
Okay, okay, I made you wait long enough. Here are all the fundraising databases that I’m currently aware of that are being offered by credible and ethical companies. Many of these companies also share anonymous data for research purposes and do their part to increase the body of research in the field. A win for everyone! The first few are my favorite (based on actual experience with the product) and then it switches to alphabetical order by company name. I’ve included a quick demo/spotlight video if I could find one for each product and any notes on my personal experience with it. Do you know of a product that’s not on the list? Please let me know. Happy shopping …
Bloomerang is @fundraiserchad’s database of choice. He’s been around many of the leading products and by far Bloomerang has been the easiest to use on all fronts. Many databases excel at ease of data entry, a few are good at reports and queries and very few make setup and changes a breeze. Bloomerang makes all of these steps easy, even for non-techies. They also have a completely free offering for very small shops (under 500 donors & less than $100,000 in revenue annually). Please shop around and see what else is out there, but be sure to add Bloomerang to your list if you’re in the market for a new donor database. Click here to schedule a demo with their expert staff.
But just because it’s my favorite, doesn’t mean Bloomerang is the right fit for your organization. You have to check it out. If it isn’t, here’s a comprehensive list of other options (and please contact me if I missed one and I’ll be sure to add it).
I’ve seen NeonCRM in action at a few organizations and it’s a pretty good tool. I find it a little clunky on the back end (difficult to setup / make changes) but for some organizations it can be good value for the investment.
Wild Apricot is focused more on membership type organizations but can be adapted for use at any nonprofit. I have not seen the tool in action; however, I’ve had some great interactions with their staff over the years and they provide a lot of good service to the industry.
Many moons ago I was a GiftWorks subscriber. The company was founded in Lancaster, PA which was the next city over for me for many years. My organization got in during the startup years and watched it evolve. Unfortunately that evolution and the customer support seemed to slow down when they got bought out, but I have not had interaction with them in recent years. I have always liked this product.
(formerly Telosa Software)