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Fundraising Software: 4 things to consider when choosing a charity CRM

Fundraising Software: 4 things to consider when choosing a charity CRM

Changing your fundraising database (or choosing one for the first time) is a great way to get organised and turbocharge your fundraising. And there has never been a better time to make the switch to a new charity CRM.

Why? Because taking care of your donors has never been more important. Public trust in large charities has fallen to the lowest level since monitoring began in 2005. As a result, Lucy Caldicott, board member of The Fundraising Regulator, said people in the charity sector are “taking the opportunity to review their practice to make sure it is as good as it can be.”

As such, many charities are moving to improve the way they fundraise and a new fundraising database is one of the quickest ways to help you make a positive impact.

Charities should make sure they’re considering every angle – including the donor’s – when choosing a new charity . Making a wrong decision can impact the charity’s reputation and be difficult to put right again, not to mention the impact on revenues.

Here are four things to consider when choosing your next fundraising database software, put together by the team at Donorfy – recently voted #1 charity CRM product and supplier in the UK.

1. Figure out what is important to your donors

Across the board, the drive to improve the fundraising process is largely centred around improving donor trust. For many charities, this means looking at ways to improve donor communications according to the individual permissions and preferences the donor has stated.

Supporters want control over when, why and how you communicate with them. This means your CRM needs to handle the complexities thrown up by these questions so that you can track their wishes, and respect them when you need to communicate.

2. Are you ready to move to the Cloud?

It’s a ‘viral campaign’ world out there – one of the biggest challenges for smaller charities is that the public doesn’t know who they are. Does your CRM hold you back from thinking big?

What happens if you launch the next ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ and flood your donation page with traffic? Are you prepared to handle unexpected success and manage a large influx of new donors while still thoughtfully managing their contact data?

Cloud-based CRM software allows charities to modernise by offering huge scalability when they need it and doesn’t tie them down the fixed processing power of an on-site server.

If you want to be more open to digital growth, heading towards the cloud is the logical next step for most. Understandably, this is a huge step for some.

Keep in mind that switching from an on-site server to the Cloud doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated or expensive – in fact, with the right solution you will save money, and you can make it easier with a data migration specialist to lead you through the process.

3. Commercial software or non-profit specialist?

There are a plethora of CRM choices at the moment. You’re probably familiar with commercial CRM tools like Salesforce and HubSpot, but a specialist charity-specific option will save you time and money.

Newer products like Donorfy offer affordable, cloud-based data management for your donor data,and built-in tools to help you improve your fundraising, such as integration with JustGiving, MailChimp, your website, and automatic Gift Aid collection.

Choosing a specialist solution versus a commercially-oriented one also comes with the added bonus that the supplier knows about the charity sector and how CRM can help.

Remember that a fundraising CRM is a great fundraising tool and should make you feel empowered, not hold you back with its limitations and complexity.

4. Integration and automation

You want to focus on fundraising, not managing IT systems. A good, cloud-based CRM system largely takes IT out of the equation and automates the regular day to day tasks. And a good CRM will also integrate with your website and other apps such as JustGiving.

MailChimp and Eventbrite, which means that there’s only one point of input for any interaction that a donor makes. These are features worth insisting on as they free you up to build support for your cause.

What do you look for in your fundraising software and charity CRM?

Improving your charity’s fundraising strategy means reviewing every part of your organisation, and for smart nonprofits, this means ensuring you’re getting caught up with the best new digital fundraising practices, and to look at customised supporter communications.

is the donor management solution for the way you work today. A smart, refreshing charity CRM that you will actually want to use – simple but clever; powerful and affordable.

Find out how the UK’s #1 Charity CRM product and supplier can help your charity raise more. Start your free 14-day trial at


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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