Donor management software, the program of multiple functions, has an overarching, primary goal: to better, deepen, and strengthen donor relationships.
With both the centralization and organization of your donors’ data, you’ll be able to create the most complete image and understanding of each of your donors. (Because of your donor management software, you might even end up knowing your donors better than they know themselves!)
Knowing your donors on an individual basis will help personalize your outreach to increase donor retention and further improve your fundraising strategies.
Today we'll look at these 5 easy tips to:
- Build detailed profiles.
- Watch your donor interactions.
- Develop significant donors.
- Schedule emails.
- Express your gratitude.
If you’re ready to get the most out of your donor management software, let's get started!
1. Build detailed profiles.
Your donor management software lets you add more than a name and email address to a profile so you won’t have to deal with less-than-mediocre personas again!
Take advantage of your software. Build donor profiles up as much as possible to help your organization make more genuine, personalized contact in the future.
In a donor profile, you can include helpful information like the donor’s:
- Phone number
- Marital/familial status
- Online profiles
You can also add in your own notes and custom fields of information on forms to create a more unique outreach experience for your donor.
Once your donor profiles are organized, you can segment them into different lists based on their different interests, marital statuses, and so forth. in an effort to target them with better approaches and more appropriate information.
Building profiles will give you insights into your donors’ preferred donation methods so you can promote similar ways to give to those donors. For example, if donor Michael loves giving to your organization through your online donation form, perhaps he’d be interested in giving through your upcoming text-to-give campaign.
Segmented lists will also help maintain your happy and organized donor database. For more tips on keeping your database organized, check out Salsa’s 6 Quick Tips to Clean Up Your Donor Database.
The takeaway: Building up each donor profile in your donor management software with extra information, like interests and familial status, will help cater your approach to each supporter. The result: high-quality engagements and stronger relationships.
2. Watch your donor interactions.
The donor profile criteria won’t be the only thing that guarantees better fundraising. Your past relationships with donors can help you see where your organization excelled and where you fell short.
You’ll want to track and watch all interactions with your donors. Your donor management software can help by putting every record of communication in one centralized location.
For example, if donor Joanne has given to health-focused organizations in the past and is a member of the local running club, in efforts to tailor your outreach to her interests, you’ll now know to invite her to your next walkathon and send her information regarding your most active events and fundraisers.
The organization your donor management software provides will help cater your outreach by concerning yourself with donors’ passions, habits, and worries.
The takeaway: Use your donor management software to watch your donor interactions in order to learn from them and improve future communication strategies.
3. Develop significant donors.
What do we mean by develop your significant donors? Well, studies show almost 90% of contributions come from just 12% of a nonprofit's donor base!
You already know those donors (the 12%) give substantial gifts, or "major gifts", that are crucial to the nonprofit’s success. Because major gifts make up such a large portion of your contributions, you’ll want to develop the significant donors from which they come, even before the gifts arrive.
What do we mean? Cultivate the relationships with your potential major donors. To do so, integrate your donor management software with screening tools to determine which of your donors have the potential to give major gifts.
Once you narrow down your list to those who have the capacity to donate substantially, your main focus will be to transition that donor from a regular supporter into a major donor. You should create detailed workflows to aid your approach and track your outreach. You’ll want as much data as possible to help you appropriately communicate.
After your supporter has become a major donor, run cultivation reports to help predict when your donors may contribute these major gifts.
Don’t lose the opportunity to integrate donor management software with wealth screening tools to find your new major donors because you might miss someone who is right in front of you.
For more tips on turning supporters into major donors, check out...
The takeaway: Cultivating relationships with donors who have the potential to contribute matching gifts can lead to more significant donations to your cause. It can all be done with the help of your donor management software.
4. Schedule emails.
Never let a forgotten email cheat you out of a donation!
With the thousand and one things you need to do to keep your organization running, it’s understandable that outreach might slip your mind. But while donors may be incredibly passionate about your cause, they’re busy, too, so they need reminders.
Luckily, your donor management software will have your donors’ preferred method of communication stored right under each profile (which is why step 1 on this list is so important)!
From there, you can segment lists based on which donors prefer email, phone calls, letters, and so forth, though the most common form of communication will be email. When you integrate your handy dandy CRM software with your donor management software, you can automate emails to send to your donors.
Your emails can remind donors of the following:
- General donations
- Donations to an ongoing campaign
- Following through with pledges
- Attending or volunteering at events
- Paying memberships fees
- Submit matching gift requests
Your segmented lists will help you send information about volunteering to donors who have previously volunteered or information about how to pay membership fees to members of your nonprofit.
The takeaway: Automating your emails with the help of your donor management software and your CRM will make sure you’re sending the most appropriate and relevant information to the right donors at the right times.
5. Express your gratitude.
We don’t have to tell you how valuable your donors are, but we will remind you to tell them how important you think they are!
Making them feel appreciated and valued will only help to solidify the impression that their donation to a worthy nonprofit, aka yours, was a good idea! WIth professionalism and a personal approach on your side, your thank-you will do wonders.
Just like you used your CRM integration with your donor management software to send reminder emails, you can use it to send thank-yous as well.
When possible, try to personalize each email down to the donor it’s going to.
We know that in some cases, however, that’s wishful thinking.
For larger campaigns that make it harder to thank each supporter personally, draft thank you letter templates and segment your lists based on donors’ levels of engagement. Automate them so they’re scheduled to be sent when your software recognizes that a donor has given.
To take your gratitude to the next level, you can even call or send a handwritten letter to thank your supporters again. This might be more feasible for your smaller campaigns, but either way, remember your software can help you keep track of who you’ve thanked and who you haven’t gotten to yet.
The takeaway: Never let a donor go unappreciated. Expressing your gratitude with a personalized touch will go a long way with your donors. Remember the more individualized your thank-you is, the more of a positive impact it will have.
As you know, fundraising plays a huge role in the success of your nonprofit, but it wouldn’t get you anywhere if you didn’t have your donors. Now that you have these easy steps to maximize your donor management software, there’s no fundraiser you can’t conquer and no supporter you can’t turn into a major donor.
Happy fundraising and most importantly, happy relationshipping!
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Dan Quirk, Marketing Manager at Salsa Labs. Salsa Labs is the premier fundraising software company for growth-focused nonprofits. Dan's marketing focus on content creation, conversion optimization and modern marketing technology helps him coach nonprofit development teams on digital fundraising best practices.