CHOOSING YOUR DONOR DATABASE
There are some questions that are as old as time, like what’s the meaning of life, where do I want to be in ten years, and what fundraising database should my nonprofit use? The database question is one that every organization must face at some point, and it’s fraught with fear and frustration. This article attempts to provide some tools for a smoother decision-making process and outlines questions to ask yourself and the CRM sales representative(s) before taking the plunge.
Ultimately, the system that’s best for you will depend on the size/complexity of your organization and what you are looking to get out of your database.
Answering the following questions can help clarify your needs.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
- What will the database be used for on a day-to-day basis? What is the most complex thing I need it to do?
- What’s my timeline? Do I prefer a pre-made/ready-to-use system or one that is highly customizable?
- How much money and effort is my team able to put into this project?
- Will a stand-alone database meet our needs? Or do we need one that integrates with the “other side of the house” (i.e., programming, finance, marketing and communications, etc.)?
- Where will our program be in five years? What needs might we have to consider for future use of this system?
THE REALITY is that, as important as this decision is, no technology, platform or system can replace your frontline fundraisers’ relationship building skills. Additionally, a strong pipeline and moves management structure must be developed and activated before your database can support those efforts (check out how we’re taking a holistic approach to major gifts using MG360 HERE). But a system that helps managers prioritize portfolios, better understand donors and their needs, and seamlessly track prospects is worth taking the time to select with care.
To download a list of questions (regarding different types, reporting, training, costs, and more) that you should consider asking the CRM sales team before selecting a database, please complete the form below.