Nonprofits and Technology: How Smart Nonprofits Can Leverage Technology for Fundraising

In fundraising and marketing, Nonprofits and Technology often don’t go together as well as they could. However, high competition for potential donors’ attention and money is a reality. Any nonprofit that’s not a stellar fundraiser stands to gain by looking at new ways to use technology to find donors and build relationships with them.

New hardware and software make marketing, program management, financial management, and fundraising easier. Mobile hardware, productivity software, and specialized campaign management and project management software all have their place. This article summarizes some of the ways enterprising nonprofits can use technology to streamline their fundraising.

Mobile Fundraising Tools:

Campaign literature and a receipt book used to be essential mobile fundraising tools. Most fundraising discussion focuses on software tools that streamline marketing or project management. Those tools are important in all but the simplest campaigns. Any organization that plans extensive face-to-face fundraising might benefit by investing in payment processing software, mobile devices, and card readers.

Many payment processing firms offer apps for tablets and smartphones. Phones and tablets work with USB card readers and USB magnetic stripe readers. Deploying a few fundraisers with smartphones and card reader attachments makes for efficient canvassing. Mobile receipt printers

Whether you deploy people on street corners or at an outdoor event, you need to make donating easy and secure. You also need to monitor your results, review, and follow-up. Project management software makes it much easier for nonprofit staff to manage those tasks.

Campaign Management Tools:

Small organizations with small fundraising campaigns could use Excel files and simple Access databases. That software is enough for cheap record-keeping and campaign management. For a larger campaign, cheap online tools like Basecamp might prove useful.

Basecamp is a Web-based project management and collaboration tool that nonprofit staff can use to manage geographically distributed teams of fundraising staff and volunteers. If you are used to thinking of specific campaigns as projects, using Basecamp should be an easy logical transition to make. You can share documents through Basecamp, and more. However, many fundraisers can get by with simple Google tools.

Google for Fundraising:

Google for Nonprofits is a suite of tools for nonprofits that can help development staff find donors, reach them with appeals, and track results. Google G Suite integrates email and apps for easier record keeping and communication. Google Ad Grants give registered nonprofits access free advertising that can drive donors to a donation page.

If your organization is small, you can organize things using Google Docs. Create one Google Sheet for individuals, one for companies. Create a Google Drive folder for each campaign. You can use Google Drive to post and share draft fundraising documents. Google’s Calendar feature is a logical place to set up meetings before, during, and after a fundraising effort.

Donor Relationship Management:

While worksheets, Google Drive, and Google calendar work for small fundraising campaigns, many nonprofits, specialized software has its place as well. Large organizations might need to rationalize and centralize their fundraising efforts using a donor relationship management (DRM) software.

Donor relationship management software is customer relationship management software for the nonprofit world. Salesforce, Blackbaud, and other CRM vendors offer software for nonprofits.

Plan Ahead to Capitalize on Fundraising Tools:

Nonprofit executives tend to understand that fundraising is about relationship building. One-off appeals for money and a donation button on the web site can generate some money. But a robust fundraising campaign requires more.

Moving to mobile fundraising using mobile payment software and tablets might seem like a big strategic move. Even if those person-to-person fundraising efforts don’t make sense for your organization, you can still capitalize on a variety of planning and project management software. Google for Nonprofits and Google apps might be enough for a small nonprofit or a small campaign. Larger organizations might profit by investing in project management software like Basecamp or in donor management software, or in both.

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