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What is a Donor Management System or Nonprofit CRM?

A Donor Management System or Nonprofit CRM is a means of organizing, analyzing, and strategically implementing communication strategies with nonprofit supporters to maintain and grow those relationships.

It’s common for companies to utilize a CRM, which refers to a means of Customer Relationship Management, to help build and strengthen their network of customers.  With more research continually being done in the nonprofit space, it’s clear that their business model can also benefit greatly from a relationship management system with their supporters.  Some have called this Constituent Relationship Management, Nonprofit CRM, or a Donor Management System.

Why CRM Software for Nonprofits?

Approximately 30% of all funding for nonprofit organizations comes from donations.  To maximize the gifts gained from these supporters, nonprofits need to build and sustain relationships with them to encourage repeat giving and leverage personal connections to grow their networks.

The easiest, most effective way to do this is through an automated online system designed exclusively for those within the nonprofit space.  A well-formulated system will help take away a lot of the guesswork when it comes to your outreach.

Relationship Management and Stewardship

Stewardship is about creating meaningful interactions with supporters that nurture long-term relationships and sustained support over time.  Once you grow a base of donors and volunteers, how you proceed to engage with them can determine whether or not they continue to support your cause.

A “Supporter Management System” makes this process easy by collecting and organizing information about all your contacts in one place with the ability to reach out to them directly from the software.  Knowing a group of contacts’ donation histories, for instance, allows you to easily segment them into a group and formulate a campaign that can be sent to all of them while still keeping it personalized.

Software Features to Look For

When looking into relationship management software, be sure to look for something that’s designed specifically for nonprofit organizations.  Large-scale software designed with larger corporations in mind might have features that also apply to nonprofits, but it will also likely cost more to have those extra features that you don’t even need in the first place, and that could get in the way of your efforts.

Here are some of the primary features to look for: 

  • Detailed Contact Information – Including Supporter History
  • Custom Notes – Keep Track of Specific Contact Details
  • Individual Campaign Metrics – Donor Traffic Sources, Gift Size, and More
  • Supporter Interaction History – Engagement Frequency and Details
  • Offline Donations Attribution – Account for Donations Made by Cash or Check
  • Contact Segmentation – Group your Supporters with Strategic Criteria
  • Customizable Tags – To Better Understand Your Supporters
  • Tasks and Reminders – To Keep You on Track!

Even better yet is if you can find a relationship management software that’s already integrated with online fundraising, supporter engagement, volunteer opportunities, and marketing functionalities!

To learn more about relationship management software, check out our information archive or speak with a nonprofit engagement specialist using the calendar below.