Wisdom Wednesdays: Finding the Right Fit for Fundraising Success – Choosing Fundraising Software Part 1

by Mark Gerber

It is often said that every person is the architect of his or her own future.  Although we cannot possibly predict the future, we can certainly use past successes and failures to confidently navigate ahead.   Laying a solid foundation is one way to start — ask any architect — and one way to ensure you are reaching your true potential is to properly assess your needs along the way.

Gerber-MarkThe same philosophy can apply to navigating businesses and selecting the right tools — especially software — to drive us toward our goals.  So what questions should we ask ourselves while choosing these fundraising solutions?  There are so many choices out there that even knowing where to start can be daunting.  Below are some questions to consider while purchasing fundraising software.

What do you need to accomplish your goals?

The most efficient use of your organization’s budget and time all rely on outlining what you need your software to do.  Are you looking to compile data sets of your organization’s top donors?  Are you looking to recruit donors and would like to reach these individuals in an efficient manner by phone or email?  Or, are you simply trying to manage your volunteer team more efficiently?  All of these questions will inform your decision in selecting the best software that directly applies to your business needs.

How do you see your organization changing in the future?

Also, take the time to predict how those needs will change in the next six to 12 months.  How can your fundraising software support that anticipated growth?  There are a lot of organizations that think they are too small for software to begin with.  There are some organizations that will find it cumbersome to add more data as they acquire more data.  Making sure you aren’t blindsided by the add-ons and data capping halfway through your efforts can be avoided if you choose software that allows your organization to support growth and essentially “grow as you go.”  You want to make sure you’re choosing the best product for the long-term.

What are the deal breakers?

Your software should never sacrifice functionality as means of accommodating the size of your organization.  Consider the maximum number of entries made ahead of time, to avoid issues like data capping in the near future.  Don’t be afraid to read the small print and examine if your software will potentially have add-on rates or additional costs down the road and be sure to prioritize your needs to make an informed purchasing decision.

Over the next few weeks, Mark will explain why functionality should be your next focus when considering purchasing fundraising software and will discuss the importance of a full support team.

Go to Part 2

Mark Gerber is the regional sales manager at ResultsPlus (RP) nonprofit CRM (Constituent Relationship Management).  ResultsPlus software has been helping more than 3,500 nonprofit organizations and professionals reach their fundraising goals since 1985.  Based in Rochester, Minn., ResultsPlus prides itself on the difference it makes allowing its users to grow alongside their fundraising success by implementing inclusive, functional software.  For more information, visit www.resultsplussoftware.com.