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Your Guide to Donor Management Software in 2024 (+7 Solutions)

13 min read
January 24, 2024
Neon One Staff
Donation management software can help you track donations of all types while building constituent relationships. In this image, a woman works on laptops in a warehouse where donations are collected.

If you feel like your nonprofit has hit a plateau—you’re having a hard time finding and retaining donors, you’re not sure which messages you’re using are most effective, etc.—it might be time to look for some new donor management software. 

With the right donor management technology at your disposal, you’ll be able to connect with your supporters more easily and more effectively, bringing in new donors and building the kinds of long-lasting relationships that will keep them giving for years to come. 

Finding a good donor management solution can be a total game-changer for nonprofits. But with all the options out there, how do you know which software is right for you?

Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right donor management software for your organization. 

Types of Donor Management Software

First things first: The term “donor management software” is a bit too broad. It incorporates a whole category of products, from sophisticated and comprehensive solutions to simple spreadsheets and databases. 

Here are a few different types of donor management software that nonprofits use to handle their relationships:

  • CRM: A constituent relationship management (CRM) system is a comprehensive donor database tool for tracking donor data and interactions. With a CRM, you can connect all of your tools, like your email clients, fundraising software, and pay portals. It’s the hub that helps you manage your donors’ activities. 
  • Fundraising Software: Fundraising software facilitates donations, fundraising events, and other online fundraising activities. This is functionality that’s often—but not always—folded into a CRM and used in conjunction with a donor database.
  • Workflow Management Software: Workflow management software addresses the internal operations of your organization. It’s a way of setting up tasks for your volunteers and staff without having to do so manually.
  • Donor Portals: A donor portal is a constituent-facing software that allows your donors to log in, make donations, and update their information. They’re often part of your fundraising software, and they’ll usually feed into the donor database and CRM. 

You’ll frequently hear “donor management software” used to reference all the above tools. However, the one thing they all have in common is the CRM. The best donor management solutions start with a powerful CRM and build out a network of features from there.  

5 Ways Donor Management Software Benefits Nonprofits 

Donor management software allows you to do more than simply store donor data. It helps you analyze that data for trends and put your findings into action to create more personalized, impactful messaging

With a good donor management system, you’ll get to know your donors on a deeper level and track details that are important to your organization. Nonprofits that adopt a purpose-built CRM can expect to see the following benefits: 

1. Improved Engagement

According to this study from Indiana University, donors make decisions based on the impact that their potential gift will make—and, specifically, they were most interested in supporting organizations that “make greater effort to educate the donors on what’s being done with their money and how it’s making a difference.” 

A CRM gives you the tools you need to demonstrate a gift’s impact in every message. Instead of a simple “Thank you for your donation,” you can use the automated system to send much more specific thank-you messaging. 

You could say, for example, “Thank you for your donation of $100. That money paid for one child’s entire summer camp scholarship.” 

The ability to send that kind of personalized message through your donor management software is an incredible opportunity because it speaks exactly to what is important to donors. 

You’re showing that their money is making an impact.

2. Deeper Insights

Understanding your entire donor life cycle is critical to improving your appeals and engagement efforts. 

But you can only see that end-to-end donor cycle when all of the moving parts that make up your donor outreach are connected. 

A CRM brings all of the details about your supporters’ interactions with you together so you can run detailed reports. Then, you can use those insights to hone your messaging and appeals.

3. Increased Donor Retention

Donor retention is critical to organizational growth. In fact, one study of top-performing organizations revealed that growth only started when 70% donor retention was obtained. 

A key part of that retention is consistent, impactful, and timely messaging—all of which is going to draw from the deeper insights discovered in your CRM’s reporting

A strong CRM will help you build strong, long-lasting relationships with your donors by providing both the insights needed to hone and personalize your messaging and the technology needed to get those messages in front of them.

Did we mention that donor management software can even help you determine which channels (i.e., email versus direct mail versus text) and even what times of day are best suited to communicating with your donors?

(Psst: Read more about these kinds of nerdy email benchmarks in our nonprofit email report.)

Donor retention is the ultimate end goal for any donor management plan and should be one of the top factors (along with price and ease of use) that you consider when evaluating any potential piece of donor management software.  

If you don’t think a donor management solution is going to help you retain more donors, then why the heck are you using it? 

4. Efficient Use of Resources

For most nonprofits (i.e., those without a large staff), every minute of every hour of every workday is a precious resource. Staff should be focused on executing your organization’s mission, not fiddling over a million important but time-consuming administrative tasks.

That’s why a good nonprofit CRM will automate many tasks, saving you and your staff oodles of precious time and bandwidth. 

A lot of the things you do every day are repetitive and predictable. Sending a thank-you email is a great example. With a strong CRM, you can automate sending highly personalized emails without the need to write each one yourself. 

You can even automate workflows based on donor actions so you never miss an opportunity to reach out to a donor. 

For example, if someone donated $1,000 to your fundraiser, you could trigger the system to send out an automated but detailed email thanking them. It could even set a task for you to call and personally follow up with them.

With good donor management software, the possibilities for automating tasks like these are pretty much endless (okay, they’re not endless, but there are so, so many of them). 

5. Scalability

One issue that nonprofits may run into is sudden surges in donor activity. Like, say, in December, when many organizations can raise anywhere from a fifth to a quarter to even a third of their annual revenue. 

Sudden increases in new donor accounts or records can make it very hard to manage your donor database effectively, especially if you’re only allowed a limited number of donor profiles. 

Nobody wants to be penalized because they got an influx of new donors! A CRM that offers unlimited records and revenue-based billing can help your organization scale its operations smoothly during those high-demand periods.

And if your nonprofit implements a donor management system and, as a result of its improved operations, starts to see your support increase—well, thank goodness you already have software in place that can handle all these new donors! 

7 Top Donor Management Software Options for Nonprofits 

There are lots of donor management software tools out there. Here are some of the top ones, with pros and cons and our opinion on what kind of nonprofit each system suits best.

1. Neon CRM

Neon CRM is a tool that’s used across organizations of all sizes. We’re particularly popular among small and midsize nonprofits due to our relative ease of use, plentiful integrations, and revenue-based billing structure. Our system works with a wide range of integrations and tools so you can connect all your donor activities in one place. 

Neon CRM also boasts an impressive (and impressively inexpensive) membership management add-on that’s great for associations and nonprofits managing membership programs.

Automation: You can automate workflows, emails, and other tasks.

Flexibility: You can adapt your fields and templates specifically for your organization’s needs.

Scalability: Our revenue-based billing model allows you to manage your CRM’s cost as your organization grows.

Unlimited features: We offer unlimited records, users, emails, and more to support growing nonprofits.  
Enterprise support: Our platform is typically used by small and midsize nonprofits, though we’ve had a few enterprise-level clients.

Advanced features: While our platform is user-friendly, some of our advanced features can be a bit more challenging. Of course, we also offer support and a wide range of resources to help you learn to use these tools. 

Neon CRM Is Best For: Small and midsize nonprofits of all stripes—especially those with membership programs. 

2. Bloomerang

Bloomerang is a user-friendly database-style donor management system. It’s not a highly sophisticated offering but tends to appeal to smaller nonprofits due to its low cost.

Ease of use: Users report it has a simple interface and is easy to learn. 

Add-on features: For an additional price, users can add on support for things like fundraising, grants, membership management, and other features.
Long-term cost: The long-term cost of Bloomerang could be high as its $83 base plan only covers 1,000 records, and there are add-on costs as well. 

Limited templates: Users complain of limited customization options in templates.

Bloomerang Is Best For: Small organizations. 

3. Bonterra (Formerly EveryAction)

This is a political action committee (PAC) focused software with a wide range of features like payment gateways, messaging, canvassing support, phone banking, and more.

Comprehensive: Bonterra has a wide range of features, automated tools, and predictive analytics options.

PAC compliant: Because it’s focused on PACs, it is compliant with the rules and regulations surrounding them.

Customizations: Bonterra allows the option to customize complex workflows. 
Complexity: This is a complex program that does a lot and can be difficult to learn.

Integrations: As it’s a comprehensive solution, it’s less focused on bringing in other integrations.

Niche use: While it’s billed as a product that anyone can use, its focus on grassroots organizations and PACs is evident. 

Bonterra Is Best For: Political action committees and large nonprofits.

4. Bonterra Guided Fundraising (Formerly Network for Good) 

This is a straightforward, stripped-down platform that is heavily focused on fundraising. It also has features that are great for peer-to-peer campaigns, as that is what its original software focused on.

Ease of use: The platform is easy to learn and navigate.

Training: Training is offered to help new users learn how to enjoy the program’s features.

Peer-to-peer fundraising support: The platform can help you organize your peer-to-peer efforts. 
Utility: Network for Good is a stripped-down, fundraising-focused CRM that doesn’t have a lot of features beyond communication management.

Automated tools: One of the big benefits of having a CRM is the ability to automate a lot of tasks, but this platform doesn’t have as many of those features as others.

Payment confusion: Some users report issues with the ability to track donations to specific campaigns.

Bonterra Guided Fundraising Is Best For: Small organizations.

5. DonorPerfect

DonorPerfect is a comprehensive tool that offers a wide range of features and automation options. As it’s Montreal, Canada based, it’s heavily focused on the Canadian market.

User-friendliness: DonorPerfect has a clean, simple user interface and is very easy to learn.

Feature set: The platform offers an array of features that nonprofits can use to manage donations and payments.

Integrations: DonorPerfect offers integrations with a wide range of nonprofit-focused tools. 
Data management: Users report challenges with duplicate records and clean data transfer.

Customizability: Limited customizable features are reported.

Reporting: There are a few standardized reporting templates, though many have to be built from scratch.

DonorPerfect Is Best For: Small to midsize nonprofits with CRM experience.

6. Little Green Light

Little Green Light is designed for nonprofits that are already comfortable using CRMs. It also has a low entry-level price tag with a tiered subscription structure based on the number of records needed.

Low cost: Little Green Light offers a trial period of 30 days along with a tiered billing schedule that’s very affordable for small nonprofits.

Customizability: There are customizable template features that you can use to personalize your donor communications.

Unlimited users: The base program allows for unlimited users from your organization.
Ease of use: While it is a somewhat straightforward program, it’s one aimed at individuals familiar with CRMs.

Scalability: Like most platforms with records-based billing, it can be hard to keep up as your organization grows.

Integration dependent: Using many of the features is dependent on integrations with other tools. There’s also limited integration assistance. 

Little Green Light Is Best For: Smaller organizations with good internal technical support.

7. Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT

Blackbaud is a major cloud computing provider, and Raiser’s Edge NXT is its answer to donor management. It combines a wide range of donor management and fundraising tools and has an extensive suite of products.

Size: Blackbaud is a large cloud computing company with a wide range of tools that can work with its CRM.

Reputation: Blackbaud is one of the older, more established nonprofit CRM providers with over 40 years of experience working with these organizations.

Support: Users report strong customer service and a detailed onboarding experience. 
Cost: As Raiser’s Edge NXT is enterprise-focused, it has a higher price tag than most CRMs. 

Complexity: This is a sophisticated platform that could prove challenging for inexperienced users to learn.

Integration dependent: While the program is relatively comprehensive, some of the more advanced automation features require integrations.

Raiser’s Edge NXT Is Best for: Enterprise-size nonprofits.

Why Choose Neon CRM for Your Donor Management? 

There are a lot of great donor management options. What you choose will depend on the needs of your organization. If you’re looking for something that will allow you to engage donors, manage workflows, and grow your organization, Neon CRM is an ideal choice. 

With unlimited records, forms, users, email lists, and templates—not to mention exceptional membership management capabilities—Neon CRM will provide you with the resources you need to manage donors and build stronger relationships. 

Neon CRM is a top choice in donor management software for small to midsize nonprofits. You can learn more about the system by signing up for one of our regularly scheduled group demos. Just click the button below to find a demo that works for you—we’ll see you there!

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