Enhance online giving with donor management software

A reliable donation management software system can turn online giving into a significant source of funding for nonprofit organizations. In recent years,technology has worked to the benefit of most nonprofits. This includes social media, online giving opportunities and email communication. Embracing this important trend is currently the key to growth for these organizations.

The 2014 "Nonprofit Technology Staffing and Investments Report" found that leading nonprofits were three times as likely to embed technology into their business approach than struggling organizations. The report defined these leaders as groups that not only utilize technology effectively, but that have staff dedicated solely to its operation.

The Nonprofit Technology Network partnered with M+R to complete a study on gifting trends, specifically online contribution rates. The findings confirm the importance of an online presence for all ministries looking to earn more donations and reach more constituents.

The study found that in 2013, overall online proceeds grew by 14 percent. Monthly gifts, which rose 25 percent themselves, made up 16 percent of the total online revenue. Recurring monthly contributions increased in every nonprofit sector save for animal and wildlife groups.

Interestingly enough, the study did find many of these Internet donations did not necessarily originate via email. Members donated two to three times more when using social media or directly accessing an organization's website. While this traffic on the participants' websites did grow by 16 percent, Facebook and Twitter followers grew by 37 and 46 percent, respectively. This means that in addition to routine email contact, a Website donation page and consistent social media presence can drive more contributions.

The power of Facebook
The Fundraising Authority stated that an informative and entertaining combination of text and visual posts on a nonprofit's Facebook page is the key to online success. A profitable social media page will engage followers with a good story. Whether that is an update on a current fundraiser or a video of volunteers interacting with people on the street, every post should reflect the organization's mission and story.

Posting photos or mission statements are great ways to add color and personality to a Facebook page while keeping the focus on the ultimate goal of the group. Offering links that direct visitors to the nonprofit website homepage or donation page is another effective way to spread the word about the organization, especially for anyone who just happened upon the page and wants more information.

The impact of donor software
However, the Investments Report indicated that those organizations not currently invested in social media or online donation platforms are burdened by insufficient funding and lack of staffing. Otherwise, they would be eager to give the technology a try. The good news is that contacts on email lists far outnumber the amount of followers found on nonprofit Facebook pages or Twitter feeds. In fact, for every 1,000 names on an email list, there, is an average of just 199 Facebook followers and 110 Twitter followers. 

What does this mean? It means there is still a huge audience to reach through email and website engagement. Donor management software is a cost-effective addition to a nonprofit's technology strategy. It's a system that allows constituents to interact with the nonprofit's website directly rather than through a third party. Contributors put more trust into a donation page that matches the rest of a website than they do a new window or payment system.

This software also lets users set up personal donor profiles and monthly gift amounts. If contributors do not use Facebook or Twitter, a sleek donor management software system can automate emails informing them of upcoming events or volunteer opportunities.

It's no secret technology has a large impact on nonprofit funding. Investing in a software system that can enhance that impact is a smart move for every ministry.