22 Apr The best nonprofit management software features of 2021
During these uncertain times, the signs of spring are a welcome sight. But while tree buds are opening their blossoms, people all over the country are opening their wallets to support their favorite nonprofits.
As your nonprofit grows, how can you create a memorable, personalized, patron-centric experience while developing a scalable operation for your organization? For many nonprofits, the solution is digital. “That’s what Salesforce and Nonprofit Cloud are here for,” say Salesforce experts. “Our technology is built to support nonprofits in overcoming the challenges you’re facing in fundraising, marketing, and program delivery as you evolve into more adaptive, agile, future-proof organizations.”
Implementing a digital-first strategy provides the automated tools necessary to create a meaningful connection with valued patrons while ensuring your limited resources target the most ROI.
We’ve selected three key features that we believe streamline in-house duties while creating a patron-focused platform that connects with valued patrons and encourages continued support. Look for these features when shopping for a CRM system.
Features that streamline in-house workflow
Only 26 percent of fundraising professionals say they have good data in their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. When your fundraising efforts’ success depends on reliable data, creating a single source of truth makes it easy to identify missing values in contact information or duplicate contacts before launching fundraising campaigns. Tracking historical data creates opportunities to reconnect with patrons who may have fallen through the cracks. A trustworthy database means your valuable resources can target the most impactful audiences with customized messaging for the best results.
Much like a buyer’s journey, patronage varies. Nonprofit organizations need a system that not only tracks financial support from patrons but also volunteer hours. Nonprofits need to follow the efficiency of PR methods, marketing, and fundraising campaigns and measure local or regional involvement in those efforts.
Using a CRM system tailored to a nonprofit organization’s unique functions means you can design campaigns based on precise, accurate data that connect with valued patrons with the most effective messaging while using their preferred platform. More importantly, you need software that integrates with your finance teams to track donations, fundraising monies, and grants.
In 2020, experts estimated that about 20 percent of a nonprofit’s income comes from grants. Using software designed to better manage the intricacies of grant funding is essential.
Most foundations, corporations, and government entities have specific requirements for their grant request processes. There’s a reason why grant writing is often a full-time position since the application process usually requires numerous documents to be submitted for approvals within a specific format and timeframe.
“Even after winning a grant, there are typically narrowly defined reporting requirements,” says Salesforce expert Cassie Dennis. “Many opportunities for things to go astray, missing a deadline—and losing out on the chance to gain that much-needed money.”
Since applying for grants is often a regular occurrence, using grant management software that retains essential documentation and tracks submittable data is a valuable tool that can pay for itself in saved time.
Features that create a donor-centric experience
You’ve worked hard to set your nonprofit apart from the rest by staying true to your organization’s vision. That commitment to a cause is essential for building loyalty among patrons. But here’s another way to attract patronage: Create a donor-centric experience.
“Donors don’t just want to be a funding mechanism; they want to be fully integrated with your organization and properly acknowledged for their support,” says the Salesforce.org team. “Knowing your supporters requires the good data, which in turn requires an integrated set of technology and a way to segment people accordingly.”
Interestingly, 27 percent of donors surveyed say that technology has affected how they give to nonprofit organizations. Taking a digital-first approach to fundraising, like self-service portals, easy gifting tools, and following up with meaningful engagement, opens up innovative donor-centric strategies to attract and retain valued patrons.
We’ve found three Salesforce-based software tools, which offer three ways to achieve optimal engagement through accessible online payment applications, self-service portals, and automated follow-up.
Easy-to-Use Online Gifting and Payment Tools
The Gift Entry Manager is a secure portal that provides patrons with an easy-to-use tool for one-time ACH payments. But it also integrates with Elevate to track recurring payments. Packaged with Batch Gift Entry software, the data gathered on a centralized interface simplifies record keeping. It seamlessly processes and scrubs large batch files of duplicate information and organizes advanced donation-matching features. Best of all, GEM supports enhanced accounting capabilities. This means your people can focus on the data most important to their job functions.
Customized Self-Service Portals
Whether it’s to access basic customer service information like receipts, set up automated cash donations, or schedule volunteer hours in a local community, empowering your patrons with customized self-service tools encourages engagement with your organization. Experience Cloud (formerly known as Community Cloud) makes it easy to create personalized self-service portals to keep patrons engaged and your organization running smoothly.
Make room for gratitude
Whether it’s one donor or thousands, your supporters expect to receive a “thank you” for their contribution. They also watch for it soon after making their gift.
“Sending the acknowledgment within a short period of time reassures the donor that the donation was received, and solidifies donor relations,” says the National Council of Nonprofits.
Incorporating a follow-up thank you email as part of your digital marketing fundraising campaign is a surefire way to ensure your donor’s generosity is acknowledged. Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot have customizable features to create a personalized (and very appreciative) letter.
Now is the ideal time for today’s nonprofit organizations to position themselves for strategic and positive impact. With cloud-based tools, your organization can streamline essential tasks while creating a donor-centric experience that is sure to build lasting relationships for a promising future.