Getting Your Board on Board with Donor Management Software

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Everyone in the nonprofit world understands the importance of keeping overhead costs low. In an effort to save money, well-intentioned board members may be opposed to the idea of investing in donor management software. What your board may not know is that refusing to make that investment may actually be costing you money.

To take the leap and commit to a nonprofit CRM solution, you must persuade a majority on the board to add a line item to the organizational budget. Despite the cost-effective, all-inclusive options available, some board members need more to be convinced. It’s a good thing you’re a fundraiser who knows how to build a case for support and make the ask!

Build Your Case

Let’s start with why you think you need a donor management software.

Take a moment to jot down answers to these questions. If you wrote anything like “Yes, OMG SO MUCH TIME, email, not really, and yes” then you are likely in the beginning stages of the Nonprofit Starvation Cycle.

Now that you know where you are, it’s time to break free.

Assess Your Needs

If you could design a donor management software from scratch, what would it look like? Use your case for support to reverse engineer a wishlist of functions and features. Is jumping between several programs cutting into your productivity? Sounds like you need an all-inclusive software. Want to stop double-entering data into a spreadsheet and your accounting software? You'll probably want a software that includes third-party integrations for programs like QuickBooks Desktop and Online versions.

Comparison Shop

After you have created your wishlist, it's time to get shopping. Request demos with sales teams, solicit references from colleagues about the programs they use, and check out several software company websites. Some companies base their pricing on features like an a la carte menu at a restaurant. Some offer a combination of features and the number of records you will keep in your database and offer customer support as a separate package. Some donor management software is "free" before you factor in customizations or hiring a consultant to build the platform for you and teach everyone at your organization to use the program.

At Charityproud, our pricing is based on volume and our platform is all-inclusive. Simply put, that means that whether you have 500 records or 50,000, you have access to all the features of the platform and customer service. The cost is only based on the bandwidth required to store your records.

Make the Ask

Armed with your case outlining the need to purchase donor management software, your wishlist of features and your comparisons of the available options, it's time to make the ask. Treat your board members as you would a high-level donor. Ask them out to coffee or lunch to discuss your plans. Make it clear that donor management software isn't an expense--it's an opportunity to streamline your fundraising and communications efforts, freeing time to meet more donors and raise more dollars. When you feel confident that you have the backing of these board members, present your case to the full board. You may find that, when presented with your compelling case and research, the same board members who hesitated to invest in donor management software have had a change of heart.


Katie Norris, Client Account Manager