The importance of the right database
It's that time of year again. Kids have returned to school, the pace has quickened for getting things done, and it's time to start thinking about your year-end fundraising appeals. But before you get too far, I encourage you to make sure your database is in tiptop shape and ready to go.
I believe your donor data is like money in the bank. A well-maintained, up-to-date data tracking system can mean the difference between meeting your financial goals and missing them.
We often talk about databases in terms of what sort of information is stored, how often it's updated, and how it's maintained, but your database is also more than that, it's also the software used to store the institutional memory of your organization. It’s the collective wisdom gathered and hopefully easily accessed when you need to learn more about what to do next.
With something so vital to accomplishing your mission and your fundraising goals it’s critical that you have the exact right fit and your system does all that you want it to.
Do you love the donor management system you're using? Does it have all the functionality you need? Can you and others on your team easily enter and retrieve information?
If you answered NO to any of my questions you may want to take a look at what else is out there. The Consumer's Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems is a great resource. If you follow that link you can download a helpful, in-depth report by IdealWare and NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network). The report has an exhaustive list of different systems they reviewed based on 147 different criteria that matter to most nonprofits.
I'm very proud to say that the contact management system I use and recommend, Trail Blazer, was included as one of the Top 10 systems that "offer the best combination of functionality, price, and attractiveness in a variety of situations."
I actually had a tiny role in helping to create the nonprofit version of Trail Blazer's software. What I like is that your team is not limited to purchasing “modules” – you get the “whole enchilada” for one annual fee. And, there is no limit or different price for more than one user or for any of the awesome training & support the team provides.
Once you've evaluated your database, both the information it contains and the software used to run it, and you're ready to plan your year-end fundraising appeal – NOW you have to draft it.
To get some great tips and suggestions on drafting appeal letters and campaigns that deliver results join me for tomorrow's (that's Thursday, September 15th) webinar, "Year-end fundraising appeals that deliver!" This will be a master coaching session that starts at 11 a.m. central time. You can participate in the hour-long webinar for only $27! I hope to "see" you there!
This post was included in Withism's from Lori: Boldness, Clarity & Wisdom for Fundraising Professionals Making a Difference (Volume 1), now available in paperback, on Kindle, and Nook.