Written by: Lomesh Shah
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Every nonprofit needs to be thinking about how they can become more efficient and effective while keeping up with industry trends. Strategic planning for the future is an essential nonprofit management skill that can set you apart from your competitors. From reducing costs to creating more time for donor stewardship, your nonprofit needs the right tools to grow and improve.
Investing in the right tools can help you make better use of your resources and allow your donor relationships to flourish. But how do you know what the right tools are? To help you out, we’ll cover the five tools that every nonprofit should have in 2022:
- A Donor Database
- Fundraising Software
- Matching Gift Software
- Communication Tools
- A CMS for Blogging
These tools will help position your organization as tech-savvy and forward-thinking while giving you all of the necessary functionality to meet your goals. Let’s get started!
1. A donor database
In order to get to know your donors better and to stay in contact with them, you need to be collecting donor data. The best way to store your donor data and keep it organized is with a donor database. Depending on the database you choose, you may be able to get many other helpful features and functionalities that go beyond simply storing data. For example, some databases can enable you to segment donors, send out targeted communications, and then automatically track and report on the success of those communications.
An easy way to begin collecting donor data that will be stored in your donor database is through your donation or registration form on your website. You can automatically collect their names, contact information, and donation amounts for future use.
NonProfitEasy’s donor database buyer’s guide recommends looking for the following features in a donor database before taking the plunge to invest in a solution:
- Custom fields
- Detailed donor profiles
- Donor segmentation
- Easy reporting
- Software scalability
A donor database is an important investment in your nonprofit’s ability to grow strategically and sustainably over time, so think carefully about your options. To find the best fit for your organization, you should make a list of all of your must-have features. Once you’ve narrowed down suitable providers, you’ll want to demo the software to make sure that it meets your expectations.
2. Fundraising software
Whether you’re running a peer-to-peer campaign, doing a traditional fundraiser, or trying out crowdfunding, having fundraising software can help you better manage your fundraisers.
Fundraising software will not only help you create a more organized process for planning and running your fundraiser. It can also help you more effectively market your fundraiser and automatically collect and create analytics reports to help you measure the success of your campaigns and compare them against each other. Having this process automated for you can vastly improve your campaigns over time as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
Nowadays, it can be really difficult to run fundraising campaigns without the appropriate software and tools. Your organization needs to keep up with changing technology and expectations. Fundraising software is an essential part of your nonprofit’s toolbox to run effective, engaging, and well-organized campaigns.
3. Matching gift software
An estimated $4-7 billion in matching gift funds goes unmatched every single year according to Double the Donation. That’s a lot of money!
Oftentimes, donors simply don’t know if their company matches or don’t know how to access the necessary information and paperwork to get their gift matched. To help your busy donors out, matching gifts software may be an excellent investment for your organization. This tool for nonprofits can help you double many of your donations easily.
Adding search functionality that allows donors to find their employer and their matching gift requirements and paperwork right from your donation form makes it much more likely for them to actually submit a matching gift request. Your donors will be excited to be able to increase their impact at your organization without reaching back into their own pockets and will appreciate the convenience of your new matching gift software.
4. Virtual Event Management Software
As your organization has probably discovered, virtual events can be quite different from in-person. A different set of best practices need to be followed in order to make virtual events as engaging as in-person ones are. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in a tool that provides the capabilities you need for virtual events, not just traditional, in-person events.
Especially if events have always been a big part of your fundraising strategy, you want to make a worthy investment in software that provides all the features you need and integrates with other useful software and systems.
An example of this is event management software that has or integrates with text-to-give platforms that can allow your donors to participate by donating from anywhere. Many of these virtual event features can also be useful even if your event is hybrid or in-person. For example, a virtual event platform’s mobile bidding tools will be useful for auction fundraisers regardless of the format!
5. A CMS for Blogging
A CMS, or content management system, is likely what you already use to run your website. However, you may not be using it to its full potential or may need to upgrade. Using the blog functionality of many CMS’ is a great way to build authority and communicate with your supporters.
A nonprofit blog allows you to position yourself as a thought leader in your community while providing important information and resources to your patrons. If your nonprofit hasn’t started a blog yet, now is the time. If you already have one, take some time to consider how you could improve your content, post more consistently, and get more eyes on your blog. Here’s what we recommend doing to get your blog started (or to improve it):
- Create an aesthetically pleasing blog with your branding. Many websites already have a blog functionality in the back-end that you can begin using. If your website doesn’t have this, you can explore platforms like WordPress and Squarespace for starting your blog. However you do it, make sure your blog matches the branding of your website and follows recommended website design principles.
- Plan out educational and industry-related content. You should aim to primarily write blog posts that provide value to your audience. With this in mind, you can brainstorm a list of blog post ideas that are useful and interesting and begin scheduling them. If you’re struggling with ideas, looking at upcoming events and holidays can help you create relevant and timely content.
- Publish content on a regular basis. Using your list of blog post ideas, create a posting schedule that is suitable for your capabilities. If your team is small, publishing every week may be a bit ambitious, at least at first. Establish a cadence that is doable for your organization and allows you to maintain as much consistency as possible.
- Share your blog posts in newsletters and on social media. Most of your supporters won’t know that they can or should check your new blog. To get eyes on your latest posts, you should always share them (with links!) in your newsletters and on your social media feeds. Ensuring that your content is educational and interesting will make it easier to pique the interest of your supporters.
These tips will get you ready to debut your new (or improved) blog with top-notch content that will help bring supporters to your website. Don’t forget to regularly check on the success of your current content strategy and brainstorm how you can improve going forward.
The tools your nonprofit uses can greatly increase your capabilities or hold you back from your full potential. Taking the time to assess your current solutions and determine where you might be due for an upgrade is essential for keeping up with industry standards and trends. Make sure your outdated tools aren’t what’s keeping you from reaching your goals!
About the Author:
Lomesh Shah has over 25 years of experience in international corporate leadership with a strong emphasis on marketing technology and data management systems. Lomesh has worked with small to mid-size businesses, privately-held companies and Fortune 500 corporations in various capacities; from sales and marketing to overseeing automation and re-engineering of processes and operations.
As President and Co-Founder of NonProfitEasy, Lomesh spends much of his time immersed in the nonprofit industry both as an industry leader, speaker, and in service to several organizations as a board member and volunteer. Outside of the industry, Lomesh is a technology junkie and will give anyone willing to listen an assessment of the latest trends in anything from espresso makers and mobile gadgets to electric cars and wind power.