Managing Donors More Efficiently: Top 3 Tips for Nonprofits

Guest blog article courtesy of Donately.


Managing Donors More Efficiently: Top 3 Tips for Nonprofits


As a nonprofit, you already know how important your donors are. Your donors are the people who fund your organization, the people who help you achieve your mission’s goals, and the people who spread the word about your cause. Without them, your nonprofit doesn’t have much. So, no matter what time of year it is, it is up to you to keep improving your donor management strategies.

Managing your donors should be a top priority for your nonprofit. With the right donor management software, you can compile donor information easily. The more data you have, the better you can plan your online fundraising strategies and increase donations.

To really keep track of all your donors, you should start off with the basics, beginning with the software your nonprofit uses. In this guide, you’ll be learning about:

  1. How to choose the right CRM
  2. Conducting prospect research
  3. Donor retention strategies

Once you have the foundation for how you can manage your donors, your nonprofit will save an incredible amount of time that can be put to developing your fundraising strategy. Let’s get started!

1. How to choose the right CRM system

When’s the last time you updated your nonprofit’s constituent relationship management system? When we talk about a nonprofit’s CRM, it is generally referring to their donor database. There are plenty of CRM systems and software out there for your nonprofit to choose from, but there are a few key features that you should look out for in order to best manage your donors.

Here is what your CRM system should be able to do:

  • Compile donor profiles.
  • Track donations.
  • Strengthen donor relationships.
  • Segment donors based on similar traits.

Having a good CRM system is useful because whenever a donor makes a donation, your nonprofit is also taking in information. From the donor’s name to their address to how they paid to why they donated, this data is available to you when the donation form is filled out.

That’s why you should also be looking for an online donation tool that can integrate with your nonprofit’s CRM system. To check out a great donation tool with integration capabilities, click here.

The best online donation tool will have:

  • Customizable forms so you can pick and choose what type of information you want.
  • Mobile friendly/optimized content so that donors can give conveniently.
  • Suggested donation amount buttons to make the donor experience quicker.
  • Your organization’s brand and mission statement.
  • Optional boxes for the donor in case they want some privacy.
  • Recurring giving options in case the donor wants to be a recurring donor.

For more tips, check out Donately’s great tips for donation page best practices.

Having all this information is not just good for successful fundraising events, but also helps your nonprofit develop smart strategies. Read on to learn more about what you can do with your donor data in the next section.

2. Conducting prospect research

Now that you know how to gather all this helpful data from your donors, you should be thinking of how to use that information to make your nonprofit better. This is where prospect research comes in. Prospect research is all about gaining insight from the donor data that you collect. Using prospect research and donor analytic tools, you can keep track of certain metrics and figure out which donors are best to target for different marketing campaigns.

Since you’re going to be taking most of your data from your online donation forms, here is what your prospect research tools should also look for:

  • Personal factors like age, gender, location, payment preference.
  • Wealth screening metrics like real estate ownership, business affiliations, political giving.
  • Philanthropic indicators including previous donations, nonprofit involvement, other information about hobbies and social media.

Keeping track of these metrics can give you a clue into what goes behind your donors’ decisions. Wealth screening metrics are usually an indicator of a donor’s ability to give. Philanthropic indicators can display a donor’s affinity to give and is based on what other charitable events they’ve been involved in before.

When you have a donor with a high affinity for giving and high capacity for giving, they are a great candidate for becoming a major donor. Major donations make up the largest chunk of yearly funds for charities, so taking the time to find potential major donors can greatly increase donations.

Major donors also usually have very long-lasting and personal relationships with their nonprofits, so you shouldn’t just ask for a large donation. It’s all about the delivery and the building of the relationship. This is actually a list of people who you should be investing more time in developing a relationship with, and from there they can potentially become major donors.

3. Donor Retention Strategies

One of the biggest parts of managing your donors is keeping them. Donor retention is important if you want additional gifts or support from existing donors. It is also way more costly to acquire new donors than it is to retain the ones you have. What are the ways to go about this?

Marketing to existing donors

As we went over in the earlier sections, it is important to collect data to learn more about your donors. Using this data, you can effectively market future fundraisers and keep your supporters in the know about important updates to your nonprofit.

Whether it is through email or social media, it’s smart to consistently keep up contact with your donors to build up relationships and hopefully get future donations. Here are some general tips:

  • Encourage more recurring donations, even if they’re a small amount. It’s a good way for your nonprofit to become more financially stable and get a consistent income of funds.
  • Be mindful of the generation that you’re trying to market to. Older people are not as receptive to social media in the same way that younger people are more likely to ignore emails than read them.
  • Incorporate mobile giving and text-to-donate. It’s almost impossible to find someone without a phone these days. If you incorporate texting into your marketing strategy, it can increase donations without taking up too much time.

Investing in your nonprofit’s marketing strategies will only help your nonprofit over time and help you build relationships with your donors.

Thanking your donors

You already know how important it is to show appreciation to your donors. These are the people who are keeping your nonprofit alive and helping you bring positive changes for your cause. The best way to retain donors is to simply be thankful and let them know how much their contribution has helped.

You can show your appreciation for your donors by sending them a simple email or physical letter thanking them for their donation. Make sure to keep your correspondence personal and include their name—no one wants to feel like one in a crowd. You can also show your appreciation with something bigger, like thank-you gifts. Here are some examples:

  • Merchandise. Everyone loves getting free stuff, and if they can wear it, it’s also advertising for you!
  • A special celebration or event where you invite all your donors.
  • Social media shout-outs. This is an easy way to single out people and make them feel good for free.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, Bonfire’s list of thank-you gift ideas can give you more insight.

Thank your donors before you forget, and maybe even invest in an online donation tool that will automatically send a quick appreciation note if someone donates!


Handling your donors can be difficult, especially as your nonprofit grows. Remember to collect your donor data in smart ways. It’ll only help you in the future and give you the knowledge to manage them better. Good luck!


Andrew Berry

Andrew is the head of marketing and customer success for Donately. After getting involved with nonprofits at a young age, he discovered a passion for helping the organizations that are making the world a better place. Knowing how vital online fundraising has become, his goal is to help nonprofits raise more money online each year! In his spare time, you will find him cooking up dinner, playing with his dog or cheering on Boston sports teams

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