As a nonprofit fundraising or marketing professional, you’re always looking for opportunities to improve your organization’s efficiency. Whether that’s maximizing your fundraising strategies or streamlining your marketing efforts, you consistently seek out new and innovative technology to help your nonprofit.
Perhaps you’ve recently conducted a nonprofit technology assessment and found your organization lacking in the tech department. Or, maybe you’re simply interested in learning more about new nonprofit digital solutions available today. Whatever the case may be, you’ve come to the right place.
In this quick guide, we’ll review the seven most useful digital tools for nonprofit organizations. These tools can help nonprofits carry out multiple tasks within a single unified system, reach new audiences, and grow their fundraising capacity:
- Content management system
- Constituent relationship management system
- Email marketing platform
- Social media scheduling and analytics tool
- Matching gift tool
- Prospect research database
- Live streaming tools
With these digital tools in your pocket, your organization can offer a more streamlined experience for your staff members and supporters alike. Let’s dive in.
1. Content management system
Your nonprofit’s website is your digital hub for supporter engagement and online fundraising. Since it’s such an important platform, it requires support from a powerful content management system.
If your organization is looking to switch or upgrade its content management system, you’re probably deciding between two of the most robust solutions available for large, established nonprofits: WordPress and Drupal.
According to Kanopi’s Drupal vs. WordPress comparison guide, there are several similarities between the two platforms. For instance, they are both:
- User-friendly and accessible.
- Open source, meaning they’re easily customizable and free to use.
- Backed by a strong support community filled with resources and developers available to help with troubleshooting.
Since they both come with a wide array of benefits and features, choosing between these two requires determining which is right for your nonprofit. To help make this choice, consider your budget, customization needs, and website complexity.
Choosing either option will allow your organization to create an effective website with a streamlined user experience. Then, you can use your website as an all-in-one marketing, fundraising, and communication tool.
2. Constituent relationship management system
Your constituent relationship management system (CRM) is your organization’s most important fundraising tool. It stores your nonprofit’s donor data and fundraising campaign information, allowing you to conduct proper data management and research.
Top-tier CRMs offer several other useful tools as well, from email marketing to custom reporting features. Your CRM should offer the following features:
- A donor database to track supporter information and engagement histories.
- Reporting tools that allow you to pull reports on everything from donor engagement to financial information.
- Integration with other communication platforms such as email marketing tools like MailChimp.
Many large nonprofits use popular CRMs such as Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Pack, Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge NXT, and SalsaCRM. Which one you choose will come down to which is best suited for your specific needs, so make sure you review your options carefully before committing to one.
3. Email marketing platform
Email powered 28% of all online revenue in 2017, making it a highly relevant and useful communication channel. An email marketing platform allows you to design and schedule email newsletters and outreach campaigns.
Many CRMs offer email marketing tools within their system or integrate with popular platforms like Constant Contact, MailChimp, or HubSpot. No matter which solution you choose, ensure your email marketing tool allows you to:
- Create audience segments based on shared characteristics.
- Craft customized email campaigns with a user-friendly drag and drop interface.
- Send automated messages to donors and other supporters.
- View engagement analytics such as open and click-through rates.
Plus, many email marketing platforms integrate with social media networks like LinkedIn and Instagram, allowing you to reinforce your cohesive marketing message across platforms.
4. Social media scheduling and analytics tool
We don’t need to tell you how important social media marketing is for nonprofits. According to the 2020 Global Trends in Giving Report, 25% of donors worldwide say that social media is the communication channel that most inspires them to give.
Having a social media presence is so crucial for modern charitable organizations that many are turning to social media scheduling and analytics platforms to centralize their social media marketing strategies.
These tools allow organizations to create, schedule, and analyze social media posts on multiple platforms using one centralized database. Popular platforms include tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer. These solutions offer helpful features such as the ability to:
- Create and schedule social media posts.
- Monitor social media feeds for brand mentions, follower growth, likes, comments, and other interactions.
- Manage multiple social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, from one central platform.
With social media analytics tools, you can even determine when your followers are the most active and what the best time and day to post is. This can help increase your social media marketing campaigns’ return on investment while efficiently building brand awareness.
5. Matching gift tool
Did you know that millions of dollars in matching gifts funds go unclaimed each year? This is partly because many donors don’t know they’re match-eligible. That’s where a matching gift tool comes in handy.
With a matching gift platform like Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro, you can reach match-eligible donors to alert them of their eligibility in the following ways:
- During the donation process: Include a search tool directly on your donation page that prompts donors to search for their employer’s matching gift program.
- On your website: Use your website to promote the potential impact of matching gifts on your organization’s mission. You can also add a matching gift database search function to your website so donors can easily check their eligibility and kickstart the matching gift request process.
- Across your communication channels: Include matching gift information in your email and direct mail campaigns to keep this option top-of-mind for donors.
Be sure to also send automated emails to donors after they’ve submitted their gift urging them to check their matching gift eligibility with your matching gift tool. These outreach strategies help more donors take advantage of matching gift opportunities, giving your fundraising efforts a major boost.
6. Prospect research database
Prospect research helps identify potential major donors. With a prospect research database, you can take note of donors who display both a willingness and capacity to contribute a major gift to your organization. Let’s take a closer look at these two characteristics:
- Willingness indicators include past philanthropic giving, involvement in nonprofits as a volunteer or board member, and political donations. These attributes help pinpoint prospects who exhibit a personal connection or affinity for your cause.
- Wealth indicators include real estate holdings, stock ownership, and business affiliations. These markers help identify donors who have the capacity to become major contributors.
Your prospect research database will screen donors to search for those who exhibit both types of characteristics, helping you identify potential major supporters who may end up contributing to your cause long term.
Plus, you can use prospect research tools to make the right ask. Deciding how much you’re going to request from each prospect isn’t a headache when you can research amounts that make the most sense for each donor.
7. Live streaming tools
Like most nonprofits, your organization probably conducts a combination of in-person and virtual fundraising campaigns to engage all supporters near and far. Plus, your audience members might have different comfort levels regarding attending in-person events, so your virtual options are a great way to stay connected with everyone.
To pull off an effective virtual fundraising event, you need proper live streaming tools. This includes a virtual meeting platform like Zoom or Google Meet as well as accounts on live streaming platforms like YouTube or Facebook.
Lastly, live-streaming also requires proper video-recording equipment, such as lighting, cameras, and microphones. These add a more professional quality to your live streaming videos. Be sure to also provide closed captions for live streamed videos to make them accessible to all audiences.
With the proper live streaming tools, you can make your organization’s virtual events just as valuable and engaging as your in-person experiences.
With these seven tools, your nonprofit will be well-equipped to handle the challenges and opportunities presented by digital engagement platforms. Conduct a technology audit to assess where your digital tools currently stand and where there’s room to improve or expand your tech stack with these solutions. Good luck!
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