Existing Donor Management Software Vs. Proprietary Options

It seems like software exists these days that can do just about anything. There are apps and platforms that you can use to help run your business, communicate with your employees long-distance, keep track of how many hours they’re putting in on projects, and so much more.

Today we’ll focus on software that you can use to keep track of donor contributions. If you’re running a charity or your business model deals with philanthropy in some way, you should learn about some of the options that are out there. This way, you can decide whether you want to build some proprietary software or invest in SaaS.

Just What is Donor Management Software?

Donor management software is:

  • Usually a suite of customizable features that allows you to manage donor contributions better
  • Often something that businesses need if they’re dabbling in philanthropic pursuits

Generally speaking, you have two options if your company is doing charitable outreach or accepting donations for which governing bodies will hold you accountable. You can either purchase management software for a one-time fee or continue to pay a subscription fee for it, which people also call SaaS.

You can also build proprietary software yourself. There are some negatives and positives about doing it both ways.

Why You Should Invest in Ready-Made Donor Management Software

Many companies decide that their best option is to get ready-made donor management software, either as a one-time purchase or using the SaaS format. That is because:

  • These software suites are usually highly customizable
  • You can find them at reasonable prices
  • They are typically a tax write-off

Regardless of what kind of donations you’re getting, their complexity, or how you plan to allocate them, you can usually tailor donor management software to do whatever you need.

This also saves you the time, effort, and cost of creating your own proprietary software suite for this same purpose. If you want to do that, you’ll likely have to bring in a whole team of software designers. There’s often a high price tag when you do this.

Why You Might Want Proprietary Donor Management Software

The most obvious reason you may feel like it’s worth it to create your own proprietary donor management software (or any other kind of software, for that matter) is if you feel like whatever is on the market doesn’t meet your needs. Perhaps you’ve shopped around, and you don’t think that what you’re seeing has the features and functionality you want.

That does happen occasionally, but not too often. When it does, it’s usually because you have a business model that is in some way atypical.

As long as you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel in some way with the charitable contributions you’re getting and what you intend to do with them, you’ll probably be okay with buying some software that already exists.

Are There Other Reasons You Might Create Your Own Donor Management Software?

There is one other reason we should mention why you might elect to create your own software. That is if you know you’re going to be engaged in a massive fundraising campaign that could last for years.

If so, you might think it’s worth it to have software that you created and complete control. That’s not quite what you’re getting with a ready-made option, whether you went for a one-time purchase or a SaaS model.

As a business operator or owner, you’re the only one who can make that final call.

What Should Your Donor Management Software Feature?

Every business will run its donor management program a little differently. However, there are probably going to be a few universalities.

For instance, you’ll want to keep careful track of all the money that comes in for tax purposes. You want software that can prove you didn’t decide to misuse or misappropriate any funds people gave you in good faith.

You want one that can build custom reports that are easy for people to read and understand, even if they’re not particularly tech-savvy.

You want superior source-tracking abilities, and it would also help if your software can show you where the money’s coming from geographically. That will help you determine how best to allocate your resources in the future.

Fundraising for worthy causes is one of the best things you can do, and it behooves you to have software that can keep track of your efforts. You’ll have to figure out what option fits you best before you jump into an ambitious campaign.

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