Online Fundraising Software

Historically, fundraising and constituent relationship management (CRM) software has required purchasing software and installing it on the nonprofit’s local computers or network. Often, the expense and technical expertise required was far greater than the limited resources available to many non-profits.

Today, the Internet has made it possible for easy-to-use and inexpensive fundraising software to be offered under what is called “Software as a Service” (SaaS). In this model, the software is installed (hosted) on web-servers that are owned and managed by the software vendor. Instead of investing in hardware and software, a non-profit can simply subscribe to use the software by paying a monthly or annual subscription. Maintenance of the software and hardware is done automatically – eliminating a non-profit’s need for technology experts.

Another benefit of online fundraising software is that it is accessed via the Web so it can be accessed anywhere you have an Internet connection. This makes it a particularly good solution for non-profits with multiple locations or staff that need to work from home or while traveling.

Benefits of Web-based systems

  • Access fundraising and donor data anytime and anywhere
  • Eliminate the cost of installing, maintaining, and upgrading software and hardware.
  • Minimize your upfront investment with low monthly fees with a hosted solution.

What to look for:

  • Data is maintained in a professionally managed, secure facility.
  • Use of secure servers so that all data transmissions are encrypted.
  • Integration with other online tools such as mapping software, phone directories, address lookups tools, etc.
  • Sophisticated password system to control access for specific users based on the role (e.g. data entry, executive management, volunteer, etc.).
  • Extensive reporting. Including features that make it easy to filter and export reports, and drill-down function for data mining.
  • Screens can be modified and fields added at any time.
  • Software upgrades and data backups are provided automatically.
  • Clean and simple interface that is easy to use and downloads fast – you don’t want to have to wait 10 seconds every time you click a button!
  • A company that has experience with fundraising. Some providers offer both installed and web-based solutions. They have developed their Web-based system based on years of experience perfecting solutions for nonprofits using their desktop solutions.

Click here for a checklist of standard features your fundraising CRM solution should have, regardless of whether it’s installed or Web-based.

Can’t decide if installed or web-based solution is best for you? Click here to read an article on choosing between the two. A company that offers both wrote it, so it presents benefits of each in a fair manner.