Using Fundraising Databases and Software
If you're serious about your fundraising appeal or charity, you have to get yourself organised. One of the most common mistakes newcomers (and some experienced) fundraisers make is that they aren't organised with their paperwork. Regardless of whether you're taking part in fundraising as a voluntary part time exercise, or if you're completely immersed in it as a full time career, you should be working hard to ensure that you have everything at your fingertips when needed. Charities need to produce annual reports just like any other company and knowing your exact income and outgoings can make life much easier when you're seeking a grant, sorting out your taxes, or producing information for possible supporters.
Important Decisions Before Buying Your SoftwareThere are a variety of questions you should ask yourself before you purchase any fundraising software or database solutions. You should always firstly know exactly what you want the software to handle and outline the specific elements you need to track and control. You should also think about your computer system and what it's capable of. How many computers do you have access to and who needs to have access to the fundraising software? One of the core questions you should always ask is of course what is your budget. For some this can be small, where you really only need a few hundred pounds to track everything. For larger organisations, you may need to spend thousands, so be aware of what you want to spend and stick to that.
Fundraising Software and Database OptionsOne of the ways many fundraisers organise their charity and fundraising drives is to purchase software that has been developed specifically for that purpose. There are of course ways of simply keeping track of your fundraising through Microsoft Office or a similar word processing, spreadsheet type of software, but for serious fundraisers, it's good to have software that has already been developed specifically to suit your personal circumstances. The Institute of Fundraising highly recommends that fundraisers use a software package called PIN and GIN.
PIN (People In Need) is produced by a company called FunderFinder. They primarily exist for people who are seeking grants within the fundraising sector and PIN keeps track of charitable trusts and foundations that take part in giving grants to individuals in the UK. There are a variety of different funders contained within PIN and all have different reasons for doing so. Many offer funding based on social needs like poverty or homelessness, others on disability or education. The other package entitled GIN (Groups In Need) works in a similar way to PIN, but tracks charitable trusts and foundations that offer grants to community charity groups, voluntary organisations or fundraising sector groups in the UK. Both packages are a great way of really tracking which companies make be able to help you with your fundraising drive. FunderFinder also has two wonderful free applications that help groups with obtaining a grant. These are called 'Apply Yourselves' and 'Budget Yourselves'. Both of these can be found on the FunderFinder website.
The Wide Variety of Fundraising Software and Databases
There are so many fundraising software packages and database solutions available on the market now, it is almost impossible to choose between them. Remember to stick to your core needs and then research each product to see if it suits you. Seek packages that will cover a variety of different needs and that allow you to not only track possible donors, but also to keep track of past donations, possible sources of funding, member information and expenses as well as income. Below is a list of numerous companies who can provide you with a good software package for your fundraising efforts.
- Donor Perfect
- Donor Strategy
- Advantage Fundraiser