If your nonprofit or community organization is hosting a fundraising event, one of your first decisions will be deciding how to manage your fundraising campaign. With the many online fundraising software options available today, there is no reason for your organization to struggle with the paperwork and tedious management processes used in the past.
With online fundraising software, organizations are able to reduce resources and increase efficiency by streamlining the entire process on a fundraising website where you can safely collect online donations, register event participants, manage sponsors and sales, track fundraising progress, and generate numerous reports.
How do you select the right software package for your fundraiser?
First things First…
Before you decide on a fundraising software provider, you’ll want to consider the type of fundraiser you plan to host. If your organization is hosting a walk-a-thon, you’ll want software that includes participant fundraising pages and thermometers that show your current fundraising progress.
If you are hosting a charity golf tournament, you’ll want golf tournament software that helps with registrations, team pairings, selling sponsorships and golf merchandise. If you are hosting an online charity auction, you need auction software that includes detailed auction item pages, secure bidder registration, “buy now” options, and more.
Once you decide on the type of fundraising campaign you’ll be hosting, you can then narrow your research to evaluate companies that provide software solutions for the specific type of fundraiser your organization is hosting.
7 Criteria to consider when selecting software
1. Software features: What features does the software provide? Can the website be customized to match your brand standards? What other capabilities does it have? Email communications? Progress Tracking? Evaluation Reports? Promotional tools such as: Social Sharing Widgets.
2. Number of users: You’ll also want to determine how many people in your organization need to use the software. Will it only be a couple administrators working on the back-end, or will there be a number of participants managing their own personal fundraising pages?
3. Ease of use: If you are taking an enormous amount of time installing and learning how to use a robust software system, you may not be saving money in the long run. The system should be easy to use and provide flexibility to meet the needs of administrators and participants.
4. Pricing: How much does it cost? Does the company claim to offer a “free fundraising website” but then take a significant percentage of your donations raised? Or do they charge a flat fee and allow you to keep your donations. The purchase should save your organization money in time and effort in the long run, while allowing you to raise more money by extending your reach.
5. Resources & support: Does the company include technical support or provide any free fundraising resources such as: downloadable templates, knowledge base, customer case studies, etc. (be sure to watch for hidden fees. Some companies sell you on their low costs, but then charge you for customer service, support requests, etc.)
6. Customer examples & testimonials: Most established companies offer examples of fundraising websites to show how current customers are using their software as well as testimonials from satisfied customers. Check them out! Not only will you get a better idea if the software provider’s services match your expectations, but you may also come across some great ideas to help with planning your own fundraiser.
7. Payment processing: Some companies offer their own payment processing services that integrate seamlessly with their fundraising websites, and others let you choose your own preferred partner (such as PayPal). Be sure to find out what options you have, and evaluate merchant services criteria (such as flexible terms, transaction rates, cost of equipment, etc.)
Once you’ve selected a few top candidates, sign up for a free trial. This is a great way to test-drive the software before making a financial investment. During trial mode, you can also call in to test the company’s customer service and see how knowledgeable staff is. Best of luck in your search!
>> This guest post was provided by DoJiggy. DoJiggy provides affordable, easy-to-use online fundraising software and payment processing services for a variety of fundraising campaigns such as: walk-a-thons, charity golf tournaments, fundraising events, charity auctions and general donation collection. For more than 10 years, DoJiggy has serviced more than 2,500 nonprofit and community organizations helping them raise more money for their cause!