9 Software Tools That Help Facilitate the Donor Journey
October 27, 2022
9 Software Tools That Help Facilitate the Donor Journey
This process requires ongoing outreach and engagement, which can be time-consuming and intensive for nonprofits. However, there are plenty of software tools that can help facilitate the donor journey, creating a more engaging process for new supporters and easing your team’s workload.
In this post, we’ll review the stages of the donor journey (also known as the donor lifecycle), including awareness and acquisition, research, decision, and donor retention and upgrade. Then, we’ll describe the software tools that can help you guide donors through each step.
Awareness and acquisition
Awareness is the first stage of the donor journey. This is when potential new supporters hear about your organization for the first time. By spreading the word about your nonprofit to a wider audience, you grow your pool of prospective donors.
Here are the software tools that can help you introduce your mission to more people:
Nonprofit Constituent Relationship Management System (CRM)
Your nonprofit’s CRM—also sometimes referred to as your donor database or donor management software— is the software platform that allows you to store and manage donor information, track key performance indicators (KPIs) for your campaigns, and communicate with supporters.
Using your CRM, you can track data for both existing and prospective donors. You can then use constituents’ contact information to reach out to them on a variety of marketing platforms, raising awareness for your nonprofit.
There are plenty of CRMs out there to choose from, but we recommend focusing on one that offers features like these:
- Donor profiles
- Donor interaction history
- Segmentation and email marketing tools
- Fundraising analytics tracking
Some CRMs do even more than that. For example, Bloomerang offers engagement and generosity scores. In Bloomerang, both the engagement and generosity scores rate supporters on a scale from “cold” to “on fire!” to let you know which prospects are most engaged and more likely to donate. This can help you identify the best prospects to target with your awareness campaigns.
Surveys have shown that Americans check their mobile devices about 96 times a day. That means a text marketing campaign can be a great way to grow awareness of your cause. With text-to-give software, you can send existing and prospective donors information about fundraising campaigns, your organization’s events and programs, and more via text message.
Use your texting software alongside your nonprofit’s CRM to personalize your donor communications. Your CRM holds important donor data such as your supporters’ phone numbers, which allows you to get in touch with your supporters over text. Other information from your CRM can help you personalize your messages even further. For example, you can note prospects’ birthdays in your CRM and send a ‘Happy Birthday’ message to show that you value them as a part of your community.Check Prompt.io Nonprofit Guide for Texting Tue learn how to apply texting to your next campaign.
Social media scheduler
Social media is where awareness campaigns thrive. That’s because, for most social media platforms, your posts can be viewed by anyone—even those who aren’t following you.
With a scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, you can create social media campaigns for multiple platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These tools give you a high-level view of your social media performance, allowing you to track key engagement metrics to assess the effectiveness of your awareness efforts. Some of these awareness-related metrics include:
- Impressions, which is the number of times your posts have been viewed
- Reach, which is the total number of unique users who see your content
- Share of voice, which is the percentage of total brand mentions for your organization within your industry
You can review your performance for each social media platform and determine where you’re having the most success and where you’re facing challenges. Then, you can make adjustments to improve your outreach efforts.
The next step people take in the donor journey is researching your nonprofit. They’ll learn about your mission, history, programs, and staff to determine if they feel a strong connection to your organization. This can help them decide if they want to donate.
These software tools can help you facilitate the research and consideration phase of the donor journey.
Content Management System (CMS)
Your CMS is the platform you use to build and manage your nonprofit’s website. Popular CMS platforms for nonprofits include WordPress, Drupal, and Squarespace.
Use your content management system to fill your nonprofit’s website with engaging features and content. For example, keep your blog updated with posts that recap your events, provide insight into your current projects and programs, or explain how you’re making the most of your funding. Make sure you also offer a comprehensive ‘About’ page with information about your nonprofit’s history, mission, staff members, and leaders.
All of these efforts will give potential donors insight into your organization and what you stand for, helping steward them toward financially supporting you.
Graphic design platform
Adding engaging visual elements to your website, such as infographics, can help deliver information in a clear and visually interesting way. 65% of the population is made up of visual learners, so you can appeal to a broad segment of your audience using infographics. Break down complex statistics or dense information into graphs, charts, and infographics in an eye-catching, colorful format.
Graphic design software makes it possible to create engaging infographics that communicate information about your organization even if you don’t have in-depth knowledge about graphic design. Double the Donation’s roundup of graphic design tools offers a few top options for nonprofits, including Canva and Adobe Express.
Video creation software
Videos help bring your mission to life and build empathy among potential donors. Interview your staff members, community members, and volunteers, and allow them to tell their stories in their own words. This can show prospective supporters exactly who is impacted by their donations.
In this stage of the donor journey, prospective supporters decide whether or not they want to donate to your nonprofit. To encourage as many people to become donors as possible, streamline your donation process. Use these software tools to help make it easy for donors to support your mission:
Online donation platform
An online donation platform is a system that allows you to manage online fundraising. Using this platform, you can create a mobile-friendly digital giving form that you can embed into your nonprofit’s website, empowering donors to give from anywhere, at any time.
Here are a few features to look for in an online giving platform:
- Responsive donation buttons that you can use throughout your website pages.
- The ability to create custom fundraising pages that allow donors to give online using various payment methods, set up recurring donations, and handle processing fees.
- PCI-compliant payment processing tools to keep donor data secure.
- Integration with your CRM to allow for seamless data flows between the platforms (this is necessary to store and manage donor data and grow supporter relationships!)
- Integration with a matching gift platform to identify match-eligible donors at every stage of the giving process and encourage them to apply for employer-sponsored donations.
The easier your online giving form is to use, the more likely donors will be to give to your organization.
Retention and upgrade
The last stage of the donor journey is the retention and upgrade stage. At this point in the journey, your goal is to encourage donors to give in the future and increase their giving amounts. Here are the software tools that can help you do just that.
Peer-to-peer fundraising platform
In peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, supporters create their own fundraising pages and ask for donations from their families, friends, and coworkers. Encouraging donors to participate in a peer-to-peer campaign allows them to deepen their involvement with your cause while sharing your mission with their communities.
To help you run better peer-to-peer campaigns, look for a peer-to-peer fundraising platform with features like:
- Customizable fundraising pages
- Gamification tools
- Social media sharing buttons
- Data tracking features
Empower your peer-to-peer fundraising participants with the tools and resources they need to run successful campaigns. Create a peer-to-peer fundraising guide with tips for first-time fundraisers, such as information about the best time of day to post on social media and fundraising scripts for email and phone outreach. This can make supporters feel more confident about their ability to reach their own individual fundraising goals.
Email marketing software
Be sure that your online giving platform can gather donors’ email addresses. Once you have this information, you can use email marketing software or built-in email marketing tools to reach out to donors to invite them to engage with your organization in a variety of ways. This may include asking them to attend events, participate in advocacy campaigns, make an additional donation, or volunteer.
Some CRMs offer built-in email marketing features. You can use these features to create donor audience lists by grouping donors based on shared engagement characteristics. Then, you can send more relevant information that corresponds to each group’s dedication levels and interests—making them more likely to engage with your content.
You can also use your email marketing software to schedule email campaigns and track metrics, such as the open rate and click-through rate for each campaign. When you understand which campaigns resonate the most with your supporters, you can tailor your email marketing strategies accordingly.
In addition to your email marketing platform, use other marketing channels such as your social media pages and texting software to stay in touch with donors. By building relationships with supporters, you can deepen their connection to your nonprofit and encourage them to give again in the future.
With these software tools, you’ll be able to create a donor journey that converts new audience members into donors. Review your organization’s technology toolkit to see which software platforms you might need to invest in to meet your fundraising goals.
Author: Joshua Meyer
Joshua Meyer brings more than 20 years of fundraising, volunteer management, and marketing experience to his current role as the VP of Demand Generation for Bloomerang. As a member of the Bloomerang marketing team, Josh manages the organization’s growth marketing efforts. Through his previous roles at the Human Rights Campaign and OneCause, he has a passion for helping to create positive change and helping nonprofits engage new donors and achieve their fundraising goals.