Friday, June 05, 2009

So, what database do we use?

That's another good question!

Depending on the size of your non-profit, it would probably a safe answer-hehehe. If you are starting from scratch you may do well if you go with off-the-shelf fundraising software such as those from DonorPerfect. You can also consider the Intuit's Quickbooks Premier 2009 edition. With this software you'll also get an accounting software! Why is that? Because you can still adapt your needs to the software that you will purchase. If you already have an existing workflow and its not automated yet, then and off-the-shelf can work.

You can also consider Giftworks made by Mission Research ( You can download a trial version of this software that you can evaluate if it would fit your needs. Giftworks' cost start at $399 or roughly 20,000 pesos.

Admittedly, much of the better fundraising software are not available here in the Philippines. But careful searching on the Internet may yield you good results and great deal. As a last recourse, you can contract with a computer company that can program what you want. That is, IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.

So, what do we want in a fundraising software? Here's my take:

1. Contact management. If you read yesterday's post, you would want a streamlined contact management module from your software.

2. Transaction Processing. Somebody gives you money, you give a receipt. It should be simple right? Well, I hate to burst your bubble but its a bit messy. With transaction processing, you can keep a record of your partners' giving history. This should also include receipt processing and printing. Optionally, posting to your accounting software would be a great advantage.

3. Reporting. You need information to make decisions. A good fundraising software should give you a decent number of pre-made reports that will help in your decision making. You should be able to monitor and assess trends.

4. Mail merging. A good fundraising software will help you communicate better with your constituents. It should help you print letters and envelopes and automate the placement of names and addressess. Its should also help you send bulk email.

These four things should be the bare minimum. But then, it can also cost you. So do your homework before you commit.

Thanks and God bless! See you back on Monday!

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