Donor Management System (DMS) is not-for-profit’s customer relationship management (CRM) system and is a means to compile, organise, analyse and strategically implement communication strategy so as to maintain and grow the relationship with the donor. In other words, it’s a tool to maintain all the donor-related information so that the same could be used for the fundraising strategy.
For a not-for-profit, the donor is the key as the organisation is dependent on his/ her support for its activities. For a very small organisation or those dependent only on a grant for their activities, it can be managed through software like excel offered by MS Office or similar programs. But in an average size organisation which also accepts donations, about 30 per cent of funds are through donation. And thus, it becomes extremely important for such an organisation to use a professional DMS or CRM.
For a not-profit, the complete donor journey including right from the initial contact to converting the prospect to the donor to releasing of the tax exemption certificate, to making an ask for the next donation and updating the same in the system- can be handled through the DMS.
For not-for-profit, there are free licenses for CRM/ DMS systems too available. For example- Salesforce offers 10 free licenses to the not-for-profit for using and maintaining donor data.
There are various paid customised DMS available too. For using customised DMS, it’s important to select one that is used by a not-for-profit, much similar to your organisation in operation and then get is customised. It helps in two ways- first, you don’t miss out on any important information and secondly, it is cheaper when you get it customised, one which is already customised as a number of man-hours for working for this will be lesser.
The process of maintaining donor details in DMS can be done in the following way:
STEP-1: Donor identification and verification: Once you get a donation form signed, the details of the donor are first verified and then updated into this system. While updating, the system checks for every unique donor, to avoid donor duplication. Every unique donor is identified by a donor identity (ID). Following this, donation details are updated against the donor.
STEP-2: Finance Reconciliation: Once the donation is verified and the amount is actually credited to your organisation, finance reconciliation is done to finally confirm the donation in the name of the respective donor.
STEP 3 Reporting: DMS offers the provision of extracting donation reports as per the frequency needed. This also helps to understand a number of new donors acquired and those making multiple donations.
STEP-4: Analysis: This is the most important step as it helps one to understand the profile, status and commitment of the donor and depending upon the same, one can devise the future fundraising strategy.
Remember to keep the back-up of the DMS so that if anything goes wrong with the system, you do not lose it all, instead the same can be easily updated. Also, try and maintain confidentiality and thus, the password should be changed frequently and should be accessible only to the authorised persons.