November 6, 2023 | Categories Featured, Fundraising Strategies

How to Prepare Your Nonprofit for a Fundraising Crisis

Can you rely on your nonprofit CRM during a fundraising crisis? Cloud-based software is your safest bet.

In an emergency situation related to your mission, your nonprofit may feel the impact both financially and operationally. For example, an educational nonprofit responding to a local school shooting may have increased financial goals and more urgent campaign tasks.

In a fundraising emergency, there is little time to accomplish a whole lot. Staff members may need to put in time after hours and outside the office, requiring the ability to collaborate remotely to stay on track with mission goals.

At DonorPerfect, we want to ensure your fundraising software is as helpful as possible in these times. Employing a cloud-based fundraising system (often called a constituent relationship management system or nonprofit CRM) ensures you’re equipped to take your fundraising operations on the go at a moment’s notice. From seasoned staff members to short-term volunteers, everyone with access can perform their tasks online.

Learn how to leverage your nonprofit CRM for effective collaboration in a crisis situation.

10 Ways a Cloud-Based CRM Prepares Your Nonprofit for a Fundraising Crisis

1. Log in from anywhere.

As long as you have an internet connection, you can log into a cloud-based fundraising system like DonorPerfect from wherever you are. All you would need to do is visit your nonprofit CRM website and enter your credentials.

This is excellent news for employees who want to jump in and help during a fundraising emergency or crisis situation, but for one reason or another, cannot make it into your physical office or don’t have access to their designated workstation.

Get prepared: Log in via

2. Add new users as you need them.

Are volunteers stepping in to help? With a cloud-based CRM like DonorPerfect, nonprofits can easily create a user ID for everyone on the team, and multiple users can be logged in and working at the same time. And with this kind of fundraising system, any updates are made in real-time across all users, so everyone has access to the same data.

Get prepared: How to Add New Users in DonorPerfect »

3. Tailor user permissions as you see fit.

We all make mistakes, and team collaboration does help to catch them, but it also makes sense to have measures in place to prevent them – especially in an emergency situation when you may have more eyes on your nonprofit than normal. 

Cloud-based CRMs allow nonprofits to set different permissions for each user. In other words, you can select which users have the ability to process payments, delete records, or make global changes, for example, and restrict access for employees who haven’t received the proper training.

Get prepared: How to Edit Permissions in DonorPerfect »

4. Train new or temporary staff quickly.

In a fundraising emergency or crisis situation, it’s important that nonprofit staff have access to online training resources and in-product walk-throughs. Some tasks will need immediate attention, and there may not be time for one-on-one, in-person training sessions, and employees who are able to answer questions may not be readily available. Volunteers logging in to help will need to know how to perform basic functions like recording data.

The DonorPerfect Welcome Center walks new users through tasks like data entry and reporting the moment they log in. They can register for free training webinars just for beginners. For help adapting to emergency workflows, as they’re being defined, DonorPerfect users can contact our Training Team at 888-220-8111 or send a message to

Get prepared: Register for New User Training Webinars »

5. Maintain data entry protocols.

Cloud-based CRMs make data entry easier by allowing nonprofits to set defaults and hide unnecessary fields across all users, or require certain information when a specific option has been selected within a donor record. This ensures that employees and volunteers are collecting the right information from your emergency/crisis donors.

DonorPerfect SmartScreens promote data consistency and cleanliness even during a crisis situation. You can dynamically change or hide data entry fields, based on criteria relevant to your fundraising emergency, and alert staff with reminders while they are completing specific data entry tasks.

Get prepared: How to Set Data Entry Defaults and Use SmartScreens »

6. Automate routine tasks.

Similar to security and data standards that keep everyone on the same page, cloud-based CRMs also allow nonprofits to set up automated workflows for all users logging into the system. They can be set up to automatically trigger a desired action once certain criteria (of your choosing) have been met. For example, DonorPerfect SmartActions can be set up to email your director when a gift of $500 or more is entered into your system, prompting them to call the generous donor who made the gift.

Get prepared: How to Use SmartActions »

7. Let your monthly giving program run itself.

Your monthly giving program is one less thing you have to worry about during a fundraising emergency, as you can set it to automatically process gifts on the days and frequencies that your donors have chosen. If your nonprofit prefers to manually process its recurring gifts, a cloud-based CRM like DonorPerfect can remind users to process any gifts that are due upon logging in. In both cases, you can automatically send receipts to donors thanking them for their gifts.

Don’t have a monthly giving program? Download your free Monthly Giving Starter Kit or contact our Training Team to help you get started at 888.220.8111 or

Monthly Giving Starter Kit mockup

Get prepared: Process Monthly Gifts Automatically and Set Up Automatic Receipts »

8. Stay aligned around your metrics.

In an emergency situation, it’s common to have specific monetary goals or limited time to fundraise, so it’s helpful for each team member to have access to real-time metrics. This data is necessary to monitor your progress, share accurate updates, and make informed decisions together. 

To track relevant metrics, DonorPerfect provides users with communal fundraising dashboards that automatically update as new information is entered in your system, as well as custom reports that can be automatically sent to your stakeholders at set intervals. Any new reports that are created can be accessed by anyone with login information.

Get prepared: Schedule Your Custom Report »

9. Keep your communications consistent.

Cloud-based CRMs are helpful for staying on top of solicitations and thank yous, especially when time or staff is limited, as they allow nonprofits to create email templates that any user can access. Templates not only save time, but also ensure that your team is communicating in a way that’s appropriate for your specific fundraising situation, goal, and time period.

Get prepared: Download your free Crisis Fundraising Templates »

10. Avoid double sending thank-yous.

With many hands on deck, it’s easy for tasks to overlap. When it comes to thank-yous, especially, you don’t want to risk mistakes that could make your message of appreciation seem ingenuine. A cloud-based CRM like DonorPerfect ensures that each user can track gift acknowledgments in real-time. Once you merge your letters or send emails through DonorPerfect Receipting, gift records instantly update to reflect that they’ve been acknowledged and are removed from the queue.

Get prepared: Automate Donation Acknowledgements »

The team at DonorPerfect cannot thank you enough for your continued efforts to help the world’s most vulnerable populations, especially when a crisis occurs. Most of the features listed here are included in every DonorPerfect plan. If you’d like to learn more about DonorPerfect or a certain feature, tell us a little bit about yourself in the form below, and a member of our team will be in touch.

Learn more about DonorPerfect

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Meet the author: Ally Orlando

I’m Ally, a lifelong Pennsylvanian now living south of the Mason-Dixon Line. My main thrills are eating and sleeping, but I also enjoy music, art, film, politics, and animals. I love to learn new skills, and I’m not afraid to be a “master of none.”

As a writer, my ambition has...

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