Fundraising Software acquisition hero

May 25, 2023 | Categories DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, Featured, Nonprofit Technology, SofterWare Products

6 Overlooked Factors for Evaluating Fundraising Software

Fundraising software has become a vast marketplace as the tech industry continues to grow. Buying a constituent relationship management system (CRM) is not an easy decision – budget, features, data migration, and stakeholders all come into play as you consider countless solutions. It can be overwhelming for a nonprofit organization to vet several CRMs before finding the perfect one, and it’s especially tough to find a software company whose values align with yours. 

When reviewing the pros and cons of potential vendors, you may want to consider some less obvious factors before making your final decision.

1) Company ownership

An often overlooked attribute of software is its ownership. The majority of software companies in the tech industry are owned by venture capital or private equity firms. While this is not inherently bad, it can lead to some unforeseen and less-than-desirable outcomes down the line. Many times these companies are acquired by larger companies when it comes time to satisfy the requirements of their investment. 

Mergers and acquisitions can be problematic for a multitude of reasons:

  1. The acquiring company may stop developing the software product.
  2. Users of the software may be forced to switch to the company’s primary solution.
  3. Contracts may need to be renegotiated at less favorable terms. 
  4. Staff may be laid off, leading to decreased customer support and expertise. 

Mergers and acquisitions are not few and far between either. Blackbaud alone acquired 20 companies over the span of just five years, and even more recently, Classy was acquired by GoFundMe. Looking for privately owned companies can save you from the hardships that acquisitions bring. Employee-owned companies are able to focus on what is best for their employees and customers, resulting in a better experience for the user. 

As an employee-owned company, we are not beholden to any outside interests that are not aligned with the interests of our clients.”

– Lauren Sheehan, President of SofterWare, the company that founded DonorPerfect Fundraising Software in 1981.

2) Product improvements and fixes

Research and development are vital to the success of a software product, especially as new innovations are introduced to the industry. You’re constantly working to improve your fundraising game, and your CRM should be working just as hard for you.

Invest in fundraising software that isn’t going to remain stagnant. Release notes are a great resource when evaluating meaningful change in a product. You can look at the frequency of the releases and do a deeper dive to see if they are composed mostly of “bug fixes,” improvements to a current feature, or brand-new functionality. If you can’t find them posted publicly on the website, don’t be shy about asking for a recent history of product releases. 

3) Security

No matter which CRM you choose, you will be storing and recording a lot of sensitive data. It’s important to prioritize the security of your donors’ information by choosing a product that is secure from cyber threats. Their dedication to your mission, in large part, depends on their trust in you.

A few recommendations for evaluating vendor security:

  • Look into what measures the company has in place to ensure your information will be safe from data breaches.
  • Look into the safety of any online payment processing the software offers if you are hoping to utilize it to accept donations. 

We take online security seriously to protect your data. DonorPerfect procedures have been audited by a third-party vendor to ensure that we meet or exceed best practices for online security. Additionally, SafeSave, DonorPerfect’s payment processing tool is PCI compliant, so you and your donors can feel safe making donations through a secure connection.

4) Reliability

We all know the classic “Can you hear me now?” Verizon commercial, and when it comes to cellphones, reliability is one of a customer’s top concerns. Usually, the same can’t be said for software. Many customers do not consider a software’s reliability before making a purchase. What would happen if your database crashed during your annual event or during the end-of-year giving season? It could be hugely detrimental to your fundraising strategy and relationships with your donors. 

Having software you can rely on day in and day out is invaluable. Fortunately, this is something you can research, as many online vendors have status pages. They’re great for existing users to check if they’re the only ones experiencing an issue, or if there is a regional or far-reaching outage. It’s also an excellent resource for prospective buyers as a lot of status pages also include historical reports to display how often the network encountered problems in the recent past. 

Pro tip: If you’re looking at historical reports, check in on high-traffic days (think Giving Tuesday and New Year’s Eve) to see how the platform held up under some added stress. 

5) User reviews

Who better to trust than a user like yourself for a good fundraising software recommendation? It’s always helpful to do a quick Google search of reviews for the product you are considering before making a purchase. Websites like Capterra and G2 are designed to help businesses make software purchasing decisions and provide user reviews of countless products. Reviews can provide insight into the quality of features, ease of use, and customer service, among countless other attributes. 

Capterra Ratings

According to Capterra reviews, DonorPerfect users believe they get the best value for their money and the best customer service on the market.

6) Customization

Having a solid foundation in a fundraising CRM is a great place to start, but each nonprofit is unique in terms of which software solutions are needed to carry out the mission and build the organization. Having software that can accommodate customizations will provide you with the flexibility you need so your CRM can grow with you. When you’re on the search for the right solution, look for a product that can be altered with fields, reports, custom calculations, data entry screens, and even branded online donation forms that match your website. If you work with other software vendors, you may also want to investigate the possibility of integrating your fundraising CRM with other cloud-based solutions. 

DonorPerfect Integrations

DonorPerfect partners with over 30 different products to provide a comprehensive and seamless fundraising platform for its users, including integrations with email providers, accounting, events, advocacy, matching gifts, and more. Browse integrations >>

Finding the perfect solution for you and your team isn’t going to be easy, but knowing what to look for will help you start ticking boxes. When you’ve narrowed down your options to the software that has the features you need, look at these hidden values to see if one stands out above the rest. 

Are you in the market for a fundraising CRM solution? Book a free demo of DonorPerfect below!

Book a DonorPerfect Demo

Christy S
Meet the author: Christy Smaglio

Christy attended Kutztown University, receiving a degree in English Literature. During her final year of school, she interned for a non-profit domestic violence agency writing grants, thank-you letters, and aiding in their fundraising events. She continued her non-profit work for another four...

Learn more about Christy Smaglio
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