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Effective Software for More Effective Public Services

Effective Software for More Effective Public ServicesThe Benefits of FUND Management in Public Service Organizations

DonorExpress started as a volunteer project for a domestic violence shelter in Boone, North Carolina, in 1992. It has since been developed with a user-friendly interface that increases effectiveness and success in donor management for nonprofit organizations and public services that want to build better relationships with donors.

In a recent interview, DonorExpress’ CEO Bob Holder discussed the evolution of donor management, the benefits of the right software, and how DonorExpress and Cougar Mountain Software can build effective relationships with donors.

What challenges do public service organizations face when managing donor lists and contributions?

The first challenge for public services is the need to build lasting relationships with donors, so the organization has the right to ask for gifts. This relationship begins with the donor’s first gift and is built by gratitude expressed by the organization. Responding to a donor’s gift in a quick and meaningful way should be made easier with good donor software.

The second challenge for public services is finding a donor software application that will work for them. Too many organizations still believe they can get the job done with Excel, while others find they’ve invested in expensive, complicated software that is awkward to use and doesn’t work as intended.

The third challenge I see is a lack of established and effective office procedures on donor management software integration with the other office functions, such as accounting. Without this, the organization can’t run like a well-oiled machine.

How can public service entities increase efficiency within the organization?

Many public service organizations seem to run well, but in reality, the loss of one key person can throw the entire office into disarray, due to the lack of clearly defined written procedures. Donor management software is central, because it affects all office functions, from the mailroom to the accounting office, from development to management reporting.

A system with clearly defined procedures ensures accurate information, with less redundant data entry and clearer communications with the donor. A clearly written set of procedures used in all staff training is one of the best ways to ensure the nonprofit office runs efficiently and produces consistent results, no matter who is doing the job.

Why are consistent results important to fundraising success? 

A major part of fundraising is presenting to donors the mission of the organization in a compelling manner and showing the donor their contribution will make a difference in the community. Consistency in the way this message is stated will build confidence in the donor that the organization is well grounded, with a solid direction to meet their goals.

A good donor management tool allows development staff to segment the donor database for a more effective marketing campaign that will get the right message out to a targeted audience. Reaching the right market with the right message is the best way to see an increase in the rate of return on the money invested for the campaign.

How do integrated systems increase accuracy and decrease the amount of work required by staff?

An office system is a set of subsystems that must all function together. The key to designing a system is selecting subsystems that integrate with each other, so they function as one. For example: By integrating donor tracking and your public service accounting system, you can enter data once, in the donor management system.

There is no need for a duplicate entry in the accounting system. Since the two systems are integrated, the amounts will be easier to reconcile and will increase reporting accuracy.

What types of reports are important for public service donor management software? 

An effective donor management tool must have the flexibility to meet the reporting needs of all the departments in the nonprofit office. Data entry personnel need reports that confirm what they entered was what was received. Accounting personnel have to reconcile what was entered by data entry personnel with what was deposited.

Development personnel need to be able to pull a targeted mailing list or check the status of an ongoing campaign. The director depends on management reporting when addressing the board to make future decisions. Reporting from the donor management tool and the accounting software are essential to managing the office.

How will the future of DonorExpress help nonprofits and public services function more effectively?

Our goal at DonorExpress is to make tools available to all nonprofit organizations that will build stronger relationships with each donor, so the organization can offer more services to their communities. By understanding the functions of the organization, we are better able to integrate our software into your office system.

As students of fundraising, we can see the tools that nonprofits and public service organizations need to connect with those who support them financially. Our partnership with Cougar Mountain Software gives organizations an integrated software solution that will help you run operations more efficiently at a cost that’s within their budgets.

Cougar Mountain Software and DonorExpress offer an integrated solution for your fund accounting and donor management needs. Call us at 800-390-7053 to learn more!

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Cougar Mountain Software develops leading on-premises accounting solutions. Our hallmark software, DENALI, is specifically designed to scale to clients’ needs while maintaining an unbreakable audit trail.