As online giving increases, it’s more essential than ever to have the right technology to back up fundraising success goals. Two good places to start, especially as the holiday season creeps up, are online giving platforms and donation management software. Optimizing your online donation system is crucial to maximizing the dollars you receive, while donation management software is necessary to track this funding and ensure you can connect with contributors again in the coming years.

Online donation processes in fundraising success

Dunham and Company and NextAfter released the “Online Fundraising Scorecard,” which reviewed 151 charities to determine how organizations are faring with digital fundraising and what they could be doing better. The report found that in general nonprofits could improve online processes to make them more clear and streamlined.

The report also included a section about email communications, with the idea that increasing the number of email addresses in a database tends to correspond with more donations over time. For instance, 76 percent of email registration forms were difficult to find, according to the report. After the initial email sign-up, more than one-third of organizations waited at least 30 days before sending out an email. Within the first 90 days, 56 percent of organizations still had yet to ask for a donation through email.

When it came to online donation forms, 80 percent contained a clear call-to-action, but 84 percent were not optimized for mobile devices. However, many organizations are still hiding donation pages or making them difficult to access. The more clicks it takes to get to the end of a donation process, the more donors you’re likely to lose along the way. Unfortunately, only 5 percent of nonprofits managed to keep their process to one click. The majority of organizations – 34 percent – took three. Another 15 percent took between 5 and 8 clicks to reach the final page.

Toward the end of the process, things get better again. Ninety-nine percent of organizations thanked donors for their contribution, but more nonprofits need to give these contributors the next steps, like providing additional information that described the donor’s potential impact.

The benefits of donation management software

Once you’ve optimized online giving to make it easier for individuals to contribute and provide value when they do, the next step is to make sure you have a platform to contain all the new donor information.

As Idealware notes, donor information can be detailed and complex and it’s important to have a system in place to keep it organized. It can be difficult to gain donations in the first place and get names in your database. Maintaining clean data and keeping it up to date can be essential in developing relationships with contributors so they continue to give. A good donation management platform will enable you to segment your database to send targeted messages to specific groups. Donation management platforms will also enable you to more easily send thank you messages and keep recipients engaged.

Finally, donation management has reporting and analytics capabilities that could be essential to meeting fundraising goals and improving operations each year.

Technology, when used correctly, makes it easier to accomplish tasks. Online giving forms should make it easier for donors to contribute from their computers or mobile devices. In the same regard, donation management platforms can replace the messy spreadsheets an organization may be using and make processes more efficient and less time-consuming to complete. Investing in better tools gives staff more time to focus on their communications rather than moving between spreadsheets to find the information they’re looking for.

Organizations have different needs, but there is likely a system out there that will need your needs and budget. Don’t wait to start improving processes and gaining more donations.