Skip to main content
Website & Technology

How to Choose Donor Management Software + 20 Tools to Try

Author: Tatiana Morand
August 6, 2021
🕑 13 min read

Two years ago, I was involved with a charity that made me understand why donor management is so important.

Communication with our donors was a key aspect of my work. Instead of generic “thank you for your donation” emails, our executive director asked me to write personally to many of our donors.

Over time, I noticed that I had built real, lasting relationships with the donors I’d written to —  and that this had had a huge impact on their donations, as well as their retention rate.

The better we knew our donors, the more we could connect to them as people, which made them want to stick with us for the long haul.

I was learning so much about them through this communication, and I didn’t want to lose these insights.

I started keeping track of donors I had written to and what I’d learned in an Excel sheet, but I quickly figured out this just wasn’t feasible.

That’s why I decided to look into donor management software.

What is Donor Management Software?

Donor Management Software (sometimes referred to as Nonprofit CRM) is a tool that allows you to manage relationships with your donors. You can do this by keeping track of their information, their donations, your interactions with them, and much more.

With Donor Management Software (DMS), you can organize any kind of data you need to know in order to build meaningful relationships with your supporters, improve retention rates, and increase fundraising revenue.

A great DMS should allow you to:

  • Keep track of donors’ contact information, communication preferences, and interests
  • Keep track of their donation history, gift dates, amounts, and designations
  • Keep track of their event attendance, communications they’ve received, and any interactions you’ve had with them
  • Segment donor lists for custom fundraising or stewardship activities
  • Identify trends to inform your acquisition or retention strategy
  • Automate donor communications and tasks like issuing tax receipts

How is Donor Management Software Different From Donation Software?

You may have already heard of Donation Software — so how is Donor Management Software different?

Donation Software is what allows you to collect donations — it’s the system through which donors make their gifts. Tools like these make it easy to collect gifts online or through special campaigns like peer-to-peer or SMS fundraising.

Donor Management Software, on the other hand, has less to do with actual donations, and more to do with donors (current, future, or lapsed) and their history with your organization. In fact, information about prospective major gift or corporate donors is often tracked in a DMS long before they make their first gift.

To make the most of your fundraising efforts, you should ideally use both Donation Software and Donor Management Software, though there are plenty of all-in-one solutions (we’ll get into some great options in a later section).

Click through to claim your 60-day trial of WildApricot to create effective QR codes that will speed up event check-in.

Who Uses Donor Management Software?

Donor Management Software is used by fundraising professionals, or anyone at a nonprofit who works in donor relations or donor services.

For example, as a fundraiser, you may use a DMS to keep track of your interactions with a prospect in the cultivation stage. You may write down notes from your meetings, their interests and values, as well as any notable dates.

As someone who works in donor services or stewardship, you could use a DMS to issue tax receipts, thank you letters, and keep track of which communication pieces each donor has received.

Benefits of Donor Management Software

Donor Management Software allows everyone at your organization to have access to valuable data about your donors. It essentially replaces spreadsheets, which tend to get messy and can easily lead to incorrect or missing information.

Not to mention, a great DMS automates a lot of the manual data entry that’s required with spreadsheets, since most of your nonprofit’s admin tasks can be done through the DMS or through integrated tools.

One of the biggest benefits of Donor Management Software is how much time it can save you and your colleagues. No more hunting for information and trying to piece together a donor’s giving history — it all lives in one place.

A DMS can also help you analyze data about your donors and develop informed strategies on how you can improve donor satisfaction and retention rates. It can be used to create communications that are highly customized, allowing you to send the right message to the right people at the right time.

The more data you collect about your prospective, current and lapsed donors, the better your DMS can serve your organization. Whether your goal is to acquire new supporters, retain your current ones or win back lapsed donors, a DMS will help you better understand each of these groups and connect with them, so you can ultimately raise more revenue for your cause.

How Much Does Donor Management Software Cost?

The price of Donor Management Software can vary greatly depending on the size and needs of your organization.

If you’re a small shop, there are plenty of tools that cost under $50/month. Many of them also have light versions that are free as long as you stay under a certain number of constituents or revenue raised.

For larger, more established organizations, software solutions can cost a few hundred dollars per month.

Read More: 25 Amazing Donate Pages To Fire Up Your Fundraising


How to Choose Donor Management Software

When choosing a Donor Management Software, consider the following steps:

1. Identify Stakeholders

Think about who would be using the software and for what purpose. Who would benefit the most from the new tool? Also think about who would need to approve the new expense.

2. Determine Your Needs

First, consider what problems you need your new DMS to solve. What features would you like it to have (for example, would you like to be able to access it on a mobile device while you’re out meeting with donors?)

Next, think about the software tools you’re already using. Will the new tool be able to integrate with your existing tools or are you looking for an all-in-one solution that will replace them?

Lastly, consider your budget. Once you start researching options, you may need to adjust this number, but it’s helpful to have a starting point.

3. Evaluate Options

Whether you’re looking for a standalone Donor Management System or an all-in-one solution, there are plenty of options out there. When doing your research, consider your needs and your budget, and identify a shortlist of tools that meet both requirements.

Note that some software providers will require you to set up a demo and a consultation, where they can customize features to fit your budget, so you may need to wait until the next step to evaluate them. That being said, if a software tool looks like a good candidate, be sure to put it on the shortlist anyway.

4. Set Up Demos

Most software providers offer a demo, a free trial, or a free light version. Take advantage of this and try each software on your shortlist. Be sure to get some of your key stakeholders involved so they can try them out as well and offer their opinion.

If the demo involves a live conversation with the company’s representative, bring a list of questions to ask them, so you can make sure their product matches your organization’s needs.

5. Select Your Top Choice and Get It Approved

By now you should have a clear idea of which option you’d like to go with. Before giving their approval, your leadership may want to see a presentation about your top choice (or maybe even your top three, so they can make the final decision). In this presentation, be sure to showcase how the new software will benefit your organization and how the new expense will ultimately help save time and money, and increase revenue in the long run.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the top choices for Donor Management Software tools.


5 Free Donor Management Software Tools

The software providers below have great free plan options that help you get started with donor management while going easy on the bank. If you’re just starting out or have a smaller donor base, these platforms are perfect for you.

1. Bloomerang

donor management software

Pricing: Free Lite plan for small organizations, other plans start at $19/month

Bloomerang is a powerful donor management software that not only helps you fundraise, but teaches you about communications, digital marketing, and donor retainment. Get smart reports and evaluate your constituents’ engagement with their website integration.

Bloomerang’s pricing is also very flexible depending on your organization’s size; if you’re a brand-new organization or simply on a budget, they offer a free Lite plan for up to 250 records, as well as several other plans for growing organizations.


2. Donately

donor management software

Pricing: Free startup plan for small organizations with a 4% platform fee, other plans start at $49/month with a 2% platform fee

With Donately, you can launch donation pages and create the perfect donation forms in a matter of minutes. Integrating with web apps such as Google Sheets, SalesForce, and MailChimp, Donately keeps your data in sync and ready for analysis. Optimize your fundraising by gaining control over your donations and build better relationships with your donors.


3. Donorbox

donor management software

Pricing: Free if you collect less than $1000/month, with varying processing fees; 1.5% platform fee if you collect more than $1000/month

Create a professional donation system in 15 minutes with Donorbox, a powerful fundraising software that helps you keep your recurring donors and attract new ones. Embed donation forms into your website and overlay pop-up forms to create an engaging experience for your donors. Best of all, it’s free if you collect less than $1000 in a month.


4. GivingFuel

donor management software

Pricing: Free for organizations raising less than $25,000 annually, other plans start at $59/month

A simple and affordable donation system, GivingFuel provides flexibility in your organization’s websites and forms. Donations are made easy with text-to-give, get real-time insights on your campaigns, and build beautiful pages with branding control.

GivingFuel is free for your first $5000 raised, with unlimited giving pages and comprehensive fund tracking available.


5. Snowball

donor management software

Pricing: Basic Plan is free, charges 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. Premium plans start at $549/year.

From text-to-give to free donation pages, Snowball streamlines a lot of the key processes when it comes to raising money. Grow your brand and create pages that look great on all mobile devices to boost your donor engagement using features such as the classic donation thermometer and peer-to-peer fundraising.

Must-Have Donor Management Software Integrations

Donor Management Software is great on its own, but there are other software integrations that can make your life even easier. These are tools that facilitate donations, analyze donor data, and simplify accounting. Check out the options below.

4 Donation Software Tools

If you’re looking to up your fundraising game, keep reading. The donation software tools below specialize in helping you raise as much money for your cause as possible, managing tasks such as data entry, volunteers, online giving, and donation processing.


6. @EASE

donor management software

Pricing: Custom pricing, available on request

EASE is a useful tool that connects you with donors, advocates, and funders. Create extensive contact profiles on every donor and build meaningful relationships to grow your organization. In addition to that, @EASE helps you manage your volunteers, campaigns, and data entry.


7. DonorPerfect

donor management software

Pricing: Plans start at $89/month

Grow your fundraising with DonorPerfect, as it is equipped to manage grants, volunteers, online giving, memberships, and much more. Record contacts with potential major donors and manage gift processing  through a single, unified system. The platform is highly customizable to help you raise the most money for your mission as you can. As a bonus, DonorPerfect integrates with DonorSearch, another entry on this list, to help you find new  donor prospects.


8. Double the Donation

donor management software

Pricing: 14-day free trial, pricing starts at $499/year

Double the Donation challenges your donors’ employers to match their donations through corporate matching gifts, which boosts your fundraising revenue almost immediately. The system helps raise awareness of your cause and simplifies matching donations by a large degree.


9. Qgiv

donor management software

Pricing: Free Start plan with 3.95% + $0.30 per transaction, other plans start at $15/month with the same transaction fee

Qgiv is designed to help you build a donor base that makes fundraising a piece of cake, with tools such as text fundraising and the Qgiv Virtual Terminal app to process donations on the go. Get customized reports on the results of your campaigns to increase your efficiency, and raise money through peer-to-peer events.


4 Donor Analytics Tools

If you’re looking to get more intel on your donors, find new donors, or improve your existing donor relationships, the following platforms are perfect for you. Analyzing data helps you build comprehensive reports on every donor, and lets you know how to cater to their needs. You can make this process simple with one of these knowledge-oriented platforms.


10. Aplos

donor management software

Pricing: Plans start at $59/month, free trial available

Aplos helps you engage and retain your donors through their intelligent donor database, which manages both new and recurring donors. Track your donors’ activity patterns to identify important groups of supporters. Aplos’ Nonprofit CRM is a great tool to manage your relationships while overseeing fundraising and donations.


11. DonorSearch

donor management software

Pricing: Custom pricing, available on request

DonorSearch is exactly what its name sounds like — it helps you find any kind of donor you might be looking for. Identify donor prospects and analyze potential donors; his includes wealth and philanthropic information with relationship mapping integrated into the system. The giant database has no per-person charge, and offers unlimited use of ProspectView online, which helps you evaluate your prospects and connect with specific philanthropists.


12. Fundraising Report Card

donor management software

Pricing: Pricing available upon request.

Aptly named, Fundraising Report Card is a top tier tool for leveraging data in the simplest ways. Measure your retention rate, donation frequency, lapsed donors, donation growth, and so much more. Recapture lost donors and build personalized portfolios to learn what engages your donors the most; with this system, you’ll have an answer to every data problem you could encounter.


13. Kindful

donor management software

Pricing: Pricing starts at $100/month

Kindful makes managing donors easier through comprehensive insights and tracking donors’s activity history. With automated reports, you can spend less time worrying about your data, and you can connect all the other software tools you use to avoid constant imports and exports.

2 Nonprofit Accounting Software Tools

Nonprofits have very specific accounting needs — handling donations, issuing receipts, producing reports, all while tracking revenue and expenses. Here are a couple of software options that are up for the task.

14. Quickbooks


Pricing: Plans start at $80/month, free 60-day trial available

With Quickbooks, all of your nonprofit’s finances can be managed in one place. You can use it to track revenue and expenses, pay bills, issues receipts, analyze reports, and much more. You can also organize revenue by fund or program, so you can easily generate reports that reflect your nonprofit’s activities.

15. Financial Edge by Blackbaud

Financial Edge


Pricing: Pricing and demo available upon request

Financial Edge is an accounting software designed specifically for nonprofits. You can use it to track fundraising efforts, monitor program success, manage expenses, budget for the future, complete grant-related tasks, and much more.


6 All-in-one Donation and Fundraising Software Tools

Don’t have time to manage multiple different platforms, or simply don’t want to? Below, you’ll find 6 different platforms that do everything at once, so you always have a centralized system available to you. Be warned, though — this functionality might come with a more elevated price tag.


16. Arreva

donor management software

Pricing: Custom pricing, available on request with demo

Mobilize your donors through Arreva’s online fundraising software that created custom email marketing campaigns, manages donations, and oversees events. This software can be highly personalized to cater to your specific needs.

Arreva also has Donor Relationship Management software, a cloud-based platform that analyzes every piece of data about your organization’s donations and the donors themselves.


17. Blackbaud Fundraising

donor management software

Pricing: Custom pricing, available on request

Blackbaud helps all kinds of organizations better manage their fundraising, from nonprofits and schools to faith communities and cultural organizations. Their fundraising solutions help you grow your relationships with your donors through lifestyle analytics, as well as drawing in new members with the help of an easy-to-use centralized system.


18. Fundly CRM

donor management software

Pricing: Plants start at $100/month, with a free trial available

Fundly CRM integrates donor and event management, fundraising, and membership into a single platform. It is designed to help nonprofit organizations build better connections with donors, as well as promoting efficiency in data management. Overall, it helps you become a better, more informed leader by using detailed data reports to help you understand your organization’s progress.


19. Little Green Light

donor management software

Pricing: 60-day free trial, pricing starts at $39/month, plus donation processing starting at 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction plus a 1% LGL fee

Little Green Light connects people with data in a simple and effective system that integrates with many of the tools you already use to centralize your work. Build strong relationships through their detailed dashboard and constituent profiles, share your activity with the rest of your team to stay on track, and analyze the results through reporting tools.


20. Salsa Labs

donor management software

Pricing: Custom pricing, available on request

Salsa makes fundraising easy by streamlining all processes and tracking donor interactions. The Digital Marketing features makes promoting your cause simple, with automated marketing in social media and email. Track donor interactions and evaluate fundraising data in a single system, automate your processes, and cultivate long-lasting relationships with your donors.


Bonus: WildApricot

donor management software

WildApricot is the #1 membership management software that allows you to control all aspects of your organization’s network from a single, centralized platform. Manage donors, plan events, and build a professional site all at once. Click here to start your 60-day free trial today!

I hope that this list has helped make the process of choosing donor management software a little easier for you! If there’s anything you think we should add to this list, or you have a particular favorite you’d like to highlight, please comment below.

The Membership Growth Report:

Benchmarks & Insights for Growing Revenue and Constituents

Get the report now!