5 Ways a DMS Will Help you Raise More Money

November 16, 2021

A donor management system (DMS) is an investment. As long term investments go, it is incredibly worthwhile. For any organization that is looking to take their fundraising to the next level, investing in a DMS is a logical next step. If you’re wondering whether a DMS is worth the expense, check out these 5 ways a DMS will quickly pay for itself by helping you raise more money.  

 

1. A DMS will save you admin time: 

  • Working for a charity or nonprofit, you are BUSY. We know that many of you are wearing multiple hats. Between grant proposals, staff meetings, and generally striving to make the world a better place, it’s hard to find enough hours in the day. Although some time investment is needed, a lack of time is exactly why you should consider how a DMS will save you valuable administrative time.  
  • Have you ever spent countless hours updating your spreadsheets only to have your edits mysteriously vanish without a trace? Or run a 500-letter mail merge and realize half the addresses were not formatted correctly? With a DMS, administrative tasks like thank you letters and tax receipts can be automated. Having an integration between your DMS and online giving tool can save you even more hours on data entry every year, freeing up your time to focus on tasks that will help you make a bigger impact. 

 

2. A DMS will enable you to do customized outreach: 

  • There’s a saying in fundraising that people give to people, which stresses the importance of building strong relationships with your donors. The problem is: you’re busy (see point above),sometimes forgetful (no judgment!), and it’s hard to keep track of all the wonderful people you wish to connect with when you don’t have this information in a central location beyond your head.  
  • Your DMS acts as this central location. It is a repository for donor information and it’s where you go when you need to record something you’ve recently learned about a prospective donor or need to get a donor’s spouse’s name to ensure you personally invite them both to your next event.   
  • In your DMS, you’re able to track which donors give to specific campaigns or help fund specific projects so that when you launch a new campaign, you can quickly pull a report of previous donors that have given to a similar initiative. That way you’re able to solicit donors based on a subject that aligns with their past giving history, making them much more likely to give versus a more general ask.  This type of customized outreach is what builds relationships. It conveys to your donors that they are as important to you as your cause is to them.  

 

3. A DMS will improve your donor retention rates: 

  • When it comes to growing your donor base, it’s much more difficult (and expensive) to acquire new donors than to retain existing donors. In fact, when a donor gives to your organization more than once, they are more likely to become a long-term loyal supporter. Unfortunately, if you’re like most organizations, your donor retention rate needs work and you’re losing more donors than you’re converting into loyal supporters. 

    So what is the key to keeping your donors? Good stewardship. 

    The ability to communicate directly and consistently with donors through your DMS enables you to better cultivate relationships and steward your donors. In your DMS you’re able to track key touchpoints that will track your donor engagement history and will highlight when you should next be in touch or if you’ve forgotten to check-in with them recently. You’ll also be able to track how specific donors like to be communicated with – whether by mail, on the phone or online - ensuring you’re able to best reach them how they like to be reached. 
     

4. A DMS will stop you from leaving money on the table: 

  • Within a DMS, you have access to a wealth of information about your donors’ total giving history.  Things like the total amount they have given to your organization, when they made their most recent gift, how often they usually donate and what they’ve pledged to give in the years to come. 

    This information is crucial to helping you forecast when their next gift is expected to come in – and can act as a reminder to follow up with donors when their pledge becomes overdue. It’s also important data that will help you forecast how much money you’re expected to raise throughout the year. 
     

5. A DMS will help you identify what works (and what doesn’t): 

  • Here’s a common scenario. You spend weeks (if not months) planning a fundraising initiative that generates only a handful of gifts. Despite this, your board or leadership team insist on continuing with the initiative since it’s the way we’ve always done things.  

    Once you start tracking donations in your DMS, you can use simple reports to identify which initiatives are successful and which are not. From these insights, you can determine which initiatives to invest in further and which to bring to a halt. For example, you may have an event that raises over $100K but costs $50K to run, compared to an online solicitation that may raise 20K but is much less costly to produce. Having these clear statistics should make it easier for you to make the case for which type of activities you incorporate into your fundraising plan going forward (and which you may consider abandoning altogether!) 


The CanadaHelps DMS can help you do all of this and more. Learn how you can get a return on your investment and save yourself time, money with the CanadaHelps DMS.


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