Increasing Your Capacity with a DMS

Increasing Your Capacity with A DMS

Concerned about the time it will take your team to get onboarded and trained up to use a Donor Management System? 

“The system looks amazing… but we just don’t have the time to handle this transition.”

“This is exactly what we need… but I’m worried about the learning curve for our staff.”

These are some of the common objections our Charity Engagement team hears when speaking with a charity about the CanadaHelps Donor Management System. As a charity ourselves, we understand that the rising demand for programmes and services, coupled with the complexity of the funding landscape, leaves little time to invest in your own operations.The time needed to familiarize you and your team with new software solutions can feel like a luxury you cannot afford. 

While these objections do carry weight, particularly around busy periods such as Giving Season or tax receipt time, adopting a donor management system (DMS) is more of a help than a hindrance. If you’re looking to squeeze extra minutes into your busy day, a DMS could be the very answer you’ve been searching for!

In this blog, we explore how a DMS can save you time and help your team do things not just faster, but better. We also look at the time needed to get started using the CanadaHelps Donor Management System.

If you already use the CanadaHelps Donor Management system, we highly recommend checking out this blog which provides actionable steps to streamlining your administrative work.

How can a Donor Management System free up your capacity?

Do things with the touch of a button!

We already benefit from technology in so many areas of our lives; from being able to communicate with others through email, to being able to pay our bills through an app. Technology allows us to do things faster and more easily than ever before. There’s no reason charities should not benefit from these advances too.

There are many small, but important, tasks that make up your everyday work as fundraisers. A DMS can make many of these tedious tasks easier. Instead of allowing them to take up your time, the features of a DMS can do the heavy lifting so that you can redirect your attention to nurturing large-gift donors and delivering mission critical programs.

What can you do at the click of a button? 

✅ Tax Receipting

Issue tax-receipts, whether it’s an immediate tax-receipt, or a consolidated tax-receipt at the end of the year. You’ll also be able to find and re-issue receipts at the click of a button.

✅ Donor Thank You

Send a thank you email for every donation. Not being thanked for a donation promptly, or at all, is still a leading reason for lapsed donors. Find out who has been thanked (or not!) at a glance and rectify that.

✅ Processing Donations

Easily process donations taken over the phone, in person or from your direct mail response with built-in payment options.

✅ Email Communications

In our busy world, some donors forget that they’ve donated and it’s our job as fundraisers to keep our charity top of mind. Send regular and relevant communications to your supporters with our built-in-email tool, or our MailChimp integration. 

✅ Reminders to check-in

For those donors that you’d like to have a higher touch with, you can automate reminders to check-in. You could do this on a custom cadence, a giving anniversary, or even surprise and delight them on their birthday.

Save time on your communications

Keeping your donors engaged is a key part of fundraising. Regularly communicating with them is a great way to achieve this and can be beneficial for your charity in a number of ways, including; helping to uncover what motivates your donors to donate in the first place, keeping your charity top of mind amongst your donor base, and potentially being the difference between your donors donating to another charity or becoming your biggest advocates. Unfortunately, it becomes increasingly difficult to have one-to-one conversations as your charity grows. By using a donor management system to support your donor communication strategy, you can record all touch points with your donors in one place and easily scale your communications, all while maintaining a personal touch.

Knowing your donors well is critical to stewarding relationships and ultimately having a successful fundraising program. It’s one thing to have this donor data, and another being able to leverage it to your advantage.

How do you leverage your data with a donor management system?

✅ Build emailing lists

Using your donor data, organize different emailing lists which will help you maintain consistent communications. Some popular lists are:

  • Based on donor behaviour (new donors, monthly donors, repeat donors etc.)
  • Based on donor demographic (millennial donors, retirees etc.)
  • Based on interest (interested in community causes/ climate change etc.)

✅ Personalize Communications

Personalize your communications by addressing your donors by name and pulling relevant information about their interactions with your organization (e.g. donation amount). This can go a long way to making sure they pay attention to your communications.

✅ Create beautiful emails and templates

With our built-in drag and drop email tool, crafting a good looking email is not difficult. Once you’ve figured out what works, save it as a template and maintain brand consistency. You can also use the integration with MailChimp if you prefer.

It will save you time on reporting

Having all of their information at your fingertips doesn’t just help you communicate with your donors, it can also help you to answer to your board and other stakeholders with relevant reports that track and contextualize your charity’s performance. The very first login screen of our DMS is your dashboard. This overview will allow you to keep a finger on the pulse of your charity’s fundraising program and uncover areas that need fixing.

What kind of reporting can it help with?

✅ Donor retention rates

One great measure of the health of your fundraising program is your donor retention rate. Do you know your donor retention rate and whether you’re improving year on year? The CanadaHelps DMS comes built in with SYBUNT (Some Years But Unfortunately Not This) and LYBNT (Last Year But Not This) reports to make measuring donor retention easier. 

✅ Planning for the future

Monthly donors provide a consistent source of donation revenue so you’re able to plan your programs. A DMS allows you to see at a glance how many monthly-donors you have and how much funding to expect from them in the coming months.

✅ What is working and what isn’t?

Our communications tool comes with the same reporting that you would expect from any email marketing tool. By reviewing CTRs, unsubscribes and link clicks, you’ll be able to see which pieces of communication are donors engaging with the most and focus your efforts there.

 Having the ability to answer these questions without hours of poring over spreadsheets will make it easy to get accurate and up-to-date information when you need it most, helping you and your charity to make more data-informed decisions.

Ultimately, a Donor Management System can help you save time to free up capacity. 

How long does it take for a charity to realistically start using the CanadaHelps Donor Management System?

Ok, so you’ve read the rest of the blog but the question still stands: how much time am I going to have to put in to gain all those time-saving features? The answer may not be as much as you think! 

The CanadaHelps Donor Management System was built with charities of all sizes in mind. As such, the user-friendliness of our tools is always top-of-mind. It is a powerful yet intuitive system and we have developed plenty of training resources that our charity clients can access at any time. We encourage all of our new DMS users to access the following onboarding resources at their own pace:

• Watch pre-recorded Training Webinars for an overview of key functions

• Dip in and out of the Donor Management System Knowledge Base as needed

• Reach out to your Onboarding Expert at any time during the onboarding process

Onboarding itself consists of a kick-off call, gathering your data, configuring your DMS, at-your-own pace learning materials, and a wrap up call. The timing of this can vary depending on your availability.


What about my existing donor data?

If you’re already using CanadaHelps tools, we will migrate 7 years of historical donor data to your Donor Management System instance without you needing to lift a finger. Going forward, all donor information from the donations made through CanadaHelps,whether that’s from a customized donation form or an event ticket sale, will be recorded automatically.

If you’re not using CanadaHelps tools, the process is still simple. We just need your help to gather your data in a template that will be provided to you. Then, our data experts will help to clean and de-duplicate your data. No need to wait for us during this time though! You’ll already be able to use all the features of the donor management system and we will reconcile it after, just leave it to us!

Throughout this process, our onboarding experts will be on hand to support you and check-in if they don’t hear back.


As a charity, we understand how valuable your time is. The best way to learn more about the Donor Management System is on a call with one of our Charity Engagement Specialists.

We would love to connect to learn more about your charity and whether the CanadaHelps Donor Management System could help you free up capacity.

Book a time here for a free consultation.

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