Why Successful Charities Switch to the Donor Management System

“How did we work without this!?” 

“The DMS saves us so much time!” 

“Our contact list will be so much more manageable now!” 

Every day, these are the types of things the CanadaHelps team is privileged to hear from charities throughout the Donor Management System (DMS) onboarding process.

And honestly, it never gets old.

Because as a charity ourselves, we experienced the same things you did before the DMS. For years, many of us have been confined to using spreadsheets or software that doesn’t meet the needs of small-to-mid-sized charities.

As a result, charities would risk duplicating donor data or spending too much time navigating between multiple spreadsheets for information.

Charities, just like yours, knew there should be a better way.

So we built it. 

We built it understanding that charities want to provide a personal and valuable experience for their donors. An experience that ultimately improves their donor stewardship process.

With the DMS, charities can make every interaction personal by pulling up the donor’s profile. Charities can even send personalized bulk emails through the DMS using automated or self-configured groups that only take a few clicks to get set up. And to simplify one of the busiest times of the year, charities can use the DMS to streamline the entire end-to-end tax receipting process. 

Make every interaction a personal one

Whether it’s family, friends, or colleagues, we build relationships on the foundation of trust and by respecting their beliefs, interests, preferences, and behaviours. 

The donor-charity relationship is no different.

The DMS gives charities to look up individual donors and all their information in one place. From donation totals to communication history, charities can personalize every individual call, email, or meeting from a single donor profile page.

Ready to build stronger donor relationships?

Note informative and personal details about your donors

Here’s how you can demonstrate how much you value your donor’s time and show that you are interested in who they are as a person, not just their contribution. 

Charities can add and modify donor-specific notes and messages in the Notes tab on a donor’s Contact Profile to help personalize the communication.

For example, if a donor casually shares that they have a pet dog, you can add the pet’s name and other details in the Notes tab for future reference. Or perhaps your donor mentioned how their favourite sports team is making it to the finals. You could add a note to bring it up the next time you chat… but only if they win of course. The possibilities are endless!

Add a tag to categorize your donors

As you earn your donor’s trust, they may open up and share other personal details about their lives. If you’re a charity that helps new parents, a donor may express that they’ve converted into a monthly donor because they are a new mother and want to help other parents through your organization. In addition to leaving a note, charities could also Tag to identify and categorize donors in the DMS. In this case, to identify this donor as a mother.

Tagging presents many ways for your organization to show appreciation to different groups of donors. For example, you could create an email group and send a Happy Mother’s Day email to all donors with the mother tag. 

Tagging also works when you want to exclude donors from certain emails out of respect. For example, your Muslim donors may appreciate that you are excluding them from emails about Easter or the Lunar New Year.

In short, tags are a great way to categorize your donor based on general labels, status, interests, religious affiliations, and other groupings!

Segment donors

As much as charities would like to do it, it isn’t realistic to expect that every interaction with a donor will be one-on-one. At the same time, charities understand that it’s not practical to treat all donors the same way.

Segmentation is how charities can regularly perform bulk actions, such as sending emails or tax receipts, while still providing a personalized experience that your donors expect and value.

Charities can segment their donors by creating Smart Groups and Groups in the DMS.

When Should I Use Smart Groups and Groups?

Segment using Smart Groups

Smart Groups are automatically populated lists based on criteria predefined by the charity. For example, a charity can create a Smart Group labeled Major Donors for donors who have made at least one contribution of $5,000 or more. The DMS will automatically add any donors who’ve made a $5,000 donation. Best yet, because Smart Groups populate automatically, any future donors who fit this criterion will be added to the Major Donors Smart Groups without charities lifting a finger.

Set it and forget it, as they say.

But… don’t actually forget it.

Because when it comes time to send end-of-year thank yous, fundraiser alerts and other bulk emails, charities can still provide a personalized experience to their donors, thanks to Smart Groups. 

Staying consistent with the example above, charities could show extra appreciation to donors listed in the Major Donors Smart Group by sending them exclusive content, invitations, or thank-yous.

Indeed, this is where charities using the DMS get to flex their creative muscles to provide the best possible experiences for their donors. 

Segment using Groups

Charities have complete, manual control over Groups and can add or remove contacts from these groups.

Groups serve a different purpose compared to their Smart Group counterpart. Indeed, Groups are a great way to create a static list with changing or loosely defined parameters.

For example, perhaps a charity wants to create a group with only VIPs. However, due to the exclusive nature of a VIP group, a charity may not have predefined criteria for who qualifies as a VIP. Thus, charities organize these types of donors into Groups.

Fuss-free tax receipting

Thanks to the DMS, CanadaHelps has simplified the end-to-end tax receipting process, so issuing single or bulk tax receipts is a breeze. That also includes tax receipts for in-kind gifts, yearly tax receipts or tax receipts for couples - so that we cover all the bases.

Want to make receipting simple?

Configure your tax receipt ahead of time

It just takes a few minutes to set up your tax receipt. Simply add a logo, signature, and other brief details, and the DMS will output a beautifully professional tax receipt template for emails and printing.

Issue yearly tax receipts in time for CRA’s tax-filing deadline

Sure, there’s no requirement in Canada’s Income Tax Act for a registered charity to issue a tax receipt by a specific date. However, charities that value their donors will issue tax receipts by CRA’s recommended deadline of February 28th. That way, their donors have enough time to claim their donations on their annual income tax returns. 

So if you find that you’re in a bind come February, the yearly tax receipting function is for you. With the DMS, charities can quickly issue a tax receipt for a specific tax year for all or a group of their donors to save valuable time and resources during the hectic tax season.

Made a receipting mistake? Don’t fret; the DMS has the answer

Issue a corrected tax receipt

We get it; human errors happen. With the DMS, CanadaHelps made it easy to go back to cancel an issued receipt, correct it, and reissue the correct version, all while staying CRA compliant.

Duplicate a tax receipt

Your donors are busy too! Sometimes they may misplace or accidentally delete their tax receipts. Charities can issue a duplicate tax receipt directly from the DMS in just a few clicks. And if your donors happen to be just a little more careless, you can even reissue tax receipts to multiple donors simultaneously.

These are just some ways charities are successfully stewarding their donors with the CanadaHelps DMS. For charities who want to take their donor retention process to the next level, read our blog, 5 Ways to Use a Donor Management System to Improve Donor Retention.

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