Why You Need a Dedicated Donor Management System

A donor management system (DMS) is like the engine of a fundraising program. It is the most important piece of infrastructure for organizations that are serious about raising money. 

If you look at any well-oiled fundraising department, you’re likely to find that they have invested time and resources into maintaining their DMS. But for small charities just starting out into the world of fundraising, what is the benefit of investing in a donor management system? 

Simplify Record Keeping 

  • A DMS is specifically designed to record the information that is most important for you to know about your donors and their contributions to your organization. Unlike a spreadsheet, a DMS collects and stores information in a systematized way. This data can then be accessed through your DMS dashboard or reports which are designed to provide key metrics about your contacts and contribution history. User-friendly record management means you spend less time collecting and storing data and more time being able to use your data to better fuel your fundraising practices.

Save Time Through Integration 

  • Another big benefit a DMS brings to fundraising administration is its ability to integrate with the other tools you use to raise money. An integration between your DMS and online giving tool can save you hours of data entry every month. And integrated payment processing and the ability to generate automated CRA compliant tax receipts means you’re able to conduct all fundraising related tasks all in one place.

Facilitate teamwork 

  • Speaking of all-in-one place... having a centralized location for all fundraising data means your board, staff and volunteers don’t have to juggle multiple spreadsheets. By centralizing your data, your team will know exactly where to go when seeking important donor information. A cloud-based platform means that no matter where DMS users live and work - as long as they have access to the internet - they will have access to fundraising data. Thanks to user access controls, you can also adjust the type of viewing or editing power certain users have when it comes to your specific database.

Secure your Data 

  • Most small organizations do not have an in-house IT team and tend to dedicate few resources to cybersecurity. This makes charities especially vulnerable to data breaches. If you’re collecting donor information and payments, you have a responsibility to your donors to securely store their data. While your organization has great expertise in your mission area, unless your mission focus is data management, it is unlikely you bring the same level of expertise to data security as a company that produces donor management systems. This doesn’t mean that when you begin using a DMS you’re exempt from any responsibility. Data security is a shared responsibility between you and your DMS provider but by putting your data in their expertly designed program, you alleviate much of the risk.


Raise More Money 

  • When you begin recording data in a DMS, you will soon learn insights about your fundraising program that were never quite so obvious. You will begin to see which initiatives are successful, which donors give the most year over year and you will be able to keep track of major gift solicitations and grant requests. Having this type of bird's eye view of your fundraising program allows you to make data-driven decisions about how you approach your donors based on their relationships to your organization. These insights enable you to work strategically to increase your fundraising revenue. If you wish to get even more insight into how a DMS can help you raise more money, check out this article on the 5 Ways a DMS Helps you Raise More Money.

Plan for the Future 

  • A DMS is an investment in your organization’s future. Centralizing your fundraising data ensures important information is not lost due to staff transitions or other internal challenges. And while you may not use all the features of a DMS initially, as you begin to use the tool and see the value in this upgraded form of information management, new features can be gradually adopted.

Data management is a journey and there is no final destination. Investing in a DMS means you’re properly equipped to handle any bumps along the way. 

The CanadaHelps DMS is specifically designed for small to medium sized charities that are looking to take their fundraising to the next level. Learn how you can harness the power of fundraising tools that were once reserved for the biggest foundations with the CanadaHelps DMS.

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