Thursday, September 23, 2004

71% of Nonprofits Do Not Use A Single, Online Database to Manage Donor and Supporter Relationships

Nonprofits must track a variety of contact information to effectively manage online activity with regard to donors and volunteers. Yet a recent survey of the nonprofit sector finds that a majority of organizations continue to store this information in several places instead of unifying contacts into a single, online database. Of those surveyed, 46% of the respondents reported that their organizations are using two or more databases to store donor and supporter information for online use, while 25% said they are not currently using a database for this information at all. However, 29% of those surveyed noted that they rely on one online database for this purpose. The informal survey was conducted by Kintera.
I spent two years working in a FOR-profit outsource provider (call center and fulfillment). We worked with higher education, hospital and cultural arts institutions to help them raise funds. This article hits home. I cannot go so far as to say that this market is ripe for the pickings however, with the right contacts and a very SIMPLE customer relationship management tool/application, it could work.

The problem is that the non-profits have trouble with a couple of things. First, they have trouble seeing strategic value of anything. Everything is tactically focused. The need to raise $X THIS year. Next year, five years and 20 years from now do not matter. And why should they, the development officer will most likely be long gone onto her next development position at a slightly larger institution. Second, they seem to refuse to be looking at the changing demographics. There are companies out there providing the data to them. They just keep hammering at the same old methods. Stopping the constantly leaking bucket that is their donor pool.

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