In my opinion there’s nothing more frustrating than poorly designed software, where you spend more time doing workarounds than actually using the standard functionality.
In this technological age, software companies are racing to create the most user friendly, intuitive, and helpful software they can; software which requires little or no training and supports their fundraising activities effortlessly.
From a Fundraiser’s perspective what do you need to do your job effectively? In a nutshell: you need accurate, complete and up-to-date information about your prospects. You need to know who they are, where they are, what they’re giving to, and how they’re involved with your organisation. Whilst many software packages have the ability to provide this information, getting it is often a arduous process that can involve multiple members of staff and even other software packages. Ideally you want this information available to you any time, on-the-go and on whichever device you have to hand – whether that’s a laptop, tablet or simply your phone – no one wants to be weighed down with outdated information printed on reams of paper anymore. You want your database to be clear and easy to understand, and flexible enough to allow you to personalise what you’re seeing to support your individual working style.
Can you imagine what it would be like if your database went above and beyond this? What if it could help you identify your prospects, point them out on a map and even direct you to them? Imagine a timeline for a donor which shows the gifts they’ve made, the events they’ve attended and all the interactions you’ve had with them, all waiting for you as soon as you open their record? What if you could record your contact notes on the go using talk-to-text technology and have that information stored safely in the Cloud without ever having to go near a computer? You could have a database that’s so easy to use that anyone can get involved, and user uptake issues become a thing of the past. These are all very real possibilities which are available in the marketplace right now.
You have to make sure that your database is working for you, not the other way around. Time is a precious resource – don’t waste it fighting with a bad database. I would urge all not-for-profits to take a long hard look at the software they are using and if your database isn’t doing its job then maybe it’s time for a change; maybe it’s time for something new, something better, something from the next generation in fundraising software.