#GivingTuesday Webinar – Moving the Needle

Have you ever wondered if #GivingTuesday is just another made up holiday on the calendar, or if it really impacts philanthropy?

Based on research of over 500 organizations whose giving was tracked for the last three years, the positive effect of #GivingTuesday is undeniable!

Attend our free webinar on Wednesday, October 29, 3 – 4 PM (EST) to learn why, and how you can make the most of this year’s #GivingTuesday.

Moving the Needle: The Success and ROI of #GivingTuesday

In this exciting webinar, you’ll learn:

  • The basics of #GivingTuesday from the founder himself, Henry Timms, Executive Director of the 92Y.
  • Does #GivingTuesday cannibalize end-of-year giving, or does it raise overall giving?
  • Did nonprofits who participated in #GivingTuesday outgrow their peers? The results may shock you!
  • How did actual nonprofits increase their giving and attract new donors?  You’ll hear from three different nonprofit organizations on how they capitalized on the success of #GivingTuesday.
  • We’ll also take your questions for anyone on the panel.
This webinar will take place on Wednesday, October 29, 3 – 4 PM (EST). Space is limited.

Don’t miss out on this important event! I hope to see you there, and feel free to forward this invitation to any nonprofits or constituents that may be interested.


Click here for more #GivingTuesday tips.

by sgoldenberg

Oct 24 14

Excellence in Fundraising Award Winners

Five nonprofits were recognized with an Excellence in Fundraising Award during the annual DonorPerfect Community Network Conference (#DPCNC14). Constant Contact, a DonorPerfect partner for over 10 years, was the proud sponsor of awards. Here is the list of winners:

Fastest Growing Nonprofit – When nonprofits apply the best fundraising techniques towards their mission, they will grow.

Best Donor Retention – It’s much easier, cost-effective, and more sustainable for nonprofits to retain a donor than to find a new one.
Winner: Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Best Recurring Donation Program – A donor who gives regularly will most likely give more and remain a committed partner of a nonprofit longer than those who don’t. Especially in times of uncertainty, recurring giving guarantees future revenue.
Winner: Fabretto Children’s Foundation

Fastest Acknowledgements – Whether a nonprofit thanks donors with a handwritten card, a phone call, or an automated mail merge, the most important factor is that they send something and send it fast. This timeless appreciation for donors will continue to show just how much they mean to the organization, and is vital to maintaining a long relationship.
Winner: Bucks County Community College

by sgoldenberg

Oct 22 14

Fundraising Methodology Improves Results

There are many lessons that the nonprofit world can learn from the for-profit world.  One of the most important is developing a goal, a strategy for achieving that goal, a plan and tactics to execute the strategy, metrics to measure its success, testing and readjustments where needed to get you back on course, and results analysis to see what worked and what did not (and that’s only ONE of the lessons). Each aspect is important, and can’t succeed without the other.  It’s great to have a goal to build a new facility, but if you don’t have a strategy for doing it, the proper tactics to achieve, the metrics to properly measure success, adjustments to correct problems or under-performance, and an evaluation of lessons learned, you’ll never reach your goal. Or, you’ll do so by spending too much money, and miss opportunities for better results, time-savings, efficiency, etc.

Donor management software is a great tool for helping nonprofits achieve these steps.  In the end, it’s only as good as the data and time you put into it, but if properly used, it can help you measure success, execute on your plan, improve performance, save time, and improve your results.

Here’s a great example of how a donor management system provides a systematic way to help improve fundraising success. Greg Steinberger of Hillel at the University of Wisconsin – Madison said:

“At first, we weren’t really using all of DonorPerfect’s features – it was just a place to hold our data. But we became more serious about following the fundraising methodology DonorPerfect has developed. Over the years, we created all the flags, mail codes and solicitation codes that are the core of the system. This helps with our targeting of solicitations, follow-up activities and the evaluation of our fundraising efforts.” 

“Now, no matter what the solicitation, we always enter the results back into DonorPerfect. For example, we set up future contacts if we’re unable to reach them over the phone. And when a pledge or gift is received, the data is entered and DonorPerfect automatically generates the pledge reminders and gift acknowledgments.” 

The Results?increase

“Since then, we have quadrupled our donor database. Last year, we had roughly 2,500 gifts, a record number. We’ve raised the $14 million for the new building thanks to the successful capital campaign, and now we’re completing the final phase, which is the $3 million endowment. This is in addition to raising the funds we need to cover our regular expenses. I can honestly say we would not have had all this success without DonorPerfect.” 

You can read more about their story here: www.donorperfect.com/hillel 

In a competitive world, these tactics help for-profit business thrive, provide goods and services we all enjoy, and create jobs. The services non-profits provide are just as important, if not more so, to our society and deserve the same level of strategic thinking and execution to achieve their goals.  The right tools, coupled with a winning formula from strategy to execution to measurement to adjustment to evaluation, will help you improve results for your mission.

by sgoldenberg

Oct 10 14

We Love Feedback!

The 5th annual DonorPerfect Community Network Conference was held last week and, once again, it was one of the highlights of the year.  However, this post is not going to be about the conference specifically – I did that last year.  While attending this year’s conference, I was reminded time and time again of the value of feedback from our clients and how it is such an important component of what we do as a software company.  What was truly gratifying was that many of the clients I spoke with seemed to recognize how much effort we put into listening to our customers and that they felt that this is reflected in our actions.  To me, this was the best feedback I heard all week.  I realize many of our clients are unable to attend the conference, where some of our efforts are more readily discernible.  So, I thought I’d share a few details here on the blog of all of the various ways we collect, use, and act upon customer feedback throughout the entire year.



We love surveys.  If you’ve filled out a survey for us in the past, thank you!  If you haven’t, I want to assure you that we really do put a lot of energy into making sure the information collected is put to good use.  So far in 2014 (through August 31st), we’ve received 1,066 responses to our annual DonorPerfect product survey and 4,079 completed surveys after an interaction with one of our service departments (support, implementation, or training).  Over 5,000 surveys and counting, almost all of which are reviewed by the end of the next business day.  Aggregate survey results, based on the ratings you give us, are calculated, while the comments are categorized and directed to the appropriate departments and/or staff members.  Suggestions for improvements are noted and all of the survey feedback is factored into our decision-making process, along with the results from….

Suggest and Vote

Our goal is to provide you with the technology solutions your organization needs in order to raise more money and achieve your mission.  One of the best ways we can continue to do that is to understand what you, our customer, would like to see us add or improve in DonorPerfect.  There are a number of ways we achieve this and I’m going to list just a few of them in the rest of this post.  But, there’s no question that Suggest and Vote (client login required) is the place to start.  Have an idea for what you’d like to see us do?  It’s simple to make a suggestion, as well as see if others have made a similar suggestion.  Most importantly, whether or not you make a suggestion, you have the opportunity to vote on all of the other ideas that have been submitted.  This gives us a great deal of insight into what our clients would like to see us work on next.  And, once you vote for an idea, you’ll receive email updates to let you know once an idea has been accepted, when we began work on it, and when it has been completed.  We’ll also let you know if we felt an idea needed to be declined, which typically will occur if it isn’t consistent with our product roadmap or if there isn’t a feasible way to effectively implement the idea.

Sounds great, right?  But, you might wonder how many ideas actually get implemented.  Well, in a little over three years since launching Suggest and Vote, we’ve completed 172 ideas that were suggested, with another 36 in various stages of development that will be available in the near future.  That’s over 5 ideas per month- every month.  So, keep suggesting and keep voting!


Our Client Advisory Board, and other Focus Groups

When we encounter an issue that requires a more detailed understanding of the client perspective, we’ll discuss it with the members of our Client Advisory Board or organize a focus group (typically via conference call) to ask some in-depth questions and learn more about what approach we should take.  If you’re interested in participating in these types of discussions, please let us know by contacting our Client Outreach Coordinator, Josh Nelson – you can email him at jnelson@softerware.com.

Usability Testing and Beta Testing

It is part of our mission to provide software that is easy to use and we’ve been focused on doing so for the entire 33 years we’ve been in business.  More recently, we’ve begun to explore opportunities to expand our usability testing efforts to more customers.  As an example of this, usability testing was emphasized at the conference last week.  Staff members were engaging attendees in quick, simple usability tests throughout the week and we also had a “Usability Room” available for clients interested in spending a little more time to help us conduct this research.  Of course, usability testing didn’t just start at the conference, nor is it stopping there.  If you’d like to participate in a usability test, please let us know by filling out this form.  Beta-testing is more of a formal part of our software testing process, in which participating clients test out some new features just prior to a broader release to all DonorPerfect users.  That being said, it is yet another way we receive feedback about our efforts.  If you’re interested in becoming a beta tester for us, please sign up here.

2014 SofterWare DPCNC

In addition to usability testing to get more customer insights, we even put up a Feedback Board in the lobby of the conference center last week – why wait until you get home to send us a suggestion?  While not as “high-tech” as something like Suggest and Vote, instant feedback via a notecard is just as valuable.


As I said, we love feedback.  While it may not be feasible to implement every idea we receive, our commitment to you is to review every survey, every comment, and every test result as promptly as possible and try to use the information as effectively as we can.  So, let us know how we’re doing – we really value it.


Mike Sernoff
by Mike Sernoff

Sep 26 14

#DPCNC14 – DonorPerfect Excellence in Fundraising Awards

Sponsored By:


For over 25 years, thousands of nonprofits have used DonorPerfect to organize constituent data and raise over $10 billion. At our annual DonorPerfect Community Network Conference, we will be awarding the best fundraising efforts of over 10,000 clients and 25,000 users.

Constant Contact, a DonorPerfect partner for over 10 years, is proud to sponsor the DonorPerfect Excellence in Fundraising Awards, which include:

  1. Fastest Growing Nonprofit (Large and Small categories)

  2. Fastest Acknowledgements

  3. Best Donor Retention

  4. Best Recurring Donation Program

We’ll be the first to acknowledge that there’s so much more to fundraising than these four categories. You spend tireless nights preparing for events, countless hours on long road trips, and have survived dozens of paper cuts from stuffing thousands of envelopes to further your cause. However, these four categories represent a core of mission-critical analytics that will continue to grow and sustain your nonprofit for generations to come.

How does each award relate to the fundraising best practice?

Fastest Growing Nonprofit

When you apply the best fundraising techniques towards your mission, you will grow. Simply put, this award will go to an organization who has grown the most financially this year compared to last year. This award will be given to two different organizations, a large nonprofit and a small nonprofit.

To qualify for this award, an organization must have donor giving data in DonorPerfect for the past 24 months.

Fastest Acknowledgements

Whether you thank your donors with a handwritten card, a phone call, or an automated mail merge, the most important factor is that you send something and send it fast. This timeless appreciation for your donors will continue to show just how much they mean to you, and is vital to maintaining a long relationship.

To qualify for this award, an organization must have acknowledgement data for gifts in DonorPerfect from the past 12 months.

Best Donor Retention

It’s much easier, cost-effective, and more sustainable for your nonprofit to retain a donor than to find a new one. Your long-term mission depends on it. An organization’s donor retention rate is the percentage of donors who gave last year and also gave again this year. For example, if 100 donors gave last year and 50 of those same donors gave again this year, your donor retention rate is 50%.

To qualify for this award, an organization must have donor giving data in DonorPerfect for the past 24 months.

Best Recurring Donation Program

A donor who gives regularly will most likely give more and remain a committed partner of your organization longer than those who don’t.

To qualify for this award, you must process recurring payments through EFT over the past 12 months and have the most recurring donors as a percentage of all active donors.

Eligibility and Prizes

To be eligible for these awards, the recipients must attend the 2014 DonorPerfect Community Network Conference where the awards ceremony will be held. Winners will receive recognition at the conference, publicity for their nonprofit after the conference to share their best practices, a $250 donation, and a free one-year subscription to Constant Contact email marketing.

To register for the conference, visit cnc.donorperfect.com.

Thank you to our valued partner, Constant Contact, for sponsoring the awards. Your DonorPerfect software integrates with Constant Contact and enables you to share contact information automatically, create segmented mailing lists, and track who opens your emails and what they click on.

Looking to integrate your DonorPerfect system with Constant Contact? Log in to DonorPerfect and click “Constant Contact Email” from the Mailings Menu.

Want to sign up for Constant Contact? Click here.

If you have any questions, visit cnc.donorperfect.com or email conference@donorperfect.com.

Sam Stortz
by Sam Stortz

Sep 8 14