How To Build a Database for Nonprofit Donors

A robust database is a crucial tool for every nonprofit organization. From storing donor records to tracking communication, managing memberships and reporting out on gifts, a database is the lifeblood of your donor engagement strategy. 

With the right tools on your side, you’ll attract more donations, retain more supporters, and streamline your operations. But how to get started? Today, the GivePulse team is diving into how to build a database for nonprofit donors.

1. Identify Your Needs

A Nonprofit CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform is a database that allows organizations to track interactions, store constituent information, and manage data. If you’re just getting started, you might still work with physical lists or spreadsheets. You’ll quickly realize you need a strong, integrated system as you scale. 

Start by getting your team together and identifying the problem you need to solve. Does your organization accept in-kind and monetary donations? Do you have a membership structure? Do you work with volunteers? 

Some of the tasks that nonprofits frequently use their database for are:

  • Storing donor and supporter information
  • Accepting donations and payments
  • Setting up one-time and recurring events
  • Managing and reviewing volunteer applications
  • Scheduling volunteer shifts
  • Sending out automated and customized communications

The right CRM can streamline all your operations and supporter engagement, so it’s essential to make sure you’re clear about your needs before you begin your search. 

For instance, GivePulse offers an all-in-one donor, member, volunteer, and event management system to help you track and increase engagement with your donors, board members and volunteers.

2. Choose Your Platform

Once you know what you’re looking for, do your research and identify a few possible companies. Then, set up a conversation to learn more. At GivePulse, we love connecting with nonprofits through our personalized demos.

3. Collate Your Information

If you’re preparing to transition to a donor database, it’s an excellent time to ensure your donor data is in order. Most CRMs will allow you to import your donor information from another system or CSV document. GivePulse provides a custom template and personalized support to make this simple. 

To build out your donor database, make sure you have the following information available on your supporters:

  • Name 
  • Contact information, including home address, email address, and phone number
  • Donation history
  • Preferred communication platform
  • Preferred payment methods
  • Activity: Donor, volunteer, or both

Once you have your data organized, you can segment your donors into groups and create categories for each. Doing so allows you to personalize your outreach and ensure you’re targeting the right supporters with the right campaigns.

4. Create an Implementation Plan

Once you have your data cleaned up and a partner selected, it’s time to build an implementation plan. Work with your partner to create a realistic timeline for setting up your database, importing information, and training your staff.

Remember, a database is only as good as the information you input. For your nonprofit donation system to succeed, you must train your staff and standardize your data entry methods.

Once your donor database is up and running, make sure you run regular reports to check for missing or erroneous information.

Get Started Today

With the right tools on your side, you can take your nonprofit events and relationship-building activities to the next level. A donor database is a must if you’re ready to enhance your donor engagement. 

GivePulse’s one-stop platform can help you achieve your fundraising goals, retain your supporters, and measure your impact by tracking monetary donations, in-kind gifts, volunteer hours, event attendance, and more. 

Schedule a demo with our team today to learn how we can help you take your nonprofit to new heights. 



About GivePulse

GivePulse's mission is to enable everyone in the world to participate and engage in lifting their community to new heights. We do so by providing a platform to list, find, organize and measure the impact of service-learning, community engagement, philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and volunteerism.

Founded in 2012 in Austin, Texas, GivePulse works with 650,000+ groups, including colleges and universities, nonprofits, businesses, K-12/school districts and cities and municipalities. Together, we connect millions of people in an effort to create positive social change.

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