Thinking About a New Donor Management System for Your Organization? Read This First.


It’s been nearly five years since the first release of Idealware’s Consumers Guide to Donor Management Systems report, and two years since Idealware and NTEN last partnered to update the report. For our 2013 update, we fully revamped the Consumers Guide to provide an up-to-date picture of the donor management landscape today.

You can download the free report here.

So what’s different about the report this time around? We made the decision to raise the price threshold for inclusion in this update: For 2011, systems had to cost less than $4,000 in the first year for the most basic version to be included in the report; this year we raised that threshold to $10,500. This higher ceiling allowed us to include several widely-used donor management systems ineligible for inclusion in previous years. This year, you’ll find detailed write-ups of The Raisers Edge (i) from Blackbaud and Talisma Fundraising Online from Campus Management, both of which were not in the report previously, and shorter reviews of several other new systems.

But don’t worry—we didn’t pivot away from our core mission of helping nonprofit organizations find technology that represents the best bang for their buck. There are lots of lower-cost alternatives profiled in the report as well. One of the systems we’ve profiled in detail, Little Green Light, costs less than $500 per year for a very small nonprofit.

Nonprofits are also more interested than ever in incorporating a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM)  strategy into their donor management systems, and vendors are eager to keep up. Systems that support a CRM strategy offer a holistic picture of all your constituents, not just donors, and integrate tightly with your website and digital marketing efforts. Since the 2011 version of the report, many nonprofits have requested that we include a detailed look at one of the most prominent CRM platforms out there: Salesforce.

We listened, and you can read a detailed write-up of the Salesforce Foundation’s Nonprofit Starter Pack, available for free to qualifying organizations for up to 10 licenses (and there is a discount on licenses above that number). There are also a number of systems based on the Salesforce platform that we’ve included this time around—some are new to the report (Affinaquest, Causeview) and some have been included in previous years (Click and Pledge, PatronManager).

You’ll find tons of new findings, as well, including revised recommendations of tools to meet different needs, updated pricing information, and strategies on how to choose a system. We think it’s indispensable reading for any organization that wants to stay informed on the donor management software marketplace.

The 2013 Consumers Guide to Donor Management Systems is free to download!

Many thanks to our partners at NTEN, as well as NPower for helping sponsor the report, and all of the consultants and organizations that supported this important research.

Elizabeth Pope is Director of Research and Operations for Idealware, a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits make smart decisions about software. For more information about Idealware or to download more free resources, visit