Audubon Society of Rhode Island
Land and Water Partnership
RI Land Trust Council Audubon Society of Rhode Island

Donor/Member Management Systems

Does your organization depend on index cards, Excel spreadsheets or an Access database for tracking your members and donations? Would you like computer software to help more successfully and efficiently track your members, solicit membership renewals, solicit annual appeals and other fund raising efforts? Over 3 years (2006-2009), with grant funding from Third Sector New England and The Rhode Island Foundation, the Rhode Island Land & Water Partnership researched and tested software to help land trusts and watershed organizations be more efficient and more effective with their efforts to maintain and increase their memberships and donations.

The Partnership decided that the following criteria were essential for our selected donor/member software:

  • Low cost – the system can't add a lot to the annual operating costs for organization.
  • Web based – not desk top system. Most small conservation organizations don't have an office and would need to allow multiple board members to access the system.
  • Security – both on the web and ability to backup to local computer.
  • Ease of use – intuitive so that groups only have to invest in a short learning curve.
  • Stability and good user support.

We screened dozens of different software solutions and tried three. Two are very suitable for small land trusts and watershed organizations. The organizations that participated in the Partnership's pilot project have been able to significantly increase membership and donations with this software. They also have better information on their membership trends and donations.

Salesforce:

Salesforce has a database template for non-profit organizations and they donate software licenses for the use of this database. The Land & Water Partnership developed an adaptation of the Salesforce non-profit template to simplify its use for basic membership and fundraising purposes. Our consultant also developed an add-on to the Salesforce database to help track monitoring and stewardship activity for protected lands and general volunteer activities.

Click here for the January 2010 Acorn Nonprofit Solutions' update on implementation of Salesforce by partners in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Salesforce has a live webinar every Tuesday to go through the non-profit template. You can sign up for it at the Salesforce website.

The Resource Library has a variety of materials on choosing and using donor/member management software. Most of this material is focused on Salesforce, for which the Resource Library has a variety of recipes and tip sheets.

Donor Perfect On-Line

Donor Perfect On-Line can provide a donor/member solution for groups who are willing and able to pay their monthly fees. The Westerly Land Trust has implemented Donor Perfect on-line and is very satisfied with the results.


The Partnership has hosted a couple of workshops on donor/member software and best practices for attracting and maintaining donors and members. Materials from these events can be found on the Workshops page and in the Resource Library.
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