FundRaiser Blog

The FundRaiser Software Blog is an excellent resource for nonprofit organizations looking to learn more about fundraising, donor management, membership management, and much more.

Case Study: Local CASA 'Eclipse Child Abuse' Campaign Succeeds

Case Study: Local CASA 'Eclipse Child Abuse' Campaign Succeeds
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  Although the total Eclipse in August is a thing of the past, funds and volunteers that the 37th Judicial CASA group raised are even now fueling forward  progress. The group exceeded their campaign goal by $5,000 raising a total of $25,000. Perhaps equally important is that a large amount of the money was raised from  new major donors who have a higher likelihood of becoming repeat donors. 

The "Eclipse Child Abuse campaign" had two parts:

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Case Study: Interest in the Total Eclipse Boosts CASA Major Donor Campaign

Case Study:  Interest in the Total Eclipse Boosts CASA Major Donor Campaign
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For this month's total eclipse, Missouri is one of the prime viewing spots. Local media are in love with the eclipse, and one nonprofit group is using that to boost their fundraising campaign. The 37th Judicial CASA, who are FundRaiser Select users, have created an entire campaign around the eclipse, called Eclipse Child Abuse with Child Advocacy.

The campaign has three efforts tied to it:

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Case Study: Our Clubhouse's management of simultaneous campaigns

Case Study: Our Clubhouse's management of simultaneous campaigns

Our Clubhouse.org has a dedication to improving the lives of cancer survivors that inspires me. They keep up a very active schedule of fundraising to pay for the services they offer to cancer survivors and their families. They started small, using FundRaiser Basic, and over the years have built momentum so that they now are running several events at once. Staying organized is a challenge, and they have done it by skillful use of special campaign management features in FundRaiser Software.

Using the Campaign Management Console is straightforward, and in doing so, Gilda’s Club of Western PA is able to easily view campaign ROI, and make adjustments as needed to their campaigns. Debra Markovich, Executive Assistant at Gilda’s Club Western Pennsylvania uses FundRaiser Professional on a daily basis and explains how they stay organized while running several simulaneous events:

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How a Christian Radio Station Got Back On Track By Responding Quickly to Listener Letters

How a Christian Radion Station Got Back On Track by Responding Quickly to Listener Letters

About 15 years ago, key members of CrossTalk ministry took a step back from their work, and realized they weren’t getting where they wanted to go. “We had a lag of four to six weeks in responding to people who contacted us. When we got around to contacting them they were irritated and didn’t care anymore. We were failing,” says Caleb Weiss, Development Director.

Caleb knew that donor management software could help, but theirs was more of a liability. “We had some kind of membership tracking software at that time. It took more work to use than it saved. We were also using several Excel spreadsheets. We needed a software product that would help us do our job without having to put so much into it.”

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Successful Tributes Fundraising Increases Donations and Positive Feelings

Successful Tributes Fundraising Increases Donations and Positive Feelings

Nonprofits who make it easy for donors to give gifts in memory or honor of someone, increase both donations and positive feelings towards their organization... especially when the follow-up on your part is handled well. Joan Young, a volunteer at Kairos Dwelling, who are FundSelect users, says that the key to managing tributes is understanding that two different letters are usually sent: the normal acknowledgment letter to the donor, and then an additional letter, called the notification letter, that goes to the family member of the memorialized person. Tracking both of these letters requires some attention.

The American Animal Hospital Association Foundation receives 800 or more memorial gifts a month."Veterinary practices will have a client who has a pet that passes away. The vet then makes a memorial donation to the program in memory of the animal," explains Tamara Fox. She says to deal with this volume of tributes, "being organized helps."

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Inspiring Donors To Give Donations As Gifts

Inspiring Donors To Give Donations As Gifts

Does your nonprofit make it easy for donors to give donations as a special gift? Not only are these kinds of donations good fundraising, they also create positive feelings towards your organization. "More and more people are catching on– giving gifts in honor of holidays, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries," says Becky Lindberg of First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center. For the non profit organization, "it is such an easy painless way to keep people connected to your program," adds Lindberg.

With very simple techniques to get people thinking about making a memorial donation, you can simultaneously

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Case Study: Figge Art Museum Moves Donors Up the Giving Ladder, part 1

Case Study: Figge Art Museum Moves Donors Up the Giving Ladder, part 1
Figge Art Museum
Amy Martens and Raelene Pullen at Figge Gala Event

Figge Art Museum is on the move, and so are their donors-- moving up the giving ladder! Raelene Pullen, Development Director at Figge Art Museum, is very deliberate about the steps she takes to communicate with donors and encourage them to become more involved in the museum. Her fundraising software, FundRaiser Professional  is crucial to the process. 

“One of the most important things I’ve learned through this work and using FundRaiser is the need for data organization and entry. We use the coding in FundRaiser in a way that allows us to communicate with donors in a dynamic way. We have clarified what kind of information we need to record and maintain so when we need it, we have the information we need.  Our intention has been to use highly specific information to target and move donors up the giving ladder,” says Raelene.

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Donor management software helps nonprofit track fundraising event ROI


Knowing the balance between incoming donations and outgoing expenses is vitally important at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center. The organization runs a large and historically rich facility on a tight budget. The facility serves as a spiritual center for the Catholic Church. Among the Center’s many activities this year, they have been hosting events and retreats for high schools students.Julie Nerl is currently a one-person development staff for the Center. “It’s a large place with few employees,” she says. “Like most nonprofits we all multi-task.” Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center is a FundRaiser Professional user. Julie is the main user of FundRaiser. “I use the FundRaiser Software system daily,” she says.One of important things she uses the software for is to get a clear picture of event return on investment (ROI). This is one of the main challenges for any nonprofit, and especially crucial if funds are tight. For Julie, the Campaign Management section in FundRaiser has been particularly helpful in this regard. 

ROI on newsletter donation envelopes

This year she focused on clarifying the cost versus income on the newsletter. “We insert a reply envelope in every newsletter, it’s not a formal ask but a reminder. I mark the envelope, so when it comes back, I’ll be able to track exactly where the donations come from and if we are receiving enough to cover the cost of the newsletter,” says Julie.“We send an issue every other month. In the Campaign Management section, I track each issue as a sub-event under the annual fundraising campaign. I enter the expenses of the newsletter and track the donations. That has let me report on the actual costs versus income. I can track and see what month we raise the most or least. We are using the information to determine if we should cut down on our newsletter mailings or replace one with another kind of mailing.”“It’s important to know where your donations are coming from and which fundraising events work and which do not,” explains Julie “That’s why I like Fundraiser Software, it’s easy to see the results.”

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Pledge management is key to capital campaign success

Planet Improvement Center sign

When BRING Recycling began their capital campaign it was a big jump for them. Kara Brinkman, Administrative Assistant at BRING Recycling and a FundRaiser Select user, says "The capital campaign was a major change in mind set for our organization. We started out very grassroots in 1971 as a recycling center. As the community has become more aware and involved in our mission we’ve also evolved. Raising money and courting donors didn't come naturally to us, but we've done well. The community here in Eugene has been really supportive."

Their key to Phase 1

BRING’s capital campaign started with raising the money to build a “Planet Improvement Center.” The Center is a resale outlet for used building materials; and a community learning and action center. BRING has successfully finished Phase I of their capital campaign, raising over a million dollars in the process and built the building. Pledges have been key to the success of the capital campaign. "We had pledges ranging from $40 to $40,000. A lot of people wanted the option to make a pledge," says Kara.

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7 ways an alumni foundation improved donor cultivation by moving from Excel to a donor database


Mariemont School Foundation didn’t really want to move from their Excel spreadsheets to a donor database, but their new development director said they needed to if they wanted to be more successful. “The people who were on the foundation board didn’t want to learn something new, but then they hired a development director who said in order to be a successful group, donor management software was something we needed to grow our organization. You start out as a grass roots organization and then you need someone to say, ‘to grow your organization this is something you need to do’.” says Ann Pardue, who is a Trustee on the Board of the Mariemont School Foundation.

Since starting to use the donor database, the foundation has seen great gains

According to Ann, Mariemont has been able to:

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Save Time and Minimize Errors using Recurring Gifts in FundRaiser Software


The Sacred Heart Radio case study includes a reference to a feature in FundRaiser, called Recurring Gifts, and I want to point out to everyone that you don't need the Donor Portal version of the program to take advantage of it.  It is particularly helpful for those with Donor Portal, since it not only allows a donor to set up their own regularly-scheduled donations, including bringing them into FundRaiser, but also allows for special "thank you" letters dependent on whether a payment is accepted, rejected, a card is expired, or about to expire.  But even if you don't have the Donor Portal, recurring gifts can save you a lot of time, if you have one of the following situations:

Donors on a payroll deductionDonors who supply credit card or bank info for regular withdrawals

If, for instance, you have 50 people who give on a monthly basis, regular as clockwork, the same amount each time, you can save a lot of time by entering the donation only once per person (as a Recurring Gift setup) and then have FUndRaiser produce the actual gift entry each time it comes due.  You can offer each of the donors a preference on what day of the month they'd like their gifts processed.  Once a Recurring Gift is established, it's just a matter of running the utility to process Recurring Gifts to have FUndRaiser build the gift records.

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Case study: 5 key factors to solving the dilemma of premiums for your public radio station

4 key factors in establishing a successful premiums program for your community radio station

Like many public radio stations, WBJC-FM uses premiums to encourage people to make donations. Also like many organizations, they are ambivalent about using premiums.Yvonne Allen, Membership Director for WBJC-FM,  states the dilemma clearly: "public radio stations are trying to get away from premiums because they cost money and stations need that money for operating costs," she says. "But we get a lot of contributions and without premiums, I think we wouldn’t get as many."

WBJC-FM has been running a success premiums program for years, and has just  finished another successful fund drive that used 'thank you gifts' to help boost response. They have found that there are 5 key factors to creating a good balance between the costs of the premiums and the incentive they provide to donors. Yvonne shares  those tips here. WBJC-FM is an all classical, user supported station. They use FundRaiser Professional to help manage many details related to their premiums program. 

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