What Off-the-Shelf Donation Recording System Would You Recommend?

A large mission organization wrote this past week asking for help in picking out some new donor-tracking software. They need to replace their system to record gifts received from churches and individuals for mission partners scattered around the globe. They feel that off-the-shelf accounting packages don’t provide for the complexities of their context — so they’re seeking recommendations from other agencies. What system would you suggest? Of course, every org is different, but what are some of the best systems out there? Please click “Comment” following the web version of this item. Thanks!

6 Responses to What Off-the-Shelf Donation Recording System Would You Recommend?
  1. Chip Reply

    We use Donor Perfect. I think I understand that Donor Hub or MPDX has a system for Orgs. This would require some research. Both respond quick.

  2. Dwight Lehman Reply

    Check out wmtek.com

    • Editor Reply

      What was that link again Dwight?

  3. David Nelson Reply

    We are looking for system that will interface with QuickBooks. Any recommendations?

  4. zonk Reply

    I don’t recommend *any* system, without knowing a lot more detail. There’s simply too much variation of organizations, and there’s numerous problems, including the fact that most developers are focused on secular non-profits. In particular, very few vendors even are aware of missions fund-raising systems, where individual missionaries raise their own salaries, by doing fund-raising in the name of the mission. There’s no market oligarchy of a few vendors that dominate the majority of the market.

    And the answer to “what is everybody else doing?” is: many are hobbling along on systems that aren’t especially satisfying, that rely on significant amounts of customization. They’re not happy with their systems, and they’re asking ‘what is everybody else doing?”

    I’ve interacted with a number of donor management system projects in 30+ years, and I have some experience and perspective to draw from.

    It’s not impossible to come up with a workable system, but it takes a lot of investment in both time and money. That includes identifying *all* the stakeholders (and conflicting agendas), thorough knowledge of intentions, expectations, procedures and workflows, and what you’re trying to accomplish. And all of that before interacting with sales literature or a sales rep. And beyond up-front investment development and deployment, there’s a necessary ongoing investment in operational expenses and support, including ongoing training. Additionally, for many systems, the only way of using an “off-the-shelf” system without significant amounts of customization is in doing major rework of your expectations, your organization’s structures and work flows, so that they more or less fit the design assumptions coming from the vendor.

    There are satisfactory solutions out there, but for most orgs, they’re going to take a lot longer to deploy, cost a lot more than they expect (initial and ongoing), and even then some stakeholders may not necessarily like the results.

    Re: expectations — a lot of donor management systems tend to be written for fund-raising managers, and often, marketing literature includes slogans (implied or explicit) “Raise more money!” or “Raise money more quickly”. The way that fund-raisers use a system (often focus on major donors and trends analysis, and aggregated data) is quite different from the way that the financial people do (focus on transactional-level detail), and as noted, most vendors have no concept of individual fund-raisers.

    And a lot of stuff that’s common in systems for secular non-profits isn’t usable for missions. Even church-focused systems don’t work especially well for missions.

  5. Mary Pinkerton Reply

    https://www.tntware.com/

    They provide free donor software to the mission for handling donations and receipting called DonorWise.
    TntConnect is the free software for the missionary to track their donations and work on donor relations.DonorHub Online is the software which allows the missionary to download or access their information on line and integrates with many donation and bookkeeping systems.

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