Choosing a Fundraising Database Many professions and industries have their own specialist software, and the world of alumni relations and fundraising is no different. The most important software you must choose is your database.  They can range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds, so take time to really research the available products and get something that matches your needs.  See a range of fundraising database providers. What is a fundraising database used for? Without good data, you will never raise money.  Simple as that.  A good database will allow you to do (at least) the following: 1. Set up records for individuals and organisations, record their names, addresses, contact details and job information. 2. Record any action relating to a constituent - this might include the letters or emails you have exchanged, events they have been to, gifts they have made, etc. 3. Characteristics - this might include a constituent’s interests, group memberships and warmth towards your organisation. 4. Mailing - segment your data and create mailing lists for letter, emails and invitations. 5. Run reports and queries - allows to you find records which meet specific criteria, e.g. all constituents who have donated more than £20 in the last year and live in Liverpool. 6. Process Gift Aid declarations - automatically calculate how much tax you can claim back from HMRC. Questions to ask yourself when choosing a database 1. Does it meet our all current requirements? 2. Does it meet the needs we are likely to have in the near future?   3. Can it integrate with other systems we use (e.g. your website)?  (Do not underestimate the time, cost and complications involved in migrating data from one database to another - start as you mean to go on!) 4. Are fundraising consultants familiar with it?  There are hundreds of specialists who can help you with virtually every aspect of your fundraising (e.g. wealth profiling, telethons) but you may find it considerably easier (and cheaper) to use their services if you use an industry standard product. 5. Never let a well meaning friend or colleague write a database for you - they have a tendency to go wrong, lack the functionality you will need and are not supported by IT professionals. FIND DEVELOPMENT JOBS!   Whether you’re looking to start a career in development or are already an experienced practitioner, you can find vacancies today! © Orier Digital Limited 2012