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So Many Portals, So Little Time!

Jessica Walker Jessica Walker

With 2014 behind us, Development teams across the country are reviewing their donation campaign successes and places for improvement – at least, I hope we are!

With just over a year here at GuideStar, I’m still learning. But, with two year-end campaigns behind me, I have to admit there’s a thorn in my side that – while also a blessing – is making things difficult. Donation platforms bring in the dollars, but it feels like there are as many platforms as there are donors. Managing the profiles, messaging, and reports for every platform is important to your organization’s fundraising success, but it can be time consuming and confusing.

I feel I finally figured a few things out. Here is what works for me:

Sign up for email alerts.

If the platform provides updates when you receive a donation – use it! This is great for less familiar platforms because you (ahem, I) sometimes let those slip your mind. You don’t want to forget to thank a donor just because that platform doesn’t have your attention!

Keep track of all your platforms and log-in information in one place.

It is nice to have one secure place to reference all the locations your organization uses to engage new supporters and seek donations. Having one list also helps me remember all the log-in information I inherited when I started here.

Use that CRM!

Whatever your Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM) might be, make it your friend! Be sure to track all donations; when you find that someone has been giving to you consistently, you can investigate and grow that relationship. Utilizing your CRM can also make pulling reports and lists much easier.

Learn the rhythms of your platforms.

It’s important to be familiar with trends in your online giving and how it is impacted by outside activity. You want to leverage articles or news pieces linking to your profiles, while recognizing when less friendly activity happens (hacking and fraud are real, my friends).

Update your profile on GuideStar!

Shameless plug for GuideStar’s nonprofit profile pages! If you’re worried about consistently presenting your organization across multiple platforms, you can simplify the process by filling out your GuideStar profile. It feeds to lots of donation and donor-education platforms. Of course, there may be some places that you want to tailor your messaging, but using our profile pages will definitely eliminate some of that repetitive profile completion.

It is important to remember that there are many different ways that donors/supporters may choose to connect with your organization. Having a presence on several platforms will help ensure that your organization is visible wherever and whenever someone may opt to connect with you. While I sometimes get frustrated by the 5 emails a week asking me to register our organization on a new platform, I have to remember that, ultimately, all these pieces come together to engage our communities and support our work.

What do you think? How does your organization manage the myriad donation platforms available?

Is there an easier way?


Jessica Walker is development coordinator for GuideStar. This is the forth post in our monthly Development Corner series. Click here and here for more Development Corner blog posts.

Topics: Nonprofit Leadership and Practice