Charity database software can seem like a minefield. How do you choose from the many options?
This post does the hard work for you by listing the publicly available information on the most popular systems and providing guidance on the strengths of each donor database system.
Sadly not all of the systems featured are entirely transparent about their pricing but we’ve done our best.
There are lots of names used for charity database software (fundraising database, supporter database, charity CRM, etc) but they all refer to a system that organises a charity's relationship with people and organisations. Beyond a contact database, many charities also need to track a whole host of information about their charitable activities and impact in order to measure performance and report back to donors. That’s not something we try to deal with here.
Key considerations for charity databases include management of donations, major givers, volunteers, members, sponsorship, corporate support, grantmakers and other types of supporters.
Charity database software - the best of the bunch
White Fuse (UK)
White Fuse is a suite of apps that includes a supporter database, event booking, online donations and website builder. The database keeps contact preferences, donation information and other interactions in one place. You can use the system with the integrated website builder or continue with your existing website. Managing data well is a key factor in compliance with GDPR data protection legislation. White Fuse is focused on the needs of small charities with an emphasis on ease of use and automation over complex customisation.
Specific features include the ability to collect one-off and recurring direct debit donations and sell event tickets without the website visitor leaving the website. The pricing is £65 per month for all functionality, reflecting the fact that it's aimed at smaller charities.
Harlequin Software (UK)
Harlequin has been around for a long time. They are particularly big in the hospital and hospice sector and target medium-sized charities. Their products cover CRM, finance, fundraising, membership and service delivery (so pretty much the whole works).
Pricing is not publicly available.
Donorfy is a relatively new entrant. It’s a modern cloud-based SaaS platform based in the UK aimed at small to medium charities and has been well received. As the name suggests, it is a contact database that focuses on fundraising and has lots of functionality for organisations where fundraising is central to their funding model. Donorfy has pricing based on the number of contacts, starting from £39 per month. It also offers a free version with limited functionality for up to 500 contacts. The precise costs are set out clearly on their website.
Lamplight is another product aimed squarely at small charities. Unlike most of the other options in this post, it's not directly focused on managing supporters, though it does have some functionality in that area. Rather it's meant as an all-in-one database system for managing charity operations including service delivery and impact evaluation.
Pricing is transparent but quite complex. It is modular, i.e. you pay for the elements you need and then multiplied by the number of projects you have So monthly cost can vary from £15 to hundreds. There are also a range of setup fees, which suggests you'll need their professional help to get the system configured for your needs.
Access ThankQ CRM (UK)
ThankQ is another UK company. It has been around for a long time and is a more old-fashioned system. It has lots of flexibility but its website integrations lack polish. Their prices are much steeper than the more modern cloud-based SaaS alternatives on this list because their process requires more client-specific customisation. These prices are not publicly available.
In addition to tracking donations and events like most databases, Donorflex offers a range of more distinctive supporting features like lottery and raffle modules.
Pricing is not publicly available.
eTapestry is the entry-level offering from Blackbaud, the US-based global giant of charity CRM and fundraising software. Blackbaud also owns Raiser's Edge NXT and announced their intention to buy JustGiving in July 2017. As you can imagine from the biggest company out there, the offering is solid but not particularly innovative. It includes good website integration tools and competitive pricing so is definitely worth a look. Prices start from $119 USD per month for a basic plan allowing up to 1,000 contacts.
Donor Perfect (US)
Donor Perfect is a US outfit with a broad and mature offering that allows you to track all kinds of constituent data including corporate donors, grants, etc. While it’s clearly a US focused system they allow the system to be tailored to some extent for a UK audience.
Prices start at $89 USD per month for a basic plan allowing up to 1,000 contacts.
Bloomerang sells itself on its easy of use. Their website offers lots of screenshots and case studies and it does look like it’s considerably more user-friendly than a number of the alternatives on this list.
Prices start at $99 USD per month for a basic plan allowing up to 1,000 contacts.
An action focused system with lots of tools to capture supporter engagement like forms, donations, event registrations, etc and lots of tools to manage and automate email follow up.
Pricing is not clearly stated on their website but it starts from $179 USD per month.