Thursday, February 06, 2014

Which database is best for a Solo Fundraiser?

Arabian Solo
Following on from my previous post about What is the best database for a small distributed charity or a solo fundraiser? this post considers what the difference might be for a charity who only has a solo fundraiser. However, my previous post addresses the fundamentals of any such decision even for solo fundraisers, so if you haven't read that yet then do so first.

The main additional points for a Solo Fundraiser to consider are as follows:
  • Are you working for a small charity who does have an office and, if so, then do you already have an on-premise server? If so, then you can look wider for any system which might meet your needs as it doesn't have to be hosted/SAAS. You might still of course want one of the hosted/SAAS systems already mentioned in my previous post, but additional examples of such systems you could consider compared to the ones from my previous post are Donor Strategy, KISS Software and Harlequin Software.
  • Even though you are a solo fundraiser, is it likely that the charity could grow in future? If so, then most databases should still be sufficient for such instances, but just don't forget or assume that.
  • Even though you are a solo fundraiser, do you actually work for a larger organisation with more complex requirements? In which case, it might be that the very simplest fundraising database might not be applicable to your needs. Hard to quantify, but don't just assume therefore that a low-cost option is best for you. For example, I do know of some charities who have even bought The Raiser's Edge for a solo fundraiser, but in this sort of instance, that is more when they have good in-house IT support, when a fundraiser knows that sort of system and often when they are planning to grow later. (NB Clearly, other databases similar to The Raiser's Edge have also been installed for solo fundraisers - I use The Raiser's Edge as an example because of its wide awareness and to emphasise the point that it does need more support and consideration when implementing it).
  • As no-one else is going to be using the database initially (although I realise some places might have the odd, additional manager also viewing it at times), you really do need a system which does not require complicated management. The difference here to the 'small distributed charity' is that that charity might very well have a few people using it and might be able to justify better the input required to manage it for the whole organisation.
And do remember the other advice I gave before: I'm afraid it isn't as easy as just plugging in the system - it will take time to set-up, even if there is only one of you!

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