Ultimate guide to digital fundraising software

Guide to buying fundraising software

A guide to the most useful digital fundraising solutions on the market

So many tasks, so little time

As a fundraiser, you know how complicated your job can be. The measurable marker of your success might be the total funds you raise in a year, but there is so much you need to do behind the scenes in order to reach this target. Depending on your specific job title, your role might include cultivating donors, building and strengthening individual donor relationships, planning events, collaborating with other stakeholders in your organization, collecting and analyzing data to see where performance can be improved and keeping up-to-date records in your database. Your role is a multi-faceted one and you only have so many hours each day to get it all done.

Fortunately, we live in an age of technology where almost every industry has been transformed through the use of digital tools that help professionals perform their roles faster, more efficiently and with greater accuracy.

This buyers guide will walk you through three solutions that can make your fundraising job simpler and enable you to strengthen existing donor relationships, scale donor acquisition and ultimately raise more funds.

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Ultimate guide to digital fundraising software

Planning to onboard a new fundraising tool—what you need to consider

Before you begin the search for the right tool, you need to know the problem you’re trying to solve. Other guides provide more detail on the decision-making process, but here is a general review of what to consider before purchasing a new tool.

What is the problem you hope to solve or process you need to improve?

What are the biggest challenges that your gift officers face or where is the greatest need for improvement? Are they struggling in the donor research/qualifying phase or are there more difficulties at the level of executing fundraising initiatives themselves (e.g. running a Giving Day). Also, think about your long-term goals when deciding which area to focus on first. As a general rule, it’s best to start with the highest value processes that could benefit from optimization and research tools that can help in those areas.

How will you train your staff?

Many fundraising tools on the market are fairly intuitive and do not require lengthy training. Even so, if staff have been accustomed to dipping into a customer relationship management (CRM) system to find any information they need and now they’re going to receive this information via email every day, they need to be prepared for the change in work practices. Before you invest in any solution, make sure you will have the support and resources you need to onboard and train staff adequately.

What is your budget?

The best fundraising solutions will more than pay for themselves once they’re implemented and everyone in the organization understands how to maximize their usage, but you must still consider your budget before you shop around. The least expensive solution will not necessarily be the best for you; let your requirements and the potential ROI guide your choice more than the cost.

Who will create the execution strategy?

When it comes to evaluating software, remember that it takes both a tool and an executable strategy to truly create a solution. You’ll need to devote time and resources to planning how you will best use your tool and educate those in the organization to follow the strategy you have laid out. Remember the old adage—plan your work and work your plan.

Who do you need to get buy-in from and how will you execute?

Before bringing any possible solutions to your board, CFO or other decision-makers, you will need to understand the value each solution provides, so you can present it properly and get their buy-in. You will also need to discuss how and which key performance indicators (KPIs) you intend to track to demonstrate that your tool is actually bringing the intended value and has a strong (and measurable) return on investment.

Is the solution you’re considering scalable?

You need to consider the scalability of any solution you onboard from the outset. For example, if your goal is personal stewardship for donors at scale, the best-fit solution would enable you to do so regardless of how many new donors you acquire. Likewise, as your organization continues to grow, you want your software solutions to increasingly amplify your fundraising efforts and achieve even greater economies of scale over time.

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Ultimate guide to digital fundraising software

A fundraiser’s dream toolkit

This ecosystem of digital fundraising solutions is designed with fundraisers in mind. Learn how these solutions can help your organization ace its fundraising goals, year after year.

Tool #1: Advance from Gravyty


Advance is your force for digital fundraising. It gamifies your digital fundraising platform and the giving experience, allowing you to host and promote Giving Days online and design custom crowdfunding campaigns to promote new causes or support active fundraising initiatives. Advance also helps turn your constituents into an army of ambassadors to amplify all of your efforts.

What is it?

Advance is a platform for managing all of your digital fundraising initiatives, including Giving Days, crowdfunding campaigns and annual giving, featuring modern gamification tools and sharing capabilities to spark excitement and engagement. The platform also allows you to manage volunteers, leverage powerful built-in marketing and e-commerce functionality, choose from 150+ payment processors, including mobile wallets, and benefit from unmatched analytics and reporting to help improve the performance of your campaigns.

Who is it for?

Advance is an ideal solution for higher education and K-12 institutions, nonprofits and foundations.

Why Advance?

Digital fundraising is the name of the game in today’s online space. The goal of digital fundraising is to use all available digital channels in an integrated way to reach and expand audiences, facilitate engagement and expand giving opportunities.

Many organizations use their primary website, email and social media channels to generate awareness for fundraising initiatives, but a designated platform like Advance pulls it all together and elevates your entire digital fundraising presenceIt streamlines all of your efforts from coordinating volunteers and communicating with stakeholders to promoting campaigns and collecting and analyzing data. No more guessing at the reach and results of your fundraising campaigns.

What can you do with Advance?

Flexible peer-to-peer fundraising software—From robust Giving Days and crowdfunding campaigns to Annual Giving sites and the simplest of Giving Forms, Advance delivers the tools to make any initiative a success.  

Content management system—Create a unique digital experience and properly showcase your unique brand with a simple, yet powerful content management system, enabling you to deliver an impactful story with stunning visuals. Even better, our dedicated team of experts will support you with strategy, hands-on website design services and campaign execution at no additional cost.

Powerful gamification + marketing tools—Increase excitement and engagement around your campaigns through sophisticated and highly visual leaderboards that generate friendly competition, goal thermometers, regional heat maps and more. Drive awareness and donations with donation pages that feature automated and modern e-commerce functionality, behavioral-based emails and social sharing tools. 

Recruit + manage ambassadors—Enlist your passionate constituents to help support your fundraising initiatives, beyond donating. Enable them to promote campaigns with unique referral links, build dedicated ambassador leaderboards to provide motivation, plus easily communicate with them and share progress reports directly from your dashboard. 

Payment processing—Choose from 150+ payment processors, including mobile wallets, to easily collect money from various campaigns in the way that is most convenient for you and your constituents.

Analytics + reporting—Leverage the most powerful and flexible analytics and reporting tools in the industry. Visualize email campaigns in a comprehensive, graphical display, while utilizing our embedded Google Analytics chart builder to track a massive number of KPIs in real time. View standard reports or easily build custom queries that can be automated and proactively shared with your team to track progress toward your goals, reconcile gifts and provide insights to optimize future campaigns.

Tool #2: Raise from Gravyty


Raise is your force for AI-powered fundraising. Raise enables fundraising teams to personally engage and inspire 4x more donors and sustainably drive philanthropic outcomes throughout the giving pyramid.

What is it?

Raise is a modern and patented fundraising tool that streamlines and personalizes donor relations from the research stage, all the way through qualification, requesting donations, thanking and stewarding donors, maintaining strong relationships and improving donor retention. 

Who is it for?

Raise is perfect for higher education and K-12 institutions, healthcare organizations, foundations and nonprofits looking to scale their donor outreach and eliminate time spent on administrative tasks in their fundraising efforts.

Why Raise?

Modern fundraising is about building personal relationships with donors and potential donors and actively maintaining these relationships over time. This level of stewardship requires significant effort and time, not only while communicating with the donors themselves, but also when performing behind-the-scenes research such as learning about donor interests, finding out personal details including birthdays and anniversaries and understanding capacity and giving history.

The reality on the ground is that, due to the heavy-lifting involved, most gift officers can only manage a relatively small number of one-to-one relationships effectively. Raise changes that by using the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to assist with all forms of donor engagement, enabling each fundraiser to significantly increase the number of relationships they can handle. 

What can you do with Raise?

Boost fundraiser capacity—By allowing AI to organize, prioritize, and automate portfolio activity, each fundraiser can accomplish significantly more.

Increase accuracy + efficiency—Quickly and easily identify the donors and prospects you need to contact each day. Receive a tailored email draft to send them with the first AI-powered email for frontline fundraisers that learns and replicates your unique communication style within days.

Enhance outreach—Raise’s AI-powered algorithms identify the best time to reach out to donors and recommend a specific ask amount.

Move donors through the pipeline—Improve qualification and disqualification, and enhance the overall moves management process by proactively suggesting ways gift officers can optimize their portfolios.

Automate record keeping—Save time by automatically writing back your meaningful action entries and contact reports directly into your CRM.

Plan activities better—Proactively request or automatically receive recommendations of which donors and prospects to visit or the optimal areas to plan events based on demographics and location-based data.

Expedite onboarding—Streamline integration and learning for new fundraisers by delivering complete donation details and history, along with proactive prompts which offer a more complete picture for each assigned donor.

Tool #3: Gratavid from Gravyty


Gratavid is your force for personalized video messaging. Gratavid enables efficient, effective and impactful donor outreach at scale using the power of meaningful videos. 

What is it?

Gratavid is a donor-centric video creation and management platform that enables fundraising professionals to effectively reach out to their donor base at scale by creating personalized video messages for various purposes like donation requests, appeals, thank yous, birthdays, reunions, milestones and more.

Who is it for?

Gratavid is an ideal tool for higher education and K-12 institutions, nonprofits and foundations looking to steward their donors to increase affinity and retention. 

Why Gratavid?

Fundraisers and gift officers want to imbue their interactions with that personal touch every time they interact, but in today’s world this is not always possible. For example, it can be a challenge to get hold of the person they want to speak with even after repeated attempts, plus location or time differences can make it nearly impossible to schedule a live call or in-person meeting. 

Gratavid makes it easy to prepare a personalized video message ahead of time and send them out individually or via automation at scale. The Gratavid platform enables fundraisers to manage and store video messages and request messages to be created by other stakeholders, such as a certain department head pre-recording a personalized appeal or thank you video for donors who support their cause.

What can you do with Gratavid?

Optimize solicitation + stewardship—Create and streamline personal video messaging to donors, alumni, community members and volunteers. Initiate bulk email campaigns that feature automatic re-sends to unopens, helping avoid spam folders and reach the highest number of recipients as possible.

Connect to your CRM—Integrate with your constituent source of record in a few clicks, enabling you to automate messages and dynamically writeback actions to your CRM to help plan future outreach.

Showcase your brand—Deliver a fully branded experience to your audience through familiar email domains and completely custom landing pages that align with your fundraising campaigns.

Request videos—Request videos individually or in bulk from staff, students, board members or advocates via email, text or a link. You can also set-up rules  to create system-generated tasks for anyone on your team and create custom video templates to make production even easier for them. 

Automate sending—Automatically send pre-recorded stewardship videos when a donation is made and recorded. You can even map videos based on specific criteria to dynamically send multiple thank you videos to a single donor. 

Drive engagement—Increase awareness and participation through personalized video messaging for Annual Fund promotions, Giving Days, crowdfunding initiatives, capital campaigns, reunion events, membership drives and more.

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Ultimate guide to digital fundraising software

Build your digital fundraising software toolkit

You’ve started to appreciate what a fundraising tool could do for your organization, now it’s up to you to consider your needs and decide if now is the right time to invest. 

That’s where the Gravyty ecosystem of digital fundraising solutions can help. We are industry experts who have been in your shoes and understand your pain points. In addition to purpose-built tools that solve your fundraising stressors, Gravyty provides a dedicated team to work with you throughout the implementation and onboarding process, offering comprehensive support, customer webinars and ongoing professional development.

Learn how Gravyty’s ecosystem of solutions can help you engage, ask and thank your network to power your cause. Get a demo.

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