10 Signs You Need To Outsource Your Donation Processing


Small and large fundraisers each need to have strong mechanisms in place to process their donations efficiently and cost-effectively. The difference in their approach lies in the volume of donations they receive and the varied channels through which their donations come.

The smaller your organization, the more feasible it may be to process your donations in-house. On average, processing around 10,000 or fewer donations per year is generally manageable inside your organization depending on your staffing and infrastructure.

As you grow, and the number of your donors and their donations increase, the likelihood that you can manage these donations internally will decline. Cornerstone’s Donation Processing & Fundraising Services business is then a good alternative to provide you with full-service, integrated multi-channel donation processing services.

Interested in how we can help? First find out if you are ready to invest in outsourced donation processing. Here are the signs you may be ready.

1.    You are over or under-staffed. This could be a signal that your resources aren’t aligned with your donation activity. If you have too many staff members dedicated to handling donations, your administrative costs could be too high. If you have too few staff members, you’re more at risk of make processing mistakes or not maximizing your relationships with your donors.

2.    Your technology is not effective. If you’re finding that fresh donor data is coming in your front door and getting lost in your hectic and out-dated systems, it could be time to research the best CRM and segmentation solutions for you. At Cornerstone, we provide our Clients with a deep-dive into their donor data needs and address them with a host of data processing services and database management solutions - on the best CRM for them.

3.    You are increasing the channels through which you accept donations. Depending on how your programs change, you could be inviting more donations than you can handle internally. For example, if your website has just become responsive, you may see an increase in your mobile donations. It’s good to think about how you will  manage these donations.

4.    Your donation-heavy seasons have become overwhelming. This refers to the times of the year in which you can predict your fundraising is going to drive more donations, and your resources have a pattern of repeatedly becoming tight during these times.

5.    You are receiving complaints from donors. Maybe your donors are frustrated that they have not received their tax receipts, or that their donations took too long to process. Was a reliable call centre able to answer their requests? Whatever you’re hearing from your donors is a signal to think about how you should reorganize your donation processing model.

6.    You’re finding that you need to focus your departments more. Maybe you’ve always operated as one or two units but now your organization has plans to optimize efficiencies by splitting into various groups. You might want some areas to focus more on driving donations and less on the production side of things. This is a great time in your organization’s transition to reconsider a donation processing strategy.

7.    You’re going to be running new campaigns. These new campaigns might result in significantly increased donations from those you’re used to, especially if you’ve been running the same old campaigns for years.The flip side may also be true.  Older campaigns can steadily increase donations over time,  and their success can creep up on you. Ensure you are tracking your volumes year after year so that you can prepare for donation processing support in advance should you need it!

8.    You are planning a big event and can foresee its success. Do you have an inkling that your event is going to generate great donor response? If your goals for the event are detailed and you think you may need custom reporting, security and an integrated production process you should inquire about multi-channel donation processing techniques from an outside vendor like Cornerstone.

9.    Your staff are becoming over-worked, juggling too many different donor stewardship assignments and generally  losing steam.  This could mean that you need to outsource some activities like donation processing. Fundraisers are hesitant to invest in technologies and support unless it is completely necessary, but donation processing is one of the necessities of a growing NFP.

10.    Lastly, you have 10,000 donations or more annually.  If this is occurring you should consider discussion your donation processing options with Cornerstone today.

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