In the past few years, nonprofits have had to do a lot of transforming—fundraising, programming, staff recruitment and retention, and definitely the behind-the-scenes administrative tasks. One of the biggest changes has been in nonprofit software. Nonprofits have picked up technology at unprecedented rates, and it's not slowing down anytime soon. Find out what types of nonprofit software your organization could benefit from!
Software for nonprofits comparison chart (top 10 highest-rated)
Nonprofit life is a whole lot of work. There are funds to raise and bills to pay and donors to woo and donations to process—not to mention a world to improve. If all these tasks are starting to pile up, you might want to consider a little extra help when it comes to managing your daily activities and streamlining your operations. On that note, please welcome to the stage... software for nonprofits!
To get your nonprofit software journey off on the right foot, we’ve listed our fav products below. Then, we’ll share our totally unbiased opinions on the best software for nonprofit management, donor management, fundraising, and more. (Okay, we’re a teensy bit biased, but only because Funraise is the best ever, ever, ever. I mean, can you blame us?)
What are the different types of nonprofit software programs?
Nowadays, nonprofits can be big businesses, so choosing which nonprofit software programs you actually need can feel a mite overwhelming. But fear not: we’re here to break this sprawling software buffet into bite-sized morsels. Here are some basic areas to consider:
- Donor management (or CRM software)
- Volunteer management
- Email marketing
- Auctions management
- Accounting software
- Donor-facing tools
- Payment processing
- eCommerce sales
- Livestream fundraising
- Event management
- Online fundraising
The best 10 nonprofit management software programs
As you can see, there are many software possibilities out there, and which ones you need will largely depend on your nonprofit. Usually, however, your nonprofit angst can be solved with improved management, so let’s start there.
Nonprofit management software will help you get everything, from donor data to event info, into tip-top tidy shape. We’ll cover our best-loved recommendations for all your management needs, and we’ll highlight free nonprofit management software, too. Yeah, we know how to give the people what they want.
1. Funraise (best nonprofit fundraising + CRM combo software overall)
Ah, Funraise. Yes, we’re putting ourselves at the top of this list, but that’s only because we really believe in us! Funraise improves every facet of your fundraising process with our all-in-one suite of user-friendly digital fundraising tools. Don’t believe us because we wrote this article? The proof’s in the financial pudding: in 2020, the average Funraise customer saw a 77% increase in average online donation revenue and doubled their average monthly gift amount. Here’s what else you can expect.
- P2P functionality: Peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the best ways to grow your donor base, and Funraise makes it easy. Create custom supporter fundraising pages, automate fundraising updates, and ensure a fantabulous giving experience.
- Campaign site builder and editor: No website development experience? No problem. Quickly and easily build gorgeous, branded fundraising campaign sites with our user-friendly live editor.
- Flexible integrations: No need to reinvent the keyboard. Funraise integrates with all your favorite platforms and programs, from Salesforce to Instagram, seamlessly.
- The best Customer Success team: Funraise’s award-winning Customer Success team actually cares about your success and knows about the nonprofit world. They go above and beyond to support you, from answering basic tech questions to updating you on the latest industry trends.
- Super security: Transaction fraud is scary stuff, but Funraise has your back. We have a small army of tools, both human and machine, devoted to protecting your data.
We care too much? Listen: Funraise is our baby, and nothing will convince us that it’s not the cutest baby in the whole world.
Come to think of it, we’re more dog people, so Funraise is actually the cutest puppy in the world.
See what you can accomplish with Funraise! Get started today.
2. Volgistics (best nonprofit software for volunteer management)
Volunteers are critical members of your donor base, and if you have a robust volunteer program, you’ll quickly find that managing them can be a full-time job. If you’re looking to streamline your volunteer logistics, Volgistics is your go-to volunteer management software solution.
- Everyone knows it: Volgistics is THE (with a capital “T” . . . and a capital “H” and “E,” apparently) volunteer management software. We know it; you know it; heck, your volunteers might even know it.
- Scheduling ease: A lot of the headaches with volunteer management come from trying to accommodate everyone’s schedules. This is where Volgistics shines, with a scheduling tool that allows volunteers to design their own schedule and share it with you.
- No actual software needed: Volgistics works online, from a secure data center, so you don’t need to install anything. That means it comes with you anywhere you have a device and an internet connection, updating in real-time with no additional costs for support or upgrades.
- Volgistics is a big company, and while their online customer support answers questions quickly, you won’t be able to speak with a live person.
- There’s no Volgistics app, so loading times on mobile devices may be slow, depending on your connection.
3. Salesforce (best database software for nonprofits (for large nonprofits))
We’re pretty sure you’ve heard of Salesforce, and there’s a reason for that. It’s big, it’s powerful—it’s a major cloud-based software company that builds CRMs for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
- It’s robust: Salesforce is well established, with a ton of features. You can pick and choose which ones are relevant to you, customizing it to your organizational needs.
- It’s scalable: With so many tools, Salesforce scales easily. As you grow, it will grow with you.
- There’s lots of help: It’s a complex product, but there are webinars, videos, and documentation to help you through it.
- There's a specific nonprofit product. Called Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), it was created just for you.
- Salesforce is robust, but unless you’re a larger organization, you probably won’t use a lot of the features—and navigating them can eat up a lot of time.
- A complicated platform like Salesforce requires a lot of work. This is not an intuitive product! There’s a steep learning curve, and you’ll definitely have to switch up some workflows and put in the hours and resources to learn the product—and customize it to fit your needs.
Yep, we’ve got that! Our Salesforce fundraising integration gives you the power of Salesforce with the ease of Funraise. Build fundraising sites in Funraise and send the donation data to Salesforce for access advanced reporting and automation. Funraise's integration is flexible, has incredible uptime (no crashes here!), and won’t duplicate repeat donors. Plus, it can recognize and import recurring giving donors.
In fact, we recently worked with the Innocence Project to scale online revenue while syncing donor data with Salesforce. You can read all about it here. (Spoiler: it was a resounding success.)
4. Winspire (best nonprofit software for auctions)
Can we all agree that fundraising events require a lot of work? We think so. And one of the biggest headaches is acquiring and managing auction items. You pay for a big-ticket item and then it sells barely over what you paid. THE WORST. Happily, Winspire provides nonprofit auctions items that you don’t pay a cent for until someone has actually bid on and paid for them.
- Risk-free: There’s no upfront cost, so there’s no risk to your nonprofit. Score!
- You can make bank: Winspire experiences include such once-in-a-lifetime offerings as swimming with sharks, climbing Kilimanjaro, and taking a week-long Game of Thrones-themed trip to Europe. With the right donors, those things will sell—and bring in big money.
- While the experiences are wonderful, they may not be related to your cause, which can cause a messaging disconnect.
- Winspire’s very transparent about their pricing for each experience—and it’s not cheap. That means the experiences may be out of range for your bidders if you don’t have a lot of major donors in the audience.
5. Mailchimp (best free email tools for nonprofits)
Mailchimp is an all-in-one email marketing and automation platform. With pre-designed email and landing page templates and marketing automation tools, it’s all about managing communications and growing your audience.
- Well known and well loved: Everyone knows and loves Mailchimp for a reason. When it comes to marketing outreach and newsletter service, it offers a strong product that integrates with lots of other applications (including Funraise!).
- Small biz-centric: Mailchimp was made to cater to small businesses, so it works great for small nonprofits. Plan pricing is based on the number of constituents, so it’s cheaper for small businesses.
- Monkeys: We really like their branding and monkey mascot. ‘Nuf said.
- The free version is limited, with no email and chat support after the first 30 days. Plus, many of your key donor retention tools, like custom branding and email scheduling, are only included with paid plans.
- Subscription plans for larger organizations can get pricey, since they scale based on subscribers. Nonprofits do get a 15% discount on paid plans.
Indeed we do! You can set Mailchimp to send automated emails and segmented email blasts using your Funraise donor database.
6. QuickBooks (best accounting management software for not for profits)
Nonprofit accounting is not easy, but a nonprofit accounting software can definitely help. QuickBooks is the go-to when it comes to accounting, simplifying fund accounting and all your payment-related tasks.
- Everyone knows it: Pretty much every accounting professional is familiar with QuickBooks, so they can hit the ground running.
- It scales: QuickBooks is built for growth, so you can start with a more streamlined product and upgrade as you need additional features.
- Mainly the price. Features beyond basic accounting needs, such as payroll and customer support, are add-ons, and they can add up very quickly depending on the number of users.
Positively! In fact, you can send offline Funraise donation data to QuickBooks Online in seconds—and create offline sales receipts.
7. Giving by Funraise (best donor-facing donation management software—free)
There’s so much great tech out there for nonprofits, but what about donors? Funraise’s donor-facing app equips your constituents with the tools they need to view and manage their donations—and prepare for tax season. Just another donor relationship management tool to add to your kit!
- By Funraise: So you know it’s good.
- Easy to use: Our app is clean and intuitive, making it easy for donors to manage their payments, receipts, and subscriptions.
- It’s free: For nonprofits and donors alike.
- Make tax season better: Donors can email themselves their yearly donation summary with a single click—and that means one fewer email for you, multiplied by all of your donors.
- It’s secure: Just like all Funraise products, our donor app is tops when it comes to data security.
- At present, Giving by Funraise is limited to Android and iOS users.
It’s not an integration, but it is part of Funraise’s fundraising platform—so that’s even better!
8. Apple Pay (best digital wallet software for non-profits)
Although this is not a fundraising software, it's just a payment method like Stripe or PayPal or any other purchasing tool, we couldn't help but include it. We love Apple Pay because it’s one of the speediest ways to make a payment. No swiping; no signing; no entering their billing, shipping, or contact details.
- Apple users love it: Those Apple users are a devoted bunch, and they’re all familiar with the ease of Apple Pay.
- Boost donations: Because Apple Pay removes barriers to making a donation, more people will donate when it’s an option, and the average Apple Pay donation is higher when it's an option.
- It’s secure: Thanks to encryption, it’s safer than using a physical credit, debit, or prepaid card.
- Not everyone’s an Apple user, so not everyone can use it.
Yeppers! You can boost your online fundraising by adding Apple Pay to your Funraise donation pages. Other bonuses? Collect donations in multiple currencies and refund donations in Funraise.
9. Shopify (best software for nonprofits for eCommerce)
Shopify lets you create your own little (or huge! We’re all for dreaming big.) online store to sell branded merchandise and support your cause. Additionally, you can “sell” donations in your shop or on social media as well as set up recurring donation subscriptions.
- Easy peasy: Shopify is easy to set up and easy to shop from. You don’t need to be a developer, and you don’t need hours of training.
- Diversify your revenue: Never put all your eggs in one basket, right? So, never put all your donors in one revenue source. With Shopify, you attract a different type of audience and diversify your revenue streams.
- No processing fees: Registered nonprofits pay no processing fees thanks to Shopify’s in-house payment processor, Shopify Payments.
- You can skip the transaction fees, but you won’t get any pricing discounts when it comes to Shopify.
Affirmative! Sync that Shopify data with Funraise to see the contact information for all your shoppers and create supporter segments based on spend amounts.
10. TechSoup (best free software for nonprofit organizations)
This might be cheating, because TechSoup isn’t a piece of software, but we love it, so we wanted to mention it. Instead, it’s a nonprofit network that provides tech support, software, and hardware to its fellow nonprofits at reduced prices.
- Discounts galore on recognized products: Adobe, Microsoft, Zoom, HP—TechSoup hooks you up with discounts on must-have products and licenses.
- Tech support on the cheap: Members get access to continuous Help Desk support, technology experts, and e-learning courses.
- Some of the administrative fees can feel a little steep, but trust: it’ll save you money in the long term.
The top 3 free donor management software for nonprofits
We’ve covered a lot of ground, but we know what you’re thinking: a) what you really want to focus on is donor management and b) what you really, really want to learn about is free donor management software for nonprofits. We hear you. Let’s check out a few stellar options for free nonprofit donor management software.
1. Funraise (best free donor management software for nonprofits overall)
Funraise does a lot, but at its heart, it’s an amazeballs donor management software. It has all sorts of features to make donor management a breeze, and many of them are available with the free version—but we won’t stop you if you want to upgrade!
- Donor portfolios: Give each donor a personalized touch (and boost that donor retention) by assigning staff members to their own donor portfolio.
- Automated tasks by activity: Automatically assign donors to staff members and set reminders for donor tasks, freeing up time to do the work that requires a human touch.
- Household management: Connect supporters to their families, employers, or other groups to better understand their group impact.
Um, we told you it’s the cutest puppy, and we’re sticking to it. Look at that face! Plus, it’s SO friendly.
See what you can accomplish with Funraise! Get started for free.
2. Givebutter (best free nonprofit management software for colleges)
Givebutter provides a suite of user-friendly fundraising tools to help you manage your donors and meet your fundraising goals.
- Great functionality for small nonprofits: Givebutter has all the fundraising features a small nonprofit could need, and they’re easy to find and use.
- It really is free: Givebutter is totally free, as long as you allow optional tips from donors. There are no monthly plans and no contracts.
- Givebutter’s a great free option, but it doesn’t scale well for larger nonprofits.
- If you don’t add the “tips” option to your page, which solicits tips from donors to support the platform, a platform fee applies.
3. Give Lively (best limited free nonprofit management system)
Give Lively’s philanthropist-funded fundraising platform is free with membership and provides all the basic tools for donor management.
- It’s free forever: You apply for membership, and once Give Lively approves it, you have free access to all their basic offerings.
- All the basics are great: Donation forms and pages look lovely, and membership management is easy once they’ve approved your organization.
- There aren’t a lot of options in terms of customization.
- Add-ons and integrations aren’t always free. For example, Give Lively relies on third-party platforms, specifically Stripe, for payment processing, and they do charge a small fee with every transaction.
- It’s funded by philanthropists, so if that funding dries up . . . uh oh!
The best 3 free database software for nonprofits
Most nonprofits first turn to nonprofit software when their Excel sheet get a bit too unwieldy for their liking. For that reason, let’s turn our attention to the world of data! And because we know everyone likes a deal, we’ll focus on free database software for nonprofits.
1. Funraise (best free database software for nonprofits overall)
At Funraise, we love us some data, and we’ll help you make the most of yours with reports and dashboards galore.
- Flexible reports and segmentation: Organize and export data any way you want with custom reports and segmentation. Then, use those metrics to improve your performance.
- Integrations FTW: Funraise’s database integrates seamlessly with industry-leading ESPs, Salesforce, social media platforms, livestreaming tools, and more.
- Track it all: We track interactions, giving history, and even credit card expirations. And if a credit card’s expiring, we’ll send an automatic notification.
- No limits: The digital sky’s the only limit when it comes to records and users.
- Okay, maybe we work too hard and are too invested in nonprofits. It’s a curse!
See what you can accomplish with Funraise! Get started for free.
2. QGiv (best non-social media free donor database software)
QGiv is an online fundraising platform that specializes in capturing relevant data through robust reporting. You can set up a donation page and accept donations from anywhere, online or in-person.
- Easy to set up: Get started easily and get unlimited support via email or on the phone.
- Make it custom: Qgiv offers many ways to customize your fundraising tools, with customizable donation forms, branded campaign sites, and more.
- Event ticketing, such as check-in processes, is not intuitive. The software is more geared toward online fundraising than in-person events.
- The free version still charges transaction fees.
3. GivingFuel (best free database for nonprofit organizations with mass emailing)
GivingFuel is a fundraising and donor database software for nonprofit organizations. Customize pages, manage donations, and access analytics.
- No experience needed: GivingFuel is intuitive to use from the get-go.
- Actionable metrics: Stay on top of all sorts of metrics, from conversion rates to mobile versus desktop usage.
- Some of the integrations, which aren’t free, are buggy, which can be frustrating.
- We’ve heard of syncing and data transmission problems, like the API doesn’t always sync properly.
Top 3 free fundraising software options
Fundraising is every nonprofit's bread, butter, and brie. (If you haven’t tried that combo, we urge you to do so.) For that reason, you're probably looking for the best free fundraising software no money can buy. We’ve got you covered.
1. Funraise (best free fundraising software overall)
Funraise puts the “fun” in “fundraising.” And also the “effective” and “efficient” and a lot of other positive adjectives.
- Donors love us: We strive to give donors the best giving experience—no hidden fees, no extra clicks, no frustration.
- Diverse tools: Funraise offers a variety of tools to diversify fundraising revenue, which is especially useful in times of economic uncertainty... like now.
- Anyone can fundraise: It’s easy enough for anyone to use, no matter their software skill level.
Your friends will be tired of hearing about how awesome Funraise is. #sorrynotsorry.
See what you can accomplish with Funraise! Get started for free.
2. PayPal (best one-task free donation payment software)
It feels like PayPal has been around forever, and the software has a broad reach because of it. They offer nonprofit fundraising tools and connect you their network of nearly 400 million users.
- Add it easily: It’s super easy to add PayPal to your site as a payment option.
- Folks know and trust it: Many donors and nonprofits already have PayPal accounts, making it an accessible and recognizable option.
- PayPal lets you accept donations, but it’s not customizable. It looks dated and you can’t brand it.
- There are no platform fees, but you’ll pay when you get a donation. Plus, credit card fees make the fees go up.
Indeed we do! Get that PayPal recognition and those bountiful Funraise features with our integration, which automatically sends PayPal donations to Funraise, saving you loads of time. You can access a discounted processing rate, add PayPal as a payment option on your donation forms, and manage all your data within Funraise.
3. Streamlabs (free livestreaming fundraising software for nonprofits)
Streamlabs is a free livestreaming and recording software. Livestreaming is one of our favorite ways to fundraise, and Streamlabs makes it easy to solicit direct donations on your livestream.
- Totally free: Streamlabs is totally free for nonprofits. They have no annual fees and they don’t take a cut of your revenue. Yay, Streamlabs!
- Livestream to anywhere: You can use whatever livestreaming platform you like, including Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Live.
- If you have ambitious fundraising goals, know that you need a relatively large livestreaming audience to make it worthwhile. Most donations are small, so it takes some patience.
- Getting the hang of Streamlabs can be a little tricky, especially if you’re not already familiar with livestreaming.
Top 3 free nonprofit CRM software options
As a nonprofit, your donors are your customers, and you just want them to be happy. If you need a helping hand, we have some free nonprofit CRM software that may appeal to you.
1. Funraise (best free nonprofit CRM software overall)
Funraise’s CRM is powerful and friendly, letting you manage donor details and automate workflows with ease. Oh, and did we mention all the seamless integrations? It’s all here, folks.
- We grow with you: Funraise is perfect for growing nonprofits, with useful tools that flex based on your needs.
- Flexible donor segmentation: However you want to customize your outreach and divvy up your donors, we’ve got you.
- All the data: Our CRM offers accurate, robust historical giving data—as well as data on pretty much anything else you’d like to know.
You’ll love it so much, you’ll need to start a second nonprofit just to use it all again.
See what you can accomplish with Funraise! Get started for free.
2. Snowball Fundraising (best free donation tracking software for nonprofits that don’t fundraise online)
Snowball Fundraising is a fundraising CRM platform that features customizable pages and forms, fundraising supports, and donor engagement tools.
- Customize campaigns: We especially like their customizable thermometer feature, which counts down to meeting your fundraising goal.
- Simple and intuitive: Snowball’s features are hassle-free. It’s easy to use and set up, even if you’re not familiar with CRM software.
- The basic version is free, but it’s also very basic. You’ll have to sign up for an annual plan for most of the features you’d want.
- With Snowball’s free version, you’ll be facing greater payment processing fees, which will quickly add up.
3. CiviCRM (best free donation management software for civic nonprofits)
Want to own your own CMS? CiviCRM is a web-based suite of open-source software for customer relationship management.
- No lies: CiviCRM promises an open-source CRM that gives you lots of freedom—and it delivers.
- It’s powerful: With so much freedom, you can go big and CiviCRM will support you. We’re especially impressed by the CRM’s mass emailing capabilities.
- If you want to go open-source, you can bet that it’ll take a lot more work. CiviCRM isn’t the best for those who aren’t tech-savvy—you’ll find the interface a bit clunky and unintuitive.
- It doesn’t update donor information smoothly straight out of the box.
Top 3 free nonprofit event software options
Since the start of the pandemic, the nonprofit world has been longing to hear the words, “Events are back!”, and now that we can actually say that, we’ve got to up our event ticketing technology with updated nonprofit event software. Good thing your friendly tech providers have been juicing up their free event offerings!
1. Funraise (best free nonprofit events and ticketing software overall)
Sell tickets, manage check-in and registrations, and collect donations all the while! Whether your event is virtual or IRL, Funraise has all the tools you need to make it a success.
- Have all the answers: Create custom questions so that you get everything right the first time around. From dietary restrictions to shirt sizes, we make it easy.
- Report back: What worked, what didn’t, and what’s missing? Export reports to turn all the juicy pre- and post-event data into actionable insights.
- Seamless functionality: Everything integrates seamlessly with all the other Funraise features, so no data or information is left behind.
- Branded forms: Everything will look polished and profesh with our customizable, branded forms.
Planning events can be a pain, but Funraise’s amazing software will make you want to plan even more events. Your volunteer team is gonna be wondering what got into you.
See what you can accomplish with Funraise! Get started for free.
2. BetterUnite (best free donation tracking software for events)
BetterUnite is an event-focused fundraising software that includes event management and live auction tools.
- Onboard fast: Event planning takes a lot of time, so you’ll appreciate BetterUnite’s quick onboarding process.
- Responsive customer support: No waiting on hold here. You can count on their support team if something goes wrong with your event.
- If you can’t wait to get your hands on that post-event data, you might have to wait a little longer, as their database is slow to update.
- Importing contacts is difficult.
3. Eventbrite (best free event donation management software)
You might know Eventbrite from perusing summer concerts or virtual craft classes. It lets you explore events and create your own, along with online event registration and ticketing tools.
- All about the events: And it shows. Eventbrite knows what they’re doing when it comes to events!
- Everyone knows it: Lots of companies and people use Eventbrite. It will give you high visibility if you want to advertise your event, too.
- Alas, Eventbrite is only free for free events, so you’ll have to get donations at the event to make your event a fundraising event.
- In a way, you’re competing with beer festivals for attendees. That’s some stiff competition!
Software for nonprofit organizations: Key takeaways
We can all agree that there’s a lot of software for nonprofits out there, so we hope this list provided a bit of light on your stormy software journey. To recap:
- Technology doesn’t replace human beings when it comes to nonprofit management, but it can help automate tasks and make sense of your data, leading to more time and better insights.
- If you can dream it, there’s a software for that. While Funraise is an all-in-one solution, there are separate software options for events, livestreaming, marketing, data, and more.
- There are also plenty of options that are free for nonprofits, but you’ll usually get fewer features or have to pay payment processing fees