Functional Requirements for a Donor Database

The following requirements are paraphrased/modified from a feature comparison of eBase, a free non-profit management database application that is written using FileMaker Pro . These strike me as a good start for determining what information needs to be managed when dealing with donors and volunteers. A couple of additional thoughts:

  • The requirements are very broad, and to handle everything in one system is probably unusual. For example, a good event-management system is itself an ambitious stand-alone program.
  • This set of requirements has nothing to do with service delivery. Depending on clients, activities, and reporting requirements to regulators and funders, you may have a separate system that handles that aspect of your business.

Contact Mangement

  • Multiple locations with address, eMail and URL
  • Links between contacts
  • Action scheduling and assignment to staff
  • Demographics
  • Special roll, as board member, volunteer, donor, etc.

Donation management

  • Date, amount, deductible
  • Gift acknowledgement, batches and individual
  • Association of gifts to campaigns, solicitations, or events
  • Income summary by campaign, solicitation or event
  • Online donation processing

Pledge management

  • Current outstanding pledge balance
  • Automatic and customized pledge payment scheduling
  • Transactions related to a particular pledge


Membership management

  • Find lapsed members
  • Calculate member status: expired, grace, current


Volunteer and Activist management

  • Volunteer interests, action and availability
  • Association of actions to solications and events

Event management

  • Create events or conferences
  • Allow registration to events
  • Manage seating and room assignments
  • On-line registrations
  • Printing of name tags
  • Create event packages: single-day, multi-day, with or without meals/receptions
  • Interface to hotel system
  • Manage speakers, staff, VIPs
  • Managing pricing, “early-bird” registrations


Data entry and import

  • Keyboard shortcuts for common tasks
  • Import basic gift and donor data from other systems

Mail and Email

  • Personalize bulk eMail
  • Automatically mange eMail and subscription lists
  • Track eMail correspondance with database contacts
  • Target mailings to subset of database
  • Mail-merge letters and labels
  • Analyze effectiveness of mailings

Reporting and search features

  • A variety of standard reports
  • Ability to create custom reports
  • Export ability to Excel or data formats
  • Store custom search criteria (queries)
  • Store custom search results
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