DonorDirect’s DonorStudio software is an all-encompassing donor management software solution designed for nonprofit ministries. Where other faith-based platforms focus less on the donor management part of the equation, this solution gives users more functionality when it comes to targeting potential supporters and advancing their mission.
By contrast, something like Planning Center gives faith-based organizations the ability to collect donations and manage a parishioner directory, but there are little marketing and CRM capabilities in place.
DonorStudio appears to be more robust than the competition. Here, the focus isn’t just on the church. Rather, this tool supports a larger scale ministry.
Below, we’ll look at this platform as a donor management software solution.
Keep reading to learn more about DonorStudio’s donor management features. We’ll cover features, benefits, and potential drawbacks.
What is DonorStudio?
DonorStudio is a donor management tool that falls under the DonorDirect brand. The company is owned by Ministry Brands, a leading provider in SaaS solutions specifically for faith-based groups. Their whole mission is to provide modern technology solutions to religious nonprofits.
The platform enables church leaders, administrators, and executives to carry out their mission using 21st century best practices.
DonorStudio is a nonprofit CRM and membership management tool. The advertising explicitly targets religious nonprofits, though this might be useful for general NGOs, too.
You’ll gain access to all the tools needed to provide great customer service to donors and volunteers. And, the platform allows you to track every interaction from event attendance to phone conversations.
DonorStudio is a software download available for purchase, not an entirely cloud-hosted solution like some of the similar products we’ve looked at in the past. Their StudioOnline tool integrates with the full suite, allowing you to publish giving opportunities, create landing pages and email campaigns, as well as register people for events and collect donations.
The main software houses the more advanced features. Here, you’ll create segments, analyze call center interactions, plan your campaigns, set workflows, and assign tasks to team members.
All-in-One Solution for Faith-Based Nonprofits
DonorStudio brings donor management, volunteer program management, inventory, event planning, media planning, and communications under one SaaS roof.
The only thing missing is a more in-depth accounting solution, but between handling marketing efforts, contact management, and a series of reporting features. It seems that you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck here.
In-Depth CRM Functionality
This platform is a robust donor management software, it keeps track of a ton of donor details and allows you to manage volunteer programs, track outreach campaigns, and log all interactions with supporters.
Publishing and Outreach Tools
Publish giving opportunities, support peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, present products, and make announcements through the StudioOnline element of DonorStudio’s suite.
The cloud-hosted tool gives users the ability to create marketing materials that support their mission. It combines donor data with campaign planning, multi-channel communications, and more.
Reports and Dashboards
This tool gives platforms access to several reports that serve up data in a variety of ways. Each user can customize their dashboard view. This way, they can track the information that’s useful to their role.
Create tasks according to timelines, assign roles and responsibilities to staff and volunteers, and set goals. DonorStudio’s campaign management tools give users the ability to manage marketing lists and develop an outreach strategy.
Combined with automated alerts and custom workflows, this platform appears to provide everything you need to run an organized campaign and measure results by a wide range of KPIs.
That said, we’d like to see more about this set of features. We’re not sure how much of the campaign management process takes place in the desktop software vs. in the cloud. Both tools work together, but it’s not clear which features live in each location.
We also don’t know what the marketing materials look like or how well the project management function works. While it sounds promising, this company isn’t especially transparent when it comes to giving website visitors information.
StudioOnline gives users the opportunity to interact with donors through your website. Donors can create profiles, store their account details, and view giving history, pledge and membership updates, and receipts for tax purposes.
DonorStudio provides a fully integrated processing system for all types of transactions through its StudioOnline tool. According to the description on the website, donations can be allotted to different projects and you can set up recurring donations and one-off contributions.
Transactions linked to sales may be included as well. Examples would be things like magazine subscriptions, product sales, and event registrations.
Finally, DonorStudio supports peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, so you can expand your mission by leveraging the power of your supporters.
Build deeper relationships with donors by tracking phone calls, emails, and appointments. Users can create detailed profiles for their donors and store contact information, notes, and view giving histories.
We were impressed with the level of detail included in the donor management feature. Here, nonprofits can keep up with their network of donors across a variety of channels and nurture those relationships through personalized messages, gifts, and reminders to follow up.
The advanced contact function allows you to connect your DonorStudio account to Microsoft Outlook, your calendar, and tasks. Take advantage of the mail merge feature to send out custom messaging, too.
Advanced Search Segmentation
Search for specific people or groups using a variety of criteria. Use custom tags to create segments for email marketing, direct mail, and more.
Now, this isn’t exactly a robust inventory management platform that stores purchase orders and vendor contracts. But, it’s a decent way to keep track of stock in the same place as the rest of your fundraising efforts.
Event and Volunteer Management
Enlist volunteers and coordinate their roles like you would in a project management platform. You can use the platform to assign tasks to users, plan events and collect registration, and keep track of progress as you work toward a specific goal.
This is one of the more unique features included in the lineup. But, it could benefit ministries working in third-world countries where resources are thin.
The platform makes it easy for users to facilitate child sponsorship by streamlining the process. Users can create pages promoting the program, allowing supporters to share info. Plus, you can offer access to important documents, payment options, and social sharing.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any pricing details for DonorStudio’s suite of tools. Based on the fact that employees from larger organizations seem to make up the bulk of the pool of reviewers, we’re venturing to guess that this isn’t cheap.
According to some of the DonorStudio mentions we found during our research, the tool has solutions available for small organizations, enterprise-level ministries, and everything in between. That said, you’ll have to contact the company for more details.
This looks like a great tool–albeit one that caters to a very specific niche. But, many potential customers prefer to shop around before they get in touch with a company. As such, it would be nice to know some ballpark figures straightaway, in case this is way outside of an organization’s budget.
As we mentioned above, DonorStudio is a piece of software you need to download. The site doesn’t appear to lost system requirements, but the platform appears to work with Mac, PC, Android, and iPhone.
Based on the features rundown, the platform integrates with Outlook, Word, Excel—essentially the entire Microsoft suite.
Still, you may want to get in contact with the team to determine which integrations will work with the platform, as well as the system requirements.
Who is this For?
Of course, the platform is designed for faith-based organizations—particularly larger scale ministries with a sizable public profile.
The product has some pretty good reviews-though a good chunk of them come from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. It sounds like they’re happy with the solution, but also suggests the software targets massive organizations.
We also don’t know how this would fit with a secular organization. Unlike church management software, the tools don’t seem to be inherently religious.
So, this could work for some NGOs seeking a robust CRM.
That said, the company seems to benefit from being one of the few religious CRMs out there.
For example, one reviewer, we came across mentioned that this company is kind of the only option in this particular space. That user said they don’t feel that there’s much choice in whether they use this or try to make a traditional nonprofit CRM work for them.
That said, the same reviewer mentioned that they’ve seen DonorDirect implement their suggestions multiple times.
Not for novices
The product is wide in scope and brings a lot of tools to the table. However, some users have mentioned that the platform requires some serious customization to be the right fit for their mission and branding.
Social channels, a phone number, and address are included on the bottom of the website. There’s a form available, too if you’d rather send an email.
You should be able to get in touch pretty easily, but the customer support information still felt lacking.
Other reviewers have mentioned that the support team is responsive and helpful. But, when we looked at the site, it wasn’t clear what it might be like to work with DonorStudio.
The thing is, there wasn’t a ton of information on the site. And that’s both in terms of contact information and customer resources.
It was nice to see that people felt that their needs were addressed after the initial relationship was set up.
Your best bet for learning more is likely going to be signing up for the demo. There, you’ll have someone on the line and can ask more about what they offer.
For example, do they offer phone support? Or just email service?
Do they help with implementation? We’re not sure.
Anyway, here is a quick look at some of the on-site resources you can find on the official website.
The blog contains lighter fare geared toward an active, church-going audience. For example, pieces include things like “Tips for Preaching on the Radio” and “Finding the Ideal Church Volunteers.”
In any case, we can safely say the blog isn’t a good resource for learning about marketing or automation. But, the content may well be appropriate for this audience.
The DonorDirect help center requires log-in credentials to view the materials. We can safely assume this section contains the usual knowledge base fare. We’re guessing it’s a mix of how-tos, videos, set-up instructions, and some basic troubleshooting.
It’s a little annoying that they’ve gated all access to their support materials. And, as such, we don’t get a good sense of how they support their clients.
Because we also don’t know the price, it feels like there’s a lot missing. So, while we’re confident that this company does help their existing customer base, they don’t give make it easy for readers to learn more.
What’s the Verdict?
DonorStudio is one of the most comprehensive donor management solutions we’ve seen. This platform gives users a chance to improve their donor outreach efforts, coordinate volunteers, and plan events, child sponsorship efforts, and more.
We wish that the makers of this tool were more forthcoming in terms of providing pricing details and content related to showing the product in action. Of course, that’s something of a CRM standard. But, secular solutions usually have more competition. DonorStudio, as we mentioned above—is really the only option that caters to this niche.
In all, it’s a great solution for any faith-based organization that wants more from their platform than what you’d find in some of the competing solutions. It thinks bigger than Planning Center, its closest competitor. And, it appears to be one of the only CRMs at this level for the religious sector.
That said, we’re not totally sure that this platform wouldn’t fit into a secular nonprofit’s needs, as well. In some cases, perhaps, there may be a conflict of interest. We mention this as Ministry Brands, the corporate owner of DonorStudio explicitly mentions an Evangelical bent.
If that’s not an issue—then the platform could be useful. The CRM, integration, email marketing, and communications features are certainly impressive.