The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Profile Database Software for Your Organization


If you run a membership-based nonprofit association, you know how important engagement is. Ensuring you have enough people interested in your work to financially invest in it is essential to keeping your mission alive.

The best way to attract and keep members is to truly understand your nonprofit’s member base. You must cater to and pique your supporters’ interests if you want to keep them around. This can best be achieved through the use of a nonprofit database, specifically one created and managed by profile database software. Read on to find out more about how this innovation can optimize your nonprofit success. 

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What is Profile Database Software?

Simply put, profile database software is an operating system that is specifically designed to both catalog your members and store information about them. It helps you understand your supporters better by allowing you to search for specific metrics like membership tiers and amounts, locations, any relevant interests, and much more. 

Many database software platforms also offer a variety of features and tools that can streamline your entire fundraising or marketing department. These all-in-one software programs are more than just databases; they allow organizations to create and run campaigns (and integrate any subsequent data into their member dashboards in real time), build websites, and even plan virtual and in-person events. 


The Benefits of Using Profile Database Software

The primary benefit of using database software is the ability to truly personalize your stakeholders’ experience. By gathering, storing, protecting, and analyzing data, your organization can plan fundraisers and campaigns that are more relevant to your members. You can also keep them more engaged with updates, storytelling, and volunteer opportunities. 

profile-database-software-benefitsMatthew is ready to learn all about profile database software!

Database software also offers a more user-friendly experience to your staff. Paper files and Excel spreadsheets can be messy and difficult to work with. With software, on the other hand, you can easily create reports that give insight into your events, and help you improve your approach. Automated updates and easy-search features can save both time and money for your organization. 

Finally, database software keeps your vital information safe. Database backup ensures that you can easily perform a recovery if necessary. 


Which Features to Look for in Profile Database Software

The software options available in today’s world are equipped with a vast supply of features. What will work best for your organization will depend on your own needs, and these needs can even change over time. Take some time to sit with your team to talk about what tools are most important for your own objectives. In the meantime, here are some must-haves for almost any nonprofit:

Tools for Success. These features allow you to elevate your membership management capabilities. Accounting, event management, dashboards, analytics and reporting, as well as email tracking and lists are great examples. 

Integrations. You want your database software to support third-party integrations so that you can build a system that works for your organization. Many top CRMs allow for integrations with major software companies for email, storage, accounting, payments, and other functions, which permits you to streamline your processes, and keep any existing software brands that work well for you. 

Security. Information is everything to a nonprofit, and it is essential that you keep all of your supporters’ data safe and protected from cyber crime or loss. Make sure that the software company you choose offers strong protections and backup of data. 

Customization. As we said earlier, every organization is unique in what it is looking for in a CRM. A good profile database software company will offer a customized solution that meets all of your needs. 


How to Decide Which Profile Database Software is Right for You

The must-have list of profile database features detailed above applies to nearly every organization. However, your own brand is unique. Next we will show you step by step how to find the platform that is just right for you. 

Step One: Make it a Team Effort

Pull together several staff members or volunteers that are heavily involved in your organization’s fundraising or marketing process. You want input from the people who know what will help it succeed, and who can offer insight into what challenges currently exist. 

Step Two: Talk Budget

There is no point in diving into tools and features until you know what you can spend on your database. Create a realistic high/low that you can dedicate to your platform purchase. You should add up the cost of all of the tools you are currently using and start from there, then ask yourself what more you are willing to spend to get what you need. If any of the software options you are interested in would usurp the role of some of the tools you already have, you of course can decide whether or not to keep them, or otherwise consolidate your efforts. 

Notably, not every software company lists their prices on their website, so you may have to call a representative to learn more. Some companies offer free trials that can help you narrow down your options. 

Step Three: Refine Your Needs

Discuss with your focus group what features are "must-haves" vs what features are "nice-to-haves". While keeping your budget in mind, decide which tools will really be valuable to your nonprofit mission. You can keep a separate list of "nice-to-haves" that are negotiable, and that you may use as tie-breakers between two software platforms you particularly like. 

Step Four: Select Your Top 3

Search through CRM database platforms; with the help of your list and budget numbers, select three top runners. Present these to the group at large and decide on which option offers the most return on your investment. 

Pro Tip: It is okay to go big at first: dream a little and get specific. If you really want something like a charitable contributions database template, intricate website building tools, or QR ticketing option, write them down. You can always winnow down the list later. 


The Top Seven Profile Database Software Companies

Now that you know a bit more about how profile database software works and how it can revolutionize your organization’s marketing and fundraising campaigns, let’s take a look at some of the top names in the industry. 

profile-database-software-top-sevenSam is checking out some of these softwares right now!

We have created several categories for ranking these brands to match the differing needs of every organization. While one platform may be perfect for a large company or nonprofit, its huge menu of features and large price tag may not be suitable (or necessary) for a smaller association. A brand that offers the ideal event registration database for a religious charity may not offer everything needed for an alumni organization. 

To best utilize this list, follow the steps outlined for choosing a database software platform and then match your list of needs to what these brands offer. This list already consists of industry giants that are both reputable and reliable, so you can be sure that whichever one you choose, their software will get the job done!

Best Overall Software: Springly 

Springly (that’s us!) is one of the best software platforms out there for nonprofits of every size and shape. In fact, we have designed our software specifically to serve this demographic with features that can help take any nonprofit to the next level of engagement. 

Springly offers powerful automation: our all-in-one system allows you to access all of your management tools in one place. This includes things like a full accounting suite, data management, events, financial transactions, and other features that enhance your member experience. 

Our management systems are built to work collaboratively to optimize communication between nonprofits and their stakeholders. Our database is updated in real-time with new information from a number of sources, so that all of your campaigns can be run at peak personalization and efficiency. 

With all of our focus on creating better experiences for nonprofit supporters, naturally we also pride ourselves on service for our own customers. We offer a blog with extensive information, live chat assistance, and a large-scale help center for more involved questions. 

A combination of powerful data management, superior safety, and responsive customer service makes Springly the top overall choice for profile database software. 

Best Software for Large or Complex Organizations: is used by many large corporations, including Hulu, Coca Cola, and the NHL - and with good reason. This software offers an easy-to-understand interface, and is user-friendly from the get-go. Tasks and data manipulation are accessible right from list view to make data entry and analysis simple. 

They also offer a large amount of file storage space (20 GB for their Standard plan, 1TB for Pro plan, and 5TB for the Enterprise plan). Pricing is tiered, with 5 different options, including a 14-day free trial for the Pro plan. Their more basic options do not offer as many features, so companies with a smaller budget may do better just going with a free plan somewhere else like Trello. But for large companies, this software offers a ton of tools like Kanban board, calendar, timeline, spreadsheet view, list, and integrations with a large variety of apps. 

Best Free Software Option: Hubspot 

Hubspot allows you to track performance with a clean and easy-to-read dashboard style. They also offer a large variety of add ons and features, but we like this one for their free CRM program. Unlike some other profile database software options, Hubspot allows companies to use a more basic version of their CRM database software for free. This includes unlimited user inputs and data, up to one million contacts, and there is no time limit or expiration date on this offer

profile-database-software-top-sevenAnthony loves the sounds of free!

While the free version probably will not cut it for more established organizations, it offers a great way for startups or very small nonprofits to organize and manage their data without taking a bite out of their budget. 

Best Software for Integrations: Salesforce

While Salesforce 360 brings the all-in-one experience to your profile database software, it also allows for strong build up based on the software that your company may already use. For those businesses or organizations that are not yet ready to take the leap into a full suite of marketing tools, or that have already built a system they are satisfied with, Salesforce will play well with many other apps including the following:

  • Google Cloud

  • Slack

  • Quickbooks

  • MailChimp

  • LinkedIn

  • Docusign

  • Jira Software

  • HelloSign

  • CodeScience

  • Active Campaign

  • DropBox

Best Software for Customizations: Zendesk

With their Sunshine platform feature, Zendesk allows businesses to customize their platform in a multitude of ways. They offer conversational tools that use the latest chatbot technology to give customers the feel of personalized interaction. Their chat experience can even switch seamlessly across systems, including bots and third-party software. 

You can also easily scale your experience based on your company’s growing needs. Build the system you want with a variety of pre-built plug in apps, APIs, and even a ton of coding optimizations for those who understand coding. (If you do not have someone on staff who does, there are also templates and pre-built options available too.)

Best Budget Software: Keap

The Keap Pro Plan offers a large variety of features at a reasonable price. This includes tools like landing pages, sales pipeline and analysis, advanced automations, online sales, text marketing, and a dedicated success manager. If your business chooses to pay yearly, you can take advantage of a 20% discount. 

Best for Fundraising:’s software is well-known for its fundraising capabilities. They offer tools to boost crowdfunding and peer-to-peer campaigns, manage events and registration, as well as one-time or recurring donations.

Classy’s software heralds simple, user-friendly customization for any kind of campaign, including attractive templates and customizations for peer-to-peer fundraising pages and beyond.

While not all membership-based organizations hold fundraising events, those that do (and do so regularly) should employ the help of a software like Classy because it has been specifically designed for them.


Final Thoughts

In the brave new world of automation, there is no need for your nonprofit to manage member data on spreadsheets (or even worse, paper files!). Choosing the right profile database software can make a colossal difference by allowing your organization to gather more information than ever before. It will also allow you to use this information in ways that you may not have thought possible. 

In addition, these software platforms are more affordable than you might think. When you take into account the money and time saved through the use of the tools and features offered, the savings may more than pay for your initial investment. It is worth having someone on your financial staff do a cost analysis to determine whether you can fit software into your budget. If not, choose a free version until you can afford something more powerful. 

Finally, remember that your organization is unique. Take some time to determine just what you want and need from your profile database software. Find something that will grow with your company, so that you are not stuck with something that does not fit when you have outpaced its capabilities. With a little bit of planning, your organization can take its engagement and fundraising to the next level with automation.

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đź’ˇWhat is a profile database?

At its core, a profile database is simply a software program that allows your organization to gather and store information on your members, stakeholders, volunteers, or customer base. Find out more. 

🔑 Which software is best for database?

There are a lot of excellent database options, but which one is best for your organization depends on a number of factors. These include what type of organization you run, your budget, and your company’s specific needs. The bottom line is to find a platform that offers the most bang for your buck. Find out more. 

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