Seeking your input on donor databases and QuickBooks Online


data integration1One of my many jobs in this world is being the webmaster and community manager for a large national organization’s resource development website, which essentially acts as a fundraising toolbox for their local affiliates. One of the many functions of the website is an “Ask the Expert” service where front line staff can ask resource development questions and receive an answer in approximately 24 hours. A few weeks ago a question was asked about donor databases and QuickBooks Online. While I’m happy with our answer, I’m wondering if there isn’t more advice that could’ve been provided.

So, this morning I’m inviting all of you to become one of our “experts” and weigh-in with advice that will help round out the response that was originally provided.

The Question

“I am looking for guidance on purchasing a donor management system. We currently use QuickBooks online version and are having difficulty finding a solution that will integrate with the software. Are there any solutions out there that are recommended?

The Answer We Provided

There is a great workbook in The Vault titled “Getting the Most from Your Decision: Four Steps to Selecting Donor Management Software.” It is located in the Donor Management Guides section where you will find many more interesting resources that can assist you in making a sound decision.

It sounds like your organization has ranked data integration with your QuickBooks Online account as a high priority. As you move from the second step of your search process (e.g. prioritizing) to the third step of the process (e.g. deciding), you will end up:

  • engaging a variety of companies
  • viewing many product demonstrations
  • using your list of preferred functions and features to screen your options

I encourage you to walk this path with other people (e.g. preferably other system users and individuals who will be impacted by this decision).

With all of this being said, it sounds like you are following this process and disappointed in how few options exist when it comes to data integration with your QuickBooks Online account.

The national organization has a policy that prohibits me from recommending specific products. So, please do not construe any of the following information as a recommendation.

After some preliminary investigating, it looks like the following two donor database products offer the feature that you’re looking for:

I also found an online service called itDUZZit which seems to work with DonorPerfect in the cloud to configure and integrate your data with QuickBooks Online. You should check into the willingness of this company to create other bridges for other products. From what I saw on their website, this might be an option.

It is important to note that I have no experience using DonorSnap and itDUZZit, and I have very little experience with Donor Perfect. Again, please don’t view any of this as a recommendation to purchase those products. I am simply suggesting these options might be worth further investigation.

However, I am recommending the following:

  • Keep looking . . . Google is a great resource and so are all of the articles located in The Vault
  • Identify other non-profit agencies in your community who use QuickBooks Online and ask them if/how they bridge their systems
  • Think outside of the box . . . many cloud-based database systems have export features that give you what you need to upload to QuickBooks Online (and being OK with a few extra clicks might expand your database search options)
  • Don’t lose sight of the fact that data integration is likely only one of many functions and features that you desire. While integration with QuickBooks Online is obviously at the top of your list, I encourage you to guard against letting it blind you from your other functions and features needs.

In researching your question, I reached out to Nancy Guthrie who is the owner of Business Matters, an accounting firm who works with many non-profit organizations like yours and has experience with QuickBooks Online. Here is what she had to say:

Time marches on and there are solutions . . . there are many external softwares that now integrate with QuickBooks online.  I googled “Quickbooks online donor integration” and hit the choice below (DonorSnap). I am sure there may be others.  I support looking at all of the online solutions for data and accounting. It is where the attention is and gives the most flexibility and most modern choices and connections to time and communication tools.  The integration with QuickBooks Online has come a long way!

In a second email, she added this:

At this point, reverting to a desktop-based accounting software will NEVER get my vote — no matter the integration.  The amount of the transaction entry time for deposits saved will never make enough difference to change the accounting away from the Online version, which is so perfect for non-profit organizations.”

I hope this helps. If you have additional questions, please feel free to come back and “Ask the Experts”.

And now . . . the rest of the story?

data integration2OK . . . you’ve had a chance to read the question and answer. What additional advice would you have provided? Do you use QuickBooks Online and a donor database with a data integration bridge? If so, what can you tell us about the data bridge and the database (or CRM)?

Please scroll down and share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box below. I will happily pass your thoughts along and possibly even append the response that we uploaded to the website.

Similar to Tuesday’s post about revising a whitepaper/brief, I’m asking you to “pay it forward” today.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

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About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on September 11, 2014, in Fundraising, nonprofit, resource development, technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I highly recommend WayCool Software (CoolFocus product). Highly integrated, connects easily to MS Word and Quickbooks, and is affordable. They were doing cloud-based, real-time NP management before it was the hot topic. http://www.waycoolsw.com/ When I advise small nonprofits, I encourage them to consider WayCool. The people are first-class business entrepreneurs with a real heart for nonprofit work.

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