FileMaker Inc. on Monday released FileMaker Donations, a fundraising and donor management application. The company has also launched a site dedicated to assisting non-profit organizations.
“FileMaker Donations is targeted to any organization that does fundraising — from an institution of higher education seeking alumni donations to local school fundraisers,” John Dasher, product manager, FileMaker Applications, told MacCentral. “There’s a lot of reinvention in this space, and we wanted to offer a product with a solid foundation that offered good solutions to fundraisers’ problems and needs. We’re getting away from people having to, for instance, keep a giant list of names in Excel.”
FileMaker Donations is the latest in the series of FileMaker Application business solutions. Based on the FileMaker Pro 6 database, FileMaker Applications are designed for simple installation and require no expertise in how to use a database, Dasher said.
Each application generally includes built-in e-mail and reporting templates that allow users to personalize and automate communications and the sharing of information. Previously released FileMaker Applications include FileMaker Tasks, FileMaker Meetings and FileMaker Recruiter.
FileMaker Donations was created to offer an affordable, easy-to-use tool for managing and reporting on fund raising initiatives and donor programs, Dasher said. It has lots of potential customers as there are almost 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the U.S., not counting the schools and informal organizations that hold fundraising drives each year. However, according to an annual study recently released by the American Association of Fundraising Counsel Trust for Philanthropy, contributions to the largest U.S. charities declined in 2002; it’s the first dip in 12 years,
“With more organizations competing for a piece of a smaller pie, charities and other non-profits need the best tools for making their fund raising initiatives more productive both for short term success and for strengthening long term donor relationships,” Dasher said. “With the worldwide economy, people are more financially aware and organizations are seeing that people who once would reliably have donated now need a little prompting. They’re often distracted and need a reminder. This means it’s really important how fundraisers manage their donation information.”
FileMaker Donations offers features and templates for dealing with donor network management, volunteer management, communications management, donor and campaign histories. Its contact management features let you centralize and manage contact details. For instance, you can organize and track your volunteers, their strengths and their relationships, Dasher said.
Communications templates and mail management tools let you handle and personalize a range of correspondence and communications such as event invitations, donor solicitations, thank you notes, e-mail and donor receipts. Reporting features offer a history of every campaign’s effectiveness, donor histories and the resources used in fundraising events.
FileMaker Donations isn’t “locked.” Like the other FileMaker Applications, it’s designed as a ready-to-use application, but can be extended.
“FileMaker Donations can be modified and extended by the customer or a developer,” Dasher said. “We’re committed to bringing pretty sophisticated management tools to everyone.”
Since it’s a FileMaker Pro 6-based application, FileMaker Donations supports the major Internet and data standards, which means you can use it in your current computing environment and office applications, he added. It costs US$129 and is sold through FileMaker’s Web Store. It’s currently available only in North America; it can be downloaded or bought on CD-ROM. FileMaker Donations requires FileMaker Pro 6 and is compatible with Mac OS X 10.2 (“Jaguar”) and 10.3 (“Panther”).
If you don’t own FileMaker Pro 6, you can buy FileMaker Donations and FileMaker Pro 6 together for $363. Volume licensing is also available.
The FileMaker site for fundraisers has four “microsites” that focus on K-12, higher education, government and non-profit organizations. “They help users understand what kinds of solutions we offer and give solid examples of how to use them,” Dasher said.