5 Reasons You'll Love Bloomerang Donor Management Software, A Software Review

Written by Jeffrey Haguewood on 7/9/15

Bloomerang is nonprofit fundraising and donor management software.  At its core, Bloomerang is a constituent relationship management (nonprofit CRM) platform, but it also includes a suite of fundraising tools that focus on constituent engagement.  

Bloomerang is a relative newcomer to the nonprofit technology space (compared to other legacy nonprofit donor management software systems), but it is a welcome addition to a space that in many respects could use a new coat of paint.



Watch a free video demo for an inside look at Bloomerang donor management and fundraising software.



As a CRM, Bloomerang’s core platform isn’t much different than other nonprofit donor management software systems.  

  • You can build constituent profiles with contact information, preferences, and demographics.  

  • You can also track constituent engagement with transactions, interactions, notes, and timeline events.  

The basic data tracking and data management components you want in a nonprofit CRM are all there, but Bloomerang's unique features make it a donor management software that you may actually love!

1. Ease of use, simplicity

The primary reason users love Bloomerang donor management software is that it is easy to use.  

Many resource constrained development directors, executive directors, and even board members moonlight as their organization’s database administrator, but you don't need to be a database administrator to use Bloomerang software.  Many users find Bloomerang software so easy to use that they jump right in with very little training (although we still recommend that you invest time in Bloomerang training so you can get the most from Bloomerang).

Bloomerang is easy to use because it was and is designed that way.  Bloomerang doesn’t have all the bells and whistles.  Bloomerang focuses on the core features required for a solid fundraising strategy without overcomplicating the software.  

Bloomerang's simplicity is a weakness because Bloomerang isn’t as feature rich as other donor management software platforms, but it is also a strength because the software isn’t complicated to use.

Bloomerang’s primary navigation consists of seven links.  The seven links correspond to seven areas of the software.  You can’t do much beyond these seven areas, so simplified navigation is a plus if you are looking for ease of use in donor management software.

  • Home - Navigate to the home screen dashboards.
  • Constituents - Navigate to the constituent search.  Add new constituents, track constituent timeline events, and add constituent relationships.
  • Reports - Navigate to the report builder where you can export data to Excel or display the data on screen.
  • Letters - Navigate to the letter builder to generate letters with data merge.
  • Emails - Navigate to the email builder to send email marketing campaigns with data merge.
  • Imports - Navigate to the Bloomerang import tool to import constituent records or constituent timeline event records.
  • Settings - Navigate to the administrator area of the database including user management, custom fields, website integration (donation widgets), and system settings.

bloomerang-navigation

If you're skeptical about Bloomerang being easy to use, watch this free video demo to see Bloomerang in action.

2. Filter-based reporting

What is the number one donor management software challenge that is also the number one way to get the most from donor management software?

The answer is, "Reporting!"

Time and time again, users get the most frustrated and fed-up with software when they can’t get data out of the software system.  You may put lots of data in, but it is frustrating if you can't get that data out.  Falling in love with a donor management and fundraising software system has a lot to do with reporting.

Bloomerang uses filter-based reporting that requires no queries or weird math-based statements.  Bloomerang provides a straightforward logic-based filtering of data.  There are four types of filters in Bloomerang.

  1. Include AND
  2. Include OR
  3. Exclude AND
  4. Exclude OR

You can create compounds of each statement to get any data set from your Bloomerang database.  Bloomerang reports still require that users develop logic statements to filter the data.  You may need to write down each statement before starting your report, but Bloomerang reporting is infinitely easier to use than many other nonprofit donor management software systems.

bloomerang-report-filters 

The Bloomerang reporting system isn’t perfect.  Bloomerang sacrifices some reporting features like charts, formulas, and complex grouping or pivots for simplicity.  Export your Bloomerang reports to Excel to create complex reports using your data.  We can’t have our cake and eat it too, but exporting to Excel for more advanced data analysis isn’t a terrible concession to make for simple reporting in Bloomerang software.

In addition to filter-based reporting, Bloomerang’s export to households function is almost too easy to use.  Simply check a box in the report settings titled “Export Households?” and the report will export to households.  I'm not kidding, this feature is for real and it will blow your mind.  No more de-duplicating lists or manually scrubbing lists after they are exported.

bloomerang-export-to-households

3. Engagement meter and timeline

Every constituent’s engagement with your organization is graded in Bloomerang.  The engagement meter on the constituent profile displays a constituent’s engagement with your organization on a scale of “Cold” to “On Fire.”  

The engagement meter is a Bloomerang secret.  We don’t know the factors or the weights of the factors that contribute to the scoring.  There are obvious and not so obvious contributors to the engagement meter.  Donations, interactions (even those initiated by the constituent), soft credits, and email engagement are some of the factors that contribute to the meter.

bloomerang-engagement-meter  

Let’s assume the engagement meter is an effective measure of constituent engagement.  This is a fair assumption considering academic and practical experts in the nonprofit fundraising field developed it.  My bet is that Bloomerang has this right.  We can use the engagement meter to be more intentional with our fundraising strategy and constituent engagements.

  • Focus efforts on those constituents who are most engaged
  • Target appeals based on engagement (save on mailing costs)
  • Mine your database for prospective donors
  • Track engagement over time for your entire constituent pool 

Like the engagement meter, Bloomerang has innovated the constituent timeline from a stale data record (which you find in most legacy donor management software systems) to a vibrant interactive tool for donor engagement. You will love the constituent timeline for two reasons (click here to see it for yourself).

  1. The timeline is formatted like a social media timeline that is visually appealing and is easy to read and digest.
  2. The timeline is smart and contains donor intelligence tools that contextualize a constituent’s history.

The constituent timeline is a perfect tool for major gift prospect research, major gift fundraising, and 1-to-1 constituent engagements and interactions.  Two minutes spent in the constituent timeline before a call, meeting, or email can contextualize the relationship your organization has with a constituent so you can continue to progress the relationship forward instead of starting fresh with each new interaction.

bloomerang-timeline

4. Acknowledgements

Do you know if every donation made to your organization this year has been acknowledged?  You should and Bloomerang can help.  You’ll love Bloomerang because it removes the stress and anxiety of acknowledging donors.  

Bloomerang makes sure no acknowledgements slip through the cracks.  With a little upfront setup, Bloomerang software will confirm that every donation has been acknowledged (or that the donation doesn’t need to be acknowledged) and streamline the process of generating daily or weekly acknowledgement letters.

The donation record in Bloomerang has a field called “Acknowledged?”  This field has three values: Yes, No, Do Not Acknowledge.  By default every donation is flagged with “No.”  Setup an acknowledgement letter with filters that look for all transactions with “No” and run the letters.  Whether the donation was made five months ago, five days ago, or today, the filters will dynamically update on the acknowledgment status, not the date.  Because the Bloomerang system runs on this field, and not a date, your process won't miss backdated transactions.  

When you run the acknowledgement letter in Bloomerang, the system will trip all of the donations to “Acknowledged? - Yes” so they will fall out of your dynamic filter set.  Bloomerang will also create an interaction record on the constituent’s timeline with a copy of the letter (no more rerunning letters if the letter is misplaced or the donor wants a copy).  

You still need to run the letters manually (i.e. push the button to run them), but Bloomerang simplifies the process and removes the worry, stress, and concern that a donor’s contribution was missed.

bloomerang-acknowledgement-letters

5. Customizable

Bloomerang is a very functional, user-friendly, and intuitive donor management and fundraising database. It has a simple layout and it has easy-to-understand features. However, don’t let its user-focused design and simplicity fool you. Bloomerang has a robust structure on the back-end that allows administrative users to customize the database.

The Bloomerang database can be customized with custom fields. Bloomerang software allows users to add as many custom fields to the database as needed (unlimited). This gives your organization an unlimited, blank canvas to track and report on data about your constituents and the interactions you have with your constituents.

bloomerang-custom-fields

Custom fields make Bloomerang more powerful and more capable.  Bloomerang custom fields expand the data that can be tracked and reported on in Bloomerang.  Bloomerang can be used to track information on volunteers, events, major gifts, planned gifts, grants, surveys, memberships, and more.  In addition, segment constituents with demographics, preferences, and qualities with custom fields on the constituent profile.  Custom fields make the Bloomerang database flexible and scalable so it can be a nonprofit donor management software you love today as well as two or three years from now.

Bonus: Development timeline

Since Bloomerang is a lovable software, we couldn’t stop with just five reasons.  The final reason is a long-term benefit.  The software development cycle is something that often gets left off of nonprofit software purchasing decisions, but it shouldn’t.  The software development cycle is how quickly a software vendor pushes out new releases, incorporates user feedback, and improves the software.  This is especially true for SaaS (software as a service) platforms like Bloomerang software.  

Bloomerang’s development timeline is continuous.  You can see their recent software updates here.  They are constantly pushing out new improvements.  Major releases and feature upgrades aren’t as quick as minor patches and updates, but overall, Bloomerang’s pace of innovation is commendable and is an assurance that they are committed to make the software better in the long-term.  Bloomerang donor management software will be better in the future than the day you purchase it. 

Bloomerang and your organization

There are many more reasons you will love Bloomerang.  But Bloomerang isn’t right for every organization.  Conduct a thorough nonprofit software selection process.  Align Bloomerang’s features to your software requirements before making a purchasing decision. Our guide on donor management and fundraising software selection can help.  An intentional Bloomerang review will help your organization make a smart donor management software purchasing decision.

If you're curious about Bloomerang, start by watching this free video demo

Most organizations will find that Bloomerang is a breath of fresh air and a welcome addition to their nonprofit technology ecosystem.  Bloomerang software is simple yet functional.  That combination is powerful and can lead to higher utilization of technology that in turn leads to higher fundraising performance.

Sidekick Solutions provides independent consulting services to Bloomerang users and is a Bloomerang referral partner. We are consultants for many nonprofit database software systems (Bloomerang is one of those systems). Our goal is to provide resources to help nonprofits make informed software purchasing decisions.  

Bloomerang Software Reviews

Watch a FREE video demo of Bloomerang software 

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