Support and Training

Whatever else you need in a donor management system, at some point you’re likely to need customer support. Virtually all reviewed vendors offered solid, basic-level support—email support, system documentation, and (at the very least) informal training upon request. In terms of phone support, the difference is likely to be price and quality. How much do you have to pay per incident or per year? Is support only available during certain days or hours? Is there an emergency support option if something goes wrong outside existing support hours? Can existing customers typically reach someone knowledgeable when they call for support? Good documentation, either printed or online, is also critical. Ideally, information should be available when you need it within the system—for example, to let you see what clicking a button will do before you actually click it. If you’re going to widely roll out a system, can you tailor the documentation to your own processes? Training varies among vendors, from affordable over-the-phone and online options to more formal on-site training at your office. Do they offer training materials? How much will you pay for each training option? Most vendors also offer frequent free webinars covering system releases and fundraising best practices.…