Fundraising Technology Resources

Below are links to articles and resources about donor databases, email marketing, online fundraising, spam avoidance, technology planning, and related issues.

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Fundraising Databases & CRMs-Vendors | Fundraising Databases & CRMs-Selection | Fundraising Databases & CRMs-Implementation | Fundraising Databases & CRMs-Management | Email Marketing | Newsletters | Online Fundraising | Online Privacy | Social Media | Spam | Technology Planning | Other Resources

Fundraising Databases and CRMs - Vendors

Association of Fundraising Professionals: Advancing Philanthropy Fundraising Technology Roundup May/June 2012 Note: Each listing spans two pages

Campbell Rinker 2008 Donor & Member Database Survey

Heller Consulting: Review of Salesforce Advancement Connect for Higher Education (free, registration required)

Heller Consulting: The New World of Donor Management Apps for Nonprofits (comparison of Salesforce-based systems)

Idealware and NTEN: 2013 Consumers Guide to Donor Management Systems

newIdealware: The Landscape of Salesforce for Nonprofits (revised 2015)

Idealware: A Few Good Tools: Low Cost Constituent Databases

Idealware and TechSoup: Comparing Lower-Cost Online Integrated Applications

IT For Charities: Fundraising Databases for UK Charities

Lyric Systems: List of Fundraising Databases

Leland, Eric (Idealware/TechSoup): A Few Good Donor Management Tools

Leland, Eric (Idealware): A Few Good Association Management Tools

Mills-Groninger, Tim (NonProfit Times): The Soft(ware) Side of Fundraising Effectiveness (includes a vendor listing) (Archived version - may be slow to load.)

NTEN: 2008 Donor Management Software Satisfaction Survey (free for NTEN members, $50 for non-members)

Weiner, Robert: Donor Database Toolkit (extensive, editable list of donor databases)

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Fundraising Databases and CRMs - Strategy and Selection

Barber, Melissa (NTEN Connect): Case Study: An Accidental Techie #FAIL Story (CRM project gone wrong)

Campbell, Peter: 13 Lessons On Building Your Nonprofit Technology Culture

Campbell, Peter (Idealware): The Perfect Fit: A Guide to Evaluating and Purchasing Major Software Systems

Campbell, Peter and Quinn, Laura: How To Find Data-Exchange-Friendly Software

Cooperstock, Dan (Cooperstock Software): Why not to create a do-it-yourself donation tracking and receipting system?

Finch, Janna: Three ways to evaluate nonprofit technology

Finch, Janna: How to determine nonprofit software costs

Exponent Partners: Nonproit Technology Adoption - Why It Matters and How to Be Successful

FivePaths: Choosing a Donor Management System - Six Critical Steps For Making The Right Choice

Grantsmanship Center: A User's Guide to Selecting Fundraising Software

Grow, Pamela: It’s the Data, Stupid! Why Your Organization’s Database is Your Most Important Development Tool

Heller, Keith (Idealware): Do You Need New Donor Management Software?

Idealware: The Truth About Hosted Software Packages

Idealware: 10 Things To Consider in a CRM

Idealware: How To Track Everyone Who's Anyone To You: Is A Single Database Right for Your Org?

newIdealware: Will All Your Constituents Fit Into One System? An Idealware Workbook

Idealware and TechSoup: Do You Need a New Donor Management System? A step-by-step decision-making workbook

Leland, Eric (Grassroots Fundraising Journal): Mind Your Own Business (When the software business is your business too)

Mills-Groninger, Tim (NonProfit Times): The Soft(ware) Side of Fundraising Effectiveness (Archived version, may be slow to load.)

Mills-Groninger, Tim (NonProfit Times): Build, Buy, or Rent? (Archived version, may be slow to load)

Murrain, Michelle (Idealware): The True Costs of Free and Low-Cost Software

NonProfit Times: 6 Tips For A Successful Software Demo

NPower: Selecting Donor Management Software

Petulla , Maria (Grassroots Fundraising Journal): Making Order Out of Chaos: How a Good Fundraising Database Can Help You Raise More Money (archived copy, may be slow to load)

Quinn, Laura (Idealware): There Ain't No Such Thing As a Free Software Package

Quinn, Laura (Grassroots Fundraising Journal): Software to Support Your Fundraising

Sage Software: A Nonprofit's Guide to Purchasing Fundraising Software

newShalev, Isaac: Nonprofits, Stop Rushing Into Salesforce!

Shalev, Isaac: Thinking About A New CRM? Read This First!

The Databank: The Buyer's Guide to Choosing a Nonprofit CRM

Weiner, Robert (Idealware): Back Away From That Spreadsheet: Why Excel Isn't a Donor Database

Weiner, Robert (Grassroots Fundraising Journal): Finding the Perfect Fundraising Database in an Imperfect World

Weiner, Robert (Idealware): Ten Common Mistakes in Selecting Donor Databases (And How to Avoid Them) (revised Feb. 2012)

Weiner, Robert (Nonprofit Quarterly): Looking for Databases in All the Right Places

Weiner, Robert (AFP eWire): Choosing a Donor Database

Weiner, Robert (NTEN Forecast): Why Building Your Own Database Should Be Your Last Resort

Weiner, Robert (CASE Handbook of Institutional Advancement): Buying and Implementing a Development System

Wild Apricot: Membership Database Selection Part 1 - Defining Your Needs

Wild Apricot: Membership Database Selection Part 2 - Understanding Your Choices

Wild Apricot: Membership Database Selection Part 3 - Making Your Choice

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Fundraising Databases and CRMs - Implementation

Bibbo, Laura: 7 Things to Think About Before You Implement a Fundraising System

Carr, Samantha (NTEN): The Unavoidable Decisions You Will Face with Donor Data Migration

Jervis, Lisa: A Brief Guide To Change Management

Kronzak, Tracy: Project Success, Implementation Failure

Kronzak, Tracy: Why CRM Implementations Fail and How to Avoid It

Lang, Bethany: Moving in to your new nonprofit CRM

Reiss, Norman: Why Staff Aren’t Using Your New Database

Saxten, Susie: Top Things to Consider Before Converting Your Nonprofit’s Data into a New System

Weiner, Robert (CASE Currents): Recipe for a Successful Conversion

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Fundraising Databases and CRMs - Management

Connors, Bill (Advancing Philanthropy): Being Good to Your Database

Haguewood, Jeffrey: Five Nonprofit Database Software Challenges and How to Fix Them

Heller, Keith: An Organized Donor Database: The Key to Successful Integrated Marketing

Kronzak, Tracy: So You’ve Hired a CRM Administrator…

Pustejovsky, Mary: Top Qualities in a Great CRM Administrator

Salesforce: Achieving outstanding CRM administration

Weiner, Robert: What to Do When Technology Isn’t Your Problem

Weiner, Robert: Should You Delete Donor Records?

Weiner, Robert: Discussion of Donor Data Retention

Weiner, Robert: Reigning in Shadow Databases

Weiner, Robert: Training on Your New Database

Weiner, Robert: Maybe It’s Not Your Database, It’s You

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Email Marketing and Fundraising

Algeri, Catherine (Fundraising Success): E-mail Appends: The Good, the Bad and the Realistic

Allen, Nick: 13 tips for raising money online

Allison, Rachel: 10 steps to a great e-mail

Allison, Rachel: Testing e-mail without testing your sanity (email newsletter checklist)

Bronto Mail: E-mail Marketing 101

Bronto Mail: Email Marketing Whitepapers

Business 2 Community: 19 Boring But Effective Email Deliverability Best Practices

Campaign Monitor: Articles and Tips on Email Marketing

Convio: Integrated Marketing: The Power of Combining Online Marketing with Direct Mail

Cravens, Jayne (Coyote Communications): Tips for Nonprofits Using Email Newsletters (revised 4/10)

DMNews: Essential Guide to E-mail Marketing

dotorgEssentials: Best Practice for Email Campaigns

Email Experience Council: Wall of Questions (Q&A about email campaigns)

Lyris: Email Marketing Best Practices 

eROI Resource Center: Email Marketing Guides, Quarterly Statistics, and Case Studies

Gilbert, Michael: The Gilbert Email Manifesto

Gilbert, Michael: Twelve Ways To Fail at Email

Gilbert, Michael: Do Your Stakeholders Think You're a Spammer? Online Fundraising Handbook (chapter 3 discusses email newsletters)

Groundwire: 2012 Comparison of Email Service Providers

Holden-Bache, Adam (Mass Transmit): Best Practices for Optimizing the Email Opt-In Process

Hrywna, Mark (NonProfit Times): Subjects Matter (writing strong subject lines) -- Archived copy

Idealist Consulting: 2014 Email Service Providers Comparison Report

Idealware: Adventures in Email Fundraising

Idealware: Choosing Bulk Email Software to Match Your Communication Goals

Idealware: A Few Good Email Newsletter Tools

Interactive Advertising Bureau: Marketer & Agency Guide to Email Deliverability

Jennings, Jeanne: (Marketingsherpa): Making Social and Email Work Together

Lasa: Bulk Email Software Review

Lasa: Choosing Bulk Email Software

Livingston, Brian: Don't Count On Your E-Mail Being Delivered

M + R Strategic Services: Do Images Help or Hurt Email Appeals?

Mathieu, Blaine (iMedia Connection): 3 steps to superior email snippets

MarketingProfs: Top 100 words NOT to use in your subject lines

Matheson, Karen and Fox, Eve: Why open rates are dropping

Mathias, Devin, University of Michigan: Before you hit send… Guidelines for using email effectively.

Nielsen, Jakob Targeted Email Newsletters Show Continued Strength

Patrick, Jeff (NTEN): An Intimate Look at a Successful Online Fundraising Campaign

Pearson, Jerold: @Stanford and Institutional Advancement

Pepperrell, Véro (Digital Web): The Seven Deadly Sins of Email Marketing Management (archived copy)

Pollard, Stefan (ClickZ): Crafting a Compelling Text Message

Return Path: Deliverability 101 – Getting your email into the Inbox

Roth, Wendy (iMedia Connection): 10 ways email marketing has fundamentally changed

Schwartz, Nancy: Checklist for E-News Service Provider Selection

Stanionis, Madeline: The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising Thousands (if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email

Stanionis, Madeline: Eight tests worth trying online (testing email appeals)

Stein, Michael: Growing your e-mail list

Stoner, Michael: Creating Effective Email Campaigns's collection of e-solicitations

Weiner, Robert (E-Philanthropy Review): Email Campaigns - The Technical Side

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Newsletters about online marketing and fundraising

CharityChannel: E-Philanthropy and Technology Review

Email Sherpa

Mal Warwick and Associates: Successful Fundraising Online

Marketing Profs

Gerry McGovern: New Thinking


TargetX: Email Minute

Ralph Wilson: Web Marketing Today

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Online Fundraising

Affinity Resources: Comparison of Online Donation Services

Affinity Resources: The Donation Process - A Four Step Process for Online Donations by Credit Card

Ahern, Tom: Deciding What Goes Into Your Donor Newsletter

Allen, Mira and Quinn, Laura (Nonprofit Times): e-Commerce: Donation Processing & CRM (good overview of online fundraising -- archived version)

Blackbaud: Online Gift Donor Profile

Blackbaud: Internet Assessment Survey Responses

Blue Avocado: Comparing Cheap and Free "Donate Now" Button Services

Care2, Sea Change, & Free Range: The Procrastinators’ Guide to Online Fundraising

Care2: ROI Calculator for Social Network Campaigns

Christ, Rick and Fignar, Heather (AFP eWire): Shattering Online Fundraising Myths

CompassPoint: The eNonprofit: A Guide to ASPs, Internet Services, and Online Software

Convio: The Next Generation of American Giving (free registration required)

Commentary on the Next Generation study from The Agitator and Future Fundraising Now

Convio: The Wired Wealthy: Using the Internet to Connect with Your Middle and Major Donors

DonorDigital: Beyond Best Practices: What seven organizations learned about converting more donors on their web donation forms

DonorDigital: Boost online response by optimizing your donation landing pages

EmailStatCenter: Collection of statistics and research on nonprofit online fundraising

ePhilanthropy Foundation: Code of Ethical Online Philanthropic Practices

Gaffny, Tom: Best Practices: Destination Marketing

Article part 1, July 2008

Article part 2, August 2008

DMA slides, January 2008 (55 MB)

George Washington University Institute for Politics Democracy & the Internet: The Political Consultants’ Online Fundraising Primer

Gilbert, Michael: Online Donor Cultivation: The Quest for Metrics Online Fundraising Handbook

Guidestar: Is Mobile Fundraising the Next Frontier for Charities?

Guidestar: On-line Monthly Giving—A Review of Nonprofit Programs

Guidestar: The State of Fundraising On-line: Results of a 2008 Giving USA Survey

Hart, Greenfield, Johnston: Nonprofit Internet Strategies: Best Practices for Marketing, Communications, and Fundraising

Howard, Don and Weber, Ken: Seeing the Internet's (Not So) Obvious Benefits

Kanter, Beth: Exploring Online Fundraising for Nonprofit Arts Organizations (archived version - may be slow to load)

M + R Strategic Services and NTEN: 2012 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study (free registration required)

MobileActive: Texting for Charitable Dollars: The Definitive Guide (archived copy)

National Association of State Charity Officials: Charleston Principles for online solicitations

Network for Good: The Online Fundraiser's Checklist 2.0

Network for Good: Online Fundraising Guides and eBooks

Network for Good: The Wired Fundraiser

NonProfit Times: Online payment systems

Org 2.0: The 59 Smartest Organizations Online

Soper, Michael: Understanding E-Relationships

Stoner, Michael: Web/Internet Strategy Must-Reads for Decisionmakers

Stoner, Michael: Making a Difference Online: What Really Matters to Potential Donors

Sumac Software: Weighing Your Options for Processing Donations Online Survey Results: What are you doing with Web 2.0?

Target Analysis Group: 2008 Online Giving Benchmarking Analysis

Ward, Amy Sample (NetSquared): Online Fundraising, Lessons Learned

Warwick, Hart, Allen: Fundraising on the Internet

Weiner, Robert and Thompson, Chris (CASE): Analysis of CASE's 2009 survey on online fundraising

Weiner, Robert: Online Donations Checklist

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Online Privacy

The Direct Marketing Association's Privacy Policy Guidelines Online privacy policy generator

AB 68, California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 (requires a posted privacy policy on web sites that collect personally identifiable information from California residents)

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Social Media

Andresen, Katya: What are nonprofits doing with social media? Six interesting stats

Askanase, Debra: Listening Posts: The Six Free Listening Tools You Cannot Do Without

Askanase, Debra: Pinterest board of social media policies

Association of Fundraising Processionals: Social Media Guidelines

The Bamboo Project: Using Facebook in Your Nonprofit

Barry, Frank (Blackbaud): Nonprofit Social Media Primer

Beaconfire: Social Media Tracking – Easy Tools to Monitor Online Activity and ROI

Blackbaud: Making Event Participants More Successful with Social Media Tools

Bridgespan Group: Tweeting For a Better World

Broitman, Robin (Interactive Insights Group): How To Grow Your Social Media Network

Boudreaux, Chris: Database of Social Media Governance Policies

Care2: Fundraising on Social Media: Slam Dunk or Snake Oil?

Care2: Top 8 Social Media Tracking Tools

Care2: Analysis of fundraising through Facebook Causes

Chronicle of Philanthropy: Social Philanthropy blog

Chronicle of Philanthropy Special Report: Face Time - Charities flock to social-networking sites

Chronicle of Philanthropy: Advice for Charities on Making the Most of Twitter

Chronicle of Philanthropy: How Charities Can Raise Money With Twitter and Other Social-Networking Tools (online discussion transcript) (How) Should higher ed institutions use MySpace?

Connecticut Student Loan Foundation: What is Web 2.0 for Higher Education?

Conway, Marion: Before You Jump in with Two Feet in Social Media - Important Boring Basic Stuff First

Cravens, Jayne: Online Action Should Create & Support Offline Action

Dakin, Shaun: Twitter Tools

Davies, Tim: Facebook groups vs. Facebook pages

Diosa Communications: Facebook Best Practices for Nonprofit Organizations

Diosa Communications: MySpace Best Practices for Nonprofit Organizations

Diosa Communications: YouTube Best Practices for Nonprofit Organizations

Dyer, Pam: Top 12 Social Media Insights for Nonprofits in 2012

.eduGuru: Setting up a LinkedIn Alumni Group for your College

Evans, Dan: Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day

Feld, Peter (Ad Age): What Obama Can Teach You About Millennial Marketing

Foundation Center: Nonprofit Social Media Policy: Tips From a Nonprofit Lawyer (video interview)

Georgetown University Center for Social Impact Communication & Ogilvy Public Relations: Dynamics of Cause Engagement

Greenstein, Howard (Mashable): Facebook Pages vs Facebook Groups: What's the Difference?

Guidestar: Tips for Entering Your Nonprofit into the Social Media Environment

Haydon, John: How The National Wildlife Federation Uses Social Media (interview with Danielle Brigida)

Haydon, John: Twitter Jump Start: The Complete Guide for Small Nonprofits

Holdridge, Heather (Care2): The ROI of Social Media

Idealware: What If Someone Says Something Bad About Me On Social Media?

Idealware: The Nonprofit Social Media Policy Workbook

Idealware: 10 Things You're Doing Wrong With Social Media

Idealware: Using Facebook To Meet Your Mission: Results of a Survey

Idealware: The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide

ifPeople: Developing a Social Media Strategy

Kanter, Beth: Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

Kanter, Beth: The Six Signs That Twitter Isn't For Your Nonprofit

Kanter, Beth:Social Media Guidelines for Staff

Kanter, Beth: Twitter, What's Twitter?

Kanter, Beth: What, Why, and How of Facebook Pages

Karr, John (Chronicle of Philanthropy): Getting the Most From Your Facebook Fans (case study)

Lasica, J.D.: Social Media Policies

Leoni, Elana: Pinterest board of social media policies

Liu, Kenneth (Law For Change): Legal Risks in Social Media Use by Nonprofits

Marchenese, Kira: Social Media Guidelines for Environmental Defense Fund Employees

Martens, Jasper & Smith, Hannah: Step-by-Step Guide to Social Media Success

Matthew, David: What is the Real Value of Social Media for Nonprofits?

McLellan, Drew: Chief Marketing Officer's Guide to the Social (Media) Landscape

Miller, Kivi Leroux (Guidestar): Need a Social Media Strategy? Start with These Three-Pronged Approaches

Miller, Kivi Leroux: Template for a Social Media Policy (in MS Word)

NetWits Think Tank: Social Media for Nonprofits (lots of sample strategies, videos, & examples)

Nonprofit Law Blog: Why You Need a Social Media Policy

Notes for Nonprofits: Ten Things a Nonprofit Should Do Before Setting Up Social Media

NTEN, Common Knowledge, Blackbaud: 2012 Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report (free registration required)

Ochman, B.L. (BusinessWeek): Debunking Six Social Media Myths

Odden, Lee (TopRank Blog): Social Media Marketing Checklist

Outspoken Media: Creating Your Social Media Plan

Owyang, Jeremiah: Testing Facebook Pages

Pitman, Mark: How Twitter can transform your fundraising

Pogue, David: Twittering Tips for Beginners Policy Tool for Social Media (policy generator)

Rowley, Melissa (Mashable): 10 Tips for Successful Twitter Fundraising

Shandlain, Andy: In-House Online (Alumni) Communities: Good Investment?

Sociable Blog: 100 Twitter Tools to Help You Achieve All Your Goals

Social Source Commons: Building a Social Media Dashboard with Netvibes

Smarty, Ann (Search Engine Journal): Facebook Group vs. Facebook Fan Page--What's Better?

Social Media Today: Best Practices for Facebook Pages

Stelzner, Michael A. (MarketingProfs): The Dark Side of Twitter: What Businesses Need to Know

SupportingAdvancement survey: What are you doing with Web 2.0?

Washington Post: To Nonprofits Seeking Cash, Facebook App Isn't So Green

We Are Media Project: The Social Media Starter Kit for Nonprofits

Wild Apricot: Best Practices for Nonprofits' Use of Facebook

Wild Apricot: Get Started Right with Your Nonprofit on Twitter

Wild Apricot: Using Facebook and MySpace for Advocacy and Fundraising: An interview with Carie Lewis, HSUS

Worthwhile Films: Collection of Social Media Networking Groups for Non-Profits

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Brown, Alexandria: 20 Words That Kill - At Least When It Comes to Spam Filters

The Direct Marketing Association: CAN-SPAM resources

Email Tools: How To Get Off An Email Blacklist

Guidestar: What Nonprofits Need to Know about CAN-SPAM

Lucid Images: Stop Spam Harvesting

Nonprofit Navigator: CAN-SPAM Act Could Affect Charities

Nonprofit Navigator: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam: How to Win Friends and Avoid Blacklisting

Rimmer, Steven: Death to Spam - A Guide To Dealing With Unwanted E-Mail

SpamLinks: Everything You Didn't Want to Have to Know About Spam

St Sauver, Joe: Winning the War on Spam

Summary of State Anti-Spam Laws

Templeton, Brad: Origin of the term "spam" to mean email abuse

TidBits: Spam Filtering – Killing the Killer App

Web Marketing Today: 20 Ways Opt-in E-Mailers Can Outsmart Spam Filters

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Technology Planning

Benton Foundation: Technology Literacy Benchmarks

Melnikow, Paul: Technology assessment toolkit

Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York: Disaster Planning, Emergency Preparedness & Business Continuity

Nonprofit Times: Making Technology Work For, Not Against You

NPower: Technology Guide for Nonprofit Leaders: Arts and Culture

NPower: Technology Guide for Nonprofit Leaders: Community Development

NPower: Technology Guide for Nonprofit Leaders: Education Services

NPower: Technology Guide for Nonprofit Leaders: Health and Human Services

NPower: Total Cost of Ownership Calculator (archived)

NPower: Total Cost of Ownership Calculator documentation

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Other Useful Resources

Association of Advancement Services Professionals

Capaciteria : Links to peer-reviewed capacity resources, including technology, fundraising, legal, accounting, communications, HR, and volunteer management.

Charity Village : An extensive array of nonprofit resources.

Consultant Resources : Resources for nonprofit consultants, from a presentation at NTEN's 2008 Nonprofit Technology Conference. : A listserve for Development Services professionals, where a variety of back-office issues are discussed. Typical topics include IRS regulations, records management, policies, and systems. It also offers a file sharing area for exchanging manuals, policies, forms, etc.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy's Technology Guide

Innovation Network's Assessment and Evaluation Tools

Marcinko, Jake: The Questions Every Nonprofit Should Ask About Sensitive Data

Nonprofit FAQ : The long-standing Nonprofit FAQ seems to have been shut down, but has an extensive collection of resources.

Nonprofit Good Practice Guide : Information on evaluation, advocacy, fundraising, governance, management, technology, and more.

Putnam, Kris: So, You Want To Be A Philanthropy Consultant? (part 1) 5 questions to ask yourself before starting out as a consultant, plus resources.

Putnam, Kris: So, You Want To Be A Philanthropy Consultant? (part 2) 15 tips for new consultants.

R I Arlington Information on Advancement Services, systems, job postings, and survey results.

SOFII: The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration : Described as "a comprehensive, easily accessible archive of the best fundraising creativity from around the world." (free registration required)

SupportingAdvancement : Links to a wide variety of Development Services resources, including a collection of job descriptions.

Third Sector New England: Information Technology Resources for Nonprofit Organizations : Links to resources to help nonprofit executives, managers, staff and “accidental techies” use technology effectively.

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Fundraising Databases & CRMs-Vendors | Fundraising Databases & CRMs-Selection | Fundraising Databases & CRMs-Implementation | Fundraising Databases & CRMs-Management | Email Marketing | Newsletters | Online Fundraising | Online Privacy | Social Media | Spam | Technology Planning | Other Resources