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Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the hey-I'm-a-non-profit dept.

Businesses 186

NoTerminal writes "My 60-person non-profit organization is looking for a tool or set of tools to keep track of our donors and contacts. A perfect solution will either replace or gracefully synchronize with Outlook's contacts module, as well as provide a powerful back-end that can handle donation tracking, grant reporting, and interaction tracking. What contact management system or customer relations management package is your non-profit using? How do you like it?"

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186 comments

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Excel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131435)

Seriously. Thats what they are using. I tried to redo it, but never figured out what they really wanted. And everyone understood the excel method.

Re:Excel. (2, Insightful)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131767)

An even better format: txt

Safe and secure.

(joke stolen from a test... anyone have a link? I only have a local copy)

Re:Excel. (4, Interesting)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132053)

You laugh, but for a small business, backups are tough. Some "enterprise" software that is vital to their business for example, will depend on registry keys, services, processes set up to run as a particular user with particular rights, etc. I've dealt with these situations, and setting up a "reasonable" backup solution on a budget is extraordinarily more complex when you're talking about software that is vital to their business.

And in this case, excel is great because it's one file. If they copy it, burn it, put it somewhere, they KNOW it's backed up. It's there. Same goes for TXT. They can test it by taking their one file and opening it up on another machine. Does it work? Yes. It's there.

But for more complicated software, holy crap. One solution I came up for an anonymous small business whose computers were stolen was to replace all their desktops with Virtualbox VMs, set every client and the server to save state, copy all the Virtualbox files to a second folder, and then resume state at 3:00AM. For a backup, I have a batch file on the autorun list for a couple eSATA/USB2 hard drives that they can plug in, click "copy back up" and then it's done in a few minutes to half an hour. They can take the hard drive home. They can do it any time during the day on at least one client and the server.

But frankly, everything else I've seen is that "enterprise" and "business" software is so mind-bogglingly poorly written that unless backing up is an option of the program, and sometimes (in my case) even if it's an option, you'll be regretting not coming up with a sane, easy, fast, painless backup solution right off the bat.

And that's why excel files, txt files, anything that minimizes the filesystem footprint, is awesome. In my case, I had to wrap their business software in a VM.

Re:Excel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28132563)

You laugh, but for a small business, backups are tough. Some "enterprise" software that is vital to their business for example, will depend on registry keys, services, processes set up to run as a particular user with particular rights, etc. I've dealt with these situations, and setting up a "reasonable" backup solution on a budget is extraordinarily more complex when you're talking about software that is vital to their business.

And in this case, excel is great because it's one file. If they copy it, burn it, put it somewhere, they KNOW it's backed up. It's there. Same goes for TXT. They can test it by taking their one file and opening it up on another machine. Does it work? Yes. It's there.

But for more complicated software, holy crap. One solution I came up for an anonymous small business whose computers were stolen was to replace all their desktops with Virtualbox VMs, set every client and the server to save state, copy all the Virtualbox files to a second folder, and then resume state at 3:00AM. For a backup, I have a batch file on the autorun list for a couple eSATA/USB2 hard drives that they can plug in, click "copy back up" and then it's done in a few minutes to half an hour. They can take the hard drive home. They can do it any time during the day on at least one client and the server.

But frankly, everything else I've seen is that "enterprise" and "business" software is so mind-bogglingly poorly written that unless backing up is an option of the program, and sometimes (in my case) even if it's an option, you'll be regretting not coming up with a sane, easy, fast, painless backup solution right off the bat.

And that's why excel files, txt files, anything that minimizes the filesystem footprint, is awesome. In my case, I had to wrap their business software in a VM.

Very true RE: nonprofits and backups... not necessarily due to people not wanting to backup, but when I worked at a nonprofit, we had multiple versions of Windos, variously odd levels of user permission and such that made "simple" things nearly impossible to predict how long they would take, often the solution should have been to "shitcan the network and start over" but that wasn't possible... oddly we probably spent more time/money fixing what we had than if we had started over, but because we had stuff donated by board members, we HAD to use that stuff.. ugh!

Blackbaud Products (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131443)

Specifically the Raiser's Edge. Seems to do most of what you need.

Use Salesforce.com (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131455)

I'm sure they've done this exact same thing on more than one occasion. You can probably get the foundation arm to give you the software for free.

http://www.salesforce.com/foundation

salesforce.com (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131495)

salesforce provides free service to registered nonprofits. as you probably know, salesforce is an incredibly robust and extensible CRM system. it can be tweaked pretty easily. if anything, it might be too heavyweight. but it will certainly get the job done.

Re:salesforce.com (4, Informative)

StJohnsWort (260566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131689)

Yep. I work for a chain of not for profit hospitals and I know the folks who handle donor contributions use salesforce.com. Have been for years. Do not know what they like / dislike about it. But the years of use doe's say something. The only thing is it can be bandwidth intensive on your internet pipe.

Re:salesforce.com (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28132071)

But the years of use doe's say something.

An apostrophe does not mean "here comes an s", fucktard.

Re:salesforce.com (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132399)

Anonymity doesn't make you tougher, anon-tard.

SAP, obviously... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131501)

It will even track your waste management.

Re:SAP, obviously... (2, Funny)

Soilworker (795251) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132035)

Can I test it first ? I can't find any demo on their website...

Budget makes a big difference... (3, Informative)

Underfoot (1344699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131505)

I am not sure how big your budget is, but I've heard nothing but good things about Tessitura:
http://www.tessituranetwork.com/Products.aspx [tessituranetwork.com]

There is also Raiser's Edge - but their product (in my opinion) feels like it was put together by a programmer (i.e. - written to bad specs by someone whose job isn't fundraising), not by a user - and thus has lots of quirks that make it not as useful as it should be...
http://www.blackbaud.com/products/fundraising/raisersedge.aspx [blackbaud.com]

Re:Budget makes a big difference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131705)

"I've heard nothing but good things about Tessitura:"

Too bad it looks like it was made with Microsoft access [tessituranetwork.com] (spew).

For the record we use raisers edge and it works OK. That said, i cannot believe you are complaining about the RE interface when the alternative you are presenting looks like a 1997 access database.

Re:Budget makes a big difference... (3, Informative)

Underfoot (1344699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131781)

I don't really care about how a database looks. I care about how a database functions. Tessitura is well thought-out as far as making the product useful to the non-profit. RE seems to go out of its way to make the non-profit do more work / buy more modules. (Have you ever tried to invite a couple to an event? There is no easy way to add a spouse after adding the main contact. Simple little thing, but it means a lot of time from someone who more than likely doesn't have any, as non-profit staff tends to wear many hats.) Again, personal opinion based on personal experience.

Re:Budget makes a big difference... (3, Funny)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131853)

Written by a programmer? Really? That's a first...
Just kidding, hehehe....

Re:Budget makes a big difference... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131915)

I think the poster is looking at actual CRM packages for non-profits, which is pretty much limited to:

-Convio (custom with salesforce hooks)

-Salesforce (donated version with non-profit template)

-Civicrm (with drupal/joomla/standalone)

-DemocracyinAction

Democracy in action is the simplest for supporting advocacy and development. Civicrm does easy event management and donations but requires a programmer/consultant for most other things, Convio I haven't used, and Salesforce will do anything if you are willing to buy an expensive enough app on appexchange but is best a fundraising/grants/helpdesk (if appropriate to your nonprofit).

My nonprofit is using salesforce for development and civicrm for running workshop registration and doing general (opt in) mass emails. It seems to work pretty well. It would be nice if someone could either set up better mission based support for salesforce or make civicrm easier to deploy (especially in a hosted environment).

Re:Budget makes a big difference... (4, Informative)

lionchild (581331) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132559)

I've worked with a number of non-profit's as an IT-Consultant who are small enough that I *am* the IT-department. Some have used in house spreadsheets and file-maker databases, but both Tessitura and Raisers Edge are the two big products that I've seen and worked with. Both do what a non-profit needs to do. But, it's all about your budget.

Currently, I have one non-profit who is splitting Tessitura between 2 other non-profits. Cost sharing it makes it something reasonable for all three. It's hosted at a central site for them and there's someone in charge of all three data sets. It's something I'd suggest considering if you are really interested in one of the better products.

Good luck!

Filemaker! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131509)

Use Filemaker!

Re:Filemaker! (1)

Underfoot (1344699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131569)

ARG! NO! FileMaker is the Bain of my existence... I am constantly trying to get people off of FileMaker and it keeps popping back up like a bad weed. Run away!

(Sorry - it might be better in its latest version, but all my experience has been corrupt data that is hard to make useful to other systems.)

Re:Filemaker! (1)

ishobo (160209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132767)

You can always use Filemaker as a client to an external data source via ODBC.

Raisers Edge (4, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131519)

It's pretty much the industry standard. I work for a 501(c)3 non-profit with a $15 million a year budget. It's Windows only, but I'm not aware of any open source solution that includes all of the industry specific knowledge that Raisers Edge does.

Re:Raisers Edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131603)

It's pretty much the industry standard. I work for a 501(c)3 non-profit with a $15 million a year budget. It's Windows only, but I'm not aware of any open source solution that includes all of the industry specific knowledge that Raisers Edge does.

A few years ago, I was an IT director at a non-profit that was in the process of integrating BlackBaud/Raiser's Edge when I left for a better gig. Our issues with Blackbaud/Raiser's Edge were partly due to pre-existing stuff complicating matters, and the quirkiness of the software itself, for which we were required by contract to pay an "authorized" consulting firm a high hourly rate to deal with as part of the purchase deal.... kind of like the Oracle business model, where there's little incentive to simplify things that can make you money in extra fees.... so beware of that...

I'd like to think that competition has forced BlackBaud/Razor's Edge to streamline some of their stuff, to be less of a niche for high-priced consultants due to quirks that can probably be fixed, but maybe the issues are more systemic than that....

I did get the feeling that the software was designed before a web 2.0 world existed, so there are certain things that are probably added later, and not too elegantly, but I'd be happy to learn more, as I haven't worked with it in 2.5 years....

Re:Raisers Edge (1)

RichMeatyTaste (519596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132501)

Plus they will host it for you if need be. You access it via Citrix and it can tie back into your corporate Exchange (assuming you have Outlook Anywhere/RPC-HTTP configured) for Outlook integration. It is pretty simple to host our your own BUT not every company has a box available that they can put SQL on (plus Blackbaud releases a lot of patches).

Raisers Edge (3, Insightful)

tidewaterblues (784797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131539)

It might be out of your price range, but the industry standard in your situation would be Blackbaud's Raiser's Edge solution.

Re:Raisers Edge (2, Informative)

Y_Slide (1564671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131659)

I work in a public accounting firm and specialize in auditing non-profits. I agree with the above, Raiser's Edge is the standard for most medium to large non-profits. It does a good job tracking donors and information associated. It isn't perfect in all situations (i.e., it doesn't seem to track information to tie in with fund accounting very well.) However, I have quite a few clients who love it.

vtiger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131557)

what about vtiger?

http://www.vtiger.com/index.php

Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits? (-1, Troll)

gbear711 (1321149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131559)

If you are working for a non profit how do you have customers? Why not get a real job and produce a product instead of living off the kindness of strangers? Just askin.

Re:Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131671)

If you are working for a non profit how do you have customers? Why not get a real job and produce a product instead of living off the kindness of strangers? Just askin.

You are an idiot.

Re:Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131685)

Well if non-profits were automated enough they could deal with less administrative staff. Kind of a catch-22 you proposed there bud.

Re:Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits? (5, Insightful)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131743)

If you are working for a non profit how do you have customers? Why not get a real job and [produce some worthless product that nobody needs] instead of [offering to help out those in need and asking little in return]? Just askin.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits? (5, Insightful)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131861)

Oh my, I shouldn't feed the troll, but this pisses me off.

This particular troll apparently has no idea of what non-profits do or what they do for people at large. Go ahead, pick something that you might care about...I bet there's a non-profit (probably several) that either helps or advocates on your behalf. Let's try this game, shall we?

Emergency relief? How about the Red Cross for one?

Health issues? Too many to mention.

How about the military? Adopt a Platoon. Paralyzed Veterans of American...many many more.

Firefighters and Police? You bet they're covered.

That's just a small sampling and some of the bigger names in the industry. There are thousands more. And they all have donors and supporters who care about that particular thing. You are way off the mark about it not being a "real job". Most of the people that work at non-profits work long hours and far harder than you sitting on your ass cruising Slashdot. And they do it for a pittance of pay because it's something they care about.

Re:Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits? (2, Informative)

JMZero (449047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132255)

And they do it for a pittance of pay because it's something they care about.

I spend on charity, and almost never do I donate to charities that pay people to call me. I find charities that spend their money on programs, not on fundraising and administration. Some charities attract volunteer callers/canvassers - but a lot of times it's just people doing a job like any other and there's no reason to glorify what they're doing. The net effect of what they do, beyond making a living, is often going to be moving charitable funding from funding programs over to funding administration and fundraising (calling/advertising) costs.

Honestly, many charities are basically a business that produces calls for donation. For example, "Angel Flight West" sounds like a great charity: "Arranging free air transportation in response to health care and other compelling human needs".

Then you see that only 31.1% of donations go towards the actual program and the rest is lost to administration and fundraising costs (link [charitynavigator.org] ). Now I'm not saying they aren't trying to good work, or that charities in general aren't doing good work - but I do think there's justification at being frustrated with how many charities are run.

To balance out my last example, look at Food For The Poor [charitynavigator.org] . 96.8% of their incoming funds goes to the program.

Re:Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits? (2, Insightful)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132615)

Good information you have there. I have to say though that most of the non-profits I deal with mostly have a donor database to let them know about upcoming events, keep them abreast of special events and the occasional email asking for a donation. Although there are some that use it to call their donors to ask for more, most of the time it's for emails...not to mention the tax information they need to keep and hold onto.

Re:Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132323)

Yeah, and how about Shriner's Hospitals? If I ever caught someone saying to one of their doctors or administrators to "get a real job", I would do my best to beat them bloody.

There are no small jobs..only small minds (0)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131965)

If you are working for a non profit how do you have customers?

Your company has a catalog to mail.

Invoices. Product samples.

Who do you think assembles the logo branded coffee mug on your desk?

Prints your labels? Licks your stamps?

There are thousands of little jobs like these that supplement the income of the elderly, the blind and disabled.

It's sub-minimum wage. Piece work.

If you are quick and agile - all things considered - you might just make enough to budget broadband internet and cable.

If nothing more, it gets you out of the house.

Re:Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28132133)

We recently did an open source conference in our area. When booking the facilities, there was a large dollar value involved (5 digits to the left of the decimal). Instead of putting potential liability on the individuals planning the event, we set up a non-profit to deal with this sort of thing, thereby removing the liability from individuals. We didn't need a corporation as our intent was not to be making cash, but rather simply put on a conference.

you obviously don't know what a non-profit is about. How about coming back to us when you've done some homework.

Re:Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28132605)

If you are working for a non profit how do you have customers?

An example of a non-profit with customers:

Goodwill Industries - they have retail stores with customers that buy stuff. They direct this money to their clients (be they people with disabilities, people who have suffered a disaster, what-have-you).

Just one well known and obvious example.

Why not get a real job and produce a product instead of living off the kindness of strangers? Just askin.

Like someone who works for say... the American Red Cross? Many are full time, paid positions. These employees have a real job. Their real job is to generate donations (sometimes given for a tax break rather than out of kindness) and use them to provide disaster relief to people who may have had 'real jobs', but lost them when say, a tornado destroyed their job site and maybe their home, their kid's school, the grocery store, etc.,...

Here are a few reasons:

1.) Because it feels good to help people. Apparently, not everyone feels this way, but many do.

2.) Someday, YOU might be one of 'those people' living off the kindness of strangers. Karma can be a bitch as they say.

3.) Does 'getting a real job instead of living off the kindness of strangers' seem like a fair or even VIABLE option for say... an orphaned 5 year old that lost their entire family in a tornado as mentioned above?

We are not responsible for or have control of everything that goes on around us.

4.) Because its human and natural to feel empathy and sympathy and to feel compassion for fellow humans. Most mammals exhibit these these traits to a degree; particularly for their own species and it has such a practical benefit, even for the selfish, in the long run to help the group that its instinct to do so... usually in general and almost absolutely in certain contexts.

5.) The US military is a non-profit. The military industrial complex lives of the kindness of the strangers in the US military fighting wars that reap them profit.

Are you suggesting the military industrial complex is a bunch of free-loaders that shouldn't live off the rest of us or are you suggesting we eliminate the US military in general because its a bunch of free loaders living off the rest of us?

Yep, its much more complex than black and white most of the time isn't it - in this case, neither can exist without the other, yet, the relation fits your model enough to serve as an example.

6.) You do understand what a non-profit organization is right? Its not people begging like a 'pan-handler'... its people who's real job is helping the 'pan-handler' find their own real job as one example of what they do.

To keep things in your own implied terms, do you want more pan-handlers or do you want less pan-handlers?

Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (1)

Yankumi (807658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131585)

Whatever you do, don't follow the hype behind Salesforce. It's interface is lacking key features, in non-intuitive, and extremely extensive. I'm in the process of migrating my company off of it and onto either SugarCRM (open source) or a custom solution using Microsoft Sharepoint.

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (1)

Yankumi (807658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131599)

Opps, that was supposed to say expensive, extensive is something that it certainly isn't.

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (1)

monkeyfromx (1175403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131717)

Salesforce donates 10 user licenses for free to nonprofits and then offers extremely discounted pricing on licenses beyond that. I work for a non profit that does technology consulting for other non profits. We implement Salesforce and have found it to be very flexible and extendable.

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (1)

Yankumi (807658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131819)

Well I guess some people like it. But I wouldn't choose to use it even if it was free. I could write a book on all it's shortcomings. There's just too many things to list in comments here. The biggest shortcoming is their support. They're slow to respond and not very helpful unless you want to pay thousands of dollars for a training seminar. Their data export feature is amazingly primitive as well. But I'll stop bashing them here and let people decide on their own.

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (1)

monkeyfromx (1175403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131955)

Their data export feature is amazingly primitive as well.

I'm not sure what you mean here. You can export all of the data from any Salesforce object to csv. From there you can do whatever you want with the data. If you wanted a list of accounts and their contacts, you could create a simple report (or use one of the built in reports) and export to Excel or csv. What else do you need?

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (1)

Yankumi (807658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132191)

If you have attachments that you're storing in their system and you want them exported they come to you as randomly named files. There is also a text file that acts like a hash table. You have to look up the code, then rename the file with the appropriate name/extension. When you have thousands of files, this gets really really annoying. The fix is a simple script to write, I'm just confused why Salesforce doesn't do it automatically. I've asked their support and never got an answer better than "that's the way it works".

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (1)

monkeyfromx (1175403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132415)

OK, I'll give you that one, but honestly, how often does an org need to export all of the attachments in their CRM system? Why would this be of benefit when you can simply log in to look at any of the attachments that are stored there?

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28132839)

when you want to LEAVE.

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (1)

Yankumi (807658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132919)

I was asked to make a backup of all the data in the system because the company was considering alternate options due to the high cost of Salesforce. I'll admit that this wasn't very annoying to workaround but the feature just seems unfinished. Another amusing problem with Salesforce is that as an administrator I can't delete users. To avoid having pages full of deactivated accounts we had to resort to renaming the accounts of terminated employees.

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (1)

monkeyfromx (1175403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28133101)

And there you go. If you're leaving Salesforce (or any system in favor of something new), you've already got a bit of a task ahead of you to get the data into your new system. Updating the file names would be a small part of your migration project. You don't want to delete inactive users. If you do, what happens to all of the activities they've logged, or opportunities they've closed? Each of those items contains an ID pointing back to the user object. If you remove the user row, you end up with a bunch of records that can't display a value for who created/modified them. To work around that problem, you mark the user as inactive (freeing up a license), then create a view of just the active users. Problem solved.

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (1)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131647)

FWIW, Salesforce supports non-profits with 501(c)3s for next to nothing. I know some businesses use Salesforce and it costs a lot, but they do offer a steep discount for non-profits.

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (2, Informative)

Cytos (605351) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131677)

I totally disagree.. To me it seems powerful, simple, and very flexible. Japan Post, Starbucks, Dell, all customers... Non-profits get 10 licenses and over 4,000 nonprofits use it. http://www.salesforce.com/foundation/ [salesforce.com] Worth a look at least.

Re:Just say no, to SalesforceCRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131713)

Dude your wacked. Salesforce.com is free for non-profits http://www.salesforcefoundation.org/donation and salesforce.com is easy to use. You can even customize it like crazy. http://developer.force.com/ We track all our donations and even have online giving with paypal automatically integrated with Salesforce.com/

Use outlook forms (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131587)

I mean really, use the tool you have.

Re:Use outlook forms (1)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131901)

No, sorry. Awful idea. Usually, a 60 person operation has a donor list in the thousands. Exchange is going to choke sending that out. It's just simply not designed for something like that. Believe me, I've had orgs who have tried it. A good CRM is nothing to sneeze at.

Raiser's Edge if you've got money, or Orange Leap (2, Informative)

dameron (307970) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131597)

It's not cheap by any stretch.

If you want cheap then Orange Leap [orangeleap.com] has an open source "Community Edition" of their CRM that comes with no support.

Techsoup.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131611)

Look at what is available on Techsoup.org.

Re:Techsoup.org (1)

Underfoot (1344699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131707)

I agree with this... Techsoup is a great IT resource for non-profits.

Compare Raisers Edge vs Drupal + CiviCRM ? (3, Insightful)

LordThyGod (1465887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131623)

For anyone who has actually run both, I'd love to hear a comparison.

Re:Compare Raisers Edge vs Drupal + CiviCRM ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131793)

They don't really do the same thing. Civicrm does mass emailing, event managements, and is even designed to track mission related content. It is a broader tool although it requires more customization to be useful. Raisers edge pretty much just does fundraising, but will do anything you want out of the box. So it depends on whether you are just looking for development related crm or if you want to do more. I have used both at raisers edge at previous nonprofits and I am currently

Jeff Noel

Re:Compare Raisers Edge vs Drupal + CiviCRM ? (1)

oatworm (969674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131863)

I'm getting ready to try out CiviCRM for a small non-profit - it definitely looks promising and the price is certainly right. That said, it's a smaller non-profit and our national office uses Raiser's Edge, so we'll see what happens.

What we use (1)

netruner (588721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131627)

Our nonprofit uses "Decapitated Poultry v0.01 beta".

Seriously, in my experience, any nonprofit would be further ahead to use web-based systems hosted not on someone's personal pc. You will always have people coming and going, so you will need to be able to smoothly transition data into the hands of whomever is at the helm. Beware people who don't want things to go onto the web - they're usually information hoarders and don't share (but you will probably have other problems with them before you get to this point). This isn't true for all of them, but you need an extremely robust system for handling people who leave the organization without turning over their responsibilities and/or information. Web services like Yahoo Groups, simply because of how they're set up, provide some insulation to people leaving as long as you don't have all of the moderators leave at once. I've not used other systems, but I'm sure there are others out there.

To specifically address the contact management that you're talking about can be done with any word processing/spreadsheet/flat file product as long as you have a neutral place to store it and a mechanism to keep folks from stepping on each other. Again, any type of group management service with a place to upload files provides that.

Re:What we use (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131789)

Our nonprofit uses "Decapitated Poultry v0.01 beta".

The Enterprise version is popular with small internet businesses nowadays. It's great with the "Layoff" and "Reboot the server" extensions!

Re:What we use (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132537)

Our nonprofit uses "Decapitated Poultry v0.01 beta"

I hear the Federal Reserve is using the Enterprise version to determine the course of action to take in times of financial crisis...

Another vote for RE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131649)

Raiser's Edge - I worked for a charity with around 60staff running a four user licence of Raiser's Edge in the UK. It's complex but pretty powerful. You need someone very smart to sit down and look at your organisation and how/what it wants to track and then build raiser's edge/training around that - one of the things we did was thank you letters to Donors in Leiu of Flowers, the letters went to the donors, funeral parlours and next of kin. Raiser's Edge didn't have a DIRECT way of doing this, rather it had a bunch of indirect ways of doing it, some better than others.

Once you're up and running, don't assume you can put a low paid admin person in front of RE, to get the most out of it, you need at least one person who has a good grasp of the organisation and how it works to handle putting donations/details into the system (so you can track where the monies have come from as well as credit those people involved in raising that money) (and, for god's sake, pay them well - it's a job that requires attention to detail and a high threshold for boredom).

A couple of years ago I looked around at alternatives to RE, but there was nothing particularly outstanding - and prices were pretty much what RE was asking for.

If you're in the UK, RE has pretty good gift aid facilities, but, again, it's all about putting the stuff in right (and keeping the paperwork handy).

-pj

Donor Management Platform (1)

techmdjp (1564669) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131653)

I work for a managed services firm here in southern california that focuses almost exclusively on serving Non Profit groups and after talking with our team a bit I would have to say at the top of the list would be: -Raisers Edge by BlackBaud if im not mistaken. It tends to be a bit more expensive but does a great job for the end user and is not a nightmare to manage. We have several clients using this platform and if the cost can be justified this is your best bet. -Giftworks -Donor Perfect -Sugar CRM would be at the bottom of my short list but it is free and can be customized as needed. If I can be useful I would be happy to provide more feedback. Just hit me up. -JP

Hosted Microsoft CRM (2, Informative)

pnetz (1564677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131711)

You might want to try hosted Microsoft CRM [microsoft.com] which is available pretty cheap per seat.

Re:Hosted Microsoft CRM (1)

jesseck (942036) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131825)

If you want seamless Outlook integration, Microsoft is the way to go. And the hosted is a lot cheaper than the "full version that you host yourself".

Sounds like... (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131733)

you want Excel.

ADempiere (1)

jb_02_98 (636753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131755)

If you are up for doing some customizations, I would suggest using ADempiere. It is very robust and can be made to do just about anything. The nice thing about it is that when you are done, it becomes an asset for you, not an expense. (Speaking about the balance sheet.) It also can do quite a bit in scaling up to help with other business processes.

Sugar sugar (3, Informative)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131771)

Just sugarcrm.

Its direct, integrates well with excel and outlook. I mean, im baffled that very few mentioned it here.

Sugar is the way to go.

I have to suffer salesforce and, FOR OUR NEEDS, it sucks infront of sugar. And thats that.

Re:Sugar sugar (1)

machineghost (622031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132675)

Bump. SugarCRM rocks, and is more than adequate for any small to mid-size company (my company is almost up to 100 employees, and we have yet to have any issues).

Use Salesforce.com - Cheap, fast, easy & power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131805)

We use Salesforce.com. It is free for 501C3 non profits. Salesforce.com is desiged for businesses out of the box but with some minor tweaks can be very powerful. Its data model out of the box has Companies and People. We changed it to track people and not companies which took a little work. It was well documented and they have an active developer community for suggestions. If you know how your business should work use Salesforce.com. We looked at Raisers Edge and it was much more expensive. It does provide more built in best practices. With Salesforce.com we can built the same processes but we did not get the non-profit best practices. Also check out TechSoup.org. They have free/discounted software for 501c3's.

Convio (1)

griffm (448056) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131813)

I have a good friend that went to work for Convio (www.convio.com). From what I understand, they specialize in CRM for non-profits.

Salesforce.com (3, Informative)

jdstahl (173821) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131821)

Salesforce.com is a pretty amazing platform for doing CRM that goes well beyond just donor management. As others have mentioned, the Salesforce Foundation makes it available from free-to-darn-cheap. It has good Outlook/Office integration, and unlike most other solutions Salesforce has an really solid Web Services API that makes it possible to integrate with all kinds of other systems [google.com] , notably including Plone [plone.org] , the open-source CMS system that many nonprofits use. ONE/Northwest [onenw.org] , the nonprofit I work for, has done a ton of work in this area, and has had great success at delivering powerful, easy-to-use solutions to mid-sized environmental nonprofits.

Sugar (2, Informative)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131833)

www.sugarcrm.com or sugarforge.org - They offer commercial and free open source versions and there are a number of free & pay plugins. Works well on your server or theirs.

Re:Sugar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28132435)

I'm going to second this suggestion, not that I use it but I was tasked with evaluating various CRM applications and finally pulled the plug on SugarCRM. Setup was a breeze, administration is easy, and I've had no complaints from the people using it. If you're in the same boat, I'd suggest giving it a quick install and give it a go.

The other option that you could do is use eGroupWare, which would integrate with Outlook but having evaluated it, it's a beast. I'm a fan of using simple tools to solve simple problems, eGroupWare solved about every problem and even solved some that didn't exist. I would highly suggest looking it over though, I could definitely see where it would come in handy.

Donor 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131899)

Been a while since I worked with Donor 2 but it worked for donation/contact tracking...not sure about other features.

Go with SF! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28131909)

SALESFORCE. Believe the hype. Salesforce is free for nonprofits. They give you ten licenses but you can petition for more. It plays well with others. It will integrate with other systems, databases, outlook. It plugs into questionpro for admin of surveys, etc. Salesforce has invested 100's of millions in R&D, what other free CRM has done the same? You can plug into vertical response for mass email marketing. You can spend your money on config instead of paying for the software. Do not try to do it yourself. The technology is flexible enough that it is very easy to get lost in all that it offers. I've implemented phased use of SF's tools. Total cost of ownership is less than the alternative and SF is the rolesroyce of CRM. Some comentators are correct though, interface is a shock to some users. It takes some getting used to. This is another reason a consultant can help. There are plenty SF consultants out there, check out their partners site.

TechSoup,org (1)

bhamrin (1089673) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131933)

Not sure if you qualify but check out http://techsoup.org/ [techsoup.org] They are a clearing house for donated hardware & software to non-profits. The non-profit I have done some work for has used them for Microsoft and Cisco products.

I have no experience with any of the Blackbaud products but it looks like they has something from them.

OpenERP (2, Informative)

smoyer (108342) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131977)

OpenERP (http://openerp.com/) has an integrated CRM. I've had great success with this project and the database is completely accessible via XML-RPC if you need custom functions. I've also used SugarCRM, but am not nearly so enamored with that project.

NGO-in-a-Box (2, Informative)

dominique_cimafranca (978645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131995)

Try http://ngoinabox.org/ [ngoinabox.org] , They offer four versions, but the most apropos is their Base Edition, with more detailed info here http://base.ngoinabox.org./ [base.ngoinabox.org] For donation tracking, the component they use is CiviCRM - http://civicrm.org/ [civicrm.org] .

Organizers Database (1)

ozarkcanoer (808891) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131997)

Check out Organizers Database http://organizersdb.org/ [organizersdb.org] . Windows only. Free.

CiviCRM (1)

kurund (1472669) | more than 5 years ago | (#28131999)

You should check CiviCRM, http://civicrm.org/ [civicrm.org]

Re:CiviCRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28132247)

And you can also get a free manual from http://en.flossmanuals.net.

nten- tech 4 nonprofits is ur best research star (2, Informative)

superphoebe (1564687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132003)

http://www.nten.org/ [nten.org] has done reports comparing CMS for nonprofits, including a great comparison of drupal, joomla & plone. Beth's blog, techsoup and netsquared are great resources additionally, you could look into using another serive like donor's resource, firstgiving, givezooks, Mysamaris, and Razoo- most of which have a free option Raiser's Edge, like anything Blackbaud is really great if you can afford it. But I would start at the source of research and read the reviews- they are seriously helpful!

Three that we've looked at... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28132033)

Hi there,

I don't have time to read all of these posts, but you might look into iMIS, Aptify or Avectra.

My Job. (5, Informative)

kbromer (1220380) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132047)

I work as a DB consultant for a non-profit that does CRM-Database and Web consulting for other non-profits. We've developed in a variety of platforms and have done everything from custom built solutions through Salesforce, so I'm pretty familiar with the turf. My tips:
1. Raiser's Edge is a nice product with relatively easy entry, but its REALLY tough to master, and, as is true with most systems I've worked with, reporting is still more an art than a science. It's expensive, support is expensive, maintenance is expensive.
2. Salesforce is our preferred platform at the moment. Low barrier to entry (10 seat license for free for 501c(3)), alot of training available free of charge, and with some tweaking, a good non-profit overlay for it's sales-centric backend. Their current NP Template is severely lacking (we have our own package we use) although they've got some momentum behind it lately, and I expect it to improve dramatically over the next few releases. We do alot of customization work on this platform, and its pretty flexible, nice API, great plug-in for Eclipse and the OO language (Apex) they use for the API layer is derived from Java. I wasn't sold at first, but its really grown on me as a platform. Reporting can still be rough though.
3. Filemaker/eBase Not worth your time, money, or frustration.
4. SugarCRM has been getting some mention in the community lately, and in my experience, may be a viable alternative, but I haven't had enough time to play with it.
5. Custom solutions are always pricey, but you should (theoretically) get what you want. MS Access (please no), SQL Server, whatever the opensource flavor of the week is- if you have a really odd-duck funding or business model, it might be worth a look.
The only reason I wouldn't recommend SF outright to you is that it's a bit finicky to setup the Outlook connector, I can't speak for the others around Outlook connectivity. OTOH, what is your CRM DB doing trying to replace your email system in the first place?

Re:My Job. (2, Informative)

ScienceMan (636648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132539)

I also do extensive technical support for a not-for-profit. We recently switched most of our communication including mail, documents, calendar, and other communications and a significant part of our web presence to the Google Apps for Domain suite. We are really happy with this solution and are saving a ton of money. As a 501(c)(3), we are eligible for and have received this at no cost.

In terms of CRM, we see that Salesforce has what appears to be extremely good integration with Google Apps. We haven't tried this yet, and are somewhat concerned about costs, but may go that direction also as our usage of the Google Apps suite matures.

By the way, the new scripting tools for spreadsheets recently announced for early trial look very good, and may replace any need we have for other products.

Re:My Job. (1)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132875)

My nonprofit is an accrediting association. We don't have to keep track of donors and grants, but we do have to track our member institutions and all of the reporting that they do. Our current database is the most user-unfriendly, arcane, bizarre piece of shit software I have ever seen. Seriously, this database is worse than IE.

We've gotten quotes from a couple private developers on custom-made solutions, but they have all been prohibitively expensive, and several of our sister organizations have recently sunk millions of dollars and several years into private developers for dysfunctional products.

I'm pretty sure that if a solution doesn't magically present itself soon, the person in charge of the project is going to decide that the old database is just fine, and stick his head in the sand until he retires in a year or two.

Aptify (1)

spectro (80839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132137)

I am not recommending it but you may want to take a look at it.

It's huge, heavy, slow (vb.net) but it seems to get the job done.

MS Dynamics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28132205)

The non-profit that I just got an internship through uses Dynamics 4.0. It's decent, and if all else fails, you can customize it to do whatever you need it to.

Generic advice (1)

vinn (4370) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132209)

It sounds like you have a good idea of what you want to do. That's great because most CRM implementations seems to die because they don't nail down the requirements of what they're trying to do very well.

Anyway, I would recommend the Raisers Edge product only because anything else you buy might require extensive customization. Ultimately, in the end it's that kind of implementation that will kill you. For example, MS CRM is actually pretty good, but it's too generic out of the box for what you need.

Drupal + CiviCRM? (3, Informative)

crivens (112213) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132299)

How about Drupal + this module: http://drupal.org/project/civicrm [drupal.org]

Re:Drupal + CiviCRM? (1)

tab0wling (688803) | more than 5 years ago | (#28133269)

The company where I work is looking into the Drupal + CiviCRM for a non-profit client. We still in the early stages of evaluation but it looks very promising. I'm not sure out the Outlook integration, but Drupal has soooo many modules that I can't imagine it being an issue. And did I mention it's free?!?!

Open Source CRM for Non Profits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28132363)

Try CiviCRM [civicrm.org] - its based on the CiviSpace distribution of Drupal (the open source LAMP CMS).

FIMS - MicroEdge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28132441)

I support a 10 person np. FIMS works pretty well, issues are fairly rare and tend to involve lack of functionality as opposed to problems with the application. Does not integrate w/ Outlook, at least the modules I have seen. Be careful on version updates.

http://www.microedge.com/products/

Highrise, from 37signals (1)

weltschmerz (1217082) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132449)

I think it may work - and it's from an awesome company. Hopefully it works for a non-profit, just as well with donors as with "customers". http://www.highrisehq.com/ [highrisehq.com]

CoolFocus from WayCool Software (1)

jmarbutt (725478) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132579)

Check out http://www.waycoolsw.com/ [waycoolsw.com] they provide web based donor management. It is a great system for a fraction of the cost of Blackbaud.

DonorPro (1)

akinsgre (758695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132661)

Full Disclosure: I work for the makers of DonorPro (www.donorpro.com)
We offer a donor management system that includes many of the same features as DonorPerfect, Raiser's Edge and some of the other solutions mentioned here.
There is a good comparison, including DonorPro and many of other products mentioned above, here http://tinyurl.com/lb5ve2 [tinyurl.com]
Good luck!

funding of non-profits (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 5 years ago | (#28132765)

I worked some years back for a non-profit organization that provided aspects of community support serices. I implemented a crm/database. I was with them for 3 years

I left with some perspectives. Some broad ones were:

- When managers apply for funding for projects, success is often based on the political points attached to the project.
- Funding for cars for managers were approached with diligance while other applications stalled.
- Managers use staff and volunteer time to promote the visibility of the org. An example is a fundraiser beating the streets. These can bring in a tiny amount per man-hour, while one funding application can trounce all that volunteer time.
- Financial accountability: for governemt agencies, the mere fact of accepting a project funding proposal, and doling out the money meets their KPI.
- I also made an audit system tracking support worker time against client facing time for people with disabilites(the org recieved per hour funding). The project collapsed and failed. Once implement the system revealed that while contracted support time was 1100 hours per month, the actual was 19.

Give Metrix a try (1)

bark (582535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28133083)

I was in the non-profit space about a year ago, and we were thinking of trying out "Metrix" http://metrix.fcny.org/index.html [fcny.org] . Developed by/for the Fund for the City of New York, it's a contact management / funding/donor tracking system built on top of MS Access, with integration into excel and word (mail merges). Since it builds on top of MS Office suite (ie word, outlook, excel, access, along with the free ms sql product), which most non-profits need to get licenses for anyways, it's a good fit if you're already on the Microsoft path.

I'd like to see something like Metrix built on top of Openoffice if there is such a thing.

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