Before settling on Raiser's Edge, make sure you understand all the advantages and disadvantages this software has to offer.

Raiser’s Edge: 5 Critical Pros and Cons (You Need to Know!)

If your nonprofit is considering implementing Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge as your all-in-one fundraising solution, you’ll inevitably have a lot to think about.

While a number of nonprofits have made Raiser’s Edge (and its newest iteration, Raiser’s Edge NXT) their Blackbaud software product of choice, like any software, Raiser’s Edge comes with a number of advantages and disadvantages.

To help you navigate the myriad of product reviews and cut down on research time, we’ve compiled the most important pros and cons you need to consider before buying Raiser’s Edge.

We’ll look at the following:

  1. Pro: Nonprofits can use Raiser’s Edge for virtually all of their fundraising needs.
  2. Con: Raiser’s Edge isn’t always user-friendly.
  3. Pro: Raiser’s Edge is highly customizable.
  4. Con: Blackbaud may not supply enough Raiser’s Edge training.
  5. Pro: Nonprofits can integrate matching gifts into their Raiser’s Edge platform.

But before we dive into the details, you can take a bird’s eye look at the buying process by reading DNL Omni Media’s walk-through of Raiser’s Edge from consideration to implementation.

Nonprofits can use Raiser's Edge for virtually all of their fundraising needs..

1. Pro: Nonprofits can use Raiser’s Edge for virtually all of their fundraising needs.

If you need expansive fundraising software, Raiser’s Edge won’t disappoint.

With features designed to improve operational efficiency, enhance donor acquisition and engagement, and of course, boost fundraising revenue, Raiser’s Edge is truly comprehensive. 

While nonprofits of all sizes can use Raiser’s Edge, its broad functionality makes it an ideal fit for nonprofits who need to store a significant amount of data and implement more complex fundraising strategies.

For instance, Raiser’s Edge can play an instrumental role in streamlining all of the following processes:

  • Data enrichment.
  • Communications and marketing.
  • Online payment processing.
  • Event management.
  • Wealth analytics and prospect research.
  • Crowdfunding and social engagement.

Of course, if you’re not prepared to use all of the tools within Raiser’s Edge, this pro can quickly turn into a con.

Having an overwhelming set of fundraising resources in front of you with no idea where to start is a position no nonprofit wants to be in. To avoid that situation, make sure you’ve done your research to find out exactly what kind of fundraising software you need.

Or, seek out the help of a nonprofit technology consultant who can guide you through the implementation process and ensure you’re on track for success!

Raiser's Edge isn't always user-friendly.

2. Con: Raiser’s Edge isn’t always user-friendly.

Because Raiser’s Edge is so multifaceted, some nonprofits have a difficult time finding their way around the product.

While the newest version of Raiser’s Edge, Raiser’s Edge NXT, is a notable improvement from the earlier Raiser’s Edge 7 interface, there are still some bugs that limit usability for this platform.

Typically, users struggle with a few important aspects of the Raiser’s Edge system:

  • Implementation. Many users note that while Raiser’s Edge is eventually a workable platform, it takes a lot of trial and error, testing, and training to get them to a place where they feel confident within the software. If you have a hearty IT team and plenty of time to devote to figuring out the system, you’ll be able to work your way through Raiser’s Edge. But if you need to understand all the features Raiser’s Edge has to offer quickly, your team might have some frustration to deal with.
  • Creating queries. Raiser’s Edge provides the ability to pull information on specific groups or segments of constituents using their query tool. However, many users have found that this feature is difficult to understand and utilize, and that the query process can leave them with duplicate information.
  • Generating custom reports. While Raiser’s Edge allows organizations to run reports on virtually any metrics within their database; unfortunately, a number of users aren’t able to take advantage of the full scope of analytics available because of the complicated process. Instead, they rely on the canned reports that come pre-set in Raiser’s Edge, which might not fully address their needs.

Blackbaud does have a highly competent support team who can walk you through these issues if you do encounter them. Even so, it might be necessary to look into third-party help (i.e., a nonprofit consultant) who can ensure you’re getting the most out of your software.

After all, what good is a comprehensive fundraising solution if you can’t take advantage of all of its features and tools?

Raiser's Edge is highly customizable.

3. Pro: Raiser’s Edge is highly customizable.

For organizations who like to get under the hood of their fundraising software and design a platform that’s fully unique, Raiser’s Edge may be a good fit.

With a multitude of configurable settings and customization options, Raiser’s Edge is most useful when organizations take advantage of the ability to adapt the platform to their needs.

Let’s look at just a sampling of what your team can configure:

  • Role-based views and permissions.
  • Donor profile settings, including addressees and salutations.
  • Business rules and defaults.
  • Tables.
  • Constituent categories.
  • Fields.
  • Integrations and links to other platforms.

And that’s truly just a taste of what you can customize!

However, it’s important to understand that Raiser’s Edge configuration is not a task just anyone can try their hand at. There are resources to help you understand the customization process, but even getting through the configuration guides may be a major time commitment (most Blackbaud online guides range from 60 to 200+ pages!).

To truly capitalize on the advantage of in-depth customization, your organization will need to work with an experienced professional. 

A web developer or nonprofit technology consultant with Blackbaud expertise can save you time, headaches, and potentially damaging mistakes. Plus, a nonprofit consultant can take the time to understand your fundraising strategy and then implement the customizations that are proven to put you on the path toward success.

When Raiser’s Edge is already such an investment, you need to go the extra mile to make sure your configurations are in line with your goals and fundraising needs. A nonprofit technology consultant can be that missing link!

Blackbaud may not supply enough Raiser's Edge training.

4. Con: Blackbaud may not supply enough Raiser’s Edge training.

For a product that’s so extensive (and not necessarily user-friendly), you can anticipate that there will be a learning curve during the first stages of Raiser’s Edge use.

That being the case, you’ll likely seek out some form of training for your team as you get started with Raiser’s Edge. The problem? Many customers report that Blackbaud does not offer enough resources to adequately train nonprofits on using the platform.

While there are some online and in-person Raiser’s Edge training options offered by Blackbaud, it takes some digging around to find exactly what you need. (Though this master list of training resources from the Blackbaud experts at DNL OmniMedia can alleviate some of the time you spend on research!)

Moreover, a large population of users have found that the training options are not yet comprehensive, and that they still must do a great deal of self-training to get fully acquainted with the platform.

Obviously, not having access to robust training presents a major problem.

Many of your team members will be utilizing Raiser’s Edge on a daily basis, each in unique role-based ways. If everyone has a different level of understanding of how to use the software, you’re setting yourself up for inconsistencies, errors, and a lack of efficiency—which is exactly what Raiser’s Edge is supposed to help you avoid!

You can use Blackbaud Learn, the online Blackbaud Community, and free online guides and resources to supplement your learning, but the best way to ensure your team is all on the same page is to seek out dedicated Raiser’s Edge training from an expert Blackbaud consultant.

Your consultant can offer a personalized training plan with role-based paths, in-person coaching, and general counsel regarding using Raiser’s Edge as part of your fundraising strategy.

If you’re hesitant to invest in a consultant, look at it this way: do you want to spend your time and resources pulling together the information you need to use your software, or would you rather streamline the experience and guarantee your staff is ready to use Raiser’s Edge?

Nonprofits can integrate matching gifts into their Raiser's Edge platform.

5. Pro: Nonprofits can integrate matching gifts into their Raiser’s Edge platform.

Saving the best perk for last, we can’t forget that Raiser’s Edge makes it possible to seamlessly incorporate the oh-so-important matching gift process right into your fundraising software!

You already know how vital matching gifts can be to your fundraising strategy. Raiser’s Edge accounts for this by making it easy to store matching gift information within your database and use that intel to (literally) multiply your gifts. 

Within a Raiser’s Edge donor profile, you have the ability to view corporate giving data in a dedicated Matching Gifts section. All the relevant information, such as the company, match amount, and date, will be visible in one central location to make it easy to keep track of your matched funds over time.

Let’s look at a few ways you can take advantage of this pro:

  • Store donors’ employer information. You’ll have a hard time securing matching gifts if you don’t have your supporters’ employer data on file. You can request this information through event registration or donation forms, or simply reach out to donors to ask.
  • Create constituent profiles for employers. You should keep employers’ data on file in separate constituent profiles. That way, you can centralize important data such as matching gift ratios, deadlines, and eligibility requirements. Having their contact information on file also makes it easier to send them their own communications and thank-you notes for each matched gift.
  • Integrate a matching gift tool into your donation process. If you’re using Blackbaud NetCommunity as part of your Raiser’s Edge system, don’t forget to integrate Double the Donation’s easy matching gift tool on your donation confirmation pages and acknowledgement emails! Read this simple integration guide to find out how.

And if you’re a larger organization interested in implementing matching gifts into your fundraising strategy, see how 360MatchPro can help you take your efficiency to the next level through a Raiser’s Edge integration!

No software is perfect, but with the right guidance from a nonprofit consultant and a little research, Raiser’s Edge can be an excellent partner in your fundraising efforts.

Learn more about fundraising software by checking out these additional resources:

Find out if Blackbaud CRM is the right donor management solution for your nonprofit by reading through these 5 tell-tale signs.

Blackbaud CRM: 5 Ways to Know If It’s Right for You

If your organization is considering upgrading to new constituent relationship management (CRM) software, the well known product Blackbaud CRM might be toward the top of your list.

While Blackbaud is known for having a wide range of versatile nonprofit software products, Blackbaud CRM is a unique solution designed specifically for established organizations with highly expansive fundraising and constituent management needs.

That being the case, you’ll need to think carefully before choosing to invest in this powerful software.

To help you figure out if this CRM is the best fit for you, we’ve put together a list of 5 tell-tale signs that you should continue considering Blackbaud CRM:

  1. You’ve outgrown your current CRM.
  2. You need a CRM that can centralize your operations.
  3. You’re prepared to implement Blackbaud CRM.
  4. You have a plan to customize your Blackbaud CRM.
  5. You have room in your budget for Blackbaud CRM.

But before we start, make sure that you’re familiar with Blackbaud CRM by reading this helpful guide from Blackbaud experts and nonprofit consulting firm DNL OmniMedia.

If your current CRM doesn't have the scope or functionality to meet your needs, Blackbaud CRM might be a smart software choice to consider.

1. You’ve outgrown your current CRM.

As you may know, Blackbaud CRM was built for enterprise-level nonprofits and includes tools tailored to organizations with large-scale needs.

With that in mind, it makes sense that you should only consider Blackbaud CRM if your existing CRM system doesn’t meet all of your data management, fundraising, or donor engagement needs.

While some CRM software is built to be more lightweight to accommodate small or midsized organizations, if growth is a priority for your team, you’ll need a CRM with scalable functionality and a variety of features to support your many needs.

Blackbaud CRM comes with all of the following features to meet a diverse array of nonprofit needs:

  • Total relationship management for donors, volunteers, members, and more supporter types.
  • Support for multiple nonprofit chapters, field offices, departments, or programs.
  • Dynamic communications and marketing tools.
  • Custom analytics to measure success in all areas of your organization.

Plus, Blackbaud CRM can be even further expanded through configurations or integrations.

It’s important to note that if your organization doesn’t need access to tools that cater to such far-reaching needs, you’ll likely not want to invest in a platform as massive as Blackbaud CRM.

To get a better idea of how Blackbaud CRM’s feature set compares to other top-ranking software, read our reviews of the top 12 nonprofit CRMs!

Blackbaud CRM might be right for you if… your fundraising and donor management needs aren’t met through your current CRM solution.

If your nonprofit has far-reaching needs that require a number of fundraising and constituent management solutions, Blackbaud CRM can centralize your efforts.

2. You need a CRM that can centralize your operations.

In addition to enhancing your CRM functionality, Blackbaud CRM can also streamline your overall nonprofit operations in a holistic way.not

If your organization is currently relying on a variety of disparate fundraising platforms, donor management software, and other data sources, Blackbaud CRM can centralize those efforts.

Blackbaud CRM seeks to simplify the nonprofit management experience by giving you access to all of the information and tools you need in just one system.

Through the Blackbaud CRM platform alone (i.e., without any third-party software integrations), you’ll be able to manage all of the following aspects of your organization’s fundraising and constituent relationship management efforts:

  • Annual or capital campaign giving.
  • Major and planned giving.
  • Volunteer systems.
  • Social media.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising.
  • Web design.
  • Multi-channel marketing.

(And more, if you can believe it!)

Having access to a full scope of fundraising capabilities in one system gives your nonprofit ultimate flexibility when it comes to planning out your strategies.

While you can always integrate external software or build out custom solutions, Blackbaud CRM comes equipped with a robust feature set that can allow you to manage every aspect of your nonprofit in one place, thus limiting the need for complicated data migrations and mitigating the risk of lost or damaged data.

Blackbaud CRM might be right for you if… your organization is using a variety of disconnecting platforms to manage your fundraising, donor management, and constituent engagement efforts.

The Blackbaud CRM implementation process requires time, money, and strategy.

3. You’re prepared to implement your Blackbaud CRM.

So far, we’ve spoken pretty highly of Blackbaud CRM. It’s multi-functional, powerful, and scalable—what’s the catch?

It’s true that Blackbaud CRM can do a lot, but before you can capitalize on all of its features, you’ll need to successfully implement the system at your organization.

The Blackbaud CRM implementation process can be complicated, time-consuming, and costly. If it is the right software for you, the payoff will be well worth the time you spend getting set up with the product; however, you’ll still need to carefully consider if you’re prepared to take on such a project.

Here’s what we recommend doing to make sure you can move forward with implementation confidently:

  • Set an implementation timeline. To stay on track and limit unnecessary interruptions, your team will need to establish a timeline for the implementation process. If you’re working with a nonprofit technology consultant, they can help you set a realistic time frame, complete with benchmarks along the way.
  • Appoint an implementation manager. Not only will an implementation manager help keep the team on track, he or she will also help resolve any confusions, report progress to stakeholders and your board, and work with your consultant to document your process and establish best practices moving forward.
  • Determine the best path for training. After you get your platform up and running, you’ll need to train your staff on how to actually use the Blackbaud CRM system. Know your resources and be aware that you’ll want to receive the most comprehensive training possible, not just a hodgepodge of videos and how-to articles.

Be forewarned: while it might be tempting to manage your CRM implementation and training on your own to save some money, when it comes to Blackbaud CRM, implementation is not a one-person job.

You’ll receive help from your vendor (and hopefully, your IT department), but we strongly recommend seeking the help of a nonprofit consultant to walk through the process with you as well. They’ll be able to provide structured support, guidance, and training, as well as an expert’s perspective on how to maximize your new system.

Blackbaud CRM might be right for you if… you’ve spent some time considering the implementation process and have mapped out a plan to minimize risks and maximize long-term success with your new software.

If you're considering Blackbaud CRM, make sure you know how you'll customize your software through integrations and configurations.

4. You have a plan to customize Blackbaud CRM.

To really get the full Blackbaud CRM advantage, you’ll need to make your software your own.

How do you do that? Simply put, you’ll need to customize your CRM to fit your nonprofit, which you can do in a variety of ways.

Working with an experienced developer or Blackbaud consultant, you can integrate third-party platforms or build out completely custom solutions within your CRM.

For examples of how you might integrate your platform, you might consider adding:

  • Matching gift tools (we suggest 360MatchPro!).
  • Mobile giving software.
  • Dedicated event fundraising software.
  • Payment processing software.
  • Email or direct mail marketing tools.

Integrations can be more complex than you might think, so before you decide what you’ll need to add to make your CRM complete, make sure you have professionals on hand to conduct the integrations.

In addition to integrating existing software, you can also work with a nonprofit technology consultant to build out your CRM in ways that are totally unique to your organization.

Before you dive into the search process for your perfect consultant, though, take some time to assess your current fundraising and stewardship strategies to find out how Blackbaud CRM can enhance your efforts. What areas could be improved through existing software? Where do you need to take a more custom approach?

Blackbaud CRM might be right for you if… you know how you’ll include integrations and configurations in your software, and you’re ready to work with a nonprofit technology consultant to carry out the customizations.

Blackbaud CRM is an expensive product, so your organization will need to map out a budget that makes room for all the associated fees.

5. You have room in your budget for Blackbaud CRM.

With so much to consider, it’s no surprise that Blackbaud CRM implementation will cost a bit more than some other CRM choices.

While you’ll need to reach out to Blackbaud for an exact quote, what we can tell you is that you can’t expect to get such a full-service CRM solution for a minimal fee. Blackbaud CRM is a pricey solution built for organizations who need—and are prepared for—a long-term investment. 

Of course, you’ll need to consider your Blackbaud CRM price quote before deciding if you can move forward with purchasing the software. But if you’ve been paying attention so far in this post, you’ll already know that you should also consider such expenses as:

  • Integrations. Syncing your CRM up to other software? You’ll need to pay for any products you don’t already own, and you may also need to purchase connector applications or pay for a third-party developer to conduct the integration.
  • Training. Blackbaud typically only offers the lowest level of training with their product packages, so you’ll need to either opt in to their more exhaustive training programs, or work with a nonprofit consultant to develop a personalized training plan that fits your needs and budget.
  • Additional fees. If you’ve ever used a CRM, you’re probably aware that you should add padding to your software budget to account for payment processing fees, expansions, upgrades, or other “hidden” costs you might incur down the road.

While some costs (such as a nonprofit consultant) are vital to your success, other costs (such as paying for constituent profiles or user access) may not be as necessary. Make sure you’re only paying for what you need and that the benefits of the software will outweigh the costs over time.

If you ultimately find that Blackbaud CRM is too much for your team right now, it’s not too late to backtrack and find another more cost-effective option!

Blackbaud CRM might be right for you if… you’ve laid out enough room in your budget (with some give-or-take for unexpected costs) and feel confident selling the purchase to your stakeholders and board.

Blackbaud CRM is a big purchase, so don’t take the consideration process lightly! Make sure Blackbaud CRM fits into your strategy perfectly and that you’re all set with the tools you need to use it effectively.

Need to learn a little more about Blackbaud CRM (or CRMs in general) before making your move? Read these additional resources to get up to speed:



See how these Salesforce features can impact your nonprofit's fundraising, engagement, and outreach strategies.

Salesforce for Nonprofits: 5 Features You Need to Know

A popular solution for for-profit businesses, Salesforce has earned its place as one of the most comprehensive CRM software options on the market. With so many companies relying on it for sales, marketing, and more, you’re probably familiar with Salesforce to some extent—but did you know that your nonprofit can take advantage of the full range of Salesforce features too?

It’s true! Salesforce CRM can be a powerful tool in your constituent management and fundraising arsenal if you know how to maximize your use of this robust software.

Since nonprofits have such specific needs, you’ll have to know how to use Salesforce the right way to stay on top of your most important efforts, including:

  1. Constituent management.
  2. Event management.
  3. Fundraising campaign management.
  4. Marketing and communications.
  5. Reports and dashboards.

In this post, we’ll walk through how you can use built-in Salesforce features as well as powerful Salesforce apps and integrations to manage all of your most vital nonprofit initiatives and actually enhance your strategies through your CRM’s innovative functionality.

Ready to learn how Salesforce can push your nonprofit forward? Let’s get straight to it!

Nonprofits can use Salesforce features to manage their donors, volunteers, members, and other constituents.

1. Top Salesforce Feature for Nonprofits: Constituent Management

Potentially the most important task for any nonprofit is staying on top of all the supporter information you have access to and then using that data to drive more effective fundraising and engagement strategies.

Without your constituents, your organization wouldn’t be able to move your mission forward through fundraising campaigns, volunteer work, or advocacy initiatives. That’s why it’s imperative that you know who your supporters are and how to properly connect with them!

As a CRM, Salesforce should be your first resource for managing constituent data. Let’s lay out a few of our favorite strategies for using Salesforce for better donor, volunteer, and other types of constituent management:

  • Consider Salesforce’s nonprofit products. Did you know Salesforce offers “re-imaginations” of their core products built expressly for nonprofits? With the Nonprofit Success Pack, you’ll gain access to all the features of standard Salesforce CRM pre-configured to better meet nonprofit donor management and fundraising needs.
  • Build out your supporter profiles using custom fields and relationships. Anyone can add custom fields, objects, relationships, and other elements to their CRM without being an IT expert. By creating unique data sets, you’ll see a more intentional view of your constituents, which can then inform all of your strategies.
  • Use Salesforce’s web-to-lead feature to capture information online. Salesforce’s web-to-lead feature automatically converts online forms into lead profiles in your CRM. That way, anyone who signs up for more information online (e.g., signing up for your mailing list or requesting a volunteer schedule) will instantly be logged in Salesforce.

Proper constituent management can also inform your fundraising strategies, specifically how you incorporate important elements such as corporate giving!

When you have complete, manageable data sets, you’ll be able to better target matching gift prospects and communicate opportunities for corporate philanthropy to the right supporters.

An integration with 360MatchPro can help large nonprofits use their Salesforce data to power more effective matching gift strategies. Take a look at how this powerful matching gifts software can put your constituent information to good use with these actionable matching gift reports:

Use 360 MatchPro to enhance the built-in Salesforce features and power your nonprofit's corporate giving strategies.

As you can see, 360MatchPro breaks down the constituent data you’re already storing in your CRM by matching gift eligibility and status.

The more you lean on Salesforce to manage your constituent data, the more time you’ll have to focus on other things—like actually using that data to drive your fundraising tactics!

Next Steps for Using This Salesforce Feature

Interested in learning more about how your CRM can (and should) help you improve donor management? Check out our thorough guide to nonprofit constituent relationship management software to learn everything you need to know.

Nonprofits can use built-in Salesforce features as well as integrated or native apps to manage large and small events.

2. Top Salesforce Feature for Nonprofits: Event Management

For many nonprofits, fundraising events are the cornerstone of their fundraising efforts. Whether you’re planning a variety of small-scale events or one extensive annual fundraiser, you’ll need a way to manage your event logistics, guests, marketing, and more.

While you can look to a third-party solution to plan your event, having access to all of your event management features within your Salesforce system will provide a more holistic view of your efforts and allow you to streamline many of your event-related tasks.

While you can use some of Salesforce’s built-in features to plan your event, to truly maximize your event management experience, we recommend finding a native Salesforce app to extend your CRM’s functionality to include dedicated event tools.

With the help of the right Salesforce event management application or integration, you can tackle all of the following vital event elements without ever leaving your CRM:

  • Event registration. Set up a fully customized event microsite with an intuitive registration process. Set up multiple ticket types, build out tracks with unique sessions, and even offer merchandise as an add-on to registration using an interactive eStore interface.
  • Total logistics management. Track speakers, sponsors, venue arrangements, and other necessities within your CRM. Since no two events are alike, make sure that your app can accommodate whatever you’re planning, from golf tournaments to mega-conferences to stakeholder meetings and more.
  • Guest experience. Empower guests to build and manage their own event agendas, share your event with friends via social media integrations, and complete pre- and post-event surveys to provide invaluable feedback to your event team.

With the power of Salesforce and the right event management app, you can centralize your event planning efforts and design a more productive (profitable!) event for your donors.

Next Steps for Using This Salesforce Feature

Find the right Salesforce partner for your next event by reading our reviews of the best event solutions on the AppExchange. Each of these tools can help your nonprofit’s next event thrive in a unique way, so all types of nonprofits can benefit from integrating these helpful solutions.

Nonprofits can use Salesforce features to track and process donations, manage matching gifts, and perform prospect research.

3. Top Salesforce Feature for Nonprofits: Fundraising Campaign Management

It goes without saying that in order to keep your organization’s mission moving forward, you need to find creative ways to bring in money for your cause.

Those efforts typically combine a lot of different fundraising techniques and strategies, from hosting fundraising events to cultivating long-term major donor relationships to simply setting up an online donation form.

Thankfully, your Salesforce CRM can help you balance all of your fundraising efforts in a way that drives your campaigns forward (and hopefully, above and beyond expectations). 

By using Salesforce’s features and a few well-placed integrations, you can manage a multitude of fundraising tactics, such as:

  • Online fundraising. Being able to accept gifts on your website is essential! You can customize your web-to-lead capture so that online donation form data appropriately transfers to any field in your database, or work with an online giving tool that offers a custom Salesforce integration.
  • Matching gifts. A vital part of many nonprofits’ fundraising strategies, matching gifts can have a place in your Salesforce system, too! You can manually track employer information on your donor profiles, but for best results, you’ll likely need to implement a custom integration.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising. By integrating a peer-to-peer fundraising platform with your CRM, you’ll be able to seamlessly transfer all of your fundraiser and donor information into Salesforce. Because peer-to-peer fundraising is so unique, it’s important to find an app that can map your data to Salesforce in a streamlined way.

You’ll be able to track all of these campaigns within Salesforce so that you have a real-time snapshot of who is donating, how you’re collecting donations, and how you’re measuring up to your short- and long-term fundraising goals.

Next Steps for Using This Salesforce Feature

Fundraising campaigns are the backbone of nonprofit organizations. Get started building out a Salesforce system that can cater to your fundraising campaign management needs (and other vital nonprofit efforts) by checking out these top nonprofit Salesforce apps.

Nonprofits can use Salesforce features to communicate with constituents.

4. Top Salesforce Feature for Nonprofits: Marketing and Communications

Whether you’re getting the word out about fundraising projects or inspiring supporters to make a donation, your marketing and communications initiatives can have a huge impact on your overall fundraising and donor engagement strategies.

However, with so many channels through which you can communicate, it’s difficult to nail down how you’ll connect with your supporters and how you’ll track those efforts within your CRM. Luckily (you guessed it), Salesforce can help!

Within Salesforce, your nonprofit should be able to manage your marketing and communications in a comprehensive way, taking advantage of all the most relevant, engaging channels, such as:

  • Email marketing. Perhaps the most universal communication channel around, email can be your go-to for newsletters, donation solicitation, acknowledgements, event marketing, and virtually anything else. Design branded email templates and build out custom automations based on content or recipient list.
  • Social media. Whether your supporters are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or all of the above, your nonprofit’s web presence relies on active social media profiles. Store your constituents’ profile information within your CRM so that you can keep track of their interactions and manage your own posts effectively.
  • Direct mail. If you think direct mail is out-of-date, think again! Still a powerhouse marketing means for many organizations, direct mail appeals to individuals of all demographics. Streamline your snail mail efforts by creating unique direct mail workflows and tracking responses in Salesforce.

For an example of how to use your CRM for email marketing, take a look at this example email promoting matching gift opportunities:

Use Salesforce features to promote matching gifts through email marketing.

No matter what type of communication you choose to employ, Salesforce should make it easy to organize and segment your recipient list, design professional materials, and track responses and interactions intuitively.

Next Steps for Using This Salesforce Feature

To actually follow through with these efforts, you can take advantage of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which offers all-in-one marketing solutions, or look to third-party integrations or Salesforce apps. If you’re interested in exploring your options, take a look at our list of the top nonprofit marketing software.

Nonprofits can use Salesforce features to measure their success through reports and dashboards.

5. Top Salesforce Feature for Nonprofits: Reports and Dashboards

With all of the data you’re compiling in Salesforce (not to mention any apps or integrations you’ve paired with your CRM), you’ll need a way to make all the information you’ve stored meaningful and useful.

Salesforce has a wide range of built-in reporting tools to help you make sense of your different data sets. With Salesforce, you’ll be able to pose questions in order to generate custom reports. Then, you can display those reports visually using dashboards.

What kind of questions might you ask in Salesforce? Here are just a few examples of how Salesforce reports can help you break down data:

  • Donor acquisition. Measure how many new donors you engaged during your last fundraising campaign or at your last event by running reports on new leads generated or contacts added during a set time frame; you can even automate these to run on a schedule that keeps you updated regularly with no extra effort on your end.
  • Fundraising progress. Discover how your organization is tracking against your goals by building a dashboard to show a real-time picture of the revenue you’ve earned toward your end goal. Don’t forget to display this dashboard on your Salesforce home page so it’s always at front of mind!
  • Survey responses. A great way to measure engagement, surveys can provide you with a large amount of data at once. After building a custom object for your survey in Salesforce and the mapping that data so it flows into your CRM in a meaningful way, you can then run reports and generate dashboards for all of the information you collect or break down the answers into smaller reports.

You might also view dashboards related to donors’ matching gift eligibility, as shown below using 360MatchPro’s CRM:

Use your Salesforce features to break down data in visual dashboards.

When you have a clear view of how your nonprofit is performing in all the most important areas, you’ll be able to move forward with a stronger vision than ever.

Next Steps for Using This Salesforce Feature

Salesforce’s analytics features can help you determine a more strategic plan forward in terms of fundraising, donor engagement, and other vital areas. For more help putting together your nonprofit strategy, check out this post!

Now that you know how useful Salesforce can be, it’s time to start making the most of this impressive CRM!

But before you dive into your Salesforce strategy, check out these additional resources too:

  • Top 10 Salesforce Apps for Nonprofits. Learn how to take your Salesforce system from adequate to out-of-this-world by implementing these amazing Salesforce apps, all designed for nonprofits!
  • Salesforce Event Management: The Ultimate Guide. If event management is your Salesforce goal, you’ll need to know the best ways to go about it. Fonteva’s got you covered with this thorough guide!
  • Top Nonprofit CRMs. If Salesforce isn’t quite your speed, you’ve got plenty of other nonprofit constituent relationship management software options. Check out our favorites!

The Eventbrite Salesforce integration is more complicated than you might think, so make sure you're prepared by reading our thorough review.

Eventbrite Salesforce Integration: Our Actionable Review

Eventbrite is a popular web-based event management app designed to simplify ticketing and registration for any type of event. Individuals, organizations, businesses, and virtually anyone else can use the platform—even Salesforce users!

If your organization uses Salesforce to manage constituent data, you’ll need to integrate Eventbrite with your Salesforce CRM in order to see all of your important information in the same place.

While an Eventbrite Salesforce integration is a viable option to manage events in Salesforce, you should be aware that the data migration and platform implementation processes aren’t always as seamless as you might think.

Before you opt for Eventbrite as your event planning tool of choice, let us walk you through our key takeaways from the Eventbrite Salesforce integration:

  1. You have options for how you implement the Eventbrite Salesforce integration.
  2. Customization can complicate the Eventbrite Salesforce integration.
  3. You’ll want a data manager to oversee the Eventbrite Salesforce integration process.
  4. The Eventbrite Salesforce integration might be costly (and time-consuming).

When you know what the Eventbrite Salesforce integration really entails, you’ll be able to decide if it’s the best path for your organization to take!

Not confident Eventbrite is the right event management software for you? Take a look at this list of excellent Eventbrite alternatives instead!

Your organization will need to determine how you want to conduct the Eventbrite Salesforce integration, either with a third-party connector app or by using the Eventbrite API.

1. You have options for how you implement the Eventbrite Salesforce integration.

Before we can dive into our thoughts on the Eventbrite Salesforce integration itself, let’s discuss how exactly you can get these two platforms to work together in order to plan your event.

Because Eventbrite was not designed for Salesforce, you’ll need to manually integrate the two systems so that you can store your event details within your Salesforce CRM.

Essentially, to integrate Eventbrite and Salesforce, your organization will need to take one of the following routes:

  • Utilizing a third-party connector app.
  • Creating a custom integration using the Eventbrite API.

Let’s run through an overview of the potential pros and cons to each path.

Eventbrite Salesforce Connector Apps

A third-party connector application essentially does the hard work for you by transferring data from Eventbrite to Salesforce.

You can find these platforms on the Salesforce AppExchange, or you can do some independent research to find the best connector tool for your specific integration needs.

It goes without saying that the major advantage to using a third-party integration platform is that they take away the need for any knowledge of coding or API. Instead, you can implement scheduled imports following preset parameters or create your own configurations using a user-friendly field-mapping alternative.

However, if you choose to go with a dedicated connector app, keep in mind that there’s always a risk when you automate any data transfer. You’ll need to pay careful attention that the data is migrating in the way you want it to, and that you’re not losing any data along the way.

Custom Integrations

If you’re especially Salesforce-savvy, you can forgo the middleman completely and perform the integration yourself.

The benefit to working directly with the Eventbrite API is that you’ll have full control over every aspect of the integration. 

Of course, in order to confidently (and successfully) pull the correct event data and send it to the right location in Salesforce, your organization will need to have a fairly robust IT department on hand to facilitate the integration.

If not, you can opt to work with a nonprofit technology consulting firm who knows their way around the Salesforce interface and can make the necessary configurations to get your team synced up to Eventbrite.

Key Takeaway: Before you can integrate Eventbrite with your Salesforce CRM, you’ll need to decide if you’ll use a third-party connector app or manage the data transfer yourself (and you’ll need to understand the challenges for each route).

The more customized your Salesforce CRM is, the more configuration you'll have to do during the Eventbrite Salesforce integration.

2. Customization can complicate the Eventbrite Salesforce integration.

No two Salesforce systems are alike, and most likely, your organization has already gone to some length to configure a CRM solution that uniquely fits your needs.

So, how does Eventbrite fit into the mix when you already have a complex CRM system? From our experience with the Eventbrite Salesforce integration, there are 3 considerations to keep in mind:

  • Connector apps may limit your Salesforce functionality. If you’re using preset formulas to dictate how to transfer your data, keep in mind that these will only work effectively if your existing CRM uses the same fields. If you’ve got highly customized fields and data relationships, the connector apps will need to be customized too, which may take some time (and trial and error).
  • You may sacrifice some custom data during the import process. Depending on how you’ve integrated Salesforce and Eventbrite, not all data may make it from point A to point B. For example, if you ask questions on your registration form that aren’t tied to a specific Salesforce field, those answers may get lost during import, leaving you with holes in your data set and more manual data entry to do on the backend.
  • You may need additional tools to manage every aspect of the event. Since Eventbrite’s functionality is relatively limited, you may find yourself integrating other apps (such as accounting tools, speaker/vendor management tools, etc) as well. Beware—the more integrations you have, the more data you’ll have in transit at any given moment, meaning you’re more likely to lose or damage information along the way.

While Eventbrite is a solid web platform for lightweight event planning, you should understand that the Salesforce integration will not suddenly turn this tool into an end-to-end event management solution. In fact, the more you try to build Eventbrite out into comprehensive, customized software, the more complicated your event management process will be. 

Key Takeaway: The Eventbrite Salesforce integration offers some customization options, but Salesforce users who need a highly robust event management solution should likely find software that’s more inherently built to support complex needs.

A data manager will need to oversee the Eventbrite Salesforce integration to keep your team on track and ensure no data gets damaged during migration.

3. You’ll want a data manager to oversee the Eventbrite Salesforce integration process.

As with any integration or data migration, your nonprofit should expect to spend some time getting to know the new system and ensuring that all aspects are working properly before rolling the product out to your whole team.

With the Eventbrite Salesforce integration specifically, we found that the best way to streamline your integration efforts is to appoint a data manager to oversee the entire process.

This member of your team will be responsible for:

  • Working with your nonprofit technology consultant or IT team to determine the best path to integration.
  • Communicating with your board to establish a feasible budget for the integration.
  • Developing a timeline for the integration.
  • Overseeing a clean-up of your database prior to integration.
  • Documenting best practices for data entry moving forward and communicating those policies to the team.
  • Testing your new processes prior to full implementation.
  • Establishing a plan for training the team on using the integration.

Depending on your resources and the extent of your integration, you may need to appoint a small committee or task force rather than an individual. That way, no one person is burdened with the entire project.

In order to effectively incorporate Eventbrite into your event management strategy, you might need to utilize other tools to get all the functions you need. If you do appoint a small committee to handle data migration, it’s important that they’re aware of any other Salesforce apps that you’re using.

For instance, if you’re hosting a silent auction during your event, you’ll need an additional Salesforce app to manage bidding and checking guests in and out. It’s important that your team knows what data needs to be migrated from which tools so that your Eventbrite data is as comprehensive and effective as possible.

Key Takeaway: Because the Eventbrite Salesforce integration can be complicated, your organization should consider appointing a team leader to guide the rest of your staff through the integration process.

You'll need to make room in your organization's budget and schedule for the Eventbrite Salesforce integration.

4. The Eventbrite Salesforce integration might be costly (and time-consuming).

Any new software is going to cost your team some time and energy—and money, of course! But let’s be honest: your organization spends a lot of time laying out a workable budget and hiring the right staff to keep your operations efficient and productive.

That being the case, one of your chief concerns going into any software purchase or integration process is going to be the amount of precious time and hard-earned funds you’ll be spending to obtain and implement your new product(s).

When it comes to the Eventbrite Salesforce integration, costs (of both time and money) will vary depending on a number of factors, but here are some considerations to keep in mind as you’re budgeting:

  • Using a custom API may require significant time and money. If you have your own IT department to handle the project, you’ll cut back on expenses, since an outside developer or consultant won’t come free. That said, a consultant can help you save on time, since they’re proficient in the systems and can walk you through the process with your timeline in mind.
  • Connector tools are an additional cost to consider. On top of Eventbrite’s fees, you’ll also have to pay for any connector apps you use. As third-party platforms, these tools have their own sets of fees that you may incur upfront or over time.
  • You may need third-party counsel or training. If your integration is especially customized or extensive, you may need a professional’s help to oversee the implementation and train you on how to get the most from your newly improved CRM. Eventbrite’s training options are limited, so you’ll most likely need to pay for a third-party consultant.

If you don’t think you have time to create and implement a custom Eventbrite solution, the alternative would be to search for a native Salesforce event management application (i.e., one that doesn’t require integration).

Native Salesforce apps are built in Salesforce, so you don’t have to consider any extra time or money spent on data migration and integration. All of your data is automatically synced in your CRM, and all you have to do is click “install.”

Native event management apps can still be customized, but since they’re designed for Salesforce, the process is much more intuitive and streamlined than any integration. You can learn more about the benefits of native Salesforce applications by reading this helpful post from Fonteva!

Key Takeaway: Any integration will cost time and money, and the Eventbrite Salesforce integration is no exception. If you want to avoid spending all of your resources fretting over integrations, turn to a native Salesforce event management app instead!

With these 4 takeaways in mind, your team should have a much clearer picture of what the Eventbrite Salesforce integration looks like. Now all you have to do is decide if it’s the best route for your organization!

For more insight into Salesforce event management, check out these additional resources:

  • Our Favorite Eventbrite Competitors. If Eventbrite isn’t for you, never fear. There are plenty of amazing Eventbrite alternatives that can help you stay on top of your events and engage your constituents better than ever.
  • 3 Reasons Eventbrite Isn’t the Best Salesforce App. Want to learn more about the limitations of Eventbrite? Read Fonteva’s in-depth examination of the drawbacks to using Eventbrite on Salesforce.
  • Top 10 Cvent Competitors. Also a popular event management tool for Salesforce users, Cvent is a widely used app—but it may not be the best one for you! See the top Cvent competitors to find out if there’s a better event management app for your organization.
  • 10 Best Salesforce Apps for Nonprofits. If you’re looking for more apps that integrate with Salesforce, check our in-depth list. We cover apps for event management, peer-to-peer fundraising, charity auctions, and much more!

Improve your fundraising strategy with Double the Donation's Fundraising Strategy Ultimate Assessment.

The Fundraising Strategy Ultimate Assessment (Free & Easy!)

No two nonprofits are the same. All organizations have their own unique aspirations, limitations, and culture that shape the way you serve your community.

One thing all nonprofits do share? Every nonprofit could benefit from assessing (or reassessing) their fundraising strategy.

No matter how well you feel your organization is doing, it’s always worth it to take a step back and see if there’s anything your nonprofit could be doing better.

Similarly, if your nonprofit is running into roadblocks but you can’t quite identify where the trouble stems from, a comprehensive fundraising strategy assessment might help reveal your organization’s blindspots.

(Looking for some professional guidance to help your nonprofit meet its goals? Be sure to consult our list of the top ten nonprofit consulting firms to get your organization on track!)

Luckily, assessing your fundraising strategy has never been easier. In this article, we’ll cover all the areas of fundraising assessment, including:

  1. Fundraising Strategy Planning
  2. Fundraising Strategy for Communications
  3. Fundraising Strategy for Events
  4. Fundraising Strategy Evaluation

Ready to revamp your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy? Let’s explore each category in more detail. 

Assess your fundraising strategy by examining your fundraising planning process.

1. Fundraising Strategy Planning

At the heart of your organization, you need to have an intimate understanding of your nonprofit’s direction before you’re ever able to strategize the fundraising process. Before focusing on specific arms of your fundraising efforts, you need to look at the big picture of your nonprofit.

To get a better idea of the scope of your organization’s fundraising needs, here are a few important questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have clear, realistic goals?

    Your organization should know what it wants and be able to clearly articulate what you’re trying to accomplish as a nonprofit. You’ll likely have a variety of interrelated aspirations, and by identifying them you’ll better be able to strategize fundraising. For example, you may be interested in developing goals related to:

    • Fundraising.
    • Donor acquisition.
    • Donor retention.

    Once you’ve determined your goals, share them with the rest of your team so that everyone is on the same path to realizing your objectives.

  • What is your budget?

    You should not only be familiar with how much you’ve allocated to spend on your organization in total, but also know how much you’ve set aside for individual projects. Keep your budget as detailed and forward-thinking as possible. Your budget should account for:

    • Fixed operational costs (rent, taxes, payroll).
    • One-time expenses.
    • Projected revenue.

    Your budget should also take into account unexpected circumstances so that you’re prepared for everything.

  • Do you have a gift range chart?

    A gift range chart is a diagram that breaks down amount of funding you’ll need to collect to reach a goal. The chart can illustrate:

    • The number of donors you need to reach your fundraising goal.
    • The number of individual gifts needed to reach that level.
    • A suggestion of how fundraising should be distributed among major gifts and smaller donations.

    Gift chart are often used for larger fundraising campaigns like capital campaigns, but they can be used for virtually any campaign.

  • Do you have a case for support?

    Your case for support is the elevator pitch of your organization. Why should donors care about your cause? What makes your nonprofit special? Your case should communicate:

    • A brief history of your organization.
    • Your nonprofit’s mission statement.
    • Specific, actionable goals you look to achieve.
    • A clear path toward achieving those goals.
    • A call to action for donors and stakeholders.

    If you’re not sure where to get started with your case statement, you can always hire a fundraising consultant. This professional will help evaluate your goals and determine the best way to translate them into a case for support.

  • Have you delegated responsibilities to a capable team?

    Successful nonprofits always delegate responsibility among capable team members. Identify areas where duties need to be more evenly shared, or where individual staff members need to pick up the slack. Some ways you can support task delegation include:

    • Creating subcommittees within departments.
    • Sharing your fundraising calendar across your team.
    • Using a calendar matrix to indicate task responsibility.

    Be clear when delegating tasks so that there is less confusion between team members.

    Additionally, you’ll likely need the support of your board and the assistance of your executive director. Inform them at every major step in the fundraising strategy process.

  • Have you identified fundraising channels?

    Fundraising channels determine the audience you reach when making the case for support from potential donors. Depending on trends in your constituency, you might rely on:

    • Direct mail.
    • Phone calls.
    • Events.
    • Donation pages.
    • Social media.

    Using multiple online and traditional communication methods will ensure that you’re reaching all of your supporters.

  • Have you outlined fundraising sources?

    To fundraise efficiently, you should know exactly where you’ll be focusing your fundraising efforts. You can use prospect research and wealth screening tools to determine good candidates for giving. Some fundraising sources to consider might include:

    • Major donors.
    • Corporations.
    • Foundations.
    • Grants.

    Additionally, consult your nonprofit CRM to segment your various supporters so that your outreach is effective.

  • Have you developed a calendar of fundraising events?

    To best keep track of your fundraising efforts, you need to develop a detailed calendar of fundraising activities. On this document, you should track:

    • Deadlines.
    • Allocation of resources.
    • Desired results of fundraising activities.
    • Improvements from year to year, etc.

    With an organized calendar of events, you’ll have a better idea of when to start promoting events or follow-up with donors after a campaign ends.

  • Do you have the necessary software to support your fundraising plan?

    Nowadays, fundraising software is the workhorse that nonprofits rely on to help carry out the basic functions of their day-to-day operations. Is the software you’re using helping you achieve your goals? Your nonprofit might benefit from:

    • Constituent relationship management (CRM) software.
    • Online giving software.
    • Wealth screening software.
    • Fundraising event software.

    Bonus! Take a look at our rundown of expert fundraising software resources to see what solution might be right for your nonprofit.

  • Does your board support your fundraising strategy?

    Determine if your board supports your fundraising strategy. With a supportive board, you’ll be better equipped to achieve your goals. If your board doesn’t support the way your fundraising strategy, your assessment is the time to ask why.

Takeaway: Doing a big-picture assessment of your fundraising strategy is a great way to get an idea of where to focus any further investigations.

Assess your fundraising strategy by examining your communications process.

2. Fundraising Strategy for Communications.

Now that you’ve looked at your overall fundraising strategy, it’s time to turn the spotlight on individual arms of your fundraising efforts. In particular, the way your nonprofit approaches communications can influence the success or failure of your fundraising strategy on the whole.

You can identify areas where your nonprofit’s communications techniques need improvement by asking:

  • Have you determined viable communications channels?

    What communications channels result in successful donations? Are there lines of communication you rely on that don’t seem to connect with donors? Some ways to determine channel viability consist of:

    • Using A/B testing to evaluate channels.
    • Collecting communications preferences from donors.
    • Collecting data on which channels lead to the most donations.

    Moreover, don’t just stick to one communication method. Diversify your channels so that you can connect with as many supporters as possible.

  • Have you developed a marketing plan?

    Your marketing plan is a key tool in your arsenal that will help you successfully fundraise. If you haven’t developed a marketing plan, take the time to create one that is tailored to the fundraising needs of your organization. Your marketing plan should:

    • Target key donor segments, such as major donors, volunteers, recurring givers, etc.
    • Address donors at every stage of the donor life cycle.
    • Not only focus on fundraising, but also donor growth, retention, etc.

    Refer to your overarching goals when creating a communications plan because it will help you determine the types of content that you’ll send to donors.

  • Is your online content optimized?

    Make sure that your content is as user-friendly as possible. Most donors will interact with your nonprofit online, so it’s important to make the process seamless. Focus your efforts on:

    When your content is accessible on multiple devices, it’s not only more user-friendly but also available to a larger group of users.

  • Have you provided clear calls to action (CTAs) for donors?

    Your online content should prominently feature CTAs to direct your visitors to donate. These streamline the visitor-to-donor pipeline by making it easier for individuals to complete a donation, as well as encourage donors to give specific amounts. A strong CTA:

    • Uses action words.
    • Is concise.
    • Stresses urgency.

    Your CTAs should be specific and clearly stat what action you want supporters to take.

Takeaway: When it comes to your fundraising strategy, your communications assessment should focus on what your nonprofit is doing to ease engagement between donors and your organization.

Assess your fundraising strategy by examining your fundraising strategy for events.

3. Fundraising Strategy for Events.

As with communications, your fundraising strategy is intrinsically tied to your approach to hosting events. Events help anchor your fundraising efforts as well as unite your donors as a community.

To guide an evaluation of your event fundraising strategy, you should ask yourself:

  • Do you have clear goals for each event related to your overall fundraising strategy?

    Are you giving enough attention to the specific goals you’re trying to accomplish by holding your event? Depending on the type of event you’re holding, your goals may vary. For example:

    • Stewardship events will focus on donor retention and engagement with fundraising being a long-term goal.
    • Fundraising events might have a specific fundraising goal they aim to meet, focusing efforts on immediate accomplishment.

    Bonus! Improve your fundraising efforts even further by checking out our list of 113+ Amazing Fundraising Ideas.

  • Do you have a budget for each event?

    Be sure to set individual budgets for each event you hold. Know up front what each event will cost and plan accordingly. You don’t want to be caught with any surprises! Leave room in your budget for:

    • Event-specific marketing.
    • Venue costs, catering, clean-up.
    • An emergency fund.

    Your strategy should also take into account ways you can raise money for events in case you go over your budget. By raising event donations from corporations, restaurants, and individuals, you’ll be able to stay within budget (or even save money!).

    To help stay on track of your budget and manage other fundraising event details, your organization should use an event management tool. Luckily, we have a list of top providers to jump-start your search.

  • Do you have a marketing plan?

    You should draft a marketing plan specifically designed to promote your events. Your events will need special attention, so don’t just rely on general marketing efforts to get the word out. You can promote your events by using:

    • Social media.
    • Event micro-sites.
    • E-mail campaigns.

    Use the communication methods that your donors are actively using.

  • Do you have a follow-up and retention plan?

    Events can help grow your organization, but only if you follow up with your constituents after-the-fact. Keep track of the donors you engage with, and use the event as an opportunity to collect their contact information if you don’t have it already.

    You can increase retention by sending these donors thank-you letters following events, using the attendance list of an event targeted donor outreach, and requesting attendee feedback to shape how you plan future events.

  • Do you have a clear base of staff and volunteers who can run the event?

    Your volunteers and staff will be the ones who make your event a success. Be sure you know who you can count on, and keep track of them as well as you do your donors. A great way to mobilize volunteers and staff is to break them into subcommittees. At an auction, for example, one might need:

    • A procurement committee to handle the items on auction.
    • A marketing committee to promote the event.
    • A stewardship committee to follow up with donors after the event.

    Committees have clearly defined goals so that no task goes to the wayside.

  • Do you have corporate partnerships to support your event?

    Corporate partners can help bring your event to the next level, and they’re also a great source of fundraising revenue. Seek out corporate partners who:

    • Have a history of philanthropy.
    • Have ties to your community.
    • Will match fundraising.

    There are plenty of corporations that are willing to provide donations to organizations; just look at this list of companies that accept donation requests.

Takeaway: Other arms of your organization, such as marketing and fundraising, all intersect when it comes to your organization’s events, so it’s important to take the time to assess how well the moving parts work together.

Assess your fundraising strategy by reviewing how you evaluate your nonprofit's fundraising efforts.

4. Fundraising Strategy Evaluation.

Evaluation should be a core part of any nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. Without assessing how well your fundraising strategy is performing, you won’t know where to make improvements.

(With the help of nonprofit event fundraising software, your organization can collect and analyze important data to see where these improvements should be made.)

To assess how well you’re evaluating your fundraising strategy, you should ask yourself:

  • Do you have metrics to determine the success of your fundraising strategy?

    Have you been collecting performance data, and has the data been collected consistently? Tracking performance metrics will help you understand trends in your nonprofit. Some areas to track include: cost per dollar raised (CPDR), return on investment (ROI), and conversion rate. 

  • Do you have a team member in charge of revising the fundraising strategy?

    Your nonprofit should have a dedicated staff member in charge of revising fundraising strategy so they can stay focused on the big picture of your fundraising efforts. The responsability might fall on your:

    With a designated person revising your fundraising strategy, you’ll have someone that can make changes when your goals evolve.

  • Have you established milestones for your strategy?

    To see how your organization is progressing, you should establish milestones for your nonprofit to evaluate itself. They might relate to:

    • Donor growth/retention.
    • Webpage views/CTA clicks.
    • Major giving.

    These milestone will make it easier to measure the success of your goals.

  • Have you designated times in your calendar to check in with your fundraising strategy’s performance against key metrics?

    You should periodically review your fundraising performance strategy. This way, if a strategy isn’t working, you can fix what’s broken. Consider reviewing strategy:

    • Annually.
    • During campaigns.
    • Following fundraising events.

    Use your fundraising software to analyze data to gain a better picture of how your fundraising efforts are progressing and make changes accordingly.

  • Do you have a process in place for updating the fundraising strategy?

    Making regular adjustments to your fundraising strategy is an integral part of keeping your fundraising process optimized. Be sure it’s easy to correct course and that you can make changes as you go along. You might regularly consider adjusting your fundraising strategy by making evaluations after:

    • Your fundraising plan reaches certain milestones.
    • Key fundraising events.
    • The end of each quarter.

    Bonus! One surefire way to evaluate your fundraising strategy effectively? Enlist the support of a nonprofit consulting firm.

Takeaway: If evaluation isn’t a part of your strategy, your fundraising efforts are likely not as effective as they could be. Keep comprehensive, consistent data, and use that to inform how you move forward.

Now that you’ve assessed your fundraising strategy, your nonprofit is ready to get started on your next successful campaign. Use what you’ve learned to guide your strategy moving forward, and be sure to periodically assess your strategy to stay on track. Good luck!

Want to learn more about improving your fundraising strategy? Check out these additional resources to improve your nonprofit’s approach.

jQuery(window).on(“hashchange”, function () {
window.scrollTo(window.scrollX, window.scrollY – 120);

The Top 8 Eventbrite Competitors

The Top 8 Eventbrite Competitors (Reviewed and Tested!)

Let’s set the stage: your organization needs to plan a killer event that will engage your constituents and enhance your fundraising power (without causing too many headaches for your event planning team). You search for an event management solution to help you streamline the planning process, but software like Eventbrite doesn’t have the tools or capabilities to meet all of your unique needs.

If this situation sounds familiar, don’t fret! To help you find an event management solution that can meet all of your needs, we’ve taken the liberty of reviewing the top Eventbrite competitors on the market.

In this post, we’ll highlight 8 solutions that are like Eventbrite, but even better:

    1. Fonteva Events
    2. Ticketbud
    3. Eventbee
    4. Gather
    5. ZapEvent
    6. Fundly CRM
    7. Doubleknot
    8. Picatic

Each of these Eventbrite alternatives offers a unique take on event management, so every organization can find a solution that’s perfectly suited for their needs.

Fonteva Events is a top Eventbrite competitor for organizations with unique event management needs.

1. Our Top Eventbrite Competitor: Fonteva Events

Product Overview

Fonteva Events is an all-in-one event management solution designed for Salesforce users.

With Fonteva, you’ll have access to virtually unlimited tools to plan, execute, and follow up on your event. Their all-encompassing features include:

  • Total logistics management, including event setup, speakers, vendors, and sponsors.
  • Attendee management tools such as a guest agenda builder.
  • Intuitive registration and ticketing options.
  • An event microsite generator.

Hesitant about using such a comprehensive platform? Trust us: Fonteva’s software could not be more user-friendly. Your staff will have no problem implementing the solution and actually capitalizing on all of its features.

Comparison to Eventbrite

Eventbrite was designed as an online solution, so Salesforce users who want to create Eventbrite events will need to integrate the platform with their Salesforce system.

Fonteva, on the other hand, was built explicitly for Salesforce users. Fonteva Events is a native Salesforce application, meaning there’s absolutely no integration required to sync up the two platforms; Fonteva and Salesforce work hand-in-hand!

If your organization already uses Salesforce, you can still use an external platform like Eventbrite, but you’ll be spending significant time and money to force the two solutions to work together. Why not spend that time planning your event instead?

Fonteva Events is the best Salesforce app for event management.

Ticketbud is a comprehensive Eventbrite competitor that offers event management features alongside other nonprofit tools.

2. Eventbrite Competitor: Ticketbud

Product Overview

Ticketbud is an online ticket sales and event registration platform designed for event organizers.

Its comprehensive features are perfect for nearly every single event type out there. You have a wide reach with a lot of different ways to sell tickets through these Ticketbud features:

  • Sell tickets at the door and collect card and cash payments with the Ticketbud point of sale system.
  • Sell tickets on your website and Facebook page with the Ticketbud ticket widget.
  • Track all of your marketing efforts with Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel integrations.
  • Manage collaborators and volunteers in one place.

Comparison to Eventbrite

Ticketbud has a fairly similar feature set compared to Eventbrite.

However, where they differ is that Ticketbud offers daily payouts for ticket sales, whereas with Eventbrite you have to wait until after your event to get paid. Also, with intuitive data reporting tools and customer support available by both phone and live chat, Ticketbud focuses more on the organizers and their needs.

Ticketbud's intuitive dashboards make it a strong Eventbrite competitor.

Eventbee is an Eventbrite competitor with a similar look and feel to Eventbrite.

3. Eventbrite Competitor: Eventbee

Product Overview

Eventbee is an online event management software available for any type of event, from small-scale parties to business events, festivals, or conferences.

Eventbee offers a number of features that are similar to Eventbrite, such as:

  • Online ticketing and customizable registration forms.
  • Flexible payment processing options.
  • Branded event pages on Eventbee’s website.
  • Check-in via Eventbee mobile app.

Plus, Eventbee offers event management options specific to businesses or nonprofits, so any type of event planning team can access the most useful tools.

Comparison to Eventbrite

Eventbee stands out from the crowd thanks to their flat fee pricing, making them a cost-effective alternative to Eventbrite.

They offer four distinct fee structures ranging from $1 to $3 per ticket sold. You can even use their handy cost calculating widget on their website to find out exactly how much you’ll save when you switch from Eventbrite, Ticketmaster, or Ticketleap!

Gather is an Eventbrite competitor for venues, restaurants, and professional event planning companies.

4. Eventbrite Competitor: Gather

Product Overview

A comprehensive event management solution, Gather can provide a robust look at all the elements that make up your event.

Designed for venues, hospitality groups, and event planning organizations, Gather includes features such as:

  • Workflow and team management tools.
  • Events calendar with past, present, and future viewing options.
  • Custom reports and data tracking.
  • Responsive web app for planning events on the go.

Gather also offers a number of useful guides and other resources to those who subscribe to their event management newsletters!

Comparison to Eventbrite

Because Gather is designed for event planning professionals, it provides a much more inclusive look at event management than Eventbrite does.

While still easy to use, Gather is a better choice for organizations and businesses who know their way around event planning software. If you’re new to event management or have only sporadic event planning needs, you might be better off choosing a more lightweight Eventbrite alternative.

ZapEvent is a lightweight event ticketing platform and top Eventbrite competitor.

5. Eventbrite Competitor: ZapEvent

Product Overview

ZapEvent is a web-based event registration platform designed to make selling tickets simple and secure for organizations of all sizes.

With an extremely user-friendly interface, ZapEvent provides all of the following essential tools:

  • Custom event pages.
  • Social media integration.
  • Flexible ticket and payment options.
  • Preset registration and financial reports.

Not only does ZapEvent make setting up your event easy; they make pricing easy too! ZapEvent’s flexible pricing model allows organizations to choose how they’ll handle processing fees, and they provide a price calculator to make mapping out a ticket strategy that much easier.

Comparison to Eventbrite

What sets ZapEvent apart from other event apps (including Eventbrite)? Their customers would agree that ZapEvent’s exceptional customer service seals the deal on the event management experience.

ZapEvent provides a wealth of videos and other online resources to help both novice and veteran event planning teams get the job done most effectively. On top of that, their team of event specialists are available to help you personalize your event and optimize your strategy.

Fundly CRM is a top Eventbrite competitor for nonprofits who need both donor management and event planning tools.

6. Eventbrite Competitor: Fundly CRM

Product Overview

For small to midsize nonprofits who want to manage constituent data and event logistics in the same system, Fundly CRM can provide all of the tools you need to do both (and a lot more).

In this robust constituent relationship management software, you’ll have access to built-in event management tools including:

  • Customizable registration forms.
  • Event project management tools.
  • Sponsorship management.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising tools.

Unlike some nonprofit CRMs, all of Fundly CRM’s event management tools are included with their base package, so you don’t have to break the bank to afford these fantastic features!

Comparison to Eventbrite

Fundly CRM isn’t just an event management platform; it’s an all-in-one nonprofit constituent relationship management software.

If your organization already uses a nonprofit CRM to manage supporter data, you’ll have to integrate outside event management software to use both platforms simultaneously. Because integrations can be costly (and often ineffective), it might make more sense for your organization to upgrade to a CRM that can handle all of your fundraising needs, including event planning!

Doubleknot is an Eventbrite competitor that's perfect for museums and science centers.

7. Eventbrite Competitor: Doubleknot

Product Overview

Designed for specific types of nonprofits including zoos, museums, and retreat centers, Doubleknot offers intuitive event registration and program management tools to make event planning easier.

Doubleknot’s software comes with rich features to help you manage all types of events and programs. With Doubleknot, you can:

  • Configure a custom event with ease.
  • Build registration forms that capture all the guest data you need.
  • Manage capacities and waitlists per session or event.
  • Create unique event categories based on your organization’s common needs.

You’ll also have access to all of Doubleknot’s impressive integrated nonprofit features, such as communications and marketing, reporting and analytics, and payment processing. Everything you need will be visible in one simple solution!

Comparison to Eventbrite

Eventbrite doesn’t provide half of the program management tools you’ll gain with Doubleknot.

Because Doubleknot was created with unique organizations in mind, this software allows you to design events and programs that are truly complex. Whether you’re planning a straightforward fundraising gala or an ongoing class with multiple track options, Doubleknot can adapt to your needs—not the other way around!

Picatic is a top Eventbrite competitor for organizations or individuals.

8. Eventbrite Competitor: Picatic

Product Overview

A web-based event management and ticketing software, Picatic can be a useful tool for individuals, businesses, nonprofits, or other organizations. Much like Eventbrite, nearly anyone can use this simple tool!

With Picatic, you’ll be able to manage your event using the following tools:

  • Ticket management with options for discounts and promotional codes.
  • Custom guest survey builder.
  • Email marketing tools.
  • Personalized event site generator.

Picatic also offers a Pro option for organizations with more advanced event management needs. If you opt in to Picatic Pro, you’ll have access to all the essential features as well as more in-depth analytics, greater customization options for your event site, and more.

Comparison to Eventbrite

Similar to Eventbrite’s extensions, Picatic offers a variety of integration options to provide the most holistic event management experience possible. From Mailchimp to Google Analytics, Picatic is able to work with the other solutions you’re using (after you integrate them, of course).

Even better, Picatic offers embeddable widgets to allow you to sell tickets and promote your event outside the Picatic website!

Now that you know your options, it’s time to start planning your event!

Check out these additional resources for more event management help:

  • Top Cvent Competitors. Didn’t find the event management solution you were looking for in this post? Check out our breakdown of the top Cvent competitors to continue expanding your knowledge of the best event management products around.
  • Salesforce Event Management Guide. If you’re planning an event using your Salesforce CRM, look no further! Fonteva has the ultimate guide for using Salesforce to plan lucrative, effective events your constituents will love.
  • Our Favorite Event Fundraising Solutions. Discover even more nonprofit event management solutions! We’ll walk you through the top fundraising software to meet any need your organization has.

jQuery(window).on(“hashchange”, function () {
window.scrollTo(window.scrollX, window.scrollY – 90);

Discover if Blackbaud Luminate CRM is the right donor management tool for your nonprofit.

Luminate CRM: Key Considerations Before You Buy

Thinking about using Luminate CRM to manage your donor data? Moving to new constituent relationship management software is a big decision, especially for large nonprofits with so much data to keep track of.

Blackbaud’s Luminate CRM is a powerful tool, but it’s not the right CRM for every nonprofit. And while there are a number of resources online to help you learn about Luminate CRM’s features and benefits, it can be difficult to discern whether or not the investment is a smart choice for your organization.

That’s why we’ve come up with 5 exceptionally important considerations for you to keep in mind as you move into the Luminate CRM buying process. We’ll walk through each of the following points: 

  1. Luminate CRM was built for Salesforce users.
  2. Luminate CRM can meet multifaceted constituent management needs.
  3. Luminate CRM thrives on custom configuration.
  4. Luminate CRM is different than Luminate Online (but they can work together!).
  5. Luminate CRM requires training.

Bonus: If Luminate CRM isn’t quite your speed, consider checking out Luminate Online Marketing, a suite of online fundraising and digital marketing tools also from Blackbaud. We’ve broken down the buying process for Luminate Online in this helpful post!

Luminate CRM was built to sit on top of Salesforce, so only nonprofits who already use Salesforce CRM should invest in Blackbaud's Luminate CRM.

1. Luminate CRM was built for Salesforce users.

The first thing you need to know about Luminate CRM is that, unlike other Blackbaud products, this software was designed to work with Salesforce.

Because Luminate CRM sits on top of Salesforce, only nonprofits who are already using Salesforce as their primary CRM should consider purchasing it. You won’t be able to use Luminate CRM outside of Salesforce; instead, you can use Luminate to expand your current Salesforce functionality and gain access to rich, nonprofit-specific constituent management tools.

The fact that Luminate CRM was built for Salesforce has a few important repercussions:

  • Luminate CRM works best for large organizations. As you’re likely aware, Salesforce is a huge product with highly expansive functionality. Since Luminate CRM works hand-in-hand with Salesforce, it’s not an investment that many smaller nonprofits can afford to make, nor is it one that’s beneficial to them.
  • Luminate CRM is part of the Salesforce ecosystem. Not only will you be able to use Luminate in conjunction with built-in Salesforce features, but you’ll be able to integrate it with any other app on the Salesforce AppExchange. Luminate CRM blends seamlessly into your Salesforce infrastructure, so all of your tools can work together holistically.
  • Luminate CRM is cloud-based. Like Salesforce, Luminate CRM is completely cloud-based. That means you can access your data anywhere, anytime (as long as you’re connected to the internet). Even better? Luminate CRM also has a mobile app that enables you to more easily connect to your CRM on your smartphone!

If your nonprofit doesn’t use Salesforce, Blackbaud offers a host of other constituent management solutions that work independently.

If your organization is on the smaller side, you may need a more lightweight solution than Blackbaud or Salesforce can offer; in that case, we recommend finding a cost-effective alternative that can help you manage donor data as you grow. Sound like you? Check out @Pay’s guide to low-cost or free nonprofit CRM software to get started!

The last word: Luminate CRM was built for Salesforce and works as a part of Salesforce. Your nonprofit should only consider implementing Luminate CRM if you’re already using Salesforce (or are prepared to make that purchase as well).

Luminate CRM can help your nonprofit accomplish a variety of constituent management needs and can be further expanded through customizations and integrations.

2. Luminate CRM can meet multifaceted constituent management needs.

Because Luminate CRM was designed for larger organizations, it’s fully prepared to support a variety of data management needs for all of the constituents your nonprofit interacts with.

Like most CRM or donor management solutions, Luminate CRM offers nonprofits the ability to store and track valuable constituent data. Luminate’s data management features include:

  • Custom constituent profiles. Build dynamic portraits of each supporter based on the information that’s most important to your cause. Store contact information, engagement history, interests, wealth information, and more; you can customize the fields to meet your data needs.
  • Constituent classification. Group your constituents into specific segments based on involvement, such as major donors, volunteers, board members, or recurring givers. Then, easily use their classification to inform your engagement strategy.
  • Constituent task management. Add notes and assign tasks to specific supporter profiles or entire segments. That way, your team is always on track of important actions and project management needs. You can even upload documents that relate to individual tasks or constituents.

In addition to these vital donor management tools, Luminate CRM also equips your nonprofit with tools to tackle donation management, direct marketing, reporting and analytics, event management, and volunteer management.

And it doesn’t stop there! On top of Luminate CRM’s built-in features, your organization has the opportunity to integrate your CRM system with a variety of other platforms, including the thousands of apps on the Salesforce AppExchange, the Blackbaud Luminate Online suite, and third-party software via custom integrations.

The last word: Luminate CRM is one of the most comprehensive constituent management solutions available. By adding it to your Salesforce platform, you’ll be able to use a comprehensive view of your data to inform your overall nonprofit strategy.

To get the most from Luminate CRM, your nonprofit should work with a developer to configure the platform in a unique way.

3. Luminate CRM thrives on custom configuration.

Like many Blackbaud products, Luminate CRM is a broad platform with a number of capabilities. However, in order to maximize the software’s myriad possibilities, you’ll need to customize Luminate CRM to fit your nonprofit’s unique needs.

With Luminate CRM, your organization can accomplish virtually anything, but designing and implementing the tools to get you there takes an in-depth development knowledge that many nonprofits don’t have. Unless your team is equipped with a considerable IT department, you’ll want to call in reinforcements to set up Luminate CRM.

What does that translate to? In short, your nonprofit should seek the help of a nonprofit technology consultant to help you configure your Luminate CRM platform. 

Among their many benefits, a web consultant can help you:

  • Map out your strategy for using Luminate CRM.
  • Determine which reconfigurations you need.
  • Create custom solutions tailored to your fundraising strategy.
  • Migrate data from your existing platform(s) to Luminate.
  • Integrate third-party platforms.
  • Develop a long-term plan for maintaining and cleaning data.
  • Train your staff on using Luminate CRM.

The best part of using a consultant is that they can understand your nonprofit’s needs and give you expert counsel on how Luminate CRM fits in. Specialized developers understand the Luminate and Salesforce API and can adjust the standard features and configurations to give you the best CRM experience possible.

For example, if your organization takes advantage of matching gifts as part of your fundraising strategy (and why wouldn’t you?), you can integrate Luminate CRM with high-powered matching gift tools such as 360MatchPro.

When you integrate 360MatchPro with your Luminate system, you’ll have access to both sets of tools and data within one end-to-end system. That way, you can stay on top of your matching gift automation in the most effective way!

And if you’re not using 360MatchPro to manage the matching gift process at your organization, now’s the perfect time to pair this product with your Luminate platform. Click here to find out more!

Don’t forget: while a consultant or outside developer on-hand is vital, it’s not free. As you’re budgeting, consider their cost as part of the implementation price for Luminate CRM. Don’t be too frugal here; the up-front investment will pay off when you have a completely personalized system that helps you manage donor data and raise funds effectively!

The last word: To really see the benefits of Luminate CRM, you’ll need to devise a plan for customization. Work with a nonprofit web consultant and a developer to make sure your CRM is configured to your specific needs.

Salesforce users can reap the benefits of Luminate Online by integrating it with Luminate CRM.

4. Luminate CRM is different than Luminate Online (but they can work together!).

Another key product in the Blackbaud Luminate family is Luminate Online Marketing, a set of tools designed to streamline and enhance nonprofit fundraising and marketing strategies.

Luminate CRM is not a part of Luminate Online, and there are some key distinctions between the two solutions that you should be aware of. Chiefly, Luminate Online operates independently, so you don’t need to be a Salesforce user to utilize it.

That said, Salesforce users who want to extend their Luminate CRM product to include Luminate Online’s features can do so by integrating the two platforms. 

By integrating Luminate Online into your Luminate CRM and Salesforce system, you’ll have access to greater fundraising and constituent engagement abilities, from email marketing tools to donation form builders and more.

Not only will you be able to implement Luminate Online’s core features; you’ll also have access to their add-ons, including:

  • TeamRaiser, Luminate’s customizable peer-to-peer fundraising platform.
  • Luminate Advocacy, designed for grassroots fundraising initiatives and policy campaigns.
  • Luminate CMS, a content management platform to help nonprofits manage web content.

While not included in the base price, these add-ons can help nonprofits with specific needs take their efforts to the next level without needing a third-party program or complicated integration.

Need help configuring Luminate Online to meet your needs? DNL OmniMedia’s guide to TeamRaiser configurations can put you on the right path!

The last word: Luminate CRM and Luminate Online Marketing are separate Blackbaud products. Depending on your nonprofit’s needs, you can integrate the two for the most effective fundraising and constituent management.

To understand the nuances of Luminate CRM, your organization will need to seek professional training.

5. Luminate CRM requires training.

Unlike many lightweight alternatives, Luminate CRM takes time and understanding in order to start using the platform.

You can find a number of helpful resources online, including Blackbaud forums, helpful how-to’s, and even instruction manuals for specific topics like data migration or software integration.

However, these support options aren’t comprehensive or personalized enough to be your primary form of training. Instead, you should seek out dedicated training courses or consultation from one of two sources: 

  • Blackbaud’s training team.
  • A third-party nonprofit web consultant.

Either service should help you develop a plan for using Luminate CRM and consider how your staff will make the most of the CRM long-term.

If you choose to work with a nonprofit software consultant, you can take advantage of their expertise in developing custom solutions and have them train you on implementing those customizations in your fundraising strategy. They’ll work with you to establish how Luminate fits into your overall goals and teach you how to maximize your CRM’s capabilities.

A consulting firm can also tailor your training experience in a way that ensures your staff is well-versed on the most pertinent aspects of your CRM within a time frame that fits your organizational goals.

The last word: You can work with Blackbaud specialists or a nonprofit technology consultant to get your whole nonprofit team on the same page when it comes to using Luminate CRM to reach your goals.

Now that you know if Luminate CRM is the best choice for you, it’s time to start using it to manage your constituent data!

Check out these resources for more on maximizing your Luminate and Salesforce system:

  • Luminate Online Marketing: The Nonprofit’s Guide. Get up to speed on all the essential Luminate knowledge by reading DNL OmniMedia’s guide to Luminate Online. As top-notch web consultants, they know what’s what when it comes to Blackbaud, so you can trust their insight is all you need for successful Luminate fundraising.
  • Top Salesforce Partners for Successful Events. Planning an event in Salesforce? You’ll need a high-quality event management app to help streamline the process, and there’s no shortage of software on the market! Read our reviews of the top Salesforce partners for event planning.
  • Luminate Online Migrations: 5 Tips for a Painless Process. Before you can get started with any Luminate product, you’ll need to transfer your existing donor data. Read these top strategies for conducting an effective (headache-free!) data migration.

Before purchasing Luminate Online Marketing for your nonprofit, find out if it's the right product set for your organization by asking yourself these questions.

Luminate for Blackbaud: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy

Looking for a set of powerful, completely customizable online fundraising and marketing tools for your nonprofit? For many organizations, Luminate for Blackbaud is the only answer.

There’s a reason why so many nonprofits turn to Luminate Online Marketing for their online donor engagement needs. The Luminate Online product is expansive, adaptive, and—when configured correctly—uniquely comprehensive.

But before you assume that Luminate is the right choice for your nonprofit, think carefully. While an ideal choice for many nonprofits, the fact of the matter is that Luminate Online is not a universal fit. 

To determine if your organization could benefit from Luminate, first consider these questions:

  1. Is your nonprofit ready for Blackbaud’s Luminate Online?
  2. What are your goals for Luminate Online?
  3. Will you need Luminate Online add-ons?
  4. What integrations or customizations will you need for your Blackbaud Luminate system?
  5. How will your nonprofit get set up with Luminate Online?

In this post, we’ll cover the Luminate Online Marketing buying process. If you’re not yet familiar with the product, we recommend first taking a look at DNL OmniMedia’s guide to Luminate Online; it will give you the understanding you need to start considering Luminate for your own nonprofit.

To find out if Luminate is right for you, keep reading!

Luminate Online is designed for enterprise-level nonprofits with complex goals.

1. Is your nonprofit ready for Luminate Online?

Before you should even start looking at products and comparing prices, your nonprofit needs to understand that Luminate Online is not meant for everyone.

Let’s break down exactly who the audience for Luminate Online is:

  • Luminate Online caters to enterprise level organizations. These products were not designed for up-and-coming or mid-level nonprofits. Luminate Online is intended for those organizations who are established enough to benefit from a custom solution that can help them manage fundraising and communications for a wide donor base.
  • Luminate Online requires a financial investment. Luminate does not seek to serve nonprofits searching for low-cost software to get them started with online fundraising. Instead, Luminate is best-suited for organizations whose budgets can accommodate a powerful, top-tier solution that can meet their needs for the long run.
  • Luminate Online is designed for nonprofits with complex needs. If your organization is simply trying to accept online donations and send automated email blasts, Luminate Online will likely offer more than you’re ready to use. Because it’s designed to be customized extensively, Luminate works best for nonprofits who need a more specific set of features than those offered off-the-rack.

If your nonprofit isn’t quite ready for a solution so far-reaching, don’t worry! There are plenty of simple, affordable nonprofit digital fundraising and marketing tools that can meet your needs immediately.

But if you think your organization is at a place where Blackbaud’s products can give you the next-level donor engagement and fundraising features you need, start mapping out your game plan, including a budget, list of goals, and an appeal for your board.

What to Know: Blackbaud’s Luminate Online Marketing solution is an exceptional product that is best-suited for large nonprofits with specific fundraising needs and a flexible budget.

Determine how you'll use Blackbaud's Luminate Online to move your nonprofit's mission forward.

2. What are your goals for Luminate Online?

Luminate Online can help your nonprofit accomplish a number of things, but it’s up to you to decide what those accomplishments will be.

Before you jump into your product search, make sure your organization is on the same page when it comes to how you’ll use Luminate Online.

As a jumping off point, get together with key staff (i.e., those who’ll be primarily using the Luminate software), and brainstorm answers to questions such as:

  • How do your current digital fundraising and marketing solutions fall short? Are you piecemealing several solutions? Are you unable to store all of your constituent data?
  • Do you require a customized online fundraising solution? How can you improve your fundraising campaigns and/or marketing efforts by taking a more specific strategy? How could your software help you achieve that strategy?
  • What specific fundraising and communication goals would you like to meet? What dollar amount is your fundraising target for the upcoming year (or multi-year period)? Do you hope to better engage supporters via email, direct mail, or social media? Do you hope to attract new donors, and if so, how many?

Your goals will be unique to your nonprofit, but no matter what, they should always be measurable and as tangible as possible.

While some targets will inherently be more abstract (such as donor engagement), you should set sub-goals that relate to a highly specific metric. For example, if your goal is to strengthen email communications, you should set specific secondary goals tied to email open and click-through rates, follow-up engagements, and lead captures.

What to Know: Before committing to Luminate, make sure your nonprofit is clear with how you’ll use the product, with specific, measurable goals in mind.

Blackbaud Luminate Online also offers add-ons to expand the product's features, so determine if your nonprofit needs access to these solutions as well.

3. Will you need Luminate Online add-ons?

Once you’ve decided that the move to Luminate Online is a wise one, it’s time to start seriously considering the product at hand and deciding which features you’ll want access to.

To recap, Luminate Online Marketing comes with the following tools as part of the standard solution:

  • Dynamic email campaign management.
  • Digital fundraising and donation processing.
  • Online donation form-building.
  • Fundraising campaign reporting and analytics.
  • Flexible event creation and calendar management.
  • Web design and campaign microsite creation.
  • eCommerce and web store management.

While those solutions can easily cover the needs of many nonprofits, if your organization needs more tailored fundraising and engagement solutions, you can also implement one (or more) of Blackbaud’s Luminate Online add-ons.

Here’s our breakdown of each additional option you can tie to your Luminate Online system:

  • TeamRaiser. Luminate’s peer-to-peer fundraising solution enables nonprofits to manage social fundraising initiatives by creating team fundraising pages, giving donors the tools to become fundraisers, and planning fundraising events.
  • Luminate Advocacy. With tools to help nonprofits grow their supporter network and turn advocates into donors (and vice versa!), Luminate Advocacy is designed for organizations leading next-level policy campaigns.
  • Luminate Content Management System. For organizations with specific web design needs, Luminate CMS provides a functional, user-friendly interface for nonprofits to create and share content online.

For organizations already using (or considering) the Blackbaud family of products, incorporating these add-ons makes more sense than seeking outside dedicated fundraising platforms. However, these solutions are not included in the initial Luminate Online Marketing feature set, so you should make sure they actually align with your nonprofit’s goals before paying extra for them.

What to Know: Blackbaud offers Luminate Online add-ons to extend their core product. If your organization uses peer-to-peer fundraising, advocacy, or content management systems to achieve your goals, consider adding these solutions onto your Luminate purchase.

Luminate Online is endlessly customizable, so consider how you'll adapt the platform to meet your nonprofit needs.

4. What integrations or customizations will you need for your Luminate system?

You’ve got your eye on the perfect product and the right add-ons to meet your needs; now it’s time to start thinking about how you can make the Blackbaud Luminate tools your own.

Arguably the greatest advantage to using Luminate Online Marketing is the full scope of customization it allows. While many fundraising software options have limited amounts of customization (such as donation form fields or reporting metrics), Luminate is a little different. Essentially, Luminate Online requires specific configuration to really meet your nonprofit’s needs.

That configuration might mean setting up custom workflows, dashboards, user-interface options, or other features that don’t come standard in Luminate. No matter how you want to adjust your platform, keep in mind that these configurations will require an in-depth IT knowledge.

What does that mean for you? Most likely, it means that you’ll need to find an outside developer to help you design and implement your customization plan. 

In addition to customizing the backend of your Luminate Online system, you might also need to integrate existing platforms into your online marketing system to get a holistic view of your entire set of fundraising and marketing efforts.

For example, you might want to integrate these solutions with Luminate Online:

  • Matching gifts. Luminate Online comes with some matching gift capabilities, but if your organization relies on corporate giving as a major form of fundraising, you’ll need to integrate your matching gift services with Luminate.
  • Prospect research. To take the most strategic approach to identifying and targeting major donors, you can integrate your prospect research or wealth-screening tools into your Luminate Online system.
  • Luminate CRM. For organizations on Salesforce, Luminate CRM provides a pathway to integration with the Luminate Online solution. (Tip: read more about how Luminate CRM differs from Luminate Online here!)

Like configurations, these custom integrations likely require the help of a nonprofit technology consultant, at least for the initial set-up and data transfer.

We’ll touch more on how these consultants can help you in the next section, but keep in mind that their services come at a price. If broad customization is necessary for your organization, make sure there’s plenty of room in your budget to find the help you’ll need to implement and use your configurations and integrations.

What to Know: To get the most out of Luminate Online, you’ll want to configure the software to fit your specific needs and integrate third-party platforms you rely on. To make this process as smooth as possible, you should enlist the help of a qualified nonprofit technology consultant.

Your nonprofit will need support and training from a nonprofit technology consultant to get set up with Luminate Online.

5. How will your nonprofit get set up with Luminate Online?

This point might be last on the list, but don’t be mistaken—understanding the Luminate Online implementation process is one of the most crucial considerations to keep in mind!

Luminate Online is not a download-and-get-going kind of product, which reinforces its standing as a solution only intended for nonprofits who are highly capable and willing to make an investment now for the sake long-term usability.

There are a few specific elements of the Luminate implementation process that you should think about before purchasing the software:

  • Data migration. Often a complicated process, effective data migration is essential so that all the donor information you’re currently storing can be used within your new Luminate system.
  • Set-up. Once you have your data in place, there will likely be additional steps (including configurations) to make sure your platform is installed and working correctly.
  • Training. While user-friendly in its own way, Luminate Online requires extensive training to get fully acquainted with the software’s tools and features.

In order to complete the first stages of your nonprofit’s long-term Luminate Online usage, you will likely require the help of a nonprofit technology consulting firm. 

Your nonprofit is just getting started with Luminate, so you don’t have to be an expert yet; however, you will need an expert on your side as you attempt to navigate the ins and outs of this larger-than-life software solution.

Consultants can help you map out your Luminate Online strategies, transfer your existing data, configure your platform, and train your staff on how to use Luminate Online to its fullest potential.

What to Know: As you dive into your Luminate Online experience, make sure you have the guidance of a Blackbaud expert to ensure smooth sailing and long-term satisfaction.

Now that you know if Luminate Online is right for your organization, it’s time to get started with your new product.

Check out these additional resources to get more out of your Luminate Online solution:

  • DNL OmniMedia’s Guide to Luminate Online. As nonprofit technology consultants and Blackbaud authorities, DNL OmniMedia can help you understand Luminate Online like no other. Read their guide to find out everything you need to know.
  • Luminate CRM: Key Considerations Before You Buy. Luminate Online isn’t the only Blackbaud Luminate product that can supercharge your fundraising and donor engagement. If you’re a Salesforce user, see how Luminate CRM can take your constituent management to the next level.
  • Luminate Online: From Consideration to Implementation. Now that you know Luminate is the best choice for your online fundraising needs, allow Fundly to walk you through the Luminate Online buying process in great detail.

Small Companies Matching Gifts

Companies that Match Gifts to Higher Education Colleges and Universities

Everyone who has attained a bachelor’s degree has received a call from their Alma mater asking for donations, perhaps even before the graduation ceremony has concluded. And the statistics show that alumni do give back to their colleges and universities. Luckily, many of these generous gifts will be matched by alumni’s employers.

Matching Gifts to Education (Colleges and Universities)

Most matching gift programs began by only matching to colleges and universities. Many companies expanded their programs to include other nonprofit organizations, or all nonprofit organizations. However, there still remains a large contingent of companies that only match to higher education ( which excludes K-12 educational organizations or schools).

Almost all the companies you’ve read about in our previous posts (such as Bank of America, GE, Coca-Cola, Home Depot) will match gifts to colleges or universities. In this post we put together a list of some companies with lesser known matching gift programs. Oftentimes when a company only matches to higher education they can fall under the radar.

List of Companies Matching Gifts to Universities

This list is by no means comprehensive but rather a sampling of well known companies with matching gift programs. In fact, over 65% of Fortune 500 companies have an employee matching gift program.

View a list of the top matching gift companies in the US.

Allstate Insuranceallstate-matching-gifts

Allstate will match gifts to higher education on a dollar for dollar basis through their Good Hands Matching Gift program. They will also match 15% on donations made to other 501(c)(3) organizations.

Read more about Allstate’s matching gift program.

ConAgra Foods Inc.conagra-matching-gifts

ConAgra will match gifts to higher education between $25 and $1,000. They also match to programs for nutritional education; these programs need not be associated with a college or university.

Read more about the ConAgra Foods matching gift program.

eBay Inc.ebay-matching-gifts

The popular online auction site will match employee donations made between $25 and $500 per year. In addition to matching gifts to education, Ebay will also match gifts to most other nonprofit organizations.

Read more about eBay’s matching gift program.


Sherwin-Williams offers a matching gift program where the company matches up to $3,000 in donations to a wide variety of nonprofits including colleges and universities.

The company’s matching gift program is open to both current employees as well as retirees.

And in case that’s not impressive enough, Sherwin-Williams also has a great volunteer grant program.

Read more about Sherwin-Williams’ matching gift program.

ExxonMobilExxonMobile Matching Gifts

Although ExxonMobil is actually quite well-known for its corporate philanthropy, it is worth noting in terms of higher education because of how generous the corporation’s program is. ExxonMobil offers two matching gift programs, the Arts and Cultural Matching Gift Program and the Educational Matching Gift Program.

Through the Educational Matching Gift Program, ExxonMobil will match donations to higher education institutions, including U.S. colleges and universities. They match at a 3:1 ratio for the first $7,500 donated.

Read more about ExxonMobil’s matching gift program.

Examples of four colleges and universities promoting matching gifts across their online fundraising:

  1. Adrian College
  2. Eckerd College
  3. The Cooper Union
  4. University of Utah

Adrian College

Adrian College, located in Adrian, Michigan, is a private liberal arts college that was recently ranked as the #1 Midwest College by U.S. News and World Report.

Adrian College promotes matching gifts on their:

  1. Dedicated matching gift page
  2. Donation form with a screen overlay

Main dedicated matching gift page:

If alumni are looking for different ways to support their alma mater, Adrian College’s matching gift page offers helpful information to donors about making their donations go further. They let donors know that it might not just be their own employer that will match their donations; contributors can also solicit their spouses’ companies for matching donations or ask if a company they retired from will match their gift.

Adrian College then offers Double the Donation’s search tool to help donors check if their employers will match their donation.

Adrian College Matching Gift Page

Donation form:

Alumni and others who are ready to give to Adrian College can find more information about matching gift programs on the institution’s online donation form. In addition to the other options on the page, Adrian offers donors the chance to look into matching gift programs their employers provide.

Adrian College Matching Gifts on Donation Form

When the link is clicked, there is a screen overlay with matching gift information. Users simply type in the name of the company they work for to find matching gift information.

College Donation form with Matching Gift Screen Overlay

If their employer provides a matching gift program, the screen overlay displays important information such as:

  • Minimum or maximum donations that will be matched
  • Corporate contact information
  • Links to the electronic matching gift submission process / relevant matching gift forms
  • Easy to understand instructions

Eckerd College

Founded in 1958, Eckerd College is a private, liberal arts college located in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Eckerd College promotes matching gifts on their:

  1. Donation form with a link to a new window
  2. Dedicated matching gift page

Donation Form:

If alumni and other individuals choose to contribute through Eckerd College’s easy-to-use online donation form, they can find information about matching gifts in two separate places. Both the text link and the graphic in the sidebar take users to an informative dedicated matching gift page. The matching gifts section of the donation form itself then allows donors to indicate whether their donation will be matched by their employer or their spouses’ employers’ matching gift programs as well.

Eckerd College Donation Form with Two Matching Gift Options

When either the text link or the graphic is clicked, a new window opens taking donors to the college’s dedicated matching gift page. This page tells donors that their spouses’ employers and even former employers (for retirees) could offer matching gift programs to make their donation go further.

Dedicated Matching Gift Page:

Eckerd College’s dedicated matching gift page highlights the Double the Donation search tool for donors to use to research their employers’ gift matching programs offering helpful information and guidelines.

Eckerd College Matching Gift Page

The Cooper Union

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, commonly shortened to simply The Cooper Union, was established as a privately funded college in 1859 by Peter Cooper on the idea that education should be accessible and free to qualified students regardless of race, gender, wealth, or social status. Until 2014, the college granted each admitted student a full-tuition scholarship valued at approximately $150,000. Students who attended The Cooper Union can donate and help fund scholarships, events, and academic endeavors.

The Cooper Union promotes matching gifts on their:

  1. Dedicated matching gift page
  2. Donation form with Double the Donation’s tool in an expandable matching gift section

Dedicated Matching Gift Page:

The Cooper Union’s matching gift page lets alumni and other donors know about matching gifts and gives them instructions on how to obtain a matching donation from their employer. The page also encourages donors to use Double the Donation’s search tool to look for more in-depth information about their employers’ matching gift programs. Additionally, the page offers vital contact information if donors have other questions.

The Cooper Union Matching Gift Page

Donation form:

For donors who are ready to give, The Cooper Union’s online donation form also offers information about matching gift programs that their employers may provide. At the bottom of the page, donors can open an expandable matching gift section.

Higher Education - The Cooper Union Donation Form with Matching Gifts


When a user clicks on the expandable section, the Double the Donation search tool appears to help donors research more about their employers’ matching gift programs. Once a donor finds their company, they can find forms, guidelines, and instructions to help their donation to The Cooper Union go even further.


The Cooper Union Higher Education Match Tool

University of Utah

The University of Utah is a space-grant research university based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Established in 1850, the University of Utah offers over 100 majors and is home to Utah’s only medical school. Former students and others who wish to give to the University of Utah help fund libraries, scholarships, academic projects, and athletic programs.

The university promotes matching gifts on their:

  1. Ways-to-Give page
  2. Dedicated matching gift page
  3. In the donation process with a screen overlay

Ways to Give Page:

While the University of Utah offers its donors many ways to donate, they use the space on their Ways-to-Give page to promote corporate matching gift programs. Not only do they provide general information about matching gift programs, but they also provide donors with Double the Donation’s search tool to learn more about their specific employer’s gift matching policies.

University of Utah Ways to Give Page with Matching Gifts

Matching Gift Page:

In addition to including matching gifts on the Ways to Give page, the University of Utah has a designated matching gift page so they can promote matching gifts via email and social media. They give donors the same search tool that can be found on the Ways to Give page so donors can instantly access the matching gift forms, guidelines, and instructions they need.

Along with company specific matching gift information they also offer many of the most common questions that donors may have.

University of Utah Matching Gift Page

Donation process:

For donors who already know how they want to donate to the university, the donation page reminds them of matching gift programs. Donors are given the option to designate their contribution to a specific program or institute at the university and are also encouraged to look into matching gift programs by clicking on the matching gift link that opens to a screen overlay.

University of Utah Matching Gifts on the Donation Form

When a user clicks on the link it leads to a screen overlay:

University of Utah Matching Gift Popup


Additional Matching Gift Marketing Resources:

The colleges and universities who have the most matching gift success incorporate matching gifts throughout their broader fundraising efforts.

While the above examples provide a few samples from a handful of colleges and universities, we encourage you to check out the following resources:

  1. Download our Ultimate Guide to Marketing Matching Gifts
  2. View ideas and examples of how to promote matching gifts in the donation process
  3. View ideas and examples of how to promote matching gifts across your communications
  4. View ideas and examples of how to promote matching gifts across your website

Additional Strategies for Higher Education Institutions Seeking Matching Gifts

A generous corporate philanthropy program can only help your institution if your donors are aware of the potential. You’ll need to take an active approach to both promoting matching gifts and seeking out candidates.

Strategies for colleges and universities can have quite the range, including:

Matching gifts are a valuable resource, so ensure that your institution is taking advantage of the potential. It won’t take much, but, as you can see from the corporate guidelines sampled above, a little goes a long way with matching gifts.

Compliance: A Gift Matching Success

Compliance: A Gift Matching Success

Your relationship with your donor is like any other – if you want to keep it healthy and strong, you have to put in some work. You like them and they like you so get to know them! What are their likes and dislikes? Do they have any special interests or past experiences that have shaped them and their values? Where do they live? Where do they work? Wait – where do they work?

Getting to know your donor deepens the relationship and can help you garner vital information that just may contribute to your fundraising success. Matching gift programs are an extension of corporate giving and offer companies a vehicle through which to support employee charitable giving.

Getting to know your donor and where they work may guide you to dollars that you are currently overlooking as it offers the opportunity to tap into their company’s matching gift programs.

What do you know about your board members, volunteers, and donors? Perhaps some of them work for companies that offer some type of workplace giving program, which could be a valuable source of additional funding. As interest in corporate social responsibility grows, more and more companies have explored how to present themselves in a positive light to their consumers.

Corporate social responsibility isn’t just about minimizing the negative impacts of doing business. It’s about giving back and it may include a corporate volunteer grant program! Such programs encourage employees to get involved in their communities. The hours that an individual spends volunteering with you may translate to money from their company in the form of a volunteer grant.

It can be easy to get caught up in the potential of mapping the relationships that spin off from just one donor. These workplace programs are a great source of funding, but they often need to be initiated by an employee.

As they learn more about how their company will support their community service, you may see incredible returns on the time you invest in nurturing these relationships. It all seems so rich with potential, but where does fundraising compliance come in?

This widening circle of relationships makes fundraising compliance that much more essential. There’s an excellent chance that your organization is incorporated in one of the 41 states that require charitable solicitation registration. There’s an even better chance that you are soliciting gifts in one of those 41 states.

You’ve done an incredible job with your programming. Your donors are impressed and uplifted by how you communicate the impact of their gifts. They have found that you and your financial values are compatible with their interests. Now, they are asking their employers to match their gift and elevate the capability of their contribution. That’s solicitation.

There’s an excellent chance that your organization is incorporated in one of the 41 states that require charitable solicitation registration.

It’s not just about where you are; it’s about where you solicit. You’ve asked your donor. That donor’s employer has matched their gift and added the company name to your roster of contributors. The state laws regulating charitable solicitation generally require that an organization register before soliciting the state’s residents. Make sure you register before you ask, that way you don’t trip over technicalities as the money comes rolling in.

When that generous donor sent you a gift and asked their employer to amplify their donation with a matching gift, the giving train left the station. Your board members and volunteers have put in the hours and are now soliciting volunteer grant awards that recognize their contribution to the community.

You don’t want to leave money on the table, especially when you’ve done the research and the work. Determine if you’re soliciting in a state and make sure you’re meeting all of the necessary requirements – before you ask.

The risks of noncompliance are worth mentioning. Many state agencies have expanded their roles from registration offices to enforcement. Such powers bring increased scrutiny of charitable organizations.

It’s not enough to just try not to draw attention to yourself. Be proactive. In fact, organizations that have solicited without registering, even for many years, are rarely penalized for registering proactively and in good faith.

If you’re not registered for charitable solicitation, you run the risk of:

  • Fines and penalties that pull vital dollars away from the work that you are doing in your community.
  • Audits and enforcement actions that take your limited staff and financial resources away from your mission.
  • Bad PR that can damage the reputation of your organization (and its leadership) and follow you for years to come.

Prioritizing compliance makes good sense as you build your fundraising prowess and engage a diverse community of individuals and companies in your program. As you know, noncompliance can lead to harsh penalties like tax exemption repeals, steep fines that accrue day by day, and dissolution of an organization.

But luckily, in today’s world, it’s easy for anyone to research an organization and their registration status. It’s important for you that research about you highlights good news and further incentives for supporters to give their time and money (and to then ask their employer to do the same).

Remember these four key steps and keep your fundraising compliance on track.

  • Research: Know your status in each state and you can easily map your path to compliance, including which applications to complete and what fees may be charged.
  • Apply: Make sure you are preparing the correct forms in the most streamlined and cost-effective manner.
  • Monitor: Follow these applications through to approval, for your, your donor’s, and their employer’s peace of mind.
  • Renew: Track due dates and fees so that your renewals are on time and complete.

Instill confidence in your donors so their focus stays on your mission. Transparency and accountability preserve the trust you’ve built.

As Double the Donation will tell you, while $2 to $3 billion is donated through matching gift programs every year, only about 1 in 10 eligible donors match their donations. Tapping into these financial resources could make real change very possible.

Just make sure you do it the right way by being proactive about preserving your harmonious donor relationships. Getting to know your supporters and their employers will help maximize your opportunities with matching gift programs. Don’t forget to honor your valuable and desperately finite time by building a solid compliance plan. Take a good-faith step toward relationship and fundraising success and invest in compliance.

Special thanks to Ify Aduba for this contribution!

Ify Aduba is a Nonprofit Compliance Specialist for Harbor Compliance.Ify Aduba is a Nonprofit Compliance Specialist for Harbor Compliance, a leading provider of compliance solutions for organizations of all types and sizes. Headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Harbor Compliance partners with organizations in every state and over 25 countries abroad to help solve the most challenging compliance problems, fully managing government licensing compliance in both nonprofit and business sectors. Stay in touch with Ify and Harbor Compliance through Facebook and LinkedIn.