In Part 1 of our three-part series, we provided a brief history on the evolution of NGO Connect and offered our perspective on how the various product announcements and acquisitions in 2019 affected users. In Part 2, we look out across the CRM landscape and evaluate what options NGO Connect users have.
This past year has been perhaps the most dynamic one in our memory in terms of CRM technology. That’s great news for NGO Connect users who now have more options than when they may have last surveyed the landscape. But along with more choice comes greater complexity and more decisions to make. The following is a synopsis of what is happening in the market broadly as well as looking at some specific options that meet many of the needs of NGO Connect users.
When one of the leading providers makes a move, it sends a ripple throughout the industry. When three major players, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Blackbaud, signal important changes all at once, that is sure to disrupt the sector.
To be clear, the three companies offer very different solutions to their clients. Still, these three companies’ business decisions are influencing each other and other providers and shaping the sector in the process.
We are seeing a continued movement and expansion within the nonprofit sector by commercial vendors, especially Microsoft and Salesforce. These companies are able to invest heavily in research and development given their size (revenues and market values), at a far greater rate than Blackbaud. Their participation in the nonprofit space makes powerful technology with vast capabilities more accessible to nonprofits.
When the heavy hitters enter the field, it forces providers who have traditionally been in nonprofit space to do business differently in response. At the same time, smaller, niche services, such as data augmentation, credit card processors, email, online giving tools – to name a few – emerge to fill the gaps and support new strategies. Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening with the three key players.
While Microsoft, Salesforce and Blackbaud are the three largest providers, they are by no means the only platforms that nonprofits are finding success with. NGO Connect users are also looking beyond the big three. New offerings continue to enter the market every day and should not be discounted their potential to meet the needs of the organizations that choose to use them.
These systems often enter the market with one of two tactics. They first approach is to develop a niche set of functionalities that serves one function extremely well, such as in grant management or peer-to-peer fundraising, and capture market share based on a competitive set of features. Alternately, they offer a broad set of functionalities that meets many of the basic needs across departments and compete with a comparatively low price. Over time, working ecosystems have developed among these providers that even enterprise level organizations, like many NGO Connect users, are finding success.
Two we are watching closely is Neon CRM that has steadily grown its suite of functionality through development and acquisition in over the last several years. Another is Revolution Online, a product by ROI Solutions, that already has enterprise level fundraising functionality and managed services, along with a strong ecosystem of integrations and partner vendors.
Having reviewed the CRM landscape that NGO Connect users will encounter as they once again survey the market place, in Part 3 of our series we will review next steps open to organizations.
If you’d like to continue the conversation now, don’t wait. Connect with experts at Heller Consulting here.
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