If your nonprofit has been using Raiser’s Edge for a long time to support fundraising activities, you might be wondering if it’s time to move to another solution.
You might find that it doesn’t support some of the newer fundraising activities you’re adding, such as online fundraising and events. Or it doesn’t easily integrate data from systems that other departments in your organization uses, such as a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Or maybe you just want to see what other solutions have to offer in terms of capabilities, services, and support.
But Raiser’s Edge is a purpose-built tool for traditional fundraising. It does a great job at certain core fundraising activities, such as batch gift entry, gift receipting, and direct mail. Many nonprofit professionals have a great deal of expertise around the product, and many nonprofit organizations still use it successfully.
At Heller Consulting, our goal is to help nonprofits find the best technology solutions for their specific needs – not just point everyone to a particular system. After all, each organization has unique requirements and must weigh the pros and cons of any technology decision — whether it’s to stay with what you have or move to a new system.
With these ideas in mind, here are some important things to know if your nonprofit is considering a move from Raiser’s Edge:
If you find that your organization has outgrown Raiser’s Edge, both Salesforce and Microsoft provide innovative solutions that can support your fundraising-specific needs while accelerating digital transformation across your organization.
Something to keep in mind if you’re considering solutions from Salesforce and Microsoft is that you’re not looking at an apples-to-apples comparison with Raiser’s Edge. Raiser’s Edge is a fundraising-specific product, while Salesforce and Microsoft offer platforms on which fundraising (and many other) products are built.
Read real-world stories of organizations who have moved from Blackbaud products in our guide: At the Crossroads of Nonprofit Digital Transformation
Salesforce and Microsoft both offer products with strong fundraising functionality that can support many nonprofits’ needs. Because these fundraising solutions are centered around a CRM platform, they can help you raise funds more strategically and efficiently because they give you access to more data from other departments. And because these solutions are built on platforms, they offer lots of flexibility, allowing you to customize and extend them to meet your evolving needs.
At the same time, the idea of moving to a platform versus an individual product might seem intimidating. It requires a shift in thought for your development team and your organization. And it will require an investment in time and dollars for the implementation and migration.
In the end, though, you might find that the initial investment is worth it to move to a platform with CRM at its core because it will give you more flexibility to support your short- and long-term goals, accelerate your organization’s digital transformation, and stay resilient no matter what the future holds.
Find out how the Arthritis Foundation moved to Microsoft products to support fundraising and more. Watch the on-demand webinar, Digital Transformation with Microsoft Product for Nonprofits: A conversation with the Arthritis Foundation and MISSION CRM
Your organization might truly value the functionality Raiser’s Edge offers for traditional fundraising, and perhaps your fundraising staff has extensive experience using the product. You might also hesitate to take on the disruption of moving to a new fundraising system. If any of this is the case, yet you want to be more strategic with digital fundraising activities and your approach to CRM across your organization, staying on Raiser’s Edge is still an option.
Just know that there are tradeoffs with this approach, too.
You might avoid the initial pain of a move to a new system. But staying on Raiser’s Edge might not support some of your creative digital campaigns down the road. And it will require a greater investment of time and money in integrations between your systems to allow for a strategic approach to CRM. This investment includes initial integration of the systems as well as ongoing maintenance of the integrations.
Ultimately, you might find that the investment in integrations is worth the tradeoff to continue using a product that meets your core fundraising needs.
No matter what you decide to do, before you move forward with a potential switch from Raiser’s Edge to another option, consider these three tips based on our extensive experience helping nonprofits migrate to new solutions:
If you’re considering a move from Raiser’s Edge, but you’re not sure how to move forward, the Heller Consulting team can help. We can work with you to evaluate your use of Raiser’s Edge, choose the right solutions to meet your needs, identify opportunities for digital transformation, and build a tech strategy that serves you now and keeps you going strong.
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