What to Know if Your Nonprofit is Considering a Move from Raiser’s Edge - Heller Consulting

What to Know if Your Nonprofit is Considering a Move from Raiser’s Edge

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.

So, how do you know if moving off of Raiser’s Edge is right for your organization? And what are your options?

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:

Salesforce and Microsoft offer powerful options

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 

Moving to Salesforce and Microsoft for your fundraising needs presents tradeoffs:

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

Moving away from Raiser’s Edge isn’t the only option

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.

Three tips before you move forward

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:

  1. Check your contract. Review your Raiser’s Edge contract to ensure you know the end date and what type of contract renewal you might need before moving to a new system. For example, if your end date is in just a few months, you likely won’t have enough time to migrate to a new system before you have to renew your contract.
  2. Know what other modules your organization is using. Be sure to understand what other Raiser’s Edge modules your organization is using besides core fundraising, such as membership, volunteer, and events. This will help you better understand the scope of functionality you might be looking for to replace Raiser’s Edge.
  3. Understand your data. Data preparation is critically important for a successful system implementation. Simply moving your data into a new system won’t do anything to clean up bad data. And even if you decide to stay on Raiser’s Edge, having clean, updated data will help you operate more efficiently and effectively. So, get a sense of how much data clean-up you might need to do. For example, do you have a lot of duplicate records? How far back does your data go? What data do you need for the future?

Ready to learn more about moving from Raiser’s Edge?

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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About the Author

Jett Winders
Jett works collaboratively with nonprofits to map their business needs to CRM tools and functionality so that organizations can deliver their missions more effectively and raise money more efficiently.  With more than 15 years of fundraising experience, Jett has had... Read More