Robert Weiner

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New book: “Advancement Services: Enhancing Fundraising Success”

Robert Weiner

CASE has just published the third edition of its guide to Advancement Services. I'm honored to have written two chapters.

Training on your new database

Robert Weiner

A question was posted to a listserve for nonprofit techies looking for tips on training staff on a new database. The trainer needs to understand the database, present technical concepts clearly and without jargon, teach at the students' level, and be incredibly patient. Train end users on a sample database, not production data.

Blackbaud kills off Common Ground

Robert Weiner

I'd thought Luminate CRM, Convio's other database, was in more danger since it had only a tenth as many clients, was more of a work-in-progress, and competed directly with Blackbaud's Enterprise CRM product. Advancement Services Databases Donor Databases Fundraising Nonprofit Technology SoftwareBut not in a good way.

Reigning in shadow databases

Robert Weiner

The following story, posted with permission, was sent to the FUNDSVCS list in response to a question about how to reign in schools and departments at a university that keep their own shadow databases of contacts. have a story that we have used quite often: A few years ago, we imported a shadow database into Raiser''s Edge.

Donor 16

On the value of donor database ratings

Robert Weiner

Donor Databases Nonprofit Management Nonprofit Technology SoftwareA colleague forwarded the following email from a vendor and asked how I think a potential buyer should respond. They have published numerous reports and whitepapers on technology for nonprofit organizations. Needs vary tremendously from one organization to the next.

Thinking about a donor database selection workshop

Robert Weiner

I'm planning a new workshop on selecting donor databases, focusing on the question, "Why is this so friggin' complicated?"

Robert in the news(paper)

Robert Weiner

Advancement Services Donor Databases Fundraising Online Fundraising SoftwareI was interviewed for two articles that were published recently. And the Chronicle of Philanthropy ran 'But It's Free!' and 9 Other Lines About Technology You Don't Want to Hear. If you're a Chronicle subscriber you can read that one by clicking here.

Controlling data entry

Robert Weiner

If no one's in charge of quality control you're going to have a database full of garbage. Best Practices for Managing a Database. Advancement Services Databases Donor DatabasesIt's a tough problem. Here are a few approaches (other than locking down data entry): Policies. You need clear data entry standards. Security.

Donor 16

Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems

Robert Weiner

The guide presents detailed comparisons of 33 donor databases that cost less than $4,250 in the first year. Our friends at Idealware and NTEN have released their Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems. Full disclosure — I contributed to the report and am one of the consultants listed.). read more.

More nonprofit software mergers and acquisitions

Robert Weiner

Advancement Services Alumni Relations Databases Donor Databases Software AlumniLast year the big news in my industry was Blackbaud's acquisition of Convio and the merger/acquisition of Datatel and Sungard Higher Education (now called Ellucian). The press release for the iModules deal says Harris Connect “will be supported.

Blackbaud’s acquisition of Convio is a done deal

Robert Weiner

Advancement Services Databases Donor Databases Email Marketing Fundraising Nonprofit Technology Online Fundraising SoftwareBlackbaud completed its purchase of Convio. The next adventure starts today, as we wait to see what the future holds for their various systems.

Blackbaud – Convio merger expected to close this week

Robert Weiner

Advancement Services Cloud Computing Databases Donor Databases Fundraising Nonprofit Technology Online Fundraising SoftwareThe Department of Justice signed off on Blackbaud's acquisition of Convio last week, and it looks like the deal will close this week. This is just the beginning of the story. We'll see. How's your crystal ball?

Want your product covered in Idealware’s Donor Management report?

Robert Weiner

Idealware is updating its 2009 report on low-cost donor databases. Donor Databases SoftwareThe survey deadline is Feb. 4, 2011, so don't delay.

Firefox error: sec_error_untrusted_issuer

Robert Weiner

After many days of grief I finally found the answer in Mozilla's bug database: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=583191 I picked up some malware recently and one of the many annoyances it caused was problems with Firefox's security settings. When visiting secure (https:) web sites Firefox would say "the connection is untrusted."

Maybe It’s Not Your Database, It’s You

Robert Weiner

I'm working on an article with the title, "Maybe It's Not Your Database, It's You." Here are my thoughts so far. What am I missing? Walt Kelly.

Law 2

ROI for a donor database

Robert Weiner

Here's how I responded: I’ve yet to see a published report that provided a convincing general argument that [insert any nonprofit name here] will raise more money by using [insert database name here]. An inability to hire staff who know how to use or support the database in question. Probably an issue that we should all be looking at.

What’s a good donor database?

Robert Weiner

I've been enjoying the discussion in the Chronicle of Philanthropy's LinkedIn group in response to the question, " What's a good, affordable donor database program for a small non profit? " (you'll probably need to join the group to read the responses). Advancement Services Donor Databases Fundraising Nonprofit Technology

Chosing a donor database

Robert Weiner

I get a lot of emails like the following from small nonprofits: We desperately need to get a new donor database and most of them are totally unaffordable!! The only way I know of to answer your question is to go through these steps: Write down what you need in a database, in as much detail as you can. etc.). This step is not optional.

More Defunct Donor Databases

Robert Weiner

The good folks at Aspiration have been working to put my list of donor databases into a wiki. Along the way the identified some that seem to have disappeared and weren't on my earlier list of defunct donor databases. Giving Database from Willow Mountain Consulting. Tags: Donor Databases DonorAccess from DonorAccess.

Defunct Donor Databases

Robert Weiner

The flip side to my list of donor databases would be a list of systems that no longer exist. Tags: Donor Databases Fundraising Advancement Services This probably isn’t as useful a list, but it’s short so here goes: SYSTEM. VENDOR. Alchemy. Campagne Associates. Campaign Manager. CampaignSoft. CompassCRM. Devolio. NPower.

Discussion of Donor Data Retention

Robert Weiner

How many people in your database have gone off the grid for 7+ years and then come back? If it’s a record with no financial giving and no actions, is there another reason that it is in the database? Are you going to shelve them in another database – for review ? The same topic came up recently on the APRA''s listserve, PRSPCT-L.

Editable List of Donor Databases

Robert Weiner

The good folks at Asipration have taken my list of donor databases and put it into the Social Source Commons wiki. What's more, they added descriptions, logos, and links to the vendors' sites. Very cool! You can go directly to the list at [link] or preview it below

Editable List of Donor Databases

Robert Weiner

Over the past few years I've been compiling what turned out to be a huge list of donor databases. The entries came from a variety of other lists and from customer satisfaction surveys done by Campbell Research, NTEN, and Idealware. Once I posted the list I started getting requests to add links to vendor websites, tags, and comments.

Should You Delete Donor Records?

Robert Weiner

On the other hand, many nonprofits have bought lists, or added prospects to their database because they saw them listed on another nonprofit’s honor roll or read about them in the paper, or a board member said, "so and so has money". Advancement Services Best Practices Databases Donor Databases Fundraising But don’t delete them.

How Many Donor Databases Are There?

Robert Weiner

I thought it might be useful to compile a list of all of the commercial donor databases I’m aware of. This list came from my head, my bookmarks, and lists compiled by NTEN and Idealware for their donor management software surveys (and I’m not certain all of these are actually donor databases). Giving Database. AMPAC.

Back Away From That Spreadsheet: Why Excel Isn’t a Donor Database

Robert Weiner

Idealware published a new article of mine today, on a subject that comes up whenever I teach workshops for small nonprofits: "Why not use Excel as my donor database?" The article is at [link]. Tags: Donor Databases

Blackbaud kills Common Ground: So What?

Robert Weiner

This could undermine nonprofits’ willingness to use cloud-based (aka Software as a Service or SaaS) databases. Advancement Services Databases Donor Databases Fundraising IT Management Nonprofit Technology Softwaremillion nonprofits in the U.S. That’s about.026 percent of U.S. nonprofits. doubt they’re the only ones.

Back Away from that Spreadsheet: Why Excel Isn’t a Donor Database

Robert Weiner

Idealware just published a new article of mine, on a subject that comes up whenever I teach workshops for small nonprofits: "Why not use Excel as my donor database?".

New article: Take Control of your Organization’s Data

Robert Weiner

Advancement Services Databases Donor Databases IT Management Nonprofit Management Nonprofit TechnologyNTEN just published a short piece of mine on data management in their Change magazine. It's in their DIY series -- short tips for implementing something for your organization without extensive tech know-how or extra budget.

Results from Campbell Rinker Donor & Member Database Survey

Robert Weiner

Marketing research firm Campbell Rinker has published the results of its latest survey of donor and member management software. Of the 841 respondents, 27% would NOT recommend their current systems to a comparable organization, 26% were unsure, and 47% would give a positive recommendation.

Lame spam of the day: Raw spam merge text

Robert Weiner

Some newbie spammer posted a message on my site that shows the contents of their spam merge database. It goes on and on, but you''ll get the idea pretty quickly. found it fascinating. Do {you have|you’ve} any? Saved as a favorite|bookmarked!!}, {I really like|I like|I love} {your blog|your site|your web site|your website}!| Way cool!

Caspio Bridge Lite Package (1-year subscription), Admin Fee: $48.00 USD

Robert Weiner

One-year subscription to online database with tools for building database applications. TechSoup

The Limits of “Free” Software

Robert Weiner

I received an email newsletter today with the following pitch for a web-based donor database (perhaps you can guess which one): The Cloud offers you constituent relationship management (CRM) software that's less expensive, easier to maintain, more accessible, more intuitive, and with greater flexibility and capacity than you've ever seen before.

Thoughts on Software RFPs

Robert Weiner

I received the following email from Keith Heller , a database consultant who works with Raiser's Edge and Common Ground clients: We’ve been involved with responding to many RFPs over the years and I have a general inquiry that is in your bailiwick. What’s the thought behind requiring quick responses from the vendors?

Jay Love leaving Blackbaud

Robert Weiner

Tags: Donor Databases

Idealware’s Field Guide to Nonprofit Software: Fundraising, Communications and Outreach

Robert Weiner

Unlike their earlier guides (to inexpensive donor databases, content management systems, online donation tools, etc.) read more.

Resources from the Compasspoint Panel

Robert Weiner

Donor Databases. Donor Databases Fundraising Social Media Web 2.0Yesterday I spoke on a fundraising panel at Compasspoint's Silicon Valley/Peninsula Nonprofit Forum and mentioned a variety of resources. Here they are, with links: Donor Retention. AFP's Fundraising Effectiveness Project: [link]. Attracting New Donors. Ebook: [link].

Lame spam of the day: Validate Your Internet Listing – Yellow PagesUSA

Robert Weiner

In order to include your company in our database, complete and return this letter of intent. PURSUANT TO THIS ORDER, THE SERVICE PROVIDER (“YELLOW PAGESUSA CORP”) IS OBLIGATED TOPLACE A DETAILED ENTRY AS LISTED, IN THE ONLINE DATABASE AT www.yellowpagesusa.com. The Yellow Pages using spam to get listings? 391 NW 179th Ave.

SF Fundraising Day 2010

Robert Weiner

We've programmed sessions on online fundraising with Madeline Stanionis, social media with Jeff Patrick, database selection with Eric Leland, and an open discussion session with me and Michael on whatever tech topics the attendees bring. Donor Databases Email Marketing Fundraising Nonprofit Technology Online Fundraising Social Media Web 2.0

Donor Tracking vs. Business Intelligence

Robert Weiner

I've heard countless organizations describe their donor databases as "roach motels" or "data vaults" -- the data goes in but it doesn't come out. What's new is that the tools for analyzing and visualizing data are becoming easier to use, less expensive, and are built into more and more donor databases.