Robert Weiner

New book: “Advancement Services: Enhancing Fundraising Success”

Robert Weiner

Here's the table of contents as a preview: Donor Databases IT Management Advancement Services Prospect Research Nonprofit Management Nonprofit Technology Best PracticesCASE has just published the third edition of its guide to Advancement Services.

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. The sample database should be configured with your own codes, menus, security settings, and any customizations.

Trending Sources

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. As I wrote last January , there are lots of other database choices for small nonprofits.In Advancement Services Databases Donor Databases Fundraising Nonprofit Technology Software

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. The response hit the nail on the head: We started working on folding shadow databases into (Raiser''s Edge, our central database) about 8 years ago. I have a story that we have used quite often: A few years ago, we imported a shadow database into Raiser''s Edge.

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. I've redacted the message to anonymize the vendor: Dear _, I thought you might be interested in a recent analysis of low cost fundraising software, conducted jointly by independent organizations Idealware and N-TEN.

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?" It needs to be easy to get reports from the database, but it also needs to support complex selection criteria.

Robert in the news(paper)

Robert Weiner

Advancement Services Donor Databases Fundraising Online Fundraising SoftwareI was interviewed for two articles that were published recently. The NonProfit Times ran the story The Evolution of Donor Management And Its Fundraising Future , which deals with how technology is transforming the way nonprofits interact with donors, particularly online. And the Chronicle of Philanthropy ran 'But It's Free!' and 9 Other Lines About Technology You Don't Want to Hear.

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 DatabasesA member of the PRSPCT-L listserve (for prospect researchers) asked "What do other institutions do to regulate or “police” data entry work, specifically when you have multiple users with authority to make updates?". It's a tough problem.

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. It includes a high-level overview of common features, comparisons and summaries of the systems they reviewed, recommendations for which systems might be suited to a variety of nonprofit scenarios, and a directory of consultants who can help you select a database. Our friends at Idealware and NTEN have released their Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems.

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). 2013 is off to a bang with Accel-KKR's acquisition of Sage's Nonprofit Solutions Group and iModules acquisition of Harris Connect.

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. I expect that it will take at least several months, and probably several years, before the dust settles and we know what's left behind.

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

Robert Weiner

Idealware is updating its 2009 report on low-cost donor databases. If you're a database vendor and want to be considered, fill out the survey at [link] I assume their criteria will be similar to what they used last time, which was a starting cost of less than $4,250 in the first year and at least 100 active clients (see the report for the full criteria). Donor Databases Software

Idealware’s revised Consumers Guide to Low-Cost Donor Management Systems

Robert Weiner

Databases Donor Databases Fundraising Nonprofit Technology SoftwareIdealware just released the latest version of their Consumers Guide to Low-Cost Donor Management Systems. It will give you an overview of 32 systems and in-depth reviews of their top 11 “best value” choices. Several systems were included for the first time: @EASE, Bloomerang, Exceed Beyond, Salsa CRM, The Raiser’s Edge NXT, and NPOconnect (formerly known as Orange Leap). You can download it here.

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." The premise is that complaints about an organization's database may be misdirected: the problem is how the system is being managed (aka management problems disguised as technology problems).

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]. The cost of fundraisers refusing to use the current database because it’s not user-friendly, so their pipeline and contact history is in their heads, in spreadsheets or paper files, or has to be entered by an assistant (though you can put a cost on the last one).

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!! Looking at the Idealware Low Cost Database report , I find that there are so many considerations that it is quite complicated to make a choice. 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.

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

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 Here are the new entries: Association Management System from Micro Solutions. Donation Management System from Cumulus 9. 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 does not mean that these systems are no longer in use, just that they’re no longer being sold or supported (I recently met someone who still uses FundMaster, which hasn’t been sold since at least 1999). This probably isn’t as useful a list, but it’s short so here goes: SYSTEM. VENDOR. Alchemy.

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. Now the good folks at Aspiration have taken my list and put it into the Social Source Commons wiki. read more.

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? There is also a potential 3rd option outside of deleting forever or inactivating and forgetting, which would be to implement a policy of deletion, but before your annual purge make a long-term backup copy of the entire database so that if you were ever in a pinch and really needed a deleted record you could access the backups and get at the information.

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

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). Feel free to let me know what I missed, which systems no longer exist, and which aren’t really donor databases. Giving Database. Organizers Database (ODB).

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?" Tags: Donor Databases " The article is at [link].

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 SoftwareAccording to the Foundation Center’s analysis of data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are approximately 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S.

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?". The article, Back Away from that Spreadsheet: Why Excel Isn't a Donor Database is available now, and offers some good reasons to move your donor data to a more robust system and out of those old spreadsheets.

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. The topic they gave me was managing decentralized data entry.

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. I found it fascinating. I recognize so many snippets that have appeared in my spam folder over the years. { {I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more than {three|3|2|4} hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. {It’s|It It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In

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. I keep hearing of small nonprofits that chose a database because it was "free," became overwhelmed, and dropped it.

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. Resources : My article Finding the Perfect Fundraising Database in an Imperfect World includes a section called "To RFP or not to RFP" Idealware article: The Perfect Fit: A Guide to Evaluating and Purchasing Major Software Systems.

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.) Idealware recently released its Fundraising, Communications and Outreach.

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]. The Agitator’s post “No New Donors!&# [link]. Attracting New Donors.

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 2.0San Francisco's Fundraising Day will be happening June 16 at the downtown Marriott.

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? The attachment is a PDF so it's most likely safe but not completely risk free. I searched for subject line and found an example of what I'm guessing is the attachment.

PDF 2