Robert Weiner

Migrating recurring donors to a new system

Robert Weiner

Ask your recurring donors to move to the new processor. When recurring donors come up for renewal, move them to the new processor. Eventually, you’ll either have no recurring donors left on the old processor or the cost will exceed the value.

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.

Trending Sources

Blackbaud kills off Common Ground

Robert Weiner

Today the news is that Blackbaud is killing off Common Ground , one of the two donor management products (aka CRMs or Constituent Relationship Management systems) that they acquired from Convio. I hope that clients will be able to continue using the underlying SalesForce engine and donor data after that date, but I assume that any functionality specific to Common Ground, or that needs to communicate with a Blackbaud server, could stop working.

Preventing Fraud on our Online Giving Pages

Robert Weiner

The credit card scam/fraud attempt that many nonprofits have experiences starts with a very large online gift from an unknown donor. The addresses of the “donors” are all in sequence, or all within the same zip code. While this penalizes some online donors who want to donate just a dollar or two, many nonprofits find that they don’t have many legitimate donors who give less than $5 online. Vered Siegel , Manager of Development Services. Children’s Home + Aid.

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Training on your new database

Robert Weiner

Advancement Services Databases Donor Databases IT Management Nonprofit Management Nonprofit TechnologyA question was posted to a listserve for nonprofit techies looking for tips on training staff on a new database. I discussed training at a high level on page 13 of this chapter from CASE's Handbook of Institutional Advancement. Here are some more detailed rules of thumb: 90% of training is forgotten within the first 2 weeks if it's not put to immediate use. Not everyone can train.

Creative credit card donation scam

Robert Weiner

The next day, we receive an email from the donor with the following info: the $9,000 gift amount was a mistake, it should have been $900. The gift was made in memory of the donor’s late mother (never named) who had a wonderful experience at our college. Upon notifying the “donor” that we can only refund the money back to the original card, she replies that the original account is closed and that we need to use the other card.

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What to Do When Technology Isn’t Your Problem

Robert Weiner

Our board member, donor, or funder said to do or buy __. Copyright P. Mueller [link]. Does it feel like you never find the right combination of technologies to just make things work?

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Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems

Robert Weiner

Our friends at Idealware and NTEN have released their Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems. 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.

Reigning in shadow databases

Robert Weiner

Advancement Services Best Practices Databases Donor Databases 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.

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?" Advancement Services Databases Donor Databases IT Management Nonprofit Technology

Robert in the news(paper)

Robert Weiner

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. Advancement Services Donor Databases Fundraising Online Fundraising SoftwareI was interviewed for two articles that were published recently.

Controlling data entry

Robert Weiner

Donors will give online and misspell their own names, or leave the caps lock on. 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. Here are a few approaches (other than locking down data entry): Policies. You need clear data entry standards. Security.

Year-end donation processing

Robert Weiner

As the calendar year draws to an end, charities (and ideally, donors) are focused on year-end donations and tax deductions. So if the charity did not process the charge until January 2012, the donor would be treated as making the gift in 2012 rather than 2011, as she intended. The donor is responsible for documenting their gifts in case of an audit. Here are a few scenarios for U.S. charities to keep in mind. Note: I am not a lawyer.

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 SoftwareIf 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). The survey deadline is Feb. 4, 2011, so don't delay.

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. The Sage staff I've talked to can't comment publicly until the sale is final, which they hope will happen this month.

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.

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

Robert Weiner

Idealware just released the latest version of their Consumers Guide to Low-Cost Donor Management Systems. Databases Donor Databases Fundraising Nonprofit Technology SoftwareIt 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.

Discussion of Donor Data Retention

Robert Weiner

A few months ago I wrote a post on the topic of whether nonprofits should delete old donor records. Fast forward to a couple of years ago, and we''re forwarded a press release of a $5M gift to an out-of-state university, in which it says the donor is an alumnus of our university (the donor wasn''t an alum of the university that got the gift, but it was in his home community). so removing records is a sure way to lose individuals who could be a donor in the future.

Should You Delete Donor Records?

Robert Weiner

I was recently contacted by the vendor behind a new cloud-based donor management system with this question: We have noticed that our clients have become much more conscious about archiving/deleting old donor/prospect records because our pricing model is based on the number of records. My response: I am opposed to deleting donor records. I’ve heard enough tales of bequests from one-time or small donors to believe that they’re real.

ROI for a donor database

Robert Weiner

So how do we justify that system to management (and perhaps our donors)? Stewarding current donors. Identifying future donors. If any of you have come up a generally applicable formula for calculating the return on investment from a donor database I’d love to see it! Advancement Services Donor Databases Fundraising Nonprofit Technology Nonprofit Management

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

Tales of faux donors scamming charities

Robert Weiner

The following is a compilation of online discussions of faux donors trying to scam colleges, schools, and nonprofits. The donor promised his patent would completely fund the university, wipe out the national debt, and make America the happiest place on Earth. BTW beware potential donors who only correspond using cap lock. In most cases it’s not clear what the scammers are trying to achieve. Maybe they’re just practical jokes.

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!! Or you might have some reports that are mandatory, like a lapsed donor report. show how to send a mass email, or show how to enter a donation that will be split between 3 funds, or between 3 donors). Tags: Advancement Services Donor Databases Nonprofit Technology Software

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

Robert Weiner

Databases Donor Databases IT Management Nonprofit TechnologyI'm working on an article with the title, "Maybe It's Not Your Database, It's You."

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. Tags: Donor Databases Here are the new entries: Association Management System from Micro Solutions. Donation Management System from Cumulus 9. DonorAccess from DonorAccess. DonorBase from Granite Bear Development. Federation from Symphony Information Services.

Do New Online Donors Give Again?

Robert Weiner

A new study released by Blackbaud’s Target Analytics division suggests that first-time online donors do not become recurring donors.

Donor Tracking vs. Business Intelligence

Robert Weiner

The Nonprofit Times recently published an article called Is It Donor Management Software Or Business Intelligence. " This vision of donor management software is nothing new. 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. This lack of analytic tools often drives nonprofits to look for new donor management software.

Defunct Donor Databases

Robert Weiner

The flip side to my list of donor databases would be a list of systems that no longer exist. Donor Access. Donor Access. 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).

Do You Need a New Donor Management System?

Robert Weiner

How do you know if you should switch, or stick with the donor management system that you have? TechSoup

Converting Fresh Leads into Donors

Robert Weiner

CARE2 is holding a webinar on strategies for successfully welcoming, cultivating, and converting new leads into donors. Converting Fresh Leads into Donors. Holly Ross of NTEN will moderate a panel with Heidi Hess of Children's Defense Fund and Greg Zelder of the California State Parks Foundation.

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.

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

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. Donor Quest. Donor Records.

Blackbaud kills Common Ground: So What?

Robert Weiner

One of the discussions during NTEN’s community call about Blackbaud’s purchase of Convio was whether the nonprofit community should band together and build its own donor management system rather than being dependent on for-profit vendors. 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

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].

Inside the Mind of a Top Donor

Robert Weiner

Lokey, who has appeared on The Chronicle’s list of America’s top donors every year since 2000. How could a small institution with big aspirations engage donors with significant financial capability? What do you see as the ED’s role in working with major donors? The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently conducted an online discussion with Lorry I. Mr. Lokey responded to questions such as.

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.

Do You Need New Donor Management Software?

Robert Weiner

Idealware just published an article by Keith Heller called Do You Need New Donor Management Software? Keith urges nonprofits to look before they leap into new software, cautioning that "new software may not make anything better — in fact, it could make things worse."

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.