[note: I run NetSuite Giving]
I read this little tidbit in the Techsoup forums and began to think about all the various implications for the traditional charity software vendors.
SalesForce is also a good example of where 'Free' doesn't mean it's the best choice. I'm glad to see you've seen what others have seen in its limitations as a fundraising system. This quote from a DonorPerfect vice president is fascinating. My thoughts:
- DonorPerfect is clearly feeling the pinch of a free option for the bottom of the market. My impression of DonorPerfect is it plays just above Mission Works, below Raiser's Edge, and head-to-head with etapestry. They probably all are feeling the same pinch.
- There are real and significant limitations to a cloud-based, business-focused solution like Salesforce. Primarily, the solutions are not "productized" ... they require consulting and generally a lot of work to get running. A good illustration is the case of a LYBUNT report (donors that gave last year but not yet this year). In a cloud-based solution you plan the data model, implement the fields, build the report and it works great 40 hours latter. With a purpose built solution, you click the LYBUNT button.
- Productization of cloud based solutions will eliminate many of these vendors. If NetSuite releases a fundraising bundle (which includes the datamodel, fields and reports) with a LYBUNT button, many of the limitations of the cloud based solutions evaporate quickly.
- There is not much clarity on whether fundraising software is transactional (i.e. really an ERP rather than a CRM problem). Solutions like DonorPerfect straddle the ERP/CRM line and Raisers Edge/Financial Edge seem to cover both sides.
What does that mean in practical terms? Basically DonorPerfect needs to join someone's ecology. They could take their domain expertise and build a solution on top of something like NetSuite Business Operating System.
They then become a sales, marketing and support shop with a small R&D line item. They are able to deliver far more functionality to customers and potentially more flexibility on price, yet still run a high margin business.
I sometimes wonder if there isn't a project running to rebuild etapestry on the Blackbaud Infinity platform. That would be the ultimate proof of concept for Blackbaud becoming an ecology player like Salesforce or NetSuite, except focused in the public/ charity sector. Blackbaud has an escape route, I suspect DonorPerfect does not.