Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nonprofit Technology Vendors are Competent, Who Knew?

For many years, I always thought the big Nonprofit software vendors were not very smart, nimble or perhaps, even competent. Now that we've gone from Blackbaud, Convio, Get Active, eTapestry, and Kintera to Blackbaud and Convio, these companies are doing some really smart things.

Blackbaud acquired Kintera, giving them a working, robust SaaS platform along with a healthy dose of customer and product consolidation.

I just saw today Convio released a CRM system on Salesforce.com's force.com platform. This I must say is a stroke of brilliance. It does beg the question of why the SFDC Foundation has been slow to get a nonprofit edition out the door.

From a business point of view, it is a no brainer... Convio doesn't have to pay for the servers or the platform AND NEITHER DO THEIR CUSTOMERS! If you are looking for an opportunity to move down market, this is a perfect opportunity. All the customer pays for is basically charity product development expertise and support.

No hint on pricing, but I hope they take this as an opportunity to drive down market.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Self-Delusional Nonprofit Executives Talking about Low Salaries in the Sector

I often run across things and want to get to the truth of the matter. Luckily in the charity sector we value transparency.

A nonprofit executive recently was bemoaning the fact that they were underpaid, asking the question what about the mission made them choose this sector.

Knowing a little about the organization, I found it weird they would consider themselves underpaid. So, with the magic of the IRS form 990 and salary.com, I compared their salaries to "commercial" rates.

The executive is paid 20% MORE than the commercial median salary. The CEO of the same organization is paid 35% MORE. (adjusted for sector and company size)

The wage rates in the sector are a serious issue. I am not making light of that. But many of the leaders in the sector working for leading charities are being paid on par, if not better than, commercial wage rates. Lets be very careful about what we say.

When I worked in in a community based nonprofit, I was certainly underpaid compared to commercial opportunities. Though I remain in the sector, I can't say I that any longer -- I have purposely sought positions with compensation on par with what the commercial sector pays.

I can still shed light on the problems of compensation in the sector, but it would be dishonest of me to suggest I am somehow personally sacrificing to stay in a mission based job that I love.