Blackbaud Acquires Kintera

Wow! I've been a bad blogger of late, but this is too big to miss: Blackbaud, maker of software like Raisers Edge and Financial Edge, has acquired Kintera.

In the press release, Marc Chardon, Blackbaud's President and Chief Executive Officer, says:

Our core capabilities are complementary and we expect to continue to offer a full range of solutions that effectively meet nonprofits’ needs for donor acquisition and cultivation that are intergrated with our suite of CRM solutions, including The Raiser’s Edge®. Kintera’s “Friends Asking Friends®” team fundraising and advocacy solutions are well suited for organizations that use these programs to grow their base of supporters. Similarly, Blackbaud’s NetCommunity™ offering is ideally suited for enriching the online experience of current donors enhancing the value of data that already exists in the CRM system.

"We are also pleased to offer new options to Kintera’s accounting and wealth data customers. P!N™ has been innovative in coupling traditional wealth screening services with online offerings and we are excited about the potential of combining these offerings with Target Analytics’ current product portfolio. Likewise, Fundware® has long met the fund accounting needs of many nonprofits and we expect to work closely with Kintera and their partners to enhance the range of solutions available to this important set of customers. Combining these solutions with Blackbaud’s current offerings will allow us to continue to grow these important segments of our business.”

This acquisition is likely to have a substantial impact on nonprofit options in the long run. Blackbaud has traditionally been weak in the online area, so Kintera's strength in that area will be complementary. But they also have a number of products that were competing - for instance, it's hard to imagine a long term strategy that has a place for both Fundware and FinancialEdge (both accounting systems for medium sized and large organizations), and P!N and Target Analytics are currently the two most prominent options in wealth screening.

However, Kintera was in a pretty unstable place, so at least this shores up their products for the short term...

New articles: GIS, and online PM tool case studies

Can I make up for weeks of not blogging by posting two post in a row? How about with two new articles?

We've got some great new stuff up. Our next installment in our Few Good Tools series is A Few Good Mapping and GIS Tools - covering everything from simple Google Maps up to complex GIS tools like ArcGIS... and when you'd want which. Eric Leland's taking on some of these articles these days, and he does a great job with this one!

And in Online Project Management Software in the Real World, Michelle Murrain and I take a look at three different case studies. How are real nonprofits using tools like Basecamp, Central Desktop, and Trac? We can tell you.

Resource Roundup 5/12

Ack, it's been awhile! But others have continued to write great stuff, while I've been away - here's some of the great stuff that's come out.

Google Apps and Salesforce - A first look (A View from Judi Sohn)
Google Apps and Salesforce roll out some integrated features - Judi Sohn takes a look at what that means

eNonprofit Benchmarks Study (E-Benchmarks)
The hugely useful Benchmark Study from last year is now updated with a new version. Want to know how your eNewsletter click rate compares to other nonprofits? Your online donation rate? Donation amount? This report will tell you.

10,000 Emails a Month Free to Nonprofits (VerticalResponse)
Okay, this is a pretty amazing deal from a quite solid bulk emailing tool: all nonprofits can send 10,000 emails per month for free.

Nonprofit Internet Toolkit and Resources (
A great collection of articles and resources about websites, collaboration and communication tools, and more

Mission Over Membership in Online Advocacy (NTEN)
Charles Lenchner provides an interesting and provocative look at the conflict between list building and engaging your members with actions that truly forward your mission.

Has Facebook Jumped the Shark as a Political Tool? (e.politics)
A careful look at the place of Facebook in politics and advocacy

What Goes Into the Cost of a CRM (Nonprofit CRM)
How much does implementing a CRM cost? Well, it depends, but Anand Sethupathy breaks down the many different elements that go into that cost.

Using Social Media to Help with Outreach (NTEN)
Brian Reich from EchoDitto provides some useful thoughts and case studies as to how social media - things like viral videos and interactive websites - can help you reach a wider audience.

An online "TurboTax" for 990 tax forms

With personal tax time behind us and organizational tax time fast approaching, the Nonprofit Quarterly put out word to the sector about an electronic, TurboTax like way to file your 990, using 990 Online

I didn't know about this, so I figure there's likely others out there who don't either - the system allows you to prepare your IRS Form 990, 990-EZ, or request for extension online. Returns can be e-filed directly with the IRS and participating states or you can print and mail your return and save an electronic version. The service is completely free for organizations with less than $100,000 in gross receipts and has a sliding scale for larger organizations ranging from $25 to $75.

I took a quick look, and it looks pretty useful!

Ask Idealware: International Petition Sites

Jill asks: Can anyone tell me about the following petition resources? Have you used them? How well do they work? Are they free for nonprofits? Which petition sites work best internationally? Or, by necessity, are there separate sites for each country? Which petition sites have the best "population" in terms of their site providing additional visibility for your petition among their audience? I'm particularly interested in:

Alan Rosenblatt, with the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and author of the DrDigipol blog, responds:

Here is what I know about these:
  • is owned by It is free to use and anyone can create a petition, drive traffic to it and download the signatures (but not email addresses) to forward to campaign target. For a fee, Care2 will create the petition for a campaign and drive its members to it. For a fee of about $2.25 or so per activist email acquired, Care2 will deliver validated, de-duplicated, opt-in email addresses to a non-profit. Typically, the minimum buy is $5000 and Care2 promotes the petition to its community of 8.8 million progressive activists. Additionally, Care2 will deliver the signatures to congressional offices or any other target of the campaign. Activists can also include a personalized comment attached to their signature to increase its influence potential.
My own experience with Care2 recruits is that they are super-activists. Compared to my activists acquired through other means, activists acquired from Care2 via are 3.5 to 4 times more likely to take an action I ask them to than my other activists.
This site can also be used internationally for free and with limited use for email acquisition as around 2 million of Care2 activists are outside the US.
  • was created by UK's with government money. It is inherently international and free to use by anyone. It is not a conventional petition site, but rather a peer pressure campaign tool. Anyone can set up a challenge to recruit others to participate in any call to action and promote it out to their lists or via advertising/word of mouth/etc. No one is obligated to fulfill a pledge until the target number of pledges have been attained.
  • is another MySociety tool specifically targeted at petitioning the British PM.
  • is yet another MySociety tool that uses accumulating constituent pressure to cajole MPs to engage in an online discussion. It is particular to the UK.
The Ask Idealware posts take on some of the questions that you send us at Are you familiar with these petition sites, or other great option for international petitions? Help us out by entering your own answer as a comment below.

Comparing Reporting Features

We’re getting down to the end of our research into software for managing grantmaking processes, with the review a number of existing packaged solutions, and one of the things that we’ve found thorny is the evaluation of system reporting features. It’s one of those areas where the most obvious way of evaluating for any particular grantmaker is to take a look at the existing reports and decide if they’re useful for their foundation’s particular needs.

But needs vary a lot in this area – and it seems to me that it’s likely to always vary, as most organizations have a desire to tailor reports to their specific processes – so it’s not a very useful criteria for our overall, meta-evaluation needs.

So we’re left with evaluating higher level things, which I’m not altogether satisfied with. Here’s the things we’re looking at – what do you think?
  • Is there a core base of standard reports that meet a number of the most common needs?
  • Are these reports tweakable – so that an organization can make a small change without re-building from scratch, and then save it?
  • Can users can define sets of data based on some core key criteria (for grants management, program, grant status, cycle…. for donor management, this might be relationship, amount of past donations, geography), and then generate summary reports based on them?
  • Can users can create ad-hoc reports which can include nearly any field displayed to users, or summary counts and totals, filtered by nearly any field, either within the system or by exporting the data to another tool, such as Excel?
  • Can ad-hoc reports can be customized and polished without using another system, to include logos, headers, and sub-totals for data that include custom columns and filters?
  • Are the reports – both the standard ones and saved one – listed in some organized fashion, ideally with a customizable “quick menu” of frequently used ones? Or must every user navigate through dozens of reports every time they want to run something?
So what do you think? If you were looking at a fairly large system (say, a mid-level donor database or case management system), would insight into these factors help you to make a decision? Or are there key things we’re missing?

We're Hiring! Idealware Outreach Coordinator VISTA

Are you interested in helping nonprofits to make better use of internet and database technologies? Idealware is hiring an Outreach Coordinator, as an AmeriCorp VISTA, to help manage and expand our connections to nonprofit staff members and consultants.

The job is based in Portland, Maine (a beautiful small city, minutes from both beach and mountains, with an affordable cost of living) - some relocation expenses are provided.

This is an ideal position for anyone interested in getting started in nonprofit technology or capacity building. In addition to your hands-on learning, you’ll have routine contact with dozens or hundreds of expert practitioners who work in nonprofit technology for a living. Idealware will cover your costs to attend at least four Idealware live events, plus one additional conference.

For more details, including qualifications and salary information, see the full job listing on Idealist.

Resource Roundup 4/14

How to get your small nonprofit up on the Web, Part 3 of 3 (Non-Profit Tech Blog)
Detailed, step-by-step guide as to how to get up and running with Google Apps

Video Conferencing for Small Businesses (
Overview of the various ways that organizations can do video conferencing - video chat and web conferencing software, and a quick overview of webcams

Is right for your Nonprofit? (ONE/Northwest)
Thorough and thoughtful overview of the strengths and weakness of Salesforce - a hosted constituent management software package- for nonprofits

Understanding Vertical Response and Salesforce (NonprofitCRM)
Summary of how Vertical Response (a mass email tool) and Salesforce work together - apparently, not as well as one would like for organizational mass emailing

Mac OS X Server in mixed environments (ICT Hub Knowledgebase)
Summary of the functions the Mac OS X server provides, and how it can work with both Mac and Windows desktops

Alternatives to Outlook Express: Finding the Right Email Client
(ICT Hub Knowledgebase)
Nice overview of organizational alternatives to Outlook for email clients

SharePoint vs. Exchange Public Folders (CMSWatch)
A report back of when the Microsoft team suggests using Exchange public folders to share resources as opposed to Sharepoint.

CMS Watch Subway Map of Content Technology Vendors (CMS Watch)
Very nifty graphic summarizing the landscape of Content Management Systems - and certainly useful as at least a laundry list of tools.

Why you need to estimate your volume to pick a mass email tool...

I put this graph together for our eNews online seminar, summarizing how the monthly costs of a bulk email tool vary as your list size gets bigger. I expected there to be a difference, but I didn't realize it was going to be this pronounced - the list of tools on the right are in order of cheapest to more expensive for a very small list (250 people, who each get one email a month) - and there's a very substantial flip-flop as those tools that are cheap for small lists become some of the most expensive for big ones.

And this doesn't even account for the difference between tools that charge based on the number of emails, and those that charge based on the number of constituents in your list. This graph smooths over that difference by assuming you're sending everyone on your list one email a month.

So the moral: you really need to have a sense of how many emails per month you expect to send, and about how many people you expect to have on your list, both now and in the future, before it makes any sense to start comparing prices for bulk email tools.

New article: Eight Ways a CMS Can Help with Search Engine Optimization

The second part of our two part series (of sorts) on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is now up! Once you have a handle on the basics of SEO with our article from last month, 10 Steps to Being Found on Search Engines, take a look at how content management systems can help you with that, with our new article Eight Ways a CMS Can Help with Search Engine Optimization.

Wow, that's a total of 18 steps and ways. We have many steps and ways over here.
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