This week, Blackbaud shared our product portfolio strategy for 2015 and beyond, including the highly-anticipated plan for the future of the Raiser’s Edge solution line.   While we’re excited about cloud-based Raisers Edge NXT, we’re also incredibly enthusiastic about the innovation planned across our entire portfolio of solutions. I’d love to give you an overview of the portfolio, and give some special attention today to Luminate CRM (LCRM).

The Fantastic Four

For those keeping score (we know you’re out there!), let me confirm that Blackbaud has committed to continued investments and innovation in four primary fundraising and relationship management solutions for nonprofits.

You may immediately find yourself wondering whether four is too many or too few.  But once you understand the unique space in the market each of these solutions were created to support, you may agree, as I do, that each of the four are critically important to the organizations they serve, because no single solution could effectively serve the entire, diverse nonprofit sector.

Let’s start with our basic solution and work our way to Blackbaud’s most advanced fundraising and relationship management offering:

  • eTapestry®simple, cloud-based fundraising management: for smaller, developing nonprofits in need of a solid cloud solution to support basic fundraising needs
  • Raiser’s Edge solution line—fundraising and relationship management: for mid-size to large nonprofits in need of a cloud-based, hosted or on premise solution to support advanced fundraising, relationship management and marketing needs
  • Luminate CRM—extensible fundraising and relationship management on the Salesforce platform: for mid-size to large nonprofits looking to enhance their Salesforce.com solution with nonprofit-optimized fundraising, marketing and program management capabilities
  • Blackbaud CRM—comprehensive, customizable fundraising and relationship management: for enterprise-level nonprofits seeking a powerful, yet adaptable solution for fundraising, marketing and program management across the engagement lifecycle

When I explain our portfolio to people, I’m often asked how Luminate CRM, our Salesforce offering, made it in.  They ask: why do you think LCRM and the Salesforce1 platform make such a great duo?  And why is Blackbaud—who has its own leading solutions for the nonprofit sector—offering a Salesforce solution as part of its portfolio? Well, it’s actually quite straight forward.  For more than 30 years, Blackbaud has invested in developing and enhancing its nonprofit fundraising solutions to meet the diverse needs of organizations—from small to large in size, with simple to advanced needs.  One of those diverse needs we wanted to support is customers who have committed to Salesforce.  We know many nonprofits that presently enjoy the benefits of Salesforce’s extensible platform for mission and program management also need fundraising, marketing and engagement solutions too.  But Salesforce out-of-the-box wasn’t built to support mid-size and large nonprofits with their fundraising needs.  When Salesforce is combined with LCRM, the vision of Constituent Relationship Management becomes a reality—clients get a scalable platform with truly best-in-class fundraising.

I’ve also been asked by customers what it means when Blackbaud says it is “investing” in innovation.  Well, take a look, for example, at the investments we’ve made recently in LCRM.  Our Engineering team has more than doubled in the past year, resulting in more functionality for gift processing and acknowledgements, as well as improvements to the integration with Luminate Online Marketing.  Additionally, in Q4, we will deliver enhancements to multi-channel sustainer management to allow for more program insights, better sustainer acquisition, and higher retention rates, as well as a beta version of a new mobile application for Major Gift officers.  We’re investing more in training and supporting our implementation partners.  We’ve also added a dedicated Services team to provide value-added consulting and configurations for our clients.  And last (but hopefully not least from where I sit), Blackbaud’s CEO has asked me to focus on LCRM full time as General Manager of the solution.  I love how Blackbaud has empowered me with the resources to make a bigger impact in the market with Luminate CRM.  Hopefully, this is good news for our partners, Salesforce, and especially for non-profits.

Oh, and if you’re a die-hard Marvel fan that wants to know which member of the Fantastic Four is closest to LCRM, let’s consider.  Is it Reed Richards, because the solution is so extensible and a market leader?  Sue Richards, because Sue’s force-field talent makes her future-proofed, just like organizations are with the combination of LCRM and Salesforce?  Johnny Storm, because LCRM is accessible, fast, and good-looking?  Or the Thing, because it is insanely powerful and built to do good?

I’ll leave it to the readers to decide – sound off with your impressions in the comments or email me directly at chris.krackeler@blackbaud.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Krackeler is the VP and General Manager of Luminate CRM, where he leads Blackbaud’s efforts to build the leading non-profit fundraising solution on the Salesforce1 platform.

Prior to that, Chris was VP of Enterprise Sales at Convio, which helped more than 1,400 non-profits use technology to mobilize people to support their missions.

Having always been passionate about helping non-profit organizations and early stage companies, Chris opened GetActive Software’s satellite DC office in 2000 and helped them evolve from a start-up company on a shoe-string budget to a leading provider of fundraising and advocacy software to more than 600 non-profit organizations.

Chris is also frequently invited to present at industry events to share ideas, cutting-edge research and best practices.  He holds a BA in Political Science from Georgetown University, where he graduated with Cum Laude honors.  When not working, he is an avid cyclist, tennis player, and father to young twins. Connect with Chris on Twitter at @CKunplugged or on LinkedIn

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