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As many of you know, Blackbaud acquired Convio in May. Today Blackbaud announced that it will end support for Common Ground as of May 2014. This will affect over 600 clients. Blackbaud says:
Common Ground customers do not need to make any decisions or changes at this time. We will be communicating our recommendations in the coming days and
weeks. We will involve each of you in the discussion about your options and the timing specific to them.
RobertForum Moderator Robert L. Weiner ConsultingStrategic Technology Advisors to Nonprofit and Educational Organizationsrobert [AT] rlweiner [DOT] comwww.rlweiner.com
It's not clear if "ending support" means ending the service, but it certainly does not endear me to Blackbaud.
Any other Common Ground customers miffed?
You're right, it's not at all clear what this means. I blogged about the situation here. The comments include some from miffed customers. I expect there will be a lot of discussions at the upcoming Dreamforce and Blackbaud Users conferences.
I've asked some Common Ground experts to weigh in on what might happen. I've have gotten some info (in the comments on my blog post) and hope for more details next week. It will partly depend on whether Blackbaud merely stops supporting the app but leaves the licenses in place versus turning off the licenses. We may not know the answer for a while.
Extremely miffed. We JUST finished all the customization we needed to get CG to work for us in the first place. It was HOURS of implementation services and our own time and we are now told that support will end in Mid-2014.
Although they have suggested we wil have options with eTapestry and Raisers Edge we are unlikely to use either of these unless they compensate us by making sure all custom forms, data, etc. is moved over at no cost to us. Since I doubt that will happen - we are searching for other options.
Open to suggestions.
Yikes! I'd love to hear replies.
John Haydon Social media and inbound marketing for non-profits.
We were unhappy customers even before the recent announcement. We spent $5k migrating from eTap in late 2010/early 2011, then another $2k dealing with a kludgey method to get around the fact that Convio's recurring donation forms couldn't accept custom fields for the first 6 months we were using it. At the time we were forced to use PayPal to handle our recurring donations, and PP is the worst. While in theory SalesForce has a lot of flexibility, in reality we were left to reinvent the wheel over and over again.
John et al: I blogged about this situation here. The post has been getting lots of comments from CG clients as well as advice from techies and consultants.
Some more on this topic- Idealware asked Blackbaud some questions about why they are killing off Commmon Ground. Their answers are posted HERE.
www.FundRaiserBasic.comVolunteer TechSoup Moderator
I think you point out an important consideration- you hear all of the buzz about Salesforce only to find out that you have to reinvent the wheel for things that should have been included in the first place.
For current Common Ground users, please don't buy into the hysteria that you have to stay on the same platform. What people don't want you to know is that the data objects used in Common Ground were custom, and to say that any transfer is going to be easy is like saying that just because you used to use wood materials to build your house that is now going to be leveled, you have to use the same type of wood when building a new one (and in fact, wouldn't it make sense to upgrade to steel and concrete?)
The technology analogy is the same. Let's say Common Ground was based on Microsoft SQL server... With custom tables.... Why would you feel you have to stay on SQL server again when the program and tables are totally different?
The truth is that anyone who will be converting from Common Ground is incredibly likely to be doing it through old fashioned comma separated files. It's a standard process export that is built into Common Ground and includes ALL of your tables and data. It's done this way because it is easier and faster,, because the data will still have to manipulated to fit into the new program.
It takes an incredible amount of time and energy to build the processes that non profits need to track their respective constituents and tasks. Convio spent millions. We do that every year. We have a team of 20 plus developers that work 100% on non profit only processes. We have 30 plus support staff. In fact,, our smallest department is sales. Best of all, we will NEVER be bought out by Blackbaud. It's not in our DNA
Yes, I am prejudiced, but when you look at vendors, you have to be convinced they will be there for the long haul, and that they won't be bought out. To date, nearly every single Venture Capital funded non profit focused fundraising software has been bought out or went bankrupt. Why? Because they are in it for the money and investors have to be paid off in 5 to 7 years. It's that simple.
Please don't get grounded again. I encourage all CG users to look seriously at us, and our worthy privately owned competitors whose interests are more aligned with the non profit community and are in the Non profit business 100%- not 2%, or even less.
Jon BiedermannVice PresidentDonorPerfect Fundraising Softwarewww.donorperfect.com800-220-3589 (direct line)