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DonorPerfect Feedback

  • 1.  DonorPerfect Feedback

    Posted 07-13-2022 08:13 AM
    Good morning!

    I'm in my third day as the Director of Development for a ski academy. The school currently uses DonorPerfect as a CRM and I don't have any experience on the platform. I'm looking for feedback from others who may have used DP. I've heard from a few former colleagues that we should change platforms but they haven't provided specifics as to why - they've just said it's not a good option. Though I've found a few quirky things in my quick perusal of the system, I need more information to make the case for migrating all of our data since it's a heavy lift. For context: The school is looking to kick off a capital campaign within the next year so it's very important we have a system that will allow us to effectively manage our data. 

    I have experience in Raiser's Edge (and the school is using Blackbaud's education module) so I'm naturally leaning toward that system and also considering Salesforce. I appreciate any information!

    Heather Socha
    Director of Development
    Green Mountain Valley School

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    Heather Socha
    Director of Development
    Green Mountain Valley School
    hsocha@gmvs.org
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: DonorPerfect Feedback

    Posted 07-13-2022 11:48 AM
    DonorPerfect is a pretty well-respected and mature fundraising database that is intended for smaller organizations - most of its clients have fewer than 10,000 constituent records. It does a good job of combining web-based marketing and fundraising features with a backend database, but it is much less robust than Raiser's Edge. It is not really intended for organizations that run multiple complex campaigns. That said, there are options besides DP, SF and RE that might be more suitable for your school, and could give you the right combination of online features and a robust back-end. 


    Thank you,
    Isaac Shalev
    Data Strategy Expert
    Sage70, Inc.
    (917) 859-0151
    isaac@sage70.com

    Schedule a 30-minute consultation now:






  • 3.  RE: DonorPerfect Feedback

    Posted 07-14-2022 08:28 AM
    Hi Heather,
    There are many software options out there, each with different strengths and weaknesses. I recommend that you start by doing a thorough assessment of your business needs, system requirements, and priorities. For example, which is more important to your particular organization: robust major giving functionality or event management tools? Are you looking for a native email marketing tool, or a CRM system that integrates with a separate email marketing system you already have? Once you have a good list of prioritized requirements, you can evaluate DonorPerfect to see where there might be gaps. Then you can determine whether you can work with what you have by improving some of your business processes, clarifying data usage rules, or building some custom reports. If you determine that you lack the functionality you need, you can use your prioritized requirements list to evaluate other vendors.

    I'd be happy to discuss this further if you'd like to chat.

    Best,
    Kate

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    Kate Mead
    JCA, Inc.
    Kate.Mead@jcainc.com
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  • 4.  RE: DonorPerfect Feedback

    Posted 07-14-2022 11:15 AM

    Hi Heather,

    I smirked at your post, since I am on the post-launch-end of a data conversion from RE to DP. I have used RE for 7 years at our org, and our department's leadership recently in the last year or so determined it was a good move to go to DP particularly because of some of the customizations like auto-calculated fields that report finite data points that might normally be featured in a report but not available in a constituent record in RE (i.e., how long they've been giving or what amount over a period etc.). In addition, there are donor-driven communication tools within the system, and integrations/apps/services that don't cost an arm and a leg to add, all of which will help our small team achieve the goals of a multi-year centennial campaign. Having said that, at initial use and having just converted over the last few weeks, I can tell you a few specific differences between the systems that may be either palatable to you or not.

    1. In DP, there is no gift type. DP "Gift Type" is really a synonym for Payment Type. Raiser's Edge categorizes gifts according to what looks like the most industry-standard way of looking at fundraising income. Planned gifts are gifts. Pledges are Gifts. Gifts in Kind are Gifts. Cash income is Gifts... etc. In DP, Pledges are in a separate tab/section from Gifts, and those are grouped together with Recurring gifts, which are called "Open Ended Pledges". So far, I have not found a comprehensive way of pulling a "gifts and pledges" report that does not confuse the difference between an originating Recurring Gift (RE gift type "Recurring Gift") and a pledge (RE gift type "Pledge"). For us this will require a bit of a workaround to arrive at a system of reporting Advancement detail (Gifts and Pledges, or RE "Cash" and RE "Pledges" but not gifts on pledges or RE gift type "Pay-Cash"). *On this note, Planned Gifts aren't even in the gift tab at all in DP -- it seems, because they are not actualized (perhaps wrong term here) income, not actual cash in the door. The entire DP system seems NOT made specifically for an Advancement department's specific needs and best practices, but set up in a way to facilitate efficient, easy, and streamlined fundraising campaigns.

    2. There are easy reporting features (easier than RE in my book). The customizations that I'm able to achieve with reporting are really great juxtaposed to the ease of use. We were almost able to figure out how to pull the kind of report we needed without any help from DP. Of course, training helps flesh out the fun features that bring the reporting to the next level. My team has been able to build using DP, in the last couple weeks, a kind of report that would have taken weeks of asking, hours of training, creating queries/exports, etc., if we'd done it in RE from scratch with no prior knowledge of the system.

    3. Cost. Blackbaud products became increasingly cost prohibitive over time. We are saving thousands of dollars a year with DP

    4. Training on things in DP is a breeze. Training on things in RE takes FOREVER. As you know from using it, there are lots of fields, lots of bells and whistles, but at times your success or failure in producing what you need is the difference between a box being un checked or checked... or a query having "AND" instead of "OR". When the robustness of the system is not met with ease of use, that can be a problem for a smaller org like ours.

    5. Customer service seems more of a priority at DP. RE... over the years they've gotten a little better, but I've got to be honest... our supposed "rep" at Blackbaud would go several months without contacting us, and when I would reach out it would take forever to get a response. I've thus far not had the same frustration with DP. I used to tell support that certain things should be a certain way in RE because of .... etc., and they'd try to make me log on to the BB Community to post a request, which I really don't have time for. I noticed that a lot of the time when I'd say, this isn't how it should be, they'd have some variation of "well that's how it is" in response. 

    6. Training resources are readily available in video form at DP. In RE -- they lots of times send you to a Knowledgebase article that leads to another article that MIGHT have a video attached but then you're relocated to YouTube and the video doesn't work. My training experiences with RE have not been fantastic. Sometimes I chat a person at RE that knows less than I do and it's a huge time-waster. So far DP people have seemed to be more customer-driven and pivot to help you with your specific need.

    7. RE is more robust and more clearly defines specific constituent fields (echoing another person in this thread). There are a lot of fields that are static that make sense to be there. For example, a relationship with a spouse with a nickname. I am having to build our main constituent info tab in DP to exist the way it needs to be. Aliases they also treat differently. Org names are in the same field as "Last Name", so when you export data, Org name isn't a separate field. Some differences are annoying, some are frustrating.

    8. DP (again) has more customizable fields. You can basically build as many fields as you want, and have data up the wazoo in lots of different parts of the program. Functionality (how those fields are then used in the functions of the program) may be affected by this, but hey, if you want a "Pet name 1" and "Pet Type" and "Pet License number" in your constituent's info tab, by all means add it. It seems silly, but when there are institution-specific data points relating to every constituent, a lot of times in RE I was having to guess at "where the best place to put this" was, when in DP I can literally just add a field to the Main screen under Constituent Contact Information.

    All that being said, some perspective: Our team is small (2 FT people, 1 PT, and 1 more PT person leaving at end of summer). Thus, to be efficient in our efforts and have better ROI for time spent on the work of our department, something more customer-driven and highly customizable and campaign-driven works for us. I am, however, noticing lots of things that make me say "why???" with DP. I think you need to, as another person has said in this field, assess what are the top-priority needs of your org (the non-negotiables), what are the things that are "on your wish list" and what are the things that you prefer but could probably let go. For our institution's size, department's size, and fundraising goals and departmental priorities, we needed a SmartCar or a Hybrid sedan. Maybe for you, a Cadillac still is a good option. ;)

    Hopefully this helps! Feel free to contact me with more questions. :)



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    Melissa Rufener
    Coordinator of Advancement Services
    Life Pacific University
    mrufener@lifepacific.edu
    http://www.lifepacific.edu
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: DonorPerfect Feedback

    Posted 30 days ago
    You have received a lot of really great responses. 

    I wish to add one more item to the list of RE versus DP: RE (still) does not have a good API, which DP has. (Edit: RE has been working on Sky API for a few years but IMO it's not still mature enough to confidently build applications with). This is helpful in potentially extending the core functionality and connecting the DP system to external databases like Accounting DB etc. I have worked with DP to extend/integrate cross-system business processes via custom integrations and although these projects are somewhat non-standard, I am finding that an increasing number of organizations are becoming aware/interested in the possibilities. This is not easy with RE.

    You also mentioned Salesforce. Although there is a huge momentum towards Salesforce, many organizations (with only a specific, fixed fundraising strategy) -- are perfectly happy with DP and other smaller systems. Further, Salesforce support is expensive. Therefore, if your current and future needs will be met on DP, then you may want to stay. Your current issue seems more of a lack of familiarity and that can be easily mitigated by using their training and support.

    Feel free to reach out using my info if you wish to chat. Wish you success with your campaigns!!

    ------------------------------
    Medha Nanal
    CEO & Principal
    Top Cloud Consulting
    medhananal@topcloudconsult.com
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  • 6.  RE: DonorPerfect Feedback

    Posted 30 days ago
    I appreciate all the great feedback! This gives me a lot to think about before making a decision.

    ------------------------------
    Heather Socha
    Director of Development
    Green Mountain Valley School
    hsocha@gmvs.org
    ------------------------------