By Tal Frankfurt
Common Ground (CG) users have recently learned that Blackbaud, which acquired Convio last spring, will only be supported through April 2014. This news has a major impact on hundreds of nonprofits who rely heavily on CG for their fundraising, event management, and volunteer tracking.
While CG offered a few distinct features like graphical relationship management, campaign segmentation, batch entry tools and more, it is built on the Salesforce platform. When you purchased CG you also received 10 free enterprise Salesforce licenses from the Salesforce Foundation. This means that when Blackbaud turns the light off, you will still stay with Salesforce.
All the CG features will immediately disappear. However, because Blackbaud does not have any control over the Salesforce data centers you will still have access to your data and you will be left with a functional (though very limited) database. While you will no longer have the access to the fields and objects from CG, you will be able to use the Salesforce export tool to export all your CG information (your data will be there until you uninstall CG). One caveat–the CG Fundraising add-on was not built on the Salesforce platform so it will probably disappear.
The Good News
- You are still using one of the most powerful databases available on the market. Salesforce is much more than a fundraising database, it is a centralized location to manage all your interactions with your constituents and track your programs, fundraising efforts, and advocacy campaigns.
- You and your team are already familiar with Salesforce and its user interface so user training and adoption is not going to be significant.
What should you do next?
1. Backup your data – we recommend to all our clients to set up a weekly data backup whether they use CG or not. Go to Your Name > Setup > Administration Setup > Data Management > Data Export > Schedule Export.
2. Evaluate your current database:
- Are you using any CG add-ons?
- What features are you using? Are you only using it for fundraising?
- Have you done any additional customization on top of Common Ground? How intertwined is it with Common Ground?
- What is the state of your data?
3. Evaluate other solutions on Salesforce – unlike Blackbaud, Salesforce is an open platform dedicated to your mission. There are many options on the platform including Affinaquest, the Nonprofit Starter Pack, and custom designing a solution.
4. Talk with us about your options. We will work with you to identify the right solution.