A Perspective from Salesforce on today's Convio Common Ground™ launch
Guest post by N. Tucker MacLean, Senior Director, Nonprofits and Education at Salesforce.com.
Today marks an important day in the nonprofit industry, as Convio Common Ground™ is now available to nonprofit organizations that have grown weary of the cost and complexity of traditional donor databases. This is a great moment for me, because I started talking with Convio about this concept over 2 years ago and the tremendous benefits that Software as a Service (Saas) could bring to the nonprofit community.
When I joined salesforce.com 8 years ago, our tag line was "the end of software". After working for another high profile dot com at the end of the 20th century, I understood what this meant and recognized how salesforce.com was different from the others. There were new Internet companies trying to build a software solution and leverage the Internet as its delivery medium, and there were existing software companies trying to build Web based solutions to plug into their software, to also leverage the Internet as the delivery medium. In either case, these companies allowed the inherent complexity of software to bog down their clients. The difference is that these organizations were still trying to deliver SOFTWARE, not a SERVICE. Now that tag line, "the end of software", sounds misleading in that no software exists. Indeed, there is software, a lot of it, but it is managed, supported, maintained, and upgraded by only one company and in only one infrastructure; OURS. That's the difference, that is SaaS.
Let's look at why this is important for nonprofit organizations; I'll use an example of a nonprofit I'm currently volunteering for. They had a consultant build an access database for managing their constituents (members, volunteers, and partners) ~8 years ago. The system met their needs at the time as a rolodex and contact list but has not allowed them to innovate as an organization. The system lacks the ability to leverage new technologies for fundraising and advocacy, mine the data to identify key strengths or weaknesses of the organization or provide for easier communication (email and mail) and campaign or event management. In that same timeframe that this nonprofit used their custom-build solution, salesforce.com has had 24 major releases, with hundreds of new features allowing organizations to innovate without having to re-implement their CRM solution. Imagine the vast opportunities these new releases could have presented to this nonprofit and others like it eager to upgrade and make customizations to benefit their organization.
The biggest challenge we face with our 4,400 nonprofit clients is that salesforce.com needs to be configured to specifically meet their needs, beyond just a universal template. This is where Convio, who is no stranger to the SaaS market, comes in. Convio's Common Ground, built natively on top of the salesforce.com platform, transcends the complexity of configuring salesforce.com as a donor database while providing the flexibility that every unique nonprofit organization requires. And because it’s SaaS, Common Ground will continue to innovate, alleviating nonprofits from the woes of managing software and infrastructure while giving them access to the latest and most effective technology to improve their performance and enhance their missions.
More than ever the right technology partners can play a crucial role in your success. With applications like Common Ground and technology like that provided by salesforce.com, you are better positioned to turn ideas into action through the innovation, time-to-value and ease-of-use that is possible with the SaaS model.
Subscribe to receive posts via email:
Get answers to product questions, join "Birds of a Feather" discussions and more. Join the Online Community
Alltop - Nonprofit
A Small Change
Bob Ottenhoff's Blog
Donor Power Blog
Future Leaders in Philanthropy
Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog
Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog
Nonprofit Law Prof
Pamela’s Grant Blog
Sea Change Strategies
Zen and the Art of Nonprofit Technology