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AFP ConferenceTechnology firms attending the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference in New Orleans in late March unveiled upgraded internet tools and ways to keep clients' costs down and also focused on integrating social-network practices in software solutions.

Blackbaud, Inc., the top provider of non-profit software, and PayPal, a leading online-payment service, introduced BlackbaudNow, offering a point-and-click, website builder for secure donations and recording donor histories.

Melanie Mathos, Blackbaud spokeswoman, said 100,000 nonprofit groups already use PayPal for payment processing and that Now's simple, template solution is especially useful for nonprofits that need immediate access to web tools.

The company also unveiled Blackbaud NetCommunity Grow, providing a content-management system, how-to's on multi-channel and email campaigns and newsletters, and interactive data on causes important to donors. NetCommunity Grow is integrated with the company's “The Raiser's Edge” fundraising software, Mathos said, reducing the time a fundraiser spends on administrative tasks.

Steve Rusche, COO of eTapestry, said new initiatives at his company include a module allowing organizations to provide constituents with a personal web page for raising funds from family and friends. The module is useful for team and event fund raising and other viral or grassroots activities. eTapestry is also offering a new shopping-cart module that lets organizations sell merchandise or services via a website, in addition to online giving.

In reference to eTapestry clients, Rusche said that if a non profit organization doesn't raise more money in the first year after implementing eTapestry than the previous year, the company will provide a year of free service. “We'll be good for each other-- or it's a free offer,” he said.

Sage North America on Monday announced several technology developments for nonprofit groups, including adding next-generation capabilities to its Millennium fund raising platform. With an easily navigated, unique Web-based design that can be set up as an Internet or intranet application, Millennium fund raising assists organizations in managing campaigns and events, tracking donors, and creating reports, according to Krista Endsley, Sage senior vice president. She said the company is adding functionality to deliver a full-featured, "front-end donor experience," including online giving, event and membership registration and e-mail marketing, along with "back-end," fund raising-management functionality--like constituent and gift tracking, event and membership management and business intelligence.

Sage will will soon offer a new ePhilanthropy tool that allows nonprofit groups to increase their donations cost effectively using the internet, and has launched fully-managed, hosting services for its Sage Fundraising 50 software to help nonprofits lower their cost of ownership, while increasing flexibility and accessibility. Fundraising 50 can minimize an organization's information technology costs because the client has no need to maintain a server. Fundraising 50 will remain available as a licensed software product, but users will have more choices as to how their system is deployed in the future.

Dallas-based Orange Leap on Monday announced an on-demand software solution that lets nonprofit groups customize their constituent and donation management, and automate functions--based on their business rules--so that staff can focus on the organization's work rather than technology, according to Randy McCabe, founder and CEO. He said nonprofits shouldn't have to spend “endless hours struggling to conform their operations to one-size-fits-all proprietary software” or pay their software vendors heavily for customizations.

ThePort Network, an Atlanta-based software company focused on nonprofits, trade associations and media industries, in early 2009 announced Web 2.0 social-media solutions that empower fund raisers to connect with and engage online donors through user-generated content, CEO Bob Cramer said. By utilizing the power of the online community, fundraisers are able to leverage viral or grassroots fundraising and increase online donations. Product pricing is based on registered members and because pricing is flexible, ThePort is able to work with small and large organizations--from offices with two staff members to customers with multi-million dollar budgets, he said..

At TowerCare Technologies, DonorPro Release 5.2--which was rolled out to clients in fourth quarter 2008--contains an integrated Cultivation Management Module provided to clients as part of the company's DonorPro fees at no additional charges, said Donna J. Myers, TowerCare president.

“With our Cultivation Management Module, nonprofits can cultivate foundations for grants, individuals to volunteer, individuals to serve as board members, corporations for sponsorships, and move organizations and individuals through the process that takes them from prospects to major donors," Myers said. "As with all other features and functions in DonorPro, the Cultivation Management Module is very flexible, allowing nonprofits to configure processes that work best for them and produce optimal results." The module is backed up with forecasting reports..

DonorPro Release 6.1 will be rolled out to nonprofit clients in second quarter 2009, she said. A major enhancement will be an integrated Events Management Module, including online, event registration and online ticketing for fundraising events.

Convio in September launched Common Ground, a web-based system for tracking interactions with donors. The solution offers simple tools to help nonprofit groups focus on fundraising and advocacy, rather than on maintaining software, said Tad Druart, Convio's communications director. He said “as database technology has evolved from traditional, on-premises solutions to open, online offerings, nonprofit professionals have told us that they need more help in understanding technology and help asking the right questions of vendors they work with. To help fill that need, we have created a "toolkit" guide that helps them ask the right questions and evaluate which offerings might be best.”

Druart said Facebook users are expected to reach 200 million in late March. He said new, open database products are designed to integrate with offerings like Facebook to track and manage relationships through the social network. Most legacy systems were designed when offerings like Facebook did not exist, he noted. A fundraiser or volunteer manager needs to understand the value of social-network integration and decide whether it makes sense for his or her organization, he said. Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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