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softwarereview-150EASE Fundraising Solutions Review @EASE Fundraising Solutions are produced by Canada’s Batsch Group as a full-scale system for cultivating and managing donors, prospects, and advocates. The company boasts a wide array of nonprofit clients, spanning from museums and mental health programs to women’s shelters and food banks.

The system has been created with the input of the clients of this 25-year-old business and is used to develop comprehensive donor profiles that track the growth of the relationship between thedonor/prospect/advocate and the organization.

@EASE goes beyond many other fundraising products in that it isn’t only intended for donor management. Instead, it also provides a structure for housing all of the electronic tools used for the purpose of fundraising. Included in the EASEKIMS (Knowledge Management System) structure arespecial tools developed to help clients populate their databases successfully. To do this, the company has developed and standardized multiple data capture methods.

In a nutshell, the software offers all of the following:

  • Relationship Building
  • Campaign Management
  • Pledge Management (Monthly Donations)
  • Volunteer Management
  • Receipts (Mail and eReceipts)
  • Data Mining
  • Contact/Prospect Management
  • Data Import
  • Reports
  • Online and Built-In Tutorials
The overall approach of the @EASE software focuses on being user friendly. Clients are not expected to design complex queries, for example, and the interactive screens have been designed with simplicity and ease-of-use in mind. There is also a considerable amount of training available, along with an experienced support team.

In Use

@EASE can be used for a variety of fundraising situations, with special attention given to what is important for different types of campaigns. For example, in the case of a fundraising walk-a-thon, a volunteer’s dollars raised are tracked by attaching their donor number to gift transaction records. The result is that the organization has the ability to determine how much money a particular volunteer/donor has raised, not just how much he or she has given personally.

Some of the other touted features included in the @EASE approach:

  • Significant other couples can be captured so that each has their own donor record but can share one address and accumulate donations to show joint effort.
  • Staff and volunteers are not expected to write queries, rather they can rely on a set of powerful built-in queries designed to make information access easy, fast, and accurate.
  • The company welcomes client feedback and consistently uses this information to improve the product.
  • Screens are clean and simple, and users are able to open multiple screens simultaneously in order to toggle among them.
  • Profile fields that enable a clear picture of a donor and their interests in your organization.
  • Extensive organizational abilities with donor master records that include a “communications” area that allows for links to documents, websites, photos, social networking sites, and more.
Where many companies offer modular fundraising products, @EASE is offered as one integrated system. This approach means that an organization doesn’t have to hold back when it comes to expansion and exploring new avenues, as all of the necessary tools are available in the system they already have. As the nonprofit grows, its software is already prepared.

Technology Employed

@EASE can be hosted in-house on a terminal server or is available in the Cloud. Remote access is available from all over the world through Citrix services. A variety of training and support services are provided to get and keep organizations up to speed. Many of the engineers with this particular company have been working with this software since the Windows version was originally built in 1997, so there is an excellent understanding of the product, as well as common needs and concerns of participating organizations.

Ease of Use

With a name like @EASE, it’s no surprise that ease-of-use is a high priority for the product. The company prides itself on having created an intuitive interface that doesn’t include unnecessary complications or “clutter.” From data import to pledge handling, the idea is to put a system in front of users that simplifies the work done in a nonprofit organization. The company often asks the question, “If everyone in your fund development department left, never to return, would yoube able to continue your fundraising activities seamlessly?”

Ease-of-use starts with setup. The product comes on CD with a single folder to be copied to the server. TheEaseResources folder includes:

  • Ease2008 Install (setup and a copy of the registration key)
  • Ease 2008ProgramUpdates (used to house any updates and a current copy of the help files)
  • Ease2008 (where the database resides)
  • EaseKMS (Knowledge Management Folders)
There are several resources within the system that allow for many types of fund development, including graphics, presentations, video, and more. @EASE works in any environment (PCand Mac) on pretty much any current machine.

Recap

@EASE is a time-tested product with a good track record in helping nonprofits get their fundraising and related activities organized and streamlined. It allows the organization to identify prospects and to track how and when relationships develop, as well as any individuals “value” to the organization. It seems to offer something to just about every area of the fundraising department, including volunteer management and campaign planning. Pricing for Ease2008 provides 5 installs, unlimited users,and unlimited records. Because it is not modular, the full system, including all additional organizational tools, is $8,995. Smaller organizations may prefer EaseLite (only one install and user and a max of 1,000 records), starting at$5,500. Because the Batsch Group is located in Canada, once they provide a conversion price for US organizations, they stick to it. There are installment payment options.

Advantages

  • Established company with long-term, knowledgeable employees
  • Comprehensive set of offerings
  • Training, support, and tutorials, along with a commitment to being user-friendly
Disadvantages
  • Ongoing costs
  • May be too much for some small organizations
My Opinion

The product itself seems very powerful. The single package offers an integrated system that can be applicable to several areas of the organization. This creates a situation wherein an organization doesn’t have to feel limited in its ability to expand into newareas. On the other hand, I wonder if it might intimidate some small organizations who don’t recognize the benefits it could offer down the road.

In communicating with the company and looking over the product, I found that the people there are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and I suspect that would translate into great customer service for nonprofits choosing this particular fundraising product. Their 25-year history also provides a nice sense of stability for organizations that intend to create their own long histories.

Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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