Off late we have been receiving a lot of inquiry at ABSYZ from Non profit organisations across the board requiring to migrate from Luminate CRM and Common Ground to a different fundraising platform. Being Salesforce developer & having spoken to many organizations and reflecting on it, we have developed a point of view about what is driving this shift, considering possible Luminate CRM Alternatives.
What is Luminate CRM?
A Salesforce platform-wide configuration, Luminate CRM is crafted to aid fundraising and activities pertinent to fundraising like event management, volunteer and allocation of funds. It can be integrated with two cloud-based tools: A self-integrated platform, Luminate Online used for email marketing, content management, fundraising, and most importantly team-based fundraising tools that syncs bidirectionally with Salesforce; and Luminate Analytics – a business intelligence tool developed for advanced analytics consuming data from both, Luminate Online and Salesforce with Luminate CRM.
Why Do Organizations Use Luminate CRM?
Nonprofits of all size and scale looking for a Salesforce Integrated backed fundraising database, wanting to enforce best-practice fundraising on Salesforce, realise great value from Luminate CRM. The deep platform configurations offered by Luminate CRM resonates well with these organisations. There are several elements that have been extensively thought through to enable a compelling user and visual experience, along with data management capabilities for a multitude of fundraising needs – from individual/household salutations and donation designations, integration with cloud-based, pre-packaged suite of online tools to handle different aspects of gift cultivation and fundraising process.
As a Salesforce consultant, we can add that there is another advantage, the fact that the entire ecosystem is provided by a single vendor: Blackbaud. This leads to typical benefits that organsation accrue from a single vendor approach like simplified vendor administration, compatible tools that are designed to work together thereby reducing burden on organisations to build, integrate and test multi-vendor point solutions that achieve similar results. Donor/grantor cultivation, volunteer management, online fundraising, analytics, event management, team-based fundraising, all spring from a single vendor source.
If it works, then why leave?
Below are our thoughts on why organisations are leaving the Luminate CRM ecosystem:
- Platform reaching end-of-life: Blackbaud has announced the end-of-life for Common Ground. As a consequence, requests for new functionality and features are likely to be answered with “It’s not in our roadmap right now” with increasing regularity. Organisations must now decide how much of their platform they want to directly control in relation to the associated administrative tradeoff.
- License Fee: Although Blackbaud Luminate CRM provides a vast range of functionalities for fundraising requirements, it has been observed that nonprofits have very specific or discreet needs. This makes Luminate CRM an expensive proposition for nonprofits as the functionalities are not extensively utilized.
- Actual Need Vs Perceived Need: Although organisations find tools integration, visual experience and overall look and feel very appealing, the perceived need and ease with which complicated fundraising processes are executed does not match their actual needs, which are more specific and smaller in nature. Thereby, they end up using only a fraction of the total configurations on offer.
- Believe technology alone drives best practices: Organisations are often drawn towards the enforcement of best practices of nonprofit fundraising as an important outcome of adopting fundraising on Salesforce developed tools as they are designed for the same. Organisations need to take cognizance that there is a difference between how they conduct their literal business and adherence to industry best practices and expecting a Salesforce platform configuration to establish those practices for them. Sometimes the problems run much deeper and call for organisation wide business process and managerial changes, which is clearly outside the ambit of a CRM solution.
- Organizational Change: Although there are fundamental differences in the way nonprofit and for profit organisations function, one aspect that is common to both is that they are dynamic in nature with business models that change in relation to the evolving landscape around them. As a result, Organization and Salesforce needs outgrow the capabilities on an increasingly static CRM platform.
- Curtailed Platform Scalability: Luminate CRM is a product of substantial Salesforce configuration changes and making it customized for nonprofit fundraising requirements. While this has its advantages as it meets majority of the high level marks for fundraising needs, the downside is a curtailment of Luminate CRM to integrate with additional tools and using Salesforce for non-fundraising needs.
- Reporting hurdles: The Luminate Analytics product is a nod to the fact that getting all information across the entire Luminate ecosystem can be hard. There’s a number of reasons for this, many of which are technical, and include the following:
- Luminate CRM Object Architecture can render standard salesforce reporting tools redundant. Sometimes data in Salesforce could be placed too many levels of objects apart to produce effective reporting outcome.
- Not all data in Luminate Online syncs bidirectionally with Salesforce. As a consequence, some data is accessible only in Salesforce and the other in Luminate Online
As organisations reflect on the operational expenditure on a tool that is reaching its end-of-life, with the possibility of bridging the gap between what’s desired and what’s offered becoming ever more remote by the day; no wonder we are seeing increasing inquiry for migration.
Alternatives to Luminate CRM?
Based on your requirements there are several Luminate CRM alternatives,
- The first option is to move to Salesforce Integrated Nonprofit Success Pack. This is possibly the best option owing to the following reasons
- Luminate CRM is built on Salesforce developed platform. This has got certain benefits from an implementation perspective making it easier and faster as business processes and security models are relatively easier to transfer to another Salesforce based platform. This reduces the overall effort and saves precious time for organizations
- Salesforce can be used for a variety of purposes other than fundraising, which includes everything from operations to volunteers, programs and donations
- Learning a solution built on Salesforce integrated platform is a lot easier for users due to familiarity with Luminate CRM.
- Migrating to other CRM solutions provided by Blackbaud. The drawback with this option is that it will need integration with Luminate Online and the learning curve associated with mastering a new system is likely to hamper user adoption.
- Last possible option is to consider Microsoft’s new offering for nonprofits, fundraising and engagement, that holds good potential. However, some of the challenges associated with this option are noteworthy. It will require implementing and learning an entirely new system which has an even steeper learning curve. In an industry where time is of essence, this is likely to weigh heavily with nonprofit organizations. However, if an organization is heavily invested in Microsoft stack such as dynamics then this option would be worth exploring.
Take the next step
If you are still facing a dilemma or have queries while considering your Luminate CRM Alternatives, you can touch base with ABSYZ salesforce consulting & developers, over email firstname.lastname@example.org, ABSYZ is one of the largest Salesforce integrators and a Salesforce partner company providing End to End Salesforce implementation services for not just Tableau CRM but also for Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Salesforce Health Cloud.
Do reach out to us for any help with your Salesforce integrations.