Posted tagged ‘Sage’

Nonprofit Software Superstar Embraces Open Source

August 5, 2008

The irrefutable momentum of open source platforms as the right solution for nonprofits – as well as Fortune 500 companies – continues its exuberant pace. Although the old software model still dominates at most nonprofit organizations — due to the clawing grip of legacy systems, entrenched costs and fear-driven hostage tactics of proprietary vendors, the savviest insiders in the nonprofit marketplace understand this model is dying.

One of the most significant validations of that for me is the decision of Bryan Klann to join the Orange Leap team as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. There is no one I have met in the past six years who better understands the confluence of nonprofits’ unique needs, limited resources and need for best-of-breed software so they can reach more people, raise more money to fund important programs and services, and ultimately fulfill their missions. Bryan is both a visionary and a practical implementer who drives real results for organizations.

While Bryan could choose to work with just about any company in this space, he has chosen Orange Leap. The heart of that decision, Bryan told me, comes from his fundamental belief that open source constituent relationship management (CRM) is the right model for nonprofits both today and tomorrow. This is due to the cost-savings, robust feature set, and freedom that comes from the ability to expand the software’s functionality and adapt to changing situations and needs exponentially faster than any proprietary system.

EOrange Leaping nonprofits is something Bryan has been passionate about for well over a decade. In fact, Bryan helped pioneer a partner eco-system for nonprofits with Sage Software that uses service partners to design, deploy, support and extend the software. Unlike the other major players in the nonprofit software space, Sage did not try to lock-in clients with full dependence on the company for all support and services. Rather, Sage eOrange Leaped nonprofits to choose from a range of partners to serve them. It is one of the reasons Sage has become the leading provider of fund accounting software to charitable groups (and why Sage is one of our valued partners).

So, when someone like Bryan steps away from the old model because he believes that the open source model is not only the best, but really the only, model to serve nonprofit organization’s long-term strategic CRM needs, I can’t help but be a little exuberant myself as well as humbled.


Stock Prices of Vendors to Charities Getting Battered

May 12, 2008

Yesterday I read an article in the Nonprofit Times about the stock prices of several public companies who work with nonprofits that are struggling. Ostensibly they are struggling because of the meltdown in the subprime mortgage market. Actually, except for the possible exception of Blackbaud, I think many of the companies listed might be struggling regardless of the present economic woes.

Blackbaud is another story. They clearly took a hit a month ago when Jefferies & Co. analyst Ross MacMillan speculated that because of the recession, nonprofits would be spending less and therefore Blackbaud would close less business, etc… “Given the outlook for more potential weakness in giving, we think non-profits are slowing the rate of spending on technology.”

Obviously, it’s a complicated issue. I’m not sure that our clients are seeing giving slow down that much. But assuming nonprofit giving does slow down, I agree that overall technology spending would decrease (especially spending on technology infrastructure) but I would hope that technology spending on fundraising and relationship building tools would not slow. After all, these are the tools that an organization needs most in a difficult economy.

Of course, this is just another reason why open source is such a beautiful model for nonprofits in any economy. Admittedly, open source software is not “free”. For instance, an enterprise class open source CRM like Orange Leap needs implementation services and ongoing support in order to get the greatest value from it. But, because an organization doesn’t have to write that big up front check for license fees, they can spend the money needed to implement software correctly and still save 40% to 60% over comparable closed and proprietary software.