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SOFTWARE: re: AppealMaster takover by Blackbaud

Posted on 7 May 2004 at 7:21 pm
Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Anonymous
    7 May 2004 at 7:21 pm #1567

    Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 12:34:07 +0100
    From: Rebecca Carrick

    As most of you will have heard, AppealMaster has been bought out by
    Blackbaud. All Appealmaster users are being ‘asked’ if they would like to
    convert to Raiser’s Edge – there will be no further development of
    AppealMaster software and technical support will only be continued for the
    next few months. As a relatively small charity who only invested in
    AppealMaster 6 months ago, we are really quite concerned about this. I’ve
    heard reports that converting to Raiser’s Edge will cost at least £5,000 and
    maybe as much as £12,000-£15,000. It would be great to know what other
    AppealMaster users intend to do about this and how you feel about the way in
    which this has been handled.


    Rebecca Carrick
    The Wordsworth Trust
    Dove Cottage
    Cumbria LA22 9SH
    Tel: 015394 63523
    Fax: 015394 63516

    7 May 2004 at 7:22 pm #6164

    Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 13:20:28 +1000
    From: Robyn Allcock


    I don’t have any knowledge on local prices, etc – but, as a matter of
    principle – beware the data conversion! Whichever system you choose, make
    sure it will cover your longterm needs, even if that means paying for
    something which is more sophisticated than you need in the short term – the
    pain of the changeover isn’t something most people would like to go through
    twice. It SHOULD be easy, but it never seems to work out that way!

    Robyn Allcock

    Fundraising and Recruitment Specialists
    16 Neville Street
    Oatley NSW 2223
    Phone +61 2 9594 4814

    7 May 2004 at 7:23 pm #6165

    Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 15:09:24 +0100
    From: Charlie Marshall

    Dear Rebecca

    In Scotland we are having an Appealmaster users group meeting this Friday
    which will precede the arrtival of the Appealmaster MD and a brace of
    Blackbaud execs, who will, i suspect, have an uncomfortable time. As to the
    conversion costs, I have heard wildly varying sums being bandided about –
    the lowest being in the hundreds and the highest being yours.

    I have asked my local NGC agent to produce a quote for us and he has
    undertaken to have it ready prior to the meeting.

    My feeling is that we are all faced with a fait accomplit but concerted
    action might drive the conversion costs down. Strip away all the honeyed
    words and the fact remains that we are all going to have to pay, probably
    handsomely, for replacement of a perfectly adequate system which, left to
    itself, would probably have a good many years of shelflife but will probably
    be phased out as fast as Blackbaud can do it . You might lijke to try
    donorflex, incidentally: I think they might be prepared to do a good deal.

    Please let me know how you get on.

    Charlie Marshall

    7 May 2004 at 7:23 pm #6166

    Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 06:20:07 EDT
    From: John Rodd

    On the Blackbaud take-over of AppealMaster (or was it a sell out?):-

    I am afraid that Blackbaud has done this before in other countries. In
    Australia they snuffed out a good competitor and it serves to show that with
    their wealth they can reduce the competitive advantage afforded to charities
    when there is a choice of software.

    Inevitably prices will go up, and up and innovation will be stifled
    (Blackbaud is very slow to innovate) ….. and charities and their causes
    will suffer for it. Blackbaud sells Raiser’s Edge in the UK for about the
    same number of US dollars it charges over there. Is this profiteering? Once
    again rip off Britain suffers.

    There is nothing charities can do about this ‘big business crushes the
    opposition’ approach, but we don’t have to let Blackbaud off easily and I
    hope the Scottish AppealMaster users are blunt with them. I think also Paul
    Steadman of AppealMaster should tell us why he did this? Many of us thought
    he was one of the good guys. Who’s next? Fisk Brett?

    John Rodd
    Rodd Associates
    Database Marketing Consultant
    for charities and nonprofit organisations
    London (UK) & Toronto (Canada)

    Tel UK: +44 (0)20 8742 1131

    Fax UK: +44 (0)20 8994 1884
    Mobile worldwide: +44 (0)77 12 00 3232
    E mail worldwide: [email][/email]
    Tel Canada: (001) 416 690 8801 ext. 247

    7 May 2004 at 7:24 pm #6167

    Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 11:20:21 +0100
    From: Melissa Watson

    I can only say I am not surprised by these actions being taken by
    Blackbaud, but feel strongly that you should kick up a fuss about what
    could be seen as highly predatory behaviour. Try speaking to the Charity
    Commission, IT/ software regulatory bodies, Competition Commission ?,
    charity press etc. Gain support from other charities – even past/ existing
    users of Raiser’s Edge who find the software unsuitable/ expensive.
    Raiser’s Edge is a very expensive piece of software both in the short term
    and long term when considering the service charge, hardware capability –
    upgrades etc, and is questionably unsuitable for small organisations. It
    would do well to tailor its product more effectively to the widely varying
    needs of the voluntary sector, both in terms of software capability and
    price. It would perhaps then become the natural choice for organisations
    rather than a forced one.

    Hope everything turns out OK, and sorry I can’t be of further help.

    Melissa Watson

    7 May 2004 at 7:25 pm #6168

    Date: 14 Aug 2002 12:08:48 +0100
    From: Sean Bonnington

    I have noted the reaction to the AppealMaster acquisition. As an
    AppealMaster user myself for some time now, my initial reaction was
    disappointment but I have since contacted New Generation directly, and
    having done that I feel assured that support for AppealMaster will continue
    for a number of years yet.

    From my conversation, it would seem that for those of us wishing to take
    advantage of the option to move to The Raisers Edge now, we can do so at a
    much smaller cost than you have speculated. I suggest you contact New
    Generation directly to discuss your concerns, it certainly eased my concerns.

    Sean Bonnington
    Director of Development
    St. Mark’s Hospital Foundation


    020 8235 4042

    7 May 2004 at 7:26 pm #6169

    Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 13:01:56 +0100
    From: Charlie Marshall

    I wish I had your confidence. I believe Appealmaster should have, without
    being asked, provided all users with a conversion price estimate. I also
    think that ‘a number of years’ would be wholly dependent upon the uptake of
    the raisers’ edge offer.

    Charles Marshall

    Fundraising Manager
    Age Concern Scotland
    113 Rose Street
    Edinburgh EH2 3DT
    Tel. 0131 625 9320
    Fax 0131 220 2779

    Age Concern Scotland is a registered charity no. SC010100

    7 May 2004 at 7:56 pm #6170

    Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 13:11:55 +0100
    From: Jonathan Evans

    > —–Original Message—–
    > From: Melissa Watson []

    > Raiser’s Edge is a very expensive piece of software both in the short term
    > and long term when considering the service charge, hardware capability –
    > upgrades etc, and is questionably unsuitable for small organisations.

    But, in my experience, it’s undoubtedly a worthwhile investment. Cutting
    costs on a database is the ultimate idiocy for any charity dependent upon
    broad-base support.

    There *are* options other than Raiser’s Edge, but few combine its depth of
    features with ease of operation, allied to generally excellent support.
    There may be IT specialists who’ll take issue with this, but having seen the
    near-catastrophic impact on one particular charity of a database package
    championed by one of the “leading lights” in the field, I’m afraid I’m not
    readily convinced by their arguments.

    I certainly have reservations about aspects of Blackbaud’s operations, but I
    would unhesitatingly recommend Raiser’s Edge as a database – especially to a
    medium-sized organisation lacking dedicated IT personnel.

    Jonathan M C Evans
    Direct Marketing Officer

    The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths
    Artillery House
    11-19 Artillery Row
    SW1P 1RT

    Tel: 0870 787 0711


    2 June 2004 at 5:38 pm #6171

    We offer a fantastic alternative to the move to Raiser’s Edge: Donor Strategy. This is a product developed over the past 10 years specifically for charities and deals with all aspects of fundraising, alumni, relations and so on.

    We have a developed, proven program for converting the Microsoft Access based Appeal Master data into Donor2000 & Donor Strategy using a highly effective set of complex rules.

    For every AM conversion we are able to:

    – Analyse data before & after transfer

    – Build complex rules such as changing case, cleaning post codes, removing duplicates from lists, moving data from one section to another

    – Run the conversion multiple times, as required

    – Tailor the conversion process to each specific client requirements

    We have worked with numerous previous AM customers, one of the most complex conversions was Emmanuel College in Cambridge who used almost every area of the system including detailed financial analysis – including events and campaigns.

    “At Emmanuel College we store a vast amount of information using almost every area of the system.
    We were impressed by the trouble taken in the data conversion process to make sure that the transfer was as trouble-free as possible.
    Carrying out test conversions was very helpful.”

    – Dr Sarah Bendall, Development Director,
    Emmanuel College, Cambridge

    Previous AM conversions have now totalled over 74,000 contact records, with a total of 435 events, 115 campaigns and over £77 million in over 79,0000 gifts and pledges.

    This experience is essential to success with your organisation.

    Limited offer: As an existing AM customer, we are happy to run this conversion process on your existing data to prove compatibility absolutely FREE with no obligation to purchase. This offer will expire in July 05.

    We are happy to provide references for you to discuss your conversion with. Please contact us for more details.

    There is more information about this on our website at – please take a look.

    I hope this is helpful to you.

    3 June 2004 at 10:28 am #6172

    Here at JA Computer Solutions Ltd, we have successfully converted Appeal Master customers to our Fundraising database CHARITease. One such successful conversion was Godophin School in Salisbury.

    There were a typical development office with a complex donation makeup.

    This transfer has now been in place for approximately one year with no problems.

    For any one converting from an AM database, bear in mind the data conversion, as different clients used different fields for different uses, no program can convert automatically. Each conversion needs to be analysed and correctly managed.

    Whilst a program can be generated to extract the information from the database, remember that the quality of the data is key. If for instance, you stopped using one field two years ago and started using another for the same purpose, both fields will need to be converted.

    For further information relating to our services, visit or call 01285 720150.

    17 June 2004 at 5:05 pm #6173

    If you are thinking of converting to another fundraising package, try out the free 30 day trial of Sapphire from Paloma Systems. It doesn’t cost the earth and is perfect for the smaller charity whose funds are needed to finance other things rather than the software! We use it and love it, their support is brilliant and the software includes everything we need and is completely user friendly.

    Their website is or call them on 01273 778688.

    21 July 2004 at 11:03 am #6174


    At ESiT, we have a lot of experience of working with AppealMaster users and converting them to our thankQ charity management solution.

    If you are reviewing your current system, please feel free to contact me on 01509 235544 to find out more about the latest version of thankQ, thankQ3, which has only just been launched. Alternatively, check out our website at for more details, including case studies and testimonials. I look forward to hearing from you and discussing how we can help.


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