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.
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!
PRO POPULI PTY LTD
Fundraising and Recruitment Specialists
16 Neville Street
Oatley NSW 2223
Phone +61 2 9594 4814
VISIT PRO POPULI’S WEBSITE AT http://www.propopuli.net
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 15:09:24 +0100
From: Charlie Marshall
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.
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?
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@example.com[/email]
Tel Canada: (001) 416 690 8801 ext. 247
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.
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.
Director of Development
St. Mark’s Hospital Foundation
020 8235 4042
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.
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
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 13:11:55 +0100
From: Jonathan Evans
> —–Original Message—–
> From: Melissa Watson [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> 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
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
11-19 Artillery Row
Tel: 0870 787 0711
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 http://www.charitysoft.co.uk – please take a look.
I hope this is helpful to you.
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 http://www.jacsolutions.co.uk or call 01285 720150.
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 http://www.paloma.co.uk/software/sapphire.html or call them on 01273 778688.
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 http://www.esit.co.uk 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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