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January 11, 2016

Nonprofit Marketing Solutions: What is an All-In-One Solution?

Strength in Members NonProfit Marketing Technology Guide

In this series, we're bringing you excerpts from our Nonprofit Marketing Technology Guide. These pieces are best take together BUT we wanted to share some of the more salient, foundational concepts to help people refine how they thing about their technology. Grab a full copy of the guide, here. 

What Are All-In-One Solutions?

All-In-One (AIO) solutions attempt to support an entire marketing organization with a single platform. Examples include tools like Luminate, Engaging Networks, everyaction, and Salsa. The value of an AIO solution is easily calculated by determining the extent to which the system supports each of the critical marketing functions that an organization requires. In the nonprofit space, a dozen viable AIO solutions have been on the market for the last 15 years, and include products like Blackbaud Luminate, Engaging Networks, everyaction, and Salsa. Often, when a marketing team selects an AIO solution, the tool works well to meet the program’s needs; however, if the organization’s marketing program evolves and AIO solution is not improved at an equal pace, the value of the system can plummet quickly. While there are of course exceptions, entry level AIO systems can cost a minimum of $10,000 to deploy and as little as little as several hundred dollars per month for marketers with small email lists. Sophisticated organizations should expect to pay six figures to support deployment and integration, with monthly costs ranging from $500 to $50,000 per month in software fees. 

Pros

• Made for Nonprofit Interactions: Specialized public forms support advocacy and donation interactions. Generally, AIO solutions do a good job of incorporating best practices into their platforms.

• One Point of Contact: Customers only have to deal with one vendor for technology services. • Training: Standardizing on a platform with a common interface allows for the rapid and efficient deployment of staff

• Ongoing Production Support: Customers have the option to use their own team or hire a 3rd party to manage the solution for them (i.e. creating emails or donation forms). Cons

• Data Integration: Options for integration are limited and brittle at best when compared to commercial standards.

• Closed Model: Most of these platforms allow thin integration with 3rd party applications or offer integration with a small, select set of applications.

• Consumer Data Integration: Support for hygiene and record aggregation for most are abysmal, creating duplicate records and eliminating the possibility of household units of analysis.

• Promotions: Promotions are limited to email campaigns, with limited support for text messaging and no ability to push campaigns to display, social, or direct mail media.

• Lock In: Contracts with these providers are usually 24 to 60 months, preventing an organization from moving and or adding new tools to the mix.

Cons

Data Integration: Options for integration are limited and brittle at best when compared to commercial standards.

• Closed Model: Most of these platforms allow thin integration with 3rd party applications or offer integration with a small, select set of applications.

• Consumer Data Integration: Support for hygiene and record aggregation for most are abysmal, creating duplicate records and eliminating the possibility of household units of analysis.

• Promotions: Promotions are limited to email campaigns, with limited support for text messaging and no ability to push campaigns to display, social, or direct mail media. • Lock In: Contracts with these providers are usually 24 to 60 months, preventing an organization from moving and or adding new tools to the mix.

Who is an All-in-One Solution Best For?

We feel that AIO solutions are good solutions for organizations whose programs are fairly simple or are relatively new. They allow organizations to fix their investment in marketing technology, while maximizing their options for the team or internal staff who manage the system.

 

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