Blackbaud Customers Encouraged to Consider Alternatives during Common Ground Retirement

Jeff Gordy

Blackbaud’s (BLKB) announcement this month that they are going to “retire” the recently acquired Common Ground product has put many nonprofit organizations in a very challenging position. Common ground is used by over 400 nonprofit organizations to manage their fundraising efforts and during a town hall meeting on September 12th Blackbaud announced that they will be closing down the Common Ground product in March of 2014.

Blackbaud is encouraging customers to switch to one of their other solutions such as eTapestry or the more expensive Raisers Edge, but other alternatives should be strongly considered. Blackbaud had purchased Convio (CNVO), the creator of Common Ground, for approximately $325 million earlier this year, and Blackbaud has a history of purchasing companies, discontinuing products, and attempting to move the customers to another one of their solutions. Raiser’s Edge and eTapestry are built on older and more closed technologies, and some consultants agree that these are not clear replacements for Common Ground users.

Seeing a healthy product discontinued is not good for competition, or the industry as a whole. Common Ground was one of the products in the fundraising market that helped to keep us at Z2 Systems on our toes and innovating new ideas. Convio in particular was good at publishing fundraising information and white papers that could be used industry wide.  Our congratulations go out to the former Convio team for creating a good and competitive product, and our disappointment goes to Blackbaud for taking it out of commission.

NeonCRM is a powerful and proven alternative to Raiser’s Edge, eTapestry, and Common Ground with many organizations having been converted away from these systems. Z2 Systems will be offering 50% off all “Common Ground” and “Blackbaud” conversions during the forced migration through March of 2014.

An open API is being released in late 2012 for the NeonCRM to help fill the gap created by the loss of the Common Ground API. This will allow for easy connections with the NeonCRM system for other programs, databases, and developers.

Please contact us or attend a demonstration if your organization is interested in working with NeonCRM. Z2 Systems, Inc. is a privately held company dedicated to the nonprofit market and our customers.

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