Tag Archives: Chimpegration

Introducing Blackbaud +1?

I’m a big fan of Google and a big fan of Blackbaud. What do the two have in common? I’m not sure really. They are very different companies offering very different product ranges. However one obvious difference that is currently affecting me day to day is the fact that whereas Google are changing their interface throughout to reflect a modern sleek approach, Blackbaud (for the their “Edge” range of products at least) are not. In fact, not only are they not changing the way they look and feel, these products are stuck in a design that is several generations old. Due to the nature of the products they are also very restricted as to what they can do.

At the Blackbaud Conference for nonprofits in Washington last month I saw a demo of new functionality in Blackbaud CRM. It was highlighted that this functionality is only available in the “webshell” feature set of the application (as opposed to the ClickOnce feature set). If you are not familiar with those terms then essentially the “webshell” is the functionality available for all in a browser whereas the ClickOnce functionality is available only on Windows. What this also means though is that the webshell can utilise html5 and not be restricted to Windows Forms. This means a beautiful upgrade of the user interface is possible with much less of a struggle.

With the news that there will not be an RE8 what does this mean to those on RE7? When I recently showed our Chimpegration application to MailChimp I felt the need to apologise for the way that The Raiser’s Edge looked. When you look at MailChimp’s website it is very cool and very funky, just as you would expect from a website devoted to email marketing that takes pride in the range of sophisticated email templates on offer.  Clearly there is a lot more technical wizardry to MailChimp than just the templates but if their site did not look good, you would be put off from creating a campaign through them. They could see that the RE7 interface was antiquated but were clearly impressed by the depth of functionality available to users which was matched in Chimpegration.

And that is the point. The most noticeable changes that Google makes in Gmail, calendar, docs, reader, etc are staring right at you in the form of the interface. But they also make a lot of functional additions too. With the release of RE7.92 Blackbaud will certainly make some good improvements but they cannot afford to stop there. The reason Google is updating is as a form of rebranding. Raiser’s Edge 7 does not have that luxury so it must shine with its functional enhancements and make them known as loudly as a new interface would do.

Chimpegration – An integration between MailChimp and The Raiser’s Edge

It is finally here – Chimpegration. Integration between The Raiser’s Edge and MailChimp. With our free customisation you can export your email addresses directly from The Raiser’s Edge into your MailChimp lists, populating your merge variables in one automated process. Raiser’s Edge users have always been used to creating Word mail merges so that they can create sophisticated merge documents. Now they can do the same with email. Once the email campaign has been sent you can manage any bounces or unsubscribes directly from The Raiser’s Edge. Not only that, you can also add an action, appeal or attribute to any constituent with an email that was sent the campaign.

All that for free!

If you want more then we also offer a (paid for) Professional version appropriately called “Chimpegration Professional”. This allows you to synchronise activity between the two systems. This means that you can make use of MailChimp’s own forms to allow you users to update their own information. It then feeds back into The Raiser’s Edge. Equally any information you update in RE will feed back into MailChimp. Don’t worry, the review screen gives you complete control over which information is moved where. Also with this version you are able to see each constituent’s activity directly from the constituent record. See when they were sent the email, when they opened it and what they clicked on.

I was very pleased to have won a MailChimp integration fund award to integrate The Raiser’s Edge with MailChimp. It is such a great product and the possibilities for integration were enormous. The Raiser’s Edge manages donors really well but it never really made it into the world of email marketing. Of course there is integration with Outlook but that is not good enough when you need to send out thousands of newsletters. NetMail was a good start but their template design functionality was so limited. NetCommunity was better still but even with that product there are too many compromises (and it costs too). There are a lot of different email marketing applications out there but I have been using MailChimp for a while myself as part of my website newsletter. It has great functionality but I would never have used it if it had not been for two things; it is free for smaller volume users and it has a great API. Things could have been so different. Before looking at MailChimp I applied to get a developer licence at ConstantContact. I had to fill out a form and justify my use of it. I did that but they never even got back to me.

Chimpegration – Free

MailChimp – Free

Email marketing – now Free!