If your nonprofit has not been focused on digital (web, mobile, social media) fundraising efforts, now is the time to begin considering your options. Need convincing? Here are some facts:
- Digitally-acquired donors who give to and share your mission across many channels have the highest lifetime value
- Digital crowdfunding events are proven to engage major donors and participants of all ages
- Digitally-acquired donations by baby boomers surpassed direct mail donations in 2013, and the majority of millennials will only engage with your organization through digital channels
- Digitally-acquired revenue growth continues to outpace all other channels and is much more cost effective than offline channels
Many of the nonprofits with whom we are talking are seeking to improve their fundraising results are considering implementing a new digital fundraising solution that will better position themselves now, and in the future, to acquire and retain the best donors. If, like them, you are considering your options and are curious about the differences between a best-of-breed and all-in-one solution, read on as this article compares the two approaches (well documented in multiple industries) so that you can determine which model is best for funding your mission going forward.
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[row_column]Definition & Focus[/row_column]
[row_column]An all-in-one vendor offers a broad set of functionality addressing multiple, related business problems. Most began as a best-of-breed provider and over time expanded their functionality either organically or through mergers and acquisitions.[/row_column]
[row_column]A best-of-breed vendor offers a solution designed to solve a particular business problem and seeks to deliver the best quality solution of its type, as measured by depth and breadth of functionality, flexibility, and business responsiveness.[/row_column]
[row_column]“One throat to choke” reduces contractual management time. If the relationship goes sour, the customer is often stuck with the product for years, especially if they have been locked in contractually.[/row_column]
[row_column]Vendors know they must stay responsive and leading edge or face being replaced. There is typically no contractual vendor lock-in or lockout.[/row_column]
[row_column]A broader platform diffuses focus and often the original best-of-breed solution and technology is where the majority of the ongoing passion and investment remains. Decision making in a larger organization typically takes longer.[/row_column]
[row_column]A singular focus by the organization on the specific business-related goals keeps everyone invested in staying ahead of technology enablers, market trends and customer needs. Additionally, decisions and execution happen rapidly because they require much less overhead and coordination.[/row_column]
[row_column]Fewer updates as the update cycle is now constrained by the combinations of existing and potentially future product releases of systems unrelated to the business problem under discussion. If the vendor chooses a synchronized release model, the management challenge is getting all the divisions working on different business problems to reach a release date at the same time and then a major testing initiative. If the vendor releases portions of the broad solution independently the testing and verification effort must include testing with different release versions of the non-upgraded applications.[/row_column]
[row_column]Frequent updates can be provided daily on Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud platforms because updates require much less testing, and overhead and coordination within the organization. You always want to be on the latest version of the solution to benefit from new functionality. Best-of-breed SaaS vendors want that too because it reduces update overhead costs, enabling them to funnel more R&D investment into new functionality and ultimately stay ahead of market needs. [/row_column]
[row_column]All-in-one does not mean all-in-one integration. It often takes years to integrate acquired applications and achieve convergence of roadmaps.[/row_column]
[row_column]SaaS applications in particular were designed to be configurable versus customized and easily integrated into existing business-critical systems, often without coding.[/row_column]
[row_column]Handled by an all-in-one help desk where it is often difficult to find experts to help with each component. Like updates, getting patches for identified defects typically takes longer.[/row_column]
[row_column]Support people do not have a myriad of applications to learn, so they become experts quickly, enabling more rapid response times for both issue resolution and how-to related issues.[/row_column]
Are we advocating that you choose a best-of-breed solution for everything? No. Going only all-in-one is not recommended either. In other industries, the best practice is to implement an integrated solution wherein best-of-breed solutions are used for dynamic and mission-critical business functions, and all-in-one solutions are used for more established, well-defined business processes.
Like the digital fundraising market, best-of-breed solutions are evolving. So, if growing your online fundraising is strategic to your mission, you need a solution that is highly responsive to both your internal customer needs (cross-functional users) and your end customers—your donors. You also need to consider the continuously evolving payment and engagement landscape, and ensure that you are future-proofing your efforts to continue engaging with your best donors well beyond today.
In our next article, we will address how Kimbia designs and delivers our online fundraising solution to give you the best of best-of-breed. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact us—we love hearing from you.