Thank you all for your responses.
For clarity, FIMS is an integrated software package for Foundations, used by many Community Foundations. It's a one-stop shop to manage user profiles, funds, gifts, grants, and accounting. All of these pieces share the master database and information put into one section is available in the other sections where appropriate, eliminating the need for entering things multiple times or exports and imports into various stand-alone programs. For CRM, FIMS has a connector to a slimmed-down version of SalesForce (support of which ends on October 1, 2019). DonorCentral is our Donor Portal for our Donor Advised Funds and it also connects back to FIMS. Accounting is one of the major strengths of FIMS. Blackbaud purchased the company that makes FIMS several years ago and has been creating a path for people to move off of FIMS to their suite of software. They're committed to supporting FIMS for as long as people want to use it but Blackbaud isn't planning any major for it. Their commitment to supporting FIMS doesn't necessarily extend to the peripheral programs tied to FIMS.
The non-Blackbaud software packages we have been looking into so far are Akoya.net, GiftingNet, Stellar's iPhi Suite and Foundant's CommunitySuite. We've been using Foundant's grant life management software for our competitive grants and like the company but at the moment we aren't certain the CommunitySuite's accounting piece is fully developed enough for what we do.
We aren't ruling out going the Blackbaud route but this year there have been a number of frustrations with their support. We're doing our due diligence.
I'm happy to share notes with folks off list too.
Information Systems Manager The Vermont Community Foundation
There is a third-party FIMS connector to Raiser's Edge that some foundations have been using. There is communication between those products, but I believe it is a one-way connector from FIMS to Raiser's Edge. We are no longer considering making a move when Blackbaud's support for the FIMS CRM connector stops on October 1st of this year. I have been assured in writing that the connector will still function and Blackbaud will be supporting FIMS indefinitely. We're going to hire a consultant to help us with any issues that might arise with the connector itself.
Our current thought is we will make a decision in the third quarter or early fourth quarter of this year on which post-FIMS path we're going to follow. The two choices that seem to make the most sense to us are either going with Blackbaud's fully integrated Raiser's Edge NXT/Financial Edge NXT (with the enhanced FIMS financial features they're adding later this year) or going with Foundant's CommunitySuite.
Neither of these options is exactly what we want at the moment. They are both being built up this year into something that might be what we want. So we are looking carefully at their progress over the course of the next several months. Blackbaud has the advantage of being a much bigger company with (apparently) greater resources. They also have many add-on options we could move into as well, though most of those are pretty pricey. Blackbaud has the disadvantage (based on our experience) of having poor tech support and "improving" products in ways that have made them less useful for us.
We've been using Foundant's Grant Life Management software for a number of years and they have been a great company to deal with. They have had very responsive support and great training options. We're still getting to know their Community Suite software. I need to be convinced that their accounting and donor portal pieces will be robust enough for what we do. A number of larger community foundations have moved to Community Suite recently, including the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. I'll be attending a Foundant event they're hosting in late May to see how things are working out for them and whether they are using any third-party applications to flesh things out.
Even though we're planning on making a decision later this year and implementing it in 2020, if we feel neither option is really ready yet we're open to staying with things as they are for an additional year. We don't want to move to an early version of a product with a promise that things will get better soon. We would like to have whatever we move to be fully functional when we start using it.
Keep in touch. Feel free to reach out to me at my Vermont Community Foundation email address.