Nonprofits and Data

last person joined: 5 days ago 

This group is for those interested in learning and sharing about all things data-related for nonprofits. The Nonprofits and Data group is for people using data to serve a mission, either directly or by improving nonprofits and the nonprofit sector. That includes everything from collecting data and managing databases to analytics, data visualization and data mining. Here are some examples of topics we discuss: using data to improve organizational effectiveness, measuring impact, using data for storytelling, tools for data management and analysis, figuring out the “right” data to collect, and learning skills to help us use data better.

1.  RE-LO Connector advice

Posted 6 days ago

Hi everyone,

We are using Raiser's Edge, which is hosted on our server, and Luminate Online. We have a custom connector which was developed by Blackbaud 5 years ago. The connector is outdated and limiting, that is we have to manually upload data from LO to RE each day and only certain information syncs.

Blackbaud has recommended that we switch to Omatic. Does anyone have any experience working with Omatic in general, or specifically with LO and RE? Or have other suggestions for RE-LO connections?

Also, Omatic is pretty expensive. Can anyone suggest other experts we could talk to for guidance?

Thanks, Mimi



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Mimi Plato
Washington, DC
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2.  RE: RE-LO Connector advice

Posted 5 days ago
Hi Mimi,
Glad to help you with this situation. A little background - Yes, I am an independent consultant but that doesn't mean I'm going to charge you anything here! My team of former Blackbaud consultants works with clients around the country on both core fundraising ( RE, Conversions to NXT, etc.) as well as online tools like NetCommunity, RELO, WordPress sites, etc. Because we are independent, we have no financial ties to any of these organizations listed above or below. We just want you to find the best solution, and use your donor dollars wisely.

Unfortunately, what you are experiencing is not unusual with the RELO connector. It's just never worked super smoothly.  Omatic is one of the solutions -- and a very good one. They have a well-qualified staff and customer support services. If you can't afford that solution, you may want to look at Zeidman Development and their products. David Zeidman, the founder has an extensive history of building affordable, high-quality integrations with The Raiser's Edge.

I have not compared the products between Omatic and Zeidman's head-to-head but either option would be a reliable, solid solution. I'd recommend you look at both and get actual quotes from each. You won't be sorry with either one.

 Importacular . 

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LisaLane
CEO
Nonprofit Garden
Lisa@nonprofitgarden.com
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3.  RE: RE-LO Connector advice

Posted 3 days ago
Thank you Lisa, This is very helpful!

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Mimi Plato
Washington, DC
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4.  RE: RE-LO Connector advice

Posted 4 days ago
Hi Mimi,

I use exactly the same software as you do and our organization has been through a similar reflection recently. We came to the same conclusion:  Omatic looks great, but is way too expansive. Also, any other custom type of connector will cause problems in the long run because when updates are implemented either in Raiser's Edge or Luminate Online, the connector will not follow and eventually it does not work properly anymore (also, most of the time we are not even aware of those updates so we can't even react before the damage is done...). So if you choose to go in that direction, make sure the provider is in contact with Blackbaud and will offer you support after the time of the implementation.

We ended up choosing the regular RELO connector and we have put in place weekly or monthly manual imports of the info that does not go through (for us it's mostly language and user preference about solicitations). All the rest goes through properly and we are satisfied with this connector. We will be evaluating this strategy in the future but it has been working fairly well for now.

Hope this helps and good luck!


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Marie-Claire
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5.  RE: RE-LO Connector advice

Posted 4 days ago
Hi Mimi,

Hosted RE + LO just ins't a well-supported constellation of systems, and it's telling that Blackbaud has told you to use Omatic to integrate between two of their own tools.

My advice to you, on one foot, is that Omatic is an expensive patch you might choose to implement to buy yourself some time to explore migrating out from RE+LO into a better implementation. That might be a Blackbaud solution, or something else entirely, but your experience in your current implementation is likely to continue to degrade, and to require ever-increasing investment to maintain.

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Isaac Shalev
http://www.sage70.com
Stamford CT
@Sage70
isaac@sage70.com
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6.  RE: RE-LO Connector advice

Posted 2 days ago
Thank you Marie-Claire and Issac. You are both sharing thoughts that we were thinking. Glad to know that we are not the only ones in this position.

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Mimi Plato
Washington, DC
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7.  RE: RE-LO Connector advice

Posted 2 days ago
Mimi,
I agree with Isaac.  It really is not a great long-term solution and there are better ones out there that work more seamlessly with The Raiser's Edge.  Give me a call if you want to find talk about your challenges and figure out some other options that may be a better investment in the long run.

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LisaLane
CEO
Nonprofit Garden
Lisa@nonprofitgarden.com
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