Join the Online Fundraising Technology Conversation
Earlier this summer I was fortunate enough to attend the fantastic event Fundraising Day 2010 presented by the AFP Golden Gate Chapter in San Francisco, billed as California’s largest fundraising conference. One thing that struck me was the preponderance of technology companies in the exhibition hall. It seemed as if every other booth was a database company or an e-mail company or a website company trying to demonstrate its product. As I reflect on this trip, a few thoughts become clear.
The fundraising technology "industry" is alive and well in 2010. Many of the most successful business enterprises that profit from the fundraising sector are in essence technology companies. Blackbaud, based in Charleston, S.C. — one of the most widely recognized technology companies because of its database product The Raiser’s Edge — is a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol BLKB. Using stock prices as of early July, the company is worth almost $1 billion ($969 million) to its shareholders.
Convio, based in Austin, Texas, recently went public under the ticker symbol CNVO. Today it’s worth more than $125 million to its shareholders. There are scores of other companies, both public and private (for the record my company, Artez, is a private company headquartered in Toronto), as well as a group of nonprofit organizations, including Network for Good, that provide technology solutions to nonprofits and fundraising teams.
This shouldn’t come as such a surprise. If I were to go to a marketing conference — or a pharmaceutical conference for that matter — I would anticipate the exhibitor hall would be filled with technology companies too. Technology (computers and the software and websites they power) is a necessary tool to conduct effective relationship management in 2010, no matter what the industry. What is interesting to me about the fundraising sector is the recent shift in technology decision making from the IT professional to the fundraising professional.