Convio, Inc. today announced the Aikido Charter Program for the company’s new, open, Web-based constituent relationship management (CRM) system for tracking all constituent interactions across all channels, online and offline. Built on salesforce.com’s Force.com Platform, the product offers an on-demand solution that easily integrates with other open systems to provide powerful tools that help nonprofits focus on their mission, fundraising, advocacy and communications results instead of managing and maintaining software and technology. Currently deployed by selected nonprofit organizations, the product, code-named Aikido, is expected to be generally available in the second half of 2008.
“Nine years ago, we pioneered the use of Software as a Service (SaaS) to help nonprofits build relationships and drive results using the Internet,” said Gene Austin, CEO of Convio. ”Our clients have asked us to bring our experience and expertise to tackle the limitations, hassles and headaches of their legacy donor database systems. It became clear that the lack of innovation from vendors meant that organizations were simply paying to store and maintain information. Aikido will help them use data to raise money more effectively and advance their missions.”
The new offering provides nonprofits:
• Feature rich donor management and gift tracking capabilities, as well as advocacy and volunteer management features,
• A single view of constituents and better management of all interactions be they online or offline,
• A system built on an open technology platform, Force.com, for greater flexibility and more highly customizable features,
• An affordable, full featured solution with a pricing structure that matches the operational needs of nonprofits,
• The ability to reduce IT costs and burdens by eliminating the need to invest in and maintain computer and network systems as with traditional providers,
• Access to numerous third-party applications available from the salesforce.com AppExchange marketplace,
• Access to a large, diverse set of salesforce.com partners and Convio Fusion partners who provide a wide range of consulting, implementation and other services, and
• Simplified application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow data to be shared real-time with other systems, including Convio’s suite of online fundraising, advocacy and marketing applications.
About The AIKIDO Charter Program
Clients and partners are participating in the Charter program to provide feedback on the product’s functionality and usability. Charter program members have already been involved in the testing and creation of Aikido and have begun to make the software available to their entire organizations after migrating data from legacy systems.
Charter Program insight and feedback has been critical to driving the product's initial success.
• “Aikido is an affordable way for me to manage constituent relationships compared to my previous system,” said Alan Graham, President and Founder, Mobile Loaves and Fishes. “Being built on open technology also gives me the freedom to choose the appropriate software applications, without worrying about integration headaches.”
• "The flexibility of the system and the ability to customize virtually every aspect of the product is very impressive," said Rem Hoffmann, President, Exponent Partners. Exponent Partners helps nonprofits use information technology to carry out their missions more efficiently and effectively. "When clients need or want changes, the combination of Convio's expertise, experience and the flexibility of the Force.com platform make implementing changes easy. Things that could take months with legacy donor database systems will happen when needed with this product."
• Jessica Curtis, Program Manager with Science and Management of Addictions (SAMA) added, “Hosting our own database was never a viable option since our staff needs secure remote access and we simply don’t have the resources to maintain it. With Aikido we don’t have to worry about backups, maintenance, upgrades or IT related management, and it is availability anytime, anyplace via the Internet makes our team more productive.”
• “Nonprofits like the freedom to access their data through the internet, which the legacy systems were not designed to do.” said Jim Gifford, CEO of NFP Technologies. “Aikido is a new, affordable option that provides the functionality of legacy products, but also integrates well with other systems. Nonprofits want to use tools from multiple vendors, without having to pay extra fees for access to programming interfaces.”
The Future Of Nonprofit Constituent Relationship Management
Aikido is the latest generation of products and applications from Convio built using the SaaS model.
“From our past experience we know that Convio is passionate about our online success, customer service and supporting the nonprofit market,” added Curtis. “With Aikido we benefit from Convio’s enthusiasm and expertise, as well as the unrivaled success of salesforce.com. For us it is a winning combination.”
Aikido is built on salesforce.com’s Force.com Platform. Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) with more than 43,600 customers. Aikido capitalizes on the enthusiastic reception to the Salesforce.com Foundation’s version of the Salesforce CRM application for nonprofits, which has been deployed by more than 3,500 organizations.
“Using the Force.com Platform, Convio has developed a cost-effective and full-featured solution tailored to the specific needs of nonprofits,” said Clarence So, chief marketing officer at salesforce.com. “Convio’s Aikido Charter Program is testament to the power of the Force.com Platform in enabling Software-as-a-Service pioneers to quickly build and deploy next-generation solutions to their customers.”
The Force.com Platform-as-a-Service gives ISVs and corporate IT departments a comprehensive set of tools and application services to build any business application and run it in the cloud on the salesforce.com infrastructure. Force.com is being used to build everything from departmental applications – like project management and approval tracking – to large scale, business critical applications processing thousands of transactions per second – like financials and contract management.
Added Austin, “In working with our charter clients, we are seeing that the “take it or leave it” era of the legacy donor database vendors is over.”
Convio (convio.com) is a leading provider of on-demand constituent relationship management software and services to nonprofit organizations to enable nonprofit organizations to more effectively raise funds, influence public policy and support their missions by leveraging the Internet to build strong relationships with constituents. The Company’s online constituent relationship management, or eCRM, solution includes a suite of on demand software modules for fundraising, advocacy, email marketing and Web content management complemented by a portfolio of best-in-class consulting services.
Convio's clients include American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Sierra Club, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and National Public Radio.