GiftWorks “Upgrade” Plan Unfair to Clients — DonorPerfect Offers Real Upgrade
A few weeks ago, Mission Research, whose GiftWorks product competes with DonorPerfect, was acquired by Frontstream Payments. Frontstream Payments is a private equity-backed credit card processor, who had previously acquired other nonprofit technology products, including online donation software First Giving, as well as Artez Interactive.
I’ve always respected GiftWorks as a competitor, because like SofterWare, they seemed committed to providing smaller nonprofits with affordable fundraising software. In fact, when the founders raised money, they made a very big deal about their investors’ commitment to social responsibility and why it would be great for clients. Unfortunately, that commitment to social responsibility, and to keeping GiftWork’s clients happy, doesn’t seem to be shared by the new owners and their private equity investors.
Just a few weeks after the acquisition, GiftWorks announced price increases and a plan to discontinue support for older versions of GiftWorks. Much worse, they announced they would actually be disabling older versions of GiftWorks, even though the software had been sold as a customer-installed, one-time purchase. This is clearly an attempt to force clients to migrate to GiftWorks 2014, which requires the payment of monthly fees, even for the installed version of the product. Originally, GiftWorks clients were given only a couple of weeks to “upgrade” or lose use of their software and access to their data, but GiftWorks did respond to their clients’ outrage by extending the deadline until March 31st, 2014.
Regardless of the legality of this strategy, we don’t think this is fair or right, and SofterWare is committed to giving GiftWorks customers a real choice and a real opportunity to upgrade their fundraising software. We’ve created a GiftWorks client Switch & Save special offer that includes free data conversion & training. This offer also allows GiftWorks clients to get all the benefits of DonorPerfect, a true web-based fundraising solution, at a cost that is the same as, or lower than, the upgrade to GiftWorks 2014 offer.
We think this offer is the best way possible to:
1) Demonstrate our continued commitment to providing the best technology and the best value to the nonprofit community.
2) Offer an alternative to companies and investors who see nonprofits as simply a source of quick profits.
SofterWare, the company behind DonorPerfect, is a privately owned business, with no outside investors or venture capital stakeholders. We’ve grown steadily for decades to become the second largest software provider to nonprofits. Our shareholders are our employees, and we have no need or intention to take on outside investors, or sell our company to a competitor. That’s because we know our success has, and will, come from sticking to our values and mission. One of those values is the recognition that our long-term success is best served by meeting the interests of our thousands of clients and almost 200 employees.