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Interesting results in NTEN Data Ecosystem Survey
16 February 2010, by , in Data Management, No comments

NTEN (the Nonprofit Technology Network) just released the results of their Data Ecosystem Survey. As they explain on their website:

The data ecosystem is the collection of tools we use to manage all the ways we interact with donors, volunteers, activists, and supporters. We wanted to find out how happy organizations are with each of the tools they use, but also what tools make up their ecosystems, and how happy they are with those ecosystems as well.

I’ve had a chance to review the report, and I found some interesting results. Two things stood out for me:
  1. Most users of CiviCRM seem to be exceedingly happy with the product. That’s very good news, because CiviCRM is an open-source membership and donor management system. I’ve written about CiviCRM in the past. (See this post, which generated a lot of comments.) I said in that post ” I think the product holds great promise, but like any other open source product, a critical mass of users is necessary to maintain its long-term viability.” I stand by that, and I’m encouraged to hear that organizations are happy using CiviCRM.
  2. Those organizations that use “integrated” systems (i.e., systems that provide multiple functionality, e.g., email, events management, donor management, etc.) tended to be very happy with their systems. This is consistent with my experience, which breaks down this way: The more systems you have in place that a user needs to access, the lower the overall satisfaction of the user. Simply put, the more systems I need to know how to use, the more difficult my job becomes. So I’m not surprised by these results.

Kudos to NTEN for putting this report together.

Click here to get the report.

Full disclosure: EDM is an independent third-party consulting firm. This means we have no financial relationship with any of the vendors mentioned in this blog. We provide unbiased opinions on what we see.


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Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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