Grounding Out with Common Ground

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By: Rob Jordan | 9.7.12

Blackbaud is Retiring Common Ground

So the big bad wolf has gobbled up Common Ground. So what do Common Ground users do now?

First, realize that technology is always in flux. While the retirement of Common Ground is a real setback for many organizations, the ever-evolving nature of cloud computing means no system lasts forever. Take this opportunity to create an exit strategy and a backup plan for your data.

Second, don’t make any sudden moves. You have until March 2014 to make a decision about what’s best for your organization. That is plenty of time to plan an effective exit strategy from Common Ground.

Third, take stock of where you are. Using Common Ground means you’re using the  Salesforce platform. There are about half a dozen other CRM choices on the same platform. You have options.

Exactly which version of Common Ground are you using? To find out, ask yourself which of  the following your organization is using:

1. Common Ground fundraising with Luminate

2. Common Ground fundraising only

3. Common Ground fundraising with customization

If you’re #1: You don’t have to do anything unless you want to. Your instance of Common Ground isn’t going anywhere. There are, however, some distinct benefits to leaving Luminate, and most of those reasons are related to paying a lot of money for a tool, and using 20% of its capacity. Much like cracking an egg with a sledgehammer, Luminate can be too much functionality for many nonprofits. If you feel that applies to you, consider your contractual obligations to Blackbaud and the cost associated with migrating to another solution (hint: talk to some consultants and get some estimates). Armed with that information, you’ll be able to plan an effective exit strategy from Luminate should you choose to.

If you’re #2: Unfortunately, you do need to plan for action, because your instance of Common Ground is being retired. Luckily though, yours is likely to be the least costly migration, due to the minimal customization to your system. You can likely transfer fairly painlessly to one of the following nonprofit CRMs on the Salesforce platform:

Nonprofit Starter Pack

Groundwire Engage




There are three big things to consider when leaving Common Ground fundraising:

1. Configuration – changes to the structure of your new system, to make it reflect your processes.

2. Data migration – movement of data or reorganization of data to make it reside sensibly in your new system.

3. Training – your users will absolutely require training on the new system to ease adoption and anxiety.

A scoping call with a reputable consulting firm like Idealist Consulting will be able to help you figure out your most reasonable options for migrating and get an estimate.

If you’re #3: you will need to think about all the considerations of #2, plus accounting for the extensive customizations and integrations with outside solutions (mass email, donation processing, etc.) within your system. You’ll absolutely need to discuss your options with a consulting firm, and this analysis can take a big longer due to the complexity of your system.

Please join Cloud for Good and Idealist Consulting on September 13th from 12pm-1pm PST to learn how to assess your situation with Common Ground and migrate onto an alternative package swiftly and effectively.  You can sign up for the webinar here.


Introduction to Idealist Consulting and Cloud for Good

How to analyze your situation with Common Ground

Overview of recommended alternatives (including fact sheet with basic info on each):

1. Affinaquest

2. Nonprofit Starter Pack

3. Groundwire Engage

4. CauseView



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