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The Light is Going Out With Luminate

4.29.21 By: Rob Jordan

Blackbaud has announced it is discontinuing Luminate CRM as of June 30, 2022. That leaves a limited timeline for a number of nonprofits to make a decision about an alternative solution. To understand how best to proceed it is helpful to consider how Luminate was developed. 

Blackbaud Luminate has a long history that spans over a decade. This solution began primarily as an aggregate of different technologies designed to facilitate fundraising. Primarily built around a CMS, it was an effective solution to engage constituents online. However, it lacked a dynamic CRM component which is essential to facilitate reporting and track the constituents you engaged. It was not until the purchase of Convio (and subsequently Common Ground CRM) by Blackbaud that Luminate had a notable CRM added to its suite, rounding off its capabilities to be a one-stop-shop for nonprofits looking to facilitate both CRM, CMS, and marketing automation in one location.  

The acquisition of Common Ground and its injection into Luminate was a big deal for a few reasons. First, Blackbaud was essentially selling a Salesforce product which now made Luminate a competitor of NPSP and Blackbaud a customer of Second, Blackbaud had acquired roughly 700 NPO’s utilizing Common Ground (i.e. which accelerated the adoption of Luminate. Third, Blackbaud now had a superior product (at the time) to the only Salesforce Dedicated CRM - “The Nonprofit Starter Pack” (now, "The Nonprofit Success Pack"). Fourth, Blackbaud by default inherited the entire solution vendor ecosystem of Salesforce, making it possible for them to expand their respective partner program beyond their existing stable of vendors. Finally, and possibly the most fruitful, they also inherited the sales team of Salesforce, many of which benefited indirectly from the sale of Luminate.

So why is any of this worth knowing if you need to offboard from Luminate? Primarily, there is an entire ecosystem available for you to leverage once you decide to offboard from the solution. Salesforce is aware of those actively utilizing Luminate, so many of their sales team is prepared to support you in this transition. Your adoption to NPSP will be much more intuitive since the Luminate CRM was built on Salesforce. But most importantly, others have made the same move, so you will hardly be trailblazing. Leveraging the Hub and the Trailhead community, you could facilitate this process yourself.

Another option is to lean into any number of vendors to support you in this process. Watt Hammlet Consulting is recommending some select vendors to consider based on their experience with Luminate and NPSP, and Idealist Consulting is one of those vendors. Over the years, we have worked with a number of nonprofits looking to get off of Luminate. We understand the solution not only as a deployment partner of Salesforce, but also as a former partner of Convio’s Common Ground and Blackbaud's Luminate product. The World Food Program and Children's Institute are examples of such projects. In both cases Idealist Consulting was able to provide an estimate for their deployment and help select the appropriate applications to supplement the Luminate features. While the move from one CRM to another is never fundamental, it can be more conducive to facilitating change management.  

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