Mergers, Buy-Outs, Retirements… Oh My! (Not us!)

It’s probably not customary to write a blog about the customers of another company, but I’m actually feeling bad for the customers of Common Ground, a donor management application which is in a period of significant upheaval. Because their parent company was bought out by a larger company, and the larger company has decided to phase out the program, current Common Ground users will now have two choices: 1) migrate to a program offered by their new ‘parent’ company that is geared toward larger organizations or 2) start all over, research all the available fundraising database applications and choose something new.

As much as I’d like to see some of the Common Ground customers come and join us in ResultsPlus, I’d rather they just didn’t have to be in this position at all. Regardless of what they choose, it will mean hours of time spent learning a new application or researching and learning new software programs. The critical point is that every hour spent reacting to this business decision is an hour less spent raising support for the missions of their organizations.

I have actually been in these shoes before, and I can tell you that neither choice is good. When I was working as a development director a number of years ago in a one-person office, we had researched and specifically chosen a ‘light’ version of a larger software program without all the bells and whistles. Our little application was suddenly part of a larger company buy-out, and the new parent company didn’t consider the product to be worth the cost to maintain and develop. It felt like we were too small to worry about.

So what did we decide to do? We first evaluated the choice to stay with the new parent company but, quite simply, couldn’t justify the investment of time and resources it would take to learn and maintain the replacement application. Instead, we set out to pursue the second option and wound up with ResultsPlus. I can offer this opinion objectively and freely because it occurred some 15 years before I ever came to work for Metafile.

This seems like a good time to make a few observations about ResultsPlus software and Metafile Information Systems. Our company, Metafile, has been in business for over 30 years. It was started by a young farmer-turned-entrepreneur in Chatfield, Minnesota and continues under the leadership of his family today. In 1985, his experience with non-profit technology and as a board member led to the creation of the first version of ResultsPlus, the fundraising software program we still offer today.

In the 27 years of its existence, ResultsPlus has grown significantly from its early days as a DOS-based system to the most recently-released version, ResultsPlus 11. In the initial stages it was a database designed to store names and donations accurately and efficiently. Today it’s a robust application, offering functionality to help you with every aspect of your development effort, from donor acquisition to gift recording and reporting to constituent relationship management (CRM). It’s grown into a tool that can manage every part of your relationship with a donor, from the day you learn their name until the day they leave you a legacy gift.

We have a significant point of ‘common ground’ with our customers – we both understand the value of relationships. Fundraising isn’t just about raising money anymore; it’s about creating ongoing, give-and-take relationships. And at Metafile, we feel the same way about doing business with our customers.