eTapestry-a good solution gone bad
Brooke Hunter | TrustRadius Reviewer
August 08, 2014

eTapestry-a good solution gone bad

Score 2 out of 10
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Overall Satisfaction with eTapestry

My organization switched to eTapestry nearly five years ago. Right after we switched it was purchased by Blackbaud, the nonprofit database giant. I suspect Blackbaud just isn't investing in the product, though I don't know that for a fact. For a cloud-based solution, it has been updated rarely and just isn't keeping up with trends, nor has it over the last 4.5 years.

We selected the product to address the problem of staff storing contact records in multiple places. It has failed as a solution for that problem. We hoped to use it for event attendance tracking, but it has not worked out for that. We wanted to use it to track donation records and that is a place where it has succeeded. We also use it to email our email list.

We originally wanted this to be the database that the entire organization used to track contacts, but users found it clunky and so adoption was low. It is no longer being used by the entire organization and is now just used by 3-5 people who use it for contact tracking, mass emailing, and donation tracking.
  • eTapestry succeeds as a donation tracking system. You can easily enter donation records and can report on those records.
  • The mass email part of eTapestry works and has decent reporting capabilities. It's forms are outdated and the email editor is clunky, so most users accustomed to more current tools like MailChimp and Constant Contact will find it frustrating.
  • The main problem with eTapestry is that it lags in keeping up with current competitors. It feels outdated and abandoned. The user interface is terrible, which leads to constant complaints from staff. None of the actions are intuitive, so users feel like they have to search for minutes to figure out how to do the most basic things. People started using other software for the same functions eTapestry provides, which has left us with multiple email lists in different places, and a file that has duplicates, triplicates, or worse. We are going to be leaving eTapestry because of these problems.
  • There is no integration with social media. Competing products have moved ahead and are making social media a part of all of their contact profiles, but I don't believe eTapestry offers any kind of social media appending.
  • There is inadequate unpaid training. The training modules offered are expensive, and staff have not been happy with them in the past. Since the software is not very intuitive, there is an increased need for training. This puts us in a bind.
  • They are slow to respond to concerns. I've been sending out warning signals that we were considering leaving for years, and it has taken up to a year to get a response to a bad review that they solicited themselves. My concerns about areas where they are lagging behind competition have been brushed over. There are some important things they need to address that are not even on their radar. The mobile site is terrible and they are uninterested in streamlining mobile login.
  • The site is slow. When you are updating records, the site should be speedier. This is not a browser issue-this is based on years of experience on multiple browsers and multiple computers. Mass emails can take up to 24 hours to be delivered.
  • Unfortunately it has led to staff frustration and decreased efficiency. Staff are very negative about this product, and it became a point of contention. Staff would secretly use other tools because they were so dissatisfied.
  • Early on, it was very helpful in communicating with our growing email list.
I have used Raiser's Edge, CiviCRM, Access, and Salesforce, along with some homemade products not worth mentioning.
Five years ago, eTapestry was a good and affordable alternative to these options. I no longer think that applies. I would probably still prefer it to CiviCRM. If you are willing to invest in customization, CiviCRM and Salesforce could be good alternatives.
Raiser's Edge used to be one of the best products on the market--it was particularly valuable if you were running direct marketing campaigns and needed to do testing. The reporting was excellent. As we've shifted to more cloud-based solutions, I'm curious to see how it has adapted. I haven't worked with it in a long time.
Due to all of the things described in this review, we just decided not to renew eTapestry. Users were rebelling, which led to duplicative records and mass emails that go to the same people twice. It became a real problem for us in terms of staff satisfaction with the tools available to them and in terms of maintaining good database hygiene. We couldn't afford to stay because of these factors.
It used to be a good option for those who couldn't afford Raiser's Edge. I no longer think that is true.

There are so many new products being developed that it just isn't competitive any more. We will be moving to NationBuilder. I would recommend doing research on sites like this one and at NTEN, as well as Wikipedia-there are some good software comparison charts there to get started on evaluating what will work for our needs.