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Luminate Review: "Difficult to use in current social web environment."
https://www.trustradius.com/nonprofit-fundraisingLuminateUnspecified7.4129101
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Updated May 06, 2017

Luminate Review: "Difficult to use in current social web environment."

Score 3 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version
Most recent upgrade
Modules Used
Fundraising, TeamRaiser, Personal Events, Ecommerce, Email, Content

Overall Satisfaction with Luminate

It is being used across the whole organization. Originally in pre-social media environment, it solved the problem of streamlining and integrating a number of workflow/platform challenges and allowed us to move to cloud-based system, retiring the need to purchase network servers and host our own site. Today, now that SAS model is common, the system can be dated in ways that open API's don't completely solve. With the plethora of lower-cost options available with enterprise power that play well with each other in the cloud, the specialized labor costs to configure LO to work in this system is becoming problematic. But we are not multi-million dollar NPO. NPOs with very large email house files have less alternatives for LO email that are comparable in price because of the bundling of modules' cost with LO.
  • Engineering and system uptime, along with smooth roll-out of upgrades used to be a major strength. Since buyout by Blackbaud, there has been some noticeable degradation in this area.
  • I'm sorry -- again I used to be able to roll off quite a few things here, but in the current social web environment, it's more difficult.
  • The recent upgrading of the integration with Luminate CRM, retiring the Common Ground connector has been a vast improvement in data management between online and CRM systems based on Salesforce platform. And with that the dreaded Duplicate Management work flow is now smooth as glass, but that is a Salesforce-based function now in Luminate CRM not Luminate Online.
  • Areas that are built to integrate user-generated content still do not get the attention they need in product roadmap.
  • Email publishing unless you have an in-house design shop continues to more difficult for smaller NPOs where other email providers excel in this area.
  • Convio CMS is vital to really making the product work well today, but is not accessible in price, especially when open-source WordPress and Drupal and Joomla offer superior CMS platforms by anyone's definitions. Should be free and bundled as part of Content module. Pagebuilder alone is unworkable.
  • Trying to adapt LO systems to mobile and tablet platforms requires much work and expense we don't feel we should have to spend. Mobile Donate forms is a big challenge. Many other systems have this built in from the beginning.
  • Integrating with social media platforms for building house file, donating, answering surveys is very, very glitchy. We consequently are using 3rd party providers increasingly that sync directly with SF side of Luminate CRM to compensate with extra expense.
We selected before 2007. We would not select again today. We are evaluating many other options, but are careful in measuring costs of related pieces relative to one total contract cost where we are on LO.
For small to medium nonprofits, my recommendation level would be low. Enterprise level, large NPOs would probably rate differently.

Using Luminate

We have a huge sunk-cost investment in Luminate Online and the conversion costs to other systems will not be minor. It's hard to have enough of a budget available to move, but that is a terrible reason to stay at the same time. We're a bit stuck.
  • There's no denying that as a long term Convio client (now Luminate Online) that we have significantly grown our NPO with these tools. And our ROI is in the positive range.
  • The negative impact has been the cost of related services we must engage to configure and maintain and deploy many areas of Luminate Online with a small staff. There is just too much "specialized," insider-work-around knowledge to make it a stand-alone product without large additional costs to use the product to it's full potential.
  • This product used to set the trends and now it holds us back from being able to take advantage of the trends in many ways. An integrated system can become a limitation in this current social web environment. Staff coming in from outside the Luminate/Convio environment often complain about the system because they are used to the "ease-of-use" of many of today's offerings in the marketplace.

Using Luminate

It is not easily managed by non-techies on staff. We must hire outside help on ongoing basis to manage system with us.
ProsCons
Feel confident using
Unnecessarily complex
Difficult to use
Requires technical support
Inconsistent
Slow to learn
Cumbersome
Lots to learn
  • Duplicate Management
  • Query Tools and Group Management
  • Integration with Salesforce-based Luminate CRM
  • TeamRaiser
  • Personal Fundraising
  • Social sharing on content
  • Pagebuilder Pages