Could be Better, Could be Worse
Rose Grant | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated December 21, 2017

Could be Better, Could be Worse

Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Modules Used

  • Luminate Online

Overall Satisfaction with Luminate

It is currently being used by the whole organization to manage our contacts, send emails, put events on the web calendar, track email campaigns, build surveys and donation forms, and utilize ticketing for the institution. Some business problems it covers is not having a compatible CRM and CMS - we also use the Luminate CMS for our website and can connect the two easily.
  • Email campaigns
  • Donation forms
  • Filterable event calendar
  • Image library
  • Tech help
  • Clunky system can be tricky for new admins
  • Difficult to create responsive site pages without technical help
  • Increased revenue from existing donors
  • Improved effectiveness of email marketing
I would not say these outcomes happened solely because of the tool. We think there are sleeker and more user friendly products out there, however not all would have as many capabilities as part of the system. Ultimately we don't need multiple platforms to train people on because of its tool variety.
We did a "35 Days of Giving" for our end of year giving/35th anniversary. We could send multiple emails to a variety of audiences, track how well each email did with each variant, and tailor the messages to better fit donors throughout the campaign. The reporting tools helped us make decisions as well.
For emails we considered Emma or MailChimp. For CMS we are actually switching to WordPress. For donors we use DonorPerfect, and for social media analytics we use Sprout Social. For events in the past, we have used Eventbrite.
A pro is that it is an all in 1 system- it has a large variety of tools both for event management, reports, donations, and ecommerce.
The con is that the end result is not always sleek and the system requires a decent amount of technical understanding to create a good product at the end.

Using Luminate

20 - Luminate has become a catch all for us. We use it for email campaigns, constituent management, our event calendar and tickets, all our donation forms and ecommerce/shop products. When we have a gala our marketing and tickets use Luminate. We also use its analytics system to keep track of email opens, unsubscribes, and create new tactics to make emails perform better (its ab testing function helps with this).

Luminate Training

Luminate has some decent videos available, the problem is that it's hard sometime to know what video to watch and where to find it. The program has been around awhile and gone through a lot of changes, and the tools and guides to help you make the most of it are often outdated or not related to what you need. Using its training database can be daunting for a new admin. For us, the most helpful training has just come from playing around with it and learning through experience, then when a tech question comes up going straight to their support chat. It's been the fastest way to weed through resources and that crew is very helpful.

Configuring Luminate

Luminate Online as it comes does the basics, but keep in mind you'll likely have to pay or go through tech support for it to be personalized to your organizational needs. Tools like the web calendar can be configured to add free or paid events and make it easy for supporters to search and sign up with RSVP or ticket purchase forms. You can offer your supporters different attendance options and make the price based on group membership as well as create automated event reminder emails.

Luminate Support

Our staff has mixed feelings about support. Generally if it's a major site related question we've gotten the run around from them (a sort of "talk to this person" "no, talk to this other person"). But for day to day stuff I'm fond of using their support chat. I rarely wait more than a few minutes and they're always direct and fast to help out. Even when it turns into a more complicated problem they look into the problem and usually get back to me in less than 24 hours.

Using Luminate

Its interface looks pretty old school, especially when you compare it to sleeker marketing tools like Emma and MailChimp. There are some quirky elements to it, for instance the wysiwyg can be finicky and there aren't clean templates to plug into emails (same goes for donation forms and event calendar pages). We've had to pay for updated wrappers to avoid our site looking like something from the 90s. Not everything automatically is responsive, which has been tricky to work around. Our less tech savvy admins consistently get frustrated with it.

Luminate Reliability

Luminate is decent for different scales of organizations - I know of some large orgs that use it, and smaller groups like us use it as well. It does obviously get more expensive as you grow in size; there are restrictions in how big your contact list is, number of online transactions and number of page builder pages. If you go over the contracted number then you can get some pretty big unexpected charges. So basically if you're in a very set bracket it's great, but a little annoying to switch from one level to another (the charges have come without warning of an overage about to happen).