Rumor #1 – NetCommunity is a dead product. Blackbaud isn’t investing in it anymore.
FALSE. Obviously, with the release of RE NXT and the incorporation of NetCommunity into those plans, it is here to stay. In addition, with the release of 7.0 in April 2016 — and planned 7.1 features set for October — we are definitely seeing the investment into greater features and functionality.
Rumor #2 – The user interface and email marketing tools are ‘easier’ in Luminate.
FALSE. All tools have their pros and cons. The single biggest “pro” for sticking with NetCommunity as your online CMS is simply that it works. Done. Proven. The integration between Luminate (originally purchased from Convio), Luminate Online and The Raiser’s Edge has simply never been fully proven. The kinks in data synchronization have not been fully worked out. For my money, NetCommunity wins hands down any day. A pretty interface is secondary if my staff have to create manual work-arounds to force the system to move data into RE.
Rumor #3 – NetCommunity can’t look/act/function like WordPress, Luminate, Drupal, ___________ (fill in the blank).
FALSE. Give me 5 minutes and I’ll show you at least 10 sites that look like WordPress, but are in a different CMS. It’s not about the CMS, it’s about how good a developer or programmer you have. It’s about building good design, features and functionality into your site.
Rumor #4 – Blackbaud won’t sell NetCommunity to me.
FALSE. You can purchase NetCommunity Grow, Online Express and even NetCommunity (self-hosted) if you so desire. The key is in who you are speaking to, the level of familiarity they have with the product line, and what you are looking to do with the product. At this point, with RE NXT, there is not much of a driving force to self-host the site. NXT has improved the stability and speed, and therefore is viable as a hosting solution again.
Rumor #5 – NetCommunity is hard to manage.
FALSE. As many of our customers will attest, a small investment in training will save you weeks and weeks of headaches. Staff need to be shown the best, most efficient, and productive ways to use the tool. Once that occurs, we can guarantee the results will be less headaches, less crises, less drama in the Development and Communications offices. You no longer need more than one template to manage the entire site — including fully responsive pages that automatically adapt to mobile, tablets and desktops.
Finally, we are doing a lot of WordPress sites for clients that already have NetCommunity and want to add:
- Fully-responsive site that is seamless in design between WP & NC
- External facing pages that simplify the Communications Team’s job along with internal facing (memberships, alumni, etc) content being built within NetCommuity to leverage the ability to target specific content according to your relationship with the friend/supporter
- Greater plug-n-play options for WordPress widgets and features.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all business anymore, and the WordPress/NetCommunity combination of features/functionality serves a lot of businesses quite well! Think outside the box and we can develop creative solution that work for your unique needs!
As WordPress grows, and other tools move in and out of the marketplace, always remember: The greatest flexibility wins when you are focused on meeting internal and external customer needs.
Looking forward to seeing what comes next!
Founder & CEO of Nonprofit Garden