Every(Re)Action: (Do You Believe in) Life After Luminate? Raise HECK and Watt Hamlett Investigate.

July 20, 2021 | Grace Duginski
(Do You Believe in) Life After Luminate? Raise HECK and Watt Hamlett Investigate

A lot has changed since 1999, when Cher was all we could hear on the radio—and that includes changes in the world of nonprofit CRMs. To help navigate some of those changes, our friends at Raise HECK with their friend Watt Hamlett put their heads together and discussed Blackbaud’s Luminate CRM (LCRM) end-of-life that’s set to take place on June 30, 2022, or just under a year from now. Their key points struck a chord with us, and we think you’ll find it helpful too.

Luminate Online vs. Luminate CRM, or Living in a House Divided

As Raise HECK and Hamlett noted, Luminate Online and Luminate CRM are not the same thing. Luminate Online is a separate platform, and it isn’t going away—Luminate CRM (or LCRM) is.

Although Luminate Online can operate as a standalone toolset, it also can integrate with LCRM using a piece of “service bus” connecting technology. The perhaps-unintended consequence of this intertwining is that, for any organization using both Luminate Online and LCRM, if any piece of this ecosystem is disturbed there could be widespread effects on all of your organization’s data.

What happens when Luminate CRM goes dark?

The last thing your nonprofit wants is to get caught wishing you could turn back time. If you use LCRM, especially as part of your tech stack that integrates with other platforms, here are four ramifications Raise HECK and Hamlett say you should consider right now before the LCRM end-of-life.

1. Effects on your Salesforce instance.

Because of the roots it puts into a connected Salesforce instance, says Hamlett, your Salesforce will be affected by the LCRM end-of-life. If you have any users at your organization who use Salesforce for non-fundraising or non-LCRM-related purposes, you’ll need to conduct testing in your instance to make sure nothing breaks and the data remains reliable.

2. Effects on other fundraising-specific tools you use.

If you use other apps for activities like receipt-writing or wealth research, their entry point to your data in Salesforce is likely through LCRM. That means those integrations could also be in jeopardy at the LCRM end-of-life.

3. Effects on your Luminate Online instance, if you have one.

If you use Luminate Online, Hamlett says, the LCRM end-of-life could essentially collapse the bridge between your Salesforce instance and Luminate Online – again, you’ll need to test and investigate.

4. Effects on other types of data in other tools your organization uses.

Other elements of your nonprofit’s tech stack that you use for other administrative and programmatic activities that were integrated into your LCRM instance could also break – you should do a full inventory of programs like your accounting system, your website, your event platform, and more to prevent losing precious data.

Moving Forward

Organizations currently using LCRM have important decisions to make in the next year in order to ensure that your data remains intact and your organization has the right tools to put it to work. Although a change in software solutions may not have been in your original plan for 2022, looking at this moment as an opportunity to evaluate your total tech and data ecosystem can provide unexpected benefits.

The key to choosing the right path for you? Deciding what you want, strategically and organizationally, now and in the future. Is it time to think about a unified system for your organization? Or would it work better to use a handful of tools, but in a highly integrated system so you can still see all of your data in one place?

How to Choose an LCRM Replacement

Raise HECK and Hamlett had some great guidance for choosing a replacement for after the LCRM end-of-life. Some of our favorite suggestions: ask questions, read reviews on technology sites like G2, and don’t feel like you need to go it alone—consulting a technology-agnostic selection and implementation partner can really help you be sure you’re getting the most out of any new investment you make.

Our Take: The Beat Goes On

If you’re currently on LCRM, summer 2021 is the ideal time to start looking around and evaluating how to choose a new platform in a thoughtful and strategic way. As a platform designed to help nonprofits advance their missions, we know technology can serve nonprofits best when the people involved know what they want to accomplish now and in the future. Stream the whole webinar for more detail (and some very helpful visuals,) and download our Nonprofit CRM Buyer’s Guide to learn more about choosing the right platform for your nonprofit.