Follow our steps to finding out if Luminate Online is right for you and discover the top strategies for implementation.

Luminate Online: From Consideration to Implementation

Blackbaud’s Luminate Online Marketing has become a major player in the online fundraising game, and for good reason! For larger organizations with unique needs, Luminate Online offers a variety of tools that can boost engagement, streamline donor management, and increase fundraising revenue.

Luminate Online is well known, but many nonprofits don’t have a thorough understanding of what this powerful product can do, or if it’s truly the best choice for their organization. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to examine every stage of the Luminate Online buying process, from initial questions all the way to getting set up with your new Blackbaud system.

Interested in finding out more about Luminate Online? Follow along as we run through these 6 crucial steps:

  1. Understand the Luminate suite.
  2. Determine your nonprofit’s needs.
  3. Prepare your budget for Luminate Online.
  4. Anticipate integrations and customizations within Luminate.
  5. Migrate your existing data.
  6. Train your nonprofit to use Luminate Online.

There are plenty of fundraising solutions available, so let’s find out if Luminate Online is the one for you!

 

Luminate Online Marketing is only one aspect of the Blackbaud Luminate suite of products.

1. Understand the Luminate Suite.

We said we’d start at square one, and we meant it! Before you can consider purchasing Luminate Online, your nonprofit needs to be fully confident in exactly what Luminate Online Marketing encompasses (and what features come at an extra price).

Let’s break down some specific questions you may have about Luminate Online:

  • What is Luminate Online Marketing? Luminate Online Marketing (also simply called Luminate Online) is a cloud-based digital fundraising and marketing software solution. With tools for email management, online donations, event planning, eCommerce, and social media campaign management, this solution is a truly comprehensive, standalone fundraising tool.
  • Does Luminate Online offer expansions? Luminate Online offers 3 add-ons to the core product: Luminate Advocacy, Luminate Content Management System, and their peer-to-peer platform, TeamRaiser. These solutions are priced separately, but they’re an excellent way for nonprofits who are in need of specific fundraising tools to stay within the Blackbaud family.
  • Is Luminate CRM different than Luminate Online? Luminate CRM is Blackbaud’s constituent management solution for nonprofits already using Salesforce as their primary CRM. For more details on how these products differ and work together, read Double the Donation’s helpful post on Luminate CRM.

With all of its features and configuration options, Luminate can adapt to meet your nonprofit’s fundraising needs in a number of ways. However, because Luminate is so comprehensive, it might be an overwhelming purchase for smaller nonprofits who need a marketing or fundraising solution that can help them get on the go quickly.

Small to mid-sized organizations would be better off finding a nonprofit CRM that can grow with them and accommodate their needs, without being weighed down by features and customizations that are really designed for enterprise-level organizations.

If that sounds more like your nonprofit, we recommend taking Fundly CRM for a test drive before considering Luminate Online.

In short, Luminate Online Marketing from Blackbaud is a highly versatile tool that can help large nonprofits manage communications, online donations, and reporting, with add-ons to enhance the product even more.

Before starting with Luminate Online, you should determine how the platform can impact your nonprofit's fundraising and donor engagement strategies.

2. Determine Your Nonprofit’s Needs.

Now that you know what Luminate Online is, it’s time to start thinking about how this product can help you meet your goals as a nonprofit. After all, what good is fundraising software if it can’t help your organization raise funds for your cause?

Before you commit to software, you should work with your team to establish answers to questions such as:

  • How does Luminate fit into your current fundraising strategy? What will you be using Luminate Online to do—accept donations, manage email campaigns, design web content, or something else entirely? Answering this question can help your team decide if you really need a product as expansive as Luminate or would be better off utilizing a more lightweight fundraising platform or nonprofit CRM.
  • How many constituents do you intend to serve? Luminate Online can help you manage an unlimited number of supporters. While that’s a huge benefit for enterprise-level nonprofits, smaller organizations can just as easily take advantage of a less expensive solution that can still fit their constituency. Find software that will grow with you, but don’t waste money on an unnecessarily far-reaching tool.
  • How complex are your nonprofit’s needs? Luminate Online was built to help nonprofits whose needs aren’t immediately met by simple online fundraising solutions. If your organization has particularly unique needs or goals, you can work with a nonprofit technology consultant to configure and customize Luminate to completely fit your nonprofit.

Once you know what gaps in your fundraising strategy could be filled by capable fundraising software, you can make an informed decision about whether or not Luminate Online is the solution best-equipped to help you do it.

In short, Luminate Online is intended for larger nonprofit organizations with complex needs and custom fundraising strategies.

Luminate Online is a major investment, so your nonprofit should make sure your budget can accommodate it before purchase.

3. Prepare Your Budget for Luminate Online.

Being such a comprehensive product, you can expect Luminate Online doesn’t come for free.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Luminate’s feature set and decided that it’s the right solution to help you achieve your goals, you should start considering if you have room to fit a new solution of this scale into your organization’s budget.

As with any software, you’ll need to convince your board that Luminate Online is a wise investment. That means answering questions including:

  • Can your nonprofit afford the initial cost of Luminate Online? As an enterprise product, Luminate Online is priced on a quote basis. You’ll need to contact Blackbaud to learn about pricing for your nonprofit. Remember—you should view this initial price tag as the starting line for total costs.
  • Will you need to pay for add-ons? Integrations? In addition to the base product, you may also need to purchase Luminate Online add-ons to expand the feature set to meet your needs. Additionally, you might search for other Blackbaud or third-party integrations that each have their own costs as well as potential implementation fees.
  • What training, migration, or other charges will you incur later on? We’ll explain what each of these areas might entail later on in this post, but keep in mind that you’ll likely be responsible for a variety of costs throughout the implementation process. For example, training and data migration are both essential parts of getting set up with your software, so you can’t ignore them when laying out your budget.

Many of the extraneous implementation costs can be accounted for when you hire a nonprofit technology consulting firm to help you implement Luminate Online. These invaluable professionals can help you with almost any need, from customization to general fundraising counsel. While bringing on their help requires a financial investment, their guidance can pay off in a big way later on once you’ve maximized your fundraising potential.

Bonus! Can’t afford Luminate Online yet? Don’t worry. There’s a wide range of low-cost or free fundraising solutions to meet your needs without breaking the bank. Check out @Pay’s top picks to get started!

In short, your nonprofit needs to consider the up-front price of Luminate Online as well as additional costs, such as bringing on a nonprofit web consultant to help your team prepare for and implement your new software.

As you get started with Luminate Online, prepare to implement custom solutions and integrations to expand your platform.4. Anticipate Integrations and Customizations Within Luminate.

One of Luminate Online’s great advantages is that it’s highly customizable to meet an assortment of nonprofit needs. That being the case, if you’re thinking about implementing Luminate into your fundraising strategy, you should anticipate certain configurations will be necessary to get the most out of your software.

If you’re used to using simpler fundraising platforms, this need for customization may come as an adjustment. And if your organization doesn’t have a robust IT team prepared to handle the development side of customization and integration, you’ll probably need the help of a consulting firm to design and implement all of the adjustments you need.

Take some time to decide what your customization strategy looks like by answering these questions:

  • Will you need Blackbaud or third-party integrations? Blackbaud has an extensive product family, with options for virtually any fundraising need. Because they’re all from the same vendor, these integrations are less complicated than an outside platform. If you need a custom integration with a third-party solution, consider working with a nonprofit technology firm to ensure the two tools can compatibly work together.
  • How will you customize your Luminate platform? With the right configurations, Luminate Online can accomplish anything your organization needs. Brainstorm with your team to determine which adjustments can help take your fundraising strategies to the next level. (Need inspiration? Check out some of the amazing examples of how nonprofit technology firm DNL Omni Media helped organizations customize their Luminate Online solutions.)
  • Who will manage these configurations? Being able to mold your fundraising software to meet any need sounds unbelievable, so what’s the catch? You’ll need the help of a tech-savvy developer with experience configuring the Luminate system to build out these customizations. You can work with Blackbaud’s team or seek the help of a third-party web consultant to devise a plan for customizing your software.

Without customizations and integrations, you won’t be able to reap the full benefits of Luminate Online, so take some time to develop a plan for making this software your own.

In short, you can work with Blackbaud or a nonprofit web consultant to come up with custom solutions within your Luminate Online platform. Don’t forget to integrate your system with other Blackbaud products or implement custom integrations if needed.

To implement Luminate Online, work with a nonprofit technology consultant to transfer your donor data to Luminate Online.

5. Migrate Your Existing Data.

Now that you’ve decided that Luminate is the ideal fundraising solution, let’s discuss how you’ll go about implementing this software in the most effective way.

As you probably know, no fundraising software is complete until it’s powered by donor data. And donor data isn’t worthwhile unless it’s guaranteed to be accurate and complete!

What does that add up to? Basically, in order to use Luminate Online, you need to migrate your existing supporter data to your new system.

Before you transfer your data, make sure you have answers to these important questions:

  • What’s your nonprofit’s plan for cleaning data? You don’t want to transfer information that’s incomplete or outdated, so you’ll need to clean up your data beforehand. Search for lapsed donors, out-of-date information, and duplicate profiles to start.
  • Who will manage the data migration process? Large nonprofits have years’ worth of supporter information on file, so you might require some professional data transfer assistance from a consulting firm. On top of that, make sure you appoint a data migration manager to work with the consultant and spearhead the transfer on behalf of your team.
  • How will you monitor data input going forward? To keep your data as clean as possible on a long-term basis, your staff should develop a well-documented process for inputting donor data. This will help you keep track of current best practices and clearly communicate your data entry policies to the entire team.

Without data, your fundraising software isn’t going to be very helpful. That’s why you should take the data migration process seriously and ensure you have a plan in place to manage the process from start to finish.

Bonus! Learn about Luminate data migration in great detail by reading this post from DNL Omni Media. As nonprofit technology consultants, their team knows their way around the Blackbaud product family, and they can help you prepare for your data migration with as little stress as possible.

In short, your nonprofit should plan to transfer your existing donor data from your old platform(s) to Luminate Online before you can implement your new software. You can work with a nonprofit consultant to ease the process and ensure no valuable information is lost.

Your nonprofit staff will need to be trained by Blackbaud Luminate experts.

6. Train Your Nonprofit Staff to Use Luminate Online.

The final step to implementing Luminate Online? Make sure your nonprofit knows how to use it!

For organizations just starting out with Luminate Online, it can be a complicated system to navigate. Just considering how much this software can do, it only makes sense that your organization would need a helping hand to get acquainted with the platform.

When it comes to training your staff on Luminate, consider these questions:

  • Will you look to Blackbaud’s training team or work with a third-party consultant? Blackbaud offers defined training courses for their products, or you can seek out an independent web consulting firm to train your team. Depending on the services the consultant offers, they may also be able to work with you to develop customizations, plan out your fundraising strategy, and migrate your data, making them a one-stop shop for all the assistance you might need throughout the implementation process.
  • Which members of your team will need to be trained? Any member of your team involved in fundraising and online marketing will need to understand your new software. Consider how you’ll make time in everyone’s schedules and how the training period will impact your ongoing fundraising campaigns or projects.
  • What’s your nonprofit’s timeline for training your staff? You should work with your consultant or training team to put together an actionable training plan with specific benchmarks leading toward your goal. Make sure you’re covering the areas of the platform that are most pertinent to your everyday use, and don’t overwhelm your staff by cramming too much training into a short time frame.

Once you’re done with training, your entire team should feel confident with using Luminate Online to complete your fundraising objectives and propel your efforts forward.

In short, your staff won’t be able to manuever the many facets of Luminate Online without some outside help. Work with Blackbaud’s training team or an outside consultant to get your team up-to-speed on Luminate’s features.


Choosing new software is a big decision, with a number of considerations along the way. With our points in mind, your nonprofit should feel confident making Luminate Online a new part of your fundraising strategy!

For more insight into fundraising software, take a look at these additional resources:

  • Luminate for Blackbaud: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy. If you’re still unsure if Luminate Online is right for you, let Double the Donation answer the most important questions you need to be asking about this software.
  • Top Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Platforms. Learn which P2P platforms can help you supercharge your social fundraising endeavors. We’ve run through the best peer-to-peer software on the market to help you find the right fit for your nonprofit.
  • Top Nonprofit Advocacy Software. Not quite ready for Luminate Online’s advocacy add-on? Check out these options to help you boost your outreach initiatives and win over supporters.

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Reel in Millennials

8 Proven Strategies for Millennial Donor Engagement

The millennial age group is not and should not be the white whale of fundraising.  Reel them in!

Yes, they’re young and grew up with a different sense of the world than perhaps your older donors did, but they’re still just people looking to support a good cause.

To build a strong donor pipeline, it is important to have donors of all ages and giving levels.  One of the biggest challenges facing our nonprofit clients is how to reach the mysterious millennial.

We’ve created a list of strategies that will facilitate engagement with this age group.

Feel free to use any or all of these tactics as you move forward with donor engagement.

ENCOURAGE VOLUNTEERISM

Typically, the younger the donor, the smaller the disposable income.  Millennials, like most people, want to be charitable.

Unfortunately, the combination of a tough job market and hefty student loans limits the ways in which the 20-35 age range can contribute financially.

Luckily, there is an alternative way of participating that is just as viable for your cause, volunteering.

Volunteerism is an excellent way to engage the millennial demographic without them having to worry about a fiscal commitment.

Encouraging volunteering helps connect people to your cause and grow your organization’s community.  Plus, once they are volunteers and ingratiated into your nonprofit, millennials will be more likely to give monetarily when they can.

GO ONLINE

If I want to go to a movie tonight I can go to the theater website and buy tickets in about two minutes.

Yesterday, I made an appointment for a haircut on my salon’s online scheduling system.

The internet makes almost everything more convenient.  Just like online retailers have figured out, it is easier to make a purchase when you can do so without leaving your home.

Make donating online easy.  Your millennial donors are accustomed to using the web for just about everything.  Play on their field.

Raising money online still feels like new territory for many nonprofits, but with the proper approach, such as using a popular crowdfunding platform, your fundraising with younger age groups will soar.

A 2015 NonProfitEasy survey found that only 11.9% of nonprofits surveyed reported that more than 75% of their fundraising will be through online donations.  That 11.9% will only increase as more and more millennials join donor networks.

Stay ahead of the curve!

GET SOCIAL

Social engagement is key!

Many of your donors, especially millennials, have an incredibly active social media presence.

With the amount of time people spend *cough* waste *cough* on social networking sites, it is so important that your organization is part of the community and conversation.

Take a cross-platform approach.  Just a word of warning though, what you get out will be what you put in, so only use a platform if it works for you.

Social media is the ideal resource to brief your donors on all of the great work you’ve done.

It is a perfect place to showcase accomplishments and keep donors in the loop about what their money has enabled.  You can even use the sites to thank donors on a public platform.

The social networking opportunities are there, so take advantage of them!

GO MOBILE

I’d like to wager a bet.  Survey a group of 25 year olds and ask them to name one of their possessions that they could not live without.  Survey says?  Cell phones.

Mobile phones have become appendages.  People sleep with them on their pillows.  They use them to avoid eye contact in elevators.  Smart phones are now basically pocket-sized computers.

Give donors the opportunity to use their best friends for charity.  Make sure your giving platform is compatible with smart phones and break down the barriers to donations!

For example, the data tells us that 15.17% of crowdfunding donations are made via mobile device. That’s a significant percentage of giving potential to miss out on. So, make sure you optimize your site for mobile.

CONTINUE ENGAGEMENT

So you’ve mastered the millennial miracle and you now have a solid base of 20-35 year old donors.  Now what?  Follow-up.  Just like with any donor, once you’ve acquired a millennial make it a goal to retain him and his funds.

You have to stay in touch and there are a bunch of ways to do so.  Donors appreciate emails and shout-outs on social media.

Much of the approach to millennial donor engagement is about getting into their world and going online.  Continuing engagement provides the perfect opportunity to surprise those donors with a throwback fundraising technique, direct mail.

Most people’s true mail is populated with bills, magazines addressed to previous residents, and more bills.  Break-up the monotony with a wonderfully crafted direct mail package.

Your cause will stand out to those younger donors.

BUILD A MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM

If you’re not familiar with membership programs, they are programs that donors can join for a charitable fee and receive perks and other engagement opportunities in return.

Why are membership programs great for donor retention?

Think of it like receiving recurring gifts from your supporters since donors have to pay a monthly or annual fee to become a member. However, the interaction between you and the members is more involved. Your members will get notifications on upcoming events and other engagement opportunities, helping you develop deeper relationships with your supporters. 

If you want to create a membership program, you need the right tools to track your members and renew memberships. Most donor management software has expansions or the capability to track and manage your membership program, so you might not have to get entirely new software.

CREATE A JUNIOR BOARD

Boards are a vital part of a successful nonprofit.  A junior board of directors populated by young professionals will help your organization engage with millennial leaders for your cause.

Much of fundraising is about who you know.  A board that is populated with those ages 50 and up is unlikely to have a bevy of millennial contacts.

Millennials looking and able to donate are certainly out there.  A junior board is a great point of access for connecting with those millennials.  Build it and they will come, right?

HOST EVENTS WITH LOCAL COLLEGES OR UNIVERSITIES

Start ’em young.  College students are the perfect storm of energy, time, and boredom.  If they hear your event is going to be fun or their friends are all going or they are interested in your cause, they will show up.

It doesn’t matter how you get them there, just that you do.

If you encourage involvement early on, they will be more likely to contribute monetarily once they enter the professional world.

A campus or campus-sponsored event is a great way to reach valuable donors and help them discover your cause.

Consider, for example, hosting a 5k on university grounds.  That type of event in particular is going to bring a variety of students to your cause.

  1. You’ll have the students focused on community service who are actively seeking opportunities to volunteer.
  2. You’ll garner support from runners, both students and not, who are simply always looking for a race to run in.
  3. You’ll get the sort of “walk-in” benefit of finding students who maybe were looking for something to do or heard about a free t-shirt.

No matter how many people involved stick with your cause in the short-term, you’ve taken a great step towards building long-term awareness and the foundation of your relationships with young donors.

At the end of the day, millennials are donors like any of your others.  It’s important to view them as donors first, millennials second.  There should be plenty of cross-over between your typical donor acquisition strategies and those you employ for millennials. 

Determining why millennials are interested in your cause and what drives their philanthropic motivations will lead to success.

Any strategies we missed?  Send us an email at nigel@nonprofiteasy.com if you have more proven techniques for attracting millennials.

Want to raise more money from millennials?  Download a free checklist of nonprofit CRM best practices that can improve the efficiency of your fundraisers.

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