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Leaving Luminate CRM

Over the past few months, we here at Fíonta have been talking with organizations who are examining their options as they prepare to leave the Luminate Constituent Relationship Management (LCRM) platform. This is a big decision that involves not just technology, data, and budget considerations but also planning for significant change management, all in a relatively short timeframe with a very compelling event – LCRM end of life – looming ahead.

As a former LCRM migration manager, I understand the stress this can cause and want to provide some context to hopefully help alleviate that stress and inform your decision.

TL:DR – If your organization has chosen Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) as a replacement for Luminate CRM, jump down to the What Can We Do Now section.

I like to use a tree analogy when explaining the relationship between LCRM and the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP):

  • Salesforce Sales Cloud is the parent tree, originally built as a sales tool to manage contacts and relationships throughout the typical sales cycle of a Fortune 50 company.
  • Luminate CRM is a seedling of Salesforce – a managed package built atop Salesforce Sales Cloud that was built as a donor database and uses a set of configurations and code to meet the specific needs of nonprofits.
  • Salesforce NPSP is also a seedling – a different managed package built atop Sales Cloud that offers nonprofits the ability to natively track fundraising operations, grants, and program and impact measurement, as well as other common nonprofit use cases.

It’s important to note that these “seeds” landed in very different soils: NPSP has and continues to have ongoing development and investment, and continues to grow and support the platform. This means that when you decide to make the leap from LCRM to NPSP, you can rest assured that your organization will be working on a mature product with ongoing investment.

How can I sell NPSP to my team?

Out of the box, NPSP is going to offer some significant upgrades to LCRM users. Here are just a few:

  • NPSP has three releases per year. These aren’t bug fixes but instead features and enhancement that directly correlate to requests from the user community. Batch gift entry, duplicate matching, and the new Elevate platform for online donations are just a few examples of enhancements provided through recent releases.
  • As I mentioned before, Salesforce continues to be very aggressive and nurture the roadmap around this product so that you can address fundraising and other common nonprofit use cases all from the same platform. You can have grants management (pre and post award), program management, and case management integrated with your donor data, so you don’t have to implement and maintain two separate systems.
  • You’ll have a vibrant and peer tested ecosystem of tools and practitioners. We often recommend a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) build as a first step in the migration to NPSP, as that gets your organization up and running on the platform quickly with your data. Additional enhancements and functionality can be added once your users are familiar with NPSP’s core functionality and interfaces, and you can mix and match other functionality and tools as your organizational use of the platform matures.

What about Luminate online and analytics?

Luminate Online is Blackbaud’s online fundraising platform – still in existence today – that allows you to process donations or do advocacy alerts or sell tickets for an event. You may be concerned about moving from both LCRM and Luminate Online. As with all things Salesforce, there are options:

  • Integration through a 3rd party tool – If you have Luminate Online and you do not want to move away from it at this time despite your decision to move to NPSP, there are organizations such as Omatic that can provide you with an integration. In our experience, the integration between Luminate Online and NPSP can be finicky, but it may be worth it to you in the short term depending on priorities and cost.
  • Replace Luminate Online with a new online fundraising platform – Conversely, this is a great time for you to evaluate whether or not Luminate Online is the type of modern platform that’s appropriately engaging your stakeholders. There’s a wonderful ecosystem of online fundraising tools out there, particularly around peer to peer. For instance, if you want to leave Luminate Online but really want to keep Team Raiser because that’s an important part of your fundraising strategy, there are other tools that natively integrate with NPSP.

Luminate Analytics is a bit of a different beast; few organizations licensed or really used the platform. The good news is that analytics has come a long way since 2013, and you’ve got a wide variety of choices here, from NPSP’s own robust reporting and analytics functionality to Tableau CRM (formerly known as Einstein Analytics).

As difficult as it is to contemplate, a migration from LCRM offers you the opportunity to examine what’s really working for your organization and what needs can be better met by native, modern NPSP functionality or with third-party Apps. Any partner should do a thorough assessment or audit of your existing system to determine what functionality needs to be replaced and/or replicated, and to help educate you on the pros and cons of various options.

OK. What can we do now?

Given the timeframe to get your data out of LCRM and into another solution, there is some urgency around getting started. Here are a few key tasks to consider:

  • Budget: If you haven’t already, look to see what kind of budget you can allocate to this project immediately and whether you need to have a conversation with your board about how to fund it. Perhaps you need to consider a phased approach, with a Phase I MVP implementation and future enhancements scheduled for future budget cycles.
  • Select an implementation partner: You’ll want to work with an implementation partner who has experience migrating organizations from LCRM, and now is the time to start research on who might be the best fit for your organization. The Salesforce AppExchange, your Salesforce Account Executive, and peer organizations are all good resources to start with in this task. Of course, procurement regulations are also a consideration here.
  • Take a tough look at LCRM: Do your own mini-assessment of LCRM. What core features and functionality must NPSP offer? Are there workarounds your staff have developed that should be wrapped into this project? What are your nice-to-haves? Having this research ready to present to potential implementation partners is a great start to the conversation.
  • Prepare your data: This is the time to start looking closely at your data hygiene. Can you deduplicate or otherwise start cleaning your data now, or start a data audit so that your implementation partner knows which records need to be more closely reviewed?
  • Pull together your team: Identify your staff influencers and power users and engage them now as you start the process and throughout. Their inputs as champions will be invaluable as you move forward.

Easing The Transition

A primary difference for your staff will be the change from the LCRM user interface to the Lightning Experience in NPSP.

If you are using LCRM now, you are either using the Classic Salesforce interface or a “light” version of the Lightning Experience. Moving to the full Lightning Experience interface in NPSP will be a gamechanger in terms of efficiency for your team but does require some forethought before you are live on NPSP. For instance, the objects themselves and the relationships between those objects are going to be in different places and may potentially be called different things.

I strongly encourage all of your team and any implementation partner that you might work with to first think about each user role and how their day-to-day activities will change. Once those changes have been identified, you and your partner can make sure that you are having staff work through the most relevant of Salesforce’s free training, called Trailhead, prior to the testing phase of your NPSP implementation.

With some planning, the changes in interface and terminology will be familiar at launch and your team members can more quickly reap the rewards of the modern UI – and the vastly improved user experience that comes with it.

I want to assure organizations who are making this move that as daunting as this process can be, the results can be truly transformative for your team and, ultimately, for your mission.

If you are currently on LCRM and would like to talk with Erika about your organization’s specific needs, she’d be happy to meet with you! Schedule a meeting.