Raiser’s Edge vs Salesforce: 6 reasons why you should switch

Sometimes, you need to cut the cord and move on to more sophisticated tools. For example, you’ve parted ways with your flip phone, junked your CDs in favor of streaming tunes, and dropped cable for streaming services.

While letting go of these old technologies wasn’t too difficult, moving on from a mission-critical system like your donor database is not as easy. Yet many in the nonprofit world seek a more secure, flexible, and future-forward alternative to Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge. In this piece, we’ll explore some reasons why it might be time for you to make the switch:

If you’re ready to learn why switching to Salesforce is the best choice for your organization, let’s get started!

Raiser’s Edge vs Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud: The basics

Raiser’s Edge and Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud are both CRM solutions that aim to help organizations better manage their data and bolster stakeholder engagement, but they do this with varying degrees of success. 

As your organization grows, Nonprofit Cloud can easily become a better option due to its high customization, functionality, and security level. As a product built by nonprofits for nonprofits, Salesforce’s Nonprofit Cloud has many exceptional benefits. 

Differences between Raiser’s Edge and Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud

While both of these tools are CRM systems for nonprofits, organizations must consider the differences between them. These differences fall into three main categories, including:

  • Scope and versatility: As a fundraising CRM, Raiser’s Edge offers robust fundraising-focused features. However, its features beyond fundraising are limited. Choose Nonprofit Cloud to access tools that support fundraisers, program management, donor management, and more.
  • Flexibility: Salesforce facilitates extensive customization and flexibility, meaning nonprofits of all sizes can use it. Because Raiser’s Edge has limited features and scalability, organizations may outgrow the solution.
  • Scalability and integrations: Raiser’s Edge offers few integrations and add-ons, making it difficult for nonprofits to adapt the tool to suit changing needs. Nonprofit Cloud, on the other hand, integrates seamlessly with other Salesforce solutions and apps.

Salesforce also has a robust Trailblazer Community where users can learn skills and connect with other Salesforce users. This community, in combination with Salesforce training resources, helps nonprofits learn more about using their CRM, maximizing efficiency, and improving fundraising results.

Top reasons to switch from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud

Six reasons nonprofits comparing Raiser’s Edge vs Nonprofit Cloud should choose Salesforce.

1. Increased functionality.

Nonprofit Cloud provides mission-critical support for fundraising, grants management, donor management, volunteer management, member management, and case/program management.

Salesforce is more than just a CRM. It provides a single source of truth and a 360-degree view of interactions with your members, volunteers, donors, and other stakeholders. Additionally, it provides the analysis and reporting power necessary to gain insight from those interactions.

With Nonprofit Cloud, you can attract new donors, nurture those relationships, engage stakeholders, build loyalty, and drive more revenue. Its built-in AI analytical tools and reports help you understand stakeholder behavior and predict outcomes to make data-backed decisions faster. This increased functionality makes a huge difference and sets Salesforce apart when comparing Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce.

2. Enhanced customizability.

Salesforce for Nonprofits is built to be versatile and accommodate many types of nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit Cloud offers extensive customization options so nonprofits can evolve their system to meet changing needs. For example, your nonprofit may need to implement a more robust volunteer management system after its volunteer program grows. 

Nonprofit Cloud’s customizability surpasses that of Raiser’s Edge in a variety of ways, including:

  • Platform architecture: Nonprofit Cloud is built directly on the Salesforce platform, allowing users to access other Salesforce tools such as Common Components and Industry Clouds. Raiser’s Edge operates within a more rigid architecture, limiting customization opportunities.
  • AppExchange ecosystem: The Salesforce AppExchange is a marketplace of applications and integrations from third-party vendors that extend the platform’s functionality. Choose from thousands of options to enhance your nonprofit’s capabilities.
  • Custom objects and fields: Nonprofit Cloud allows users to set up custom objects and fields to track data relevant to the organization. This supports unique data needs, enhancing data collection and accuracy. For example, a nonprofit could set up a custom object for managing volunteer opportunities and add custom fields such as the opportunity’s name, location, and date.

Nonprofit Cloud also offers customizable workflow automation capabilities through tools like Salesforce Flow. Organizations can set up these custom workflows to automate repetitive tasks like donation processing and program delivery. Its advanced, flexible capabilities outshine those of Raiser’s Edge.

3. Unparalleled data security.

In mid-2020, Blackbaud’s hosted Raiser’s Edge platform suffered a data breach. Since the breach, the FTC filed a complaint against the company in response to lax security practices. In response to the data breach, however, Raiser’s Edge clients who were once steadfast in resisting the move to more robust CRM solutions have been seeking alternatives.

Salesforce prioritizes and protects the privacy of its users and their customers. It leverages extensive data security measures, including:

  • Strengthened passwords and multi-factor authentication: Hackers often gain access by using weak administrative passwords. This vulnerability is not an issue with Salesforce because each user is provided a unique, strong username and password. The platform also requires multi-factor authentication, which reduces the risk of a material breach by 50%.
  • Advanced security settings. With the security settings in Salesforce, you control access to data on a granular level. For example, you can set permissions for certain people to access certain data types. Additionally, you can limit their actions to viewing data or allow them to edit files depending on their role.
  • No unnecessary storage of sensitive data. doesn’t use cookies to store confidential user and session information. Instead, it implements more advanced security methods based on dynamic data and encoded session IDs. Your organization’s data is protected in the Salesforce Cloud by secure socket layer (SSL) technology using server authentication and data encryption.

Salesforce believes security is impossible without transparency. Salesforce clients can access real-time information about their system performance and security. Top security professionals review the software’s code for potential security risks before it’s made available to clients, and every Salesforce release includes information about the latest security enhancements. 

When it comes to Raiser’s Edge vs Salesforce, Salesforce excels in data security. 

4. SaaS instead of legacy software.

Raiser’s Edge has been around for over 30 years and was initially developed as on-premise software. Even the newest software version, RE NXT, requires clients to host their database on a VPN like Citrix to access the software remotely and toggle between the web interface and the legacy software. This inconvenient process creates lags when viewing updated information. 

Salesforce, on the other hand, is cloud-based and runs on a multi-tenant architecture. This means every Salesforce customer uses a regularly updated version of Salesforce software in the cloud. Your nonprofit enjoys the same level of performance and security as Salesforce’s biggest clients, like Amazon Web Services and Spotify. However, you can configure Salesforce to meet your organization’s specific needs—one of the benefits of Software as a Service (SaaS).

Another benefit of SaaS is regular updates for everyone. Nonprofit Cloud receives three major releases yearly and monthly updates, many of which include enhanced security measures. Unfortunately, updates aren’t nearly as frequent for the nonprofit users of Raiser’s Edge.

5. Superior agility and integration.

Legacy software users often have to adapt their business processes to the software’s limitations. Raiser’s Edge clients have limited integration options with the software’s API. Integrating with other Blackbaud products is challenging, never mind other software. This is an unsustainable approach to technology. 

The world around nonprofits continues to change, and you need tools that can adapt to changing development, marketing, and communication strategies. With Salesforce’s AppExchange and open API, you have many integration options for achieving a 360-view of stakeholders. Instead of adapting to fit your software’s limited capabilities, choose a solution like Salesforce to accommodate your organization’s needs with relevant and optimized functionalities.

6. Specialized implementation partners.

Another advantage is the Salesforce community, which is full of implementation partners. This includes some, like Fíonta, specializing in customizing and integrating Salesforce for nonprofits and associations. This opens the door to enhanced functionality and convenience you can’t access with Raiser’s Edge. 

To learn more about what we do for our clients at Fíonta, schedule a call with us today!

Raiser’s Edge vs Salesforce: Final thoughts

Don’t let dated software hold back your organization. You need software like Salesforce that allows you to innovate and shift gears in response to crises, changing economic conditions, and emerging stakeholder and member needs.

To learn more about using Salesforce to enhance your nonprofit’s operations, fundraisers, and relationships with donors, explore these additional resources:

Make an investment in secure, flexible, and future-forward software like Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud. Find out how Fíonta can help you make the move to Salesforce.