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Charity is a noble thing, putting your own wealth on the back burner in the pursuit of helping others. That's why we feel a little uncomfortable about BlackBaud at times, a company that offers non-profit organisations online accounting packages whilst charging up to $550 a month for the privilege. That said, they're specialized in what they do, so if you're part of a not-for-profit organisation that has outgrown its current accounting system, and you have the cash to spare, BlackBaud could be the option you're looking for.
You might have gathered from our introduction that this isn't an online accounting system for everyone. For starters, it's designed with non-profit organisations in mind, so if you're not involved in one of those then save yourself a bit of time and look elsewhere. However, if this is the area you're involved in then why might you choose BlackBaud? Well as we've already mentioned, it's been set up with non-profits in mind. It also has a capable staff who are able to talk you through any issues, make recommendations and more. They're aware of the needs of non-profit organisations and ought to be able to help you work out the systems on offer so that they can benefit your non-profit to the full.
We can't go too far without talking about the price of BlackBaud's Starter and Essential packages, which are part of their “Financial Edge” range. The starter package is $299 a month, and the essentials package is $550 per month, plus any extras that you might wish to invest in. To us this seems a lot, it's 10 or 20 times what some other accounting software packages cost on a monthly basis, and we aren't convinced that it's worth that massive increase. The features included seem quite basic: you can complete budgets and manage cash flows through a general ledger, chart your data and allow others to view your data. We might be missing something here, but that doesn't sound all that impressive for the amount they expect you to pay up. The likely benefits are in their experiences with non-profits and the fact that they specify that their services are designed for organisations that have outgrown their existing accounting systems. As such this is for larger organisations, not only those that can afford it at the moment but that have the complex books which need a careful professional eye to watch over them.
It's hard to recommend BlackBaud's Financial Edge systems because there just aren't enough selling points to justify their high costs, particularly when they're designed for an industry where people are struggling to make money to help others. However, if you are in the position to pay for their services and you have the money to invest, it might be worth contacting their professional team to find out exactly what they can offer your non-profit above their competitors.
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