The view from the cheap seats

It appears that my post about Kintera Connect was linked on the Yahoo! Message Boards for Kintera stock. Notably:

In regards to that blog, the view is always nice from the cheap seats. Kintera has weathered every shot Convio has ever taken and getting their limited clients and staffers under factitious names to post on the board is nothing new. I would suggest to that blogger though that she should be asking what Convio will be standing on when their money runs out. I would advise that she ask about their financials before falling too in love with a platform that is bound to come crashing down. The same doesn’t hold true for the strength of Salesforce and if her npo can afford their pricing, then she is doing a fantastic job of raising money for what seems to be a small npo and should pursue their offerings.

The cheap seats? Is that a bit funny when talking about a product targeted to nonprofits?

I guess this would all matter if I was looking to invest in a company and get a financial return on that investment. Good thing I’m not. I am simply the person making purchase decisions for a small nonprofit organization. The end user. The customer. Remember us?

If Convio folded tomorrow, we wouldn’t lose one byte of data that mattered because most of what we care about is exported on a regular basis. Kintera collected our donations and deducted that amount from our bill each month, an arrangement I hated. With GetActive, we have our own merchant account. If Convio went away, I’d cry and then move on to another vendor. Maybe 2 or 3 vendors or services to cover what we get from from GetActive. Who knows.

Convio has to work to keep our business. We have to work to raise enough funds to pay their bill. We do that when we show our supporters that our investment in technology allows us to do a better job of achieving our mission. My allegiance stops there. You see, we care about our mission and our message more than we care about Kintera’s stock price or Convio’s balance sheet. As long as the vendor is providing and supporting the service that we paid for, and as long as our data is our own and we are not held up from doing what we need to do because of snafus in the technology, we’re pretty easy to please.

Our bigger investment of data is with Salesforce, a company that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And even then I don’t take chances and I backup our database. I appreciate the poster’s concern that we can afford Salesforce’s pricing, as set by the Salesforce Foundation through their product donation program. Let me do the math:

$0 per user per month x 10 users x 12 months = $0.

Ayup, we can afford it. But thanks for asking.

And therein lies my point, people. If Kintera is so wonderful, why do only Kintera employees and investors know? Where is the love from the user community, the folks that will be clamoring for developers to jump on Kintera Connect? Why are the only people talking about Kintera the ones who have/had a negative experience? I’m thrilled every time a nonprofit vendor jumps on the open API/developer community bandwagon. I want to like the companies that are doing it. I’m not anti-Kintera. We didn’t have a wonderful experience with them, but maybe it was just a poor fit. It happens. When I first read about Kintera Connect, I went looking for positive press about Kintera that didn’t come from Kintera PR. I went looking for information about changes that Kintera has made that would make me…small nonprofit person who makes purchase decisions for the limited funds we have…want to consider them again. That’s just me…I am always considering the competition and evaluating my purchase choices, not afraid to make changes when changes need to be made (but not for change sake, hopefully). I couldn’t find it.

Tell me what’s right about Kintera right now, from the view of someone sitting in the “cheap seats.” I am going to be entering into contract negotiations with Convio soon, and I’m nervous about it. GetActive was my choice, not Convio. So far, I haven’t had any reason to leave. I’m looking for data that will either help change my mind about staying with Convio or convince me that we’re on the right ship. I am suspect the moment anyone uses the negatives of the competition as a selling point.

Perhaps the new energy at Kintera will keep current clients from defecting, but don’t you have to appeal to new/lapsed customers as well? I guess I don’t know enough about business and the stock market to make an informed decision. I only know our small nonprofit and what we’re looking for in a vendor.