Convio Summit. Day 1.

While we won’t officially be off the GetActive platform and on to the Convio platform for a few weeks yet, I like what I see so far. For now, we can deal with the areas that Convio falls just a bit short as compared to GetActive, most notably in the advocacy module. It’s not terrible, but it’s not quite as flexible. In return, we’ll be taking giant leaps forward in fundraising with the addition of Tributes (honor/memorial pages) and eCards. I also like the way Convio handles list segmentation over GetActive’s implementation.

I admit I was a little nervous while flying out here that I got it wrong in my post on Monday. What if it was all hype and I got all excited over some nice press releases and not much more? Notta worry. The Convio folks are serious about the open initiative, and they have the goods to show for it.

As Michael Hoffman shares, the Convio Facebook application is really good. I like it for all his reasons and one more…Convio enables nonprofits to make a Facebook application, and then it gets out of the way. The Causes application is the Causes application, listing your nonprofit within their “envelope.” With the Convio toolkit, to the person adding the application to their profile, it has nothing to with Convio. They…your constituent…don’t care about Convio. They care about your organization and your organization’s cause. That’s the application name they add. It’s a much richer, more thought-out experience than anything I’ve seen for nonprofits on social networks.

I saw the Salesforce.com database connector in action this afternoon. The connector will be demonstrated for all during tomorrow’s general session, but I couldn’t wait that long to see it. Wow. If a contact in the Salesforce.com database has an email address, it syncs beautifully with the Convio database regardless of which database originated the information. Online transactions from Convio are created as Opportunities in Salesforce, practically in real time. I spoke to the engineers involved in developing the connector, and they told me that once they got started on the project they were surprised at just how easy it was to do.

Now all Convio has to do is lower the entry barrier for smaller nonprofits. Not counting the nonprofit donated licenses, Salesforce offers a Group (formerly Team) edition that’s only $600/year for 5 users. Yes, it’s heavily crippled compared to the Enterprise edition. If Convio were to adopt a similar model it would allow smaller organizations a taste of the product and an environment they can grow into, without breaking the bank. They don’t have to provide support or customization at the lowest levels. Maybe offer a few canned templates and limit the number of allowed resources.

Those American Cancer Society sized accounts are great, but there is incredible opportunity out here on the long tail. What are you waiting for, Convio? Do it while you’re ahead.

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