GettingHappy with Convio

When Convio announced their acquisition of GetActive over a year ago, I was not a happy camper.

I have a routine going with GetActive. I know where everything is and I have a system for getting data back and forth between GetActive and Salesforce easily. I have no intention of switching from Salesforce to the Convio eCRM. Will the Convio folks work with little ‘ole me to seamlessly transition us to their systems for donations, messaging and fundraising without charging us more?

Here we are, one year later, and C3 has just completed its migration from the GetActive platform to Convio. We only use GetActive/Convio for Fundraising, Advocacy and Email so there wasn’t as much to worry about regarding our public site. And we recently signed a 2-year contract extension with Convio, so I can now say my pricing fears were not an issue.

For Convio, migrating all those GetActives sites is going to be a long process of which it’s still early. I don’t know how many clients completed migration before us, but I know there are many more left to do than have been done.

Why did we migrate early? Two main reasons:

  1. There are features on Convio that we want to be able to start to use sooner rather than later, such as Tributes and eCards.
  2. Convio and Salesforce made a commitment to work together for data exchange. Finally! There’s a perception that small organizations can’t afford Convio, and therefore there’s no point in syncing to Salesforce which until recently, was a solution aimed at small organizations. I am thrilled that this thinking is being turned upside down…on both sides. I had been invited to be a part of the pilot program for the new data sync connector. It wasn’t like I was exactly quiet about my desire to see this happen. In order to help shape the product (and let’s face it, get it quickly) we had to be on Convio so I pushed on having the migration done.

So what do I think about Convio after a couple of weeks? More after the jump…

The Convio learning curve is steeper. I was able to read the manual and learn my way around GetActive in a few hours. I’m getting more comfortable in Convio with each day, but I’ve also gotten lost and confused a lot more. It’s clear and intuitive, once you understand exactly what you’re looking at and how it relates to data in other modules.

The only module we actively use that’s still lacking compared to GetActive is Advocacy. The Convio folks fully admit that they have a lot of work to do here, and I’m being patient. For starters, the tools to import advocacy history aren’t done yet, so if I want to get stats on older campaigns I need to log in to our read-only GetActive instance. Not a big deal. In GetActive, a constituent could use our website to look up their Legislator’s info and get a listing of their committee assignments and local district office addresses. Convio doesn’t have this. There are other subtle differences where Convio skims a surface that GetActive went deeper. Convio will get there.

Getting data in to Convio is ridiculously easy. The provide sample .csv files, and as long as you cut/paste your data in the right columns, it imports quite easily. Getting data out is another matter. In GetActive, data was exported in one central area. In Convio, you’re flying all over the system, depending on the information you want to yank out, with much less control over the fields/columns that are reported. It’s something to get used to, and something that will drive me a lot less nuts when the Salesforce connector is completely hooked up.

We’re getting there. Convio is growing on me, and I’m finding it easier and easier to do what I need to do in Convio and get the data out of it that I need. Convio handles segmentation and campaigns far better than GetActive did.

We’re keeping things very simple at first, and will look to add more of the bells & whistles as we go along and I fully understand the implications. Our new eCommerce store for colorectal cancer pins & bracelets has been very successful so far, with sales/donations that are over 300% higher than what we did during the same period last year.

Still, I strongly recommend migrating GetActive clients do more than the 2 day migration training Convio offers. If I had it to do over again, I would have taken the regular essentials class offered to new clients instead. Perhaps this isn’t a big issue for larger organizations that have staff dedicated to managing databases.

While the migration class was a nice foundation for understanding the philosophical differences between the two platforms, I would have appreciated more time in the nitty gritty of setting up pages, running reports and doing basic admin configuration. There were some issues that I had in migration that turned out to be Convio bugs, but not being familiar enough with Convio I had no way of knowing and wasted my time troubleshooting issues out of my control.


2 responses to “GettingHappy with Convio”

  1. Hi Judi,

    I came across your blog while researching convio. I am working on a project for a coaliton and looking at options for building the website and online advocacy. I see you used WP for the C3 website–is that theme available for download or purchase or was it custom? Something similar would work well for this group.

    Thanks, Judy