Using Nationbuilder for Membership Database Administration

crowd-fleeing-a-burning-convio.jpgConvio is massively sophisticated PaaS (Platform as a Service) and offers hundreds of features for organizations to administer their membership. Just about every big organization with a big membership uses Convio.

During my stint as Webmaster for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we used Convio to email newsletters and "asks" (solicitations for donations), membership services (petition drives, mostly) and selling tickets to events, among other things. We used Convio but we didn't like it. The mere mention of "Convio" would produce scowls or cringes among those who had to use it, none bigger than on the face of the Executive Director who didn't like writing massive yearly checks to Convio.

My own experience with Convio was mostly confined to creating custom event web pages (example) on the Convio site using a mix of HTML, CSS, PHP and the Convio markup language. Sounds simple, right? It wasn't. The system for creating custom pages was labyrinthine at best. What I could easily do in an hour or two in Drupal would take me all day to do in Convio. The whole system was downright bizarre and unintuitive.

I came to think of Convio as similar to chemotherapy. It's got a time and a place, but it's difficult to endure and it makes your hair fall out.

Then I came across Nationbuilder, when my colleague Jim Ross wanted a new site with membership administration and he wanted it built on the Nationbuilder platform. Once I dove in, I could not believe how easy it was to use. Social media integration was flawless. Custom page templates were as easy as WordPress theming, easier even than Drupal theming. Adding members-only custom content is a breeze.

On Nationbuilder's site, they answer the question, How is NationBuilder different than Convio, Kintera and Blackbaud?

The answer blithely given:

If you've got money to burn and you've already learned how to use these tools, you might not want to switch. Otherwise, NationBuilder is an elegant replacement for these outdated donor management software suites. Our social CRM is designed to help you conduct donor outreach, interaction and contact logging from social media to phone and in-person contact, with rich analytics. You can print call sheets and download lists or your entire donor database easily.

This is ridiculously understated. After using Nationbuilder for a week, I could not understand why anyone would still use Convio. After another two projects (example), I can't believe people are not abandoning Convio like a burning warehouse and sprinting to Nationbuilder.

Tim Wayne - NationBuilder Consulting - Interaction Design

Here's what my clients say:

"Tim has been a great asset to the Educate Our State team not only developing a beautiful, easy to manage and highly functional website but also offering guidance on social media best practices and strategic planning for our future on-line presence. Tim's ability to quickly navigate issues, consider various solutions and support our team through a number of phases of growth has been remarkable. His get-it-down attitude and quick responses have made this piece of our communications platform easy to build and launch. We can't recommend Tim highly enough!"
Crystal Brown, President, Educate Our State

"Tim has the most amazing talent, he can nearly read your mind and then improve on your idea... He should be on the TV show Heroes, because if you give him copy and some direction he comes back with what you had in mind but even better."
Jim Ross, Jim Ross Consulting

"Tim built our website quickly and beautifully. It represented our business and our service to clients well. The professional image he created for us was an important part of our success."
David Schachter, Lead Analytics Engineer at Playdom

"Tim was a pleasure to work with; he provided valuable expertise in a timely manner for a fair price. What more can you ask for? I hope to have the occasion to work with him again soon."
Mir Haynes, CEO, Anabo Studios

"I love working with Tim Wayne!
Tim is creative yet practical, balancing his keen design sense with an appreciation for real-world business considerations. Tim takes instruction well, though he requires little.
Bottom line: Tim always produces first-rate designs that are appropriate to a website's message and market--and he's fun to work with, too!"

Lang Zerner, President, Studio32

"Tim is a great web designer who, when given the chance, can come up with some pretty amazing stuff. His eye for design and all things aesthetic never ceases to amaze me."
Tony Chang, Senior Engineer, ServePath

"Tim is a very thorough and detail-oriented designer. He is an asset to the integrity of our three brand's commercial websites."
Liz Dizon

"When I worked with Tim, I immediately recognized what an awesome person he was. He helped our group design all of ServePath's customer sites. What made Tim invaluable was that he understood the mission and business objectives clearly. Based on the these, he architected sites that were able to draw in a substantial amount of customers, with compelling content, easy navigation, rapid product fulfillment, and order processing. This allowed customers to quickly and efficiently complete the transaction of their service and begin operating immediately.

As a sales person, I worked closely with my customers and they always spoke highly of our web site and the customer extranet. Tim's knowledge of rich media technologies is unrivaled."

Alex Barajas, Sales Engineer at Neustar


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