I have watched in sadness and sometimes anger as large non-profit after large non-profit collectively poured enough money into Raiser’s Edge and other Blackbaud licenses and consulting services to fund many feature enhancements for the main FLOSS alternative, CiviCRM— improvements which would then be free for everyone, forever.
I have never met anyone who actually likes Blackbaud products and services. However, many organizations felt they were the only safe option, in the sense of claiming to have everything an enterprise needs.
Now, Blackbaud failed to secure its servers sufficiently and large amounts of its clients’ donor data, including personally identifying information, was obtained in a ransomware attack. This was back in May. Blackbaud ultimately paid the ransomer to allegedly destroy the data they obtained— and only late in July finally told their customers what happened.
As the American Civil Liberties Union wrote to all its supporters, current and past (including myself), this is a rotten situation:
In all candor, we are frustrated with the lack of information we’ve received from Blackbaud about this incident thus far. The ACLU is doing everything in our power to ascertain the full nature of the breach, and we are actively investigating the nature of the data that was involved, details of the incident, and Blackbaud’s remediation plans.
We are also exploring all options to ensure this does not happen again,
including revisiting our relationship with Blackbaud.
Fortunately, none of Agaric’s clients are affected. But we hope everyone using or considering using Blackbaud and other proprietary services for their most important data will look at free/libre open source solutions. Code you (or your technology partner) can see and contribute to means you truly can do anything. And if you put aside the money that would be gouged out of your organization by the eTapestry, Kintera, and Convio-swallowing monopolist Blackbaud, you probably can afford to.
At Agaric, we have recently been working with CiviCRM more recently (building on experience dating back fifteen years!) and we know our friends at Palante Technology Cooperative and myDropWizard are well-versed in CiviCRM, as are many others. Please consider this when weighing your options for maintaining a strong, ethical relationship with your supporters, and let us know if you have any thoughts or questions!