Orange Leap and Jaspersoft Help Nonprofits Maintain Relationships With Donors

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 25, 2009

Earlier this week I wrote about ways museums are turning to open source software as one way to deal with declining attendance and lack of funding to cover operational costs. Of course, there's more to running a nonprofit organization than managing collections or scheduling volunteers to run exhibits.

Web-based open source constituent management solution Orange Leap (CMS) helps nonprofits maintain and manage relationships with the patrons, sponsors, and community members whose donations help keep their doors open.

Orange Leap is very similar to the customer relationship management (CRM) systems used by business to track and manage contacts, customers, and sales data, but with a nod to the unique needs of nonprofits. It also tracks donor contributions, keeps a history of gifts and pledges, and even remembers when communications such as thank-you emails are sent.

Amassing historical data on donors is helpful, but its real value is in using it to make decisions that affect a nonprofit's future. Orange Leap's custom reporting tool, The Guru, analyzes data and generates reports that give insight into activities like fundraising initiatives or membership renewal drives.

Until recently, Dallas-based Orange Leap had been using commercial software from Crystal Reports to design and create the Web-based reports, but now company officials say they've switched to open source business intelligence software from Jaspersoft to power The Guru.

Orange Leap CEO Randy McCabe says the impetus behind the switch was threefold. The company wants to support and align themselves with other open source companies and help customers save money along the way. "We [also] wanted to develop and offer a web-based custom reporting wizard that allows non-technical customers to create sophisticated custom reports. It was much easier to build a custom reporting wizard on JasperServer than to build something from scratch or to create an expensive and complicated partnership and build it on Crystal," he says.

The combination of Orange Leap and The Guru makes digital management of nonprofits dead simple, which is very important in a field often run largely by volunteers with little to no IT experience. Indeed, it points to a concept Jaspersoft CEO Brian Gentile raised on OStatic recently -- that open source will fuel what he calls the consumerization of information.

"Simply put, enterprise information systems are beginning to require a simpler, more consumer-oriented approach to appeal to the younger generation of up-and-coming workers. I refer to it as the 'consumerization of information.' The concept is based on a very real workforce demographic shift that becomes even more pronounced starting in 2009. As the aging workforce in the largest economies continues to retire (in the U.S., it’s the baby boomer generation) and more young workers enter and climb higher, we’ll see a widening “expectation gap” between the anticipated behavior of enterprise applications and their actual behavior," says Gentile.