Recently a report from a know tech publication was at a conference I was leading. She asked me
“what is interesting that is happening right now.”
I said “the nonprofit technology session.”
She said – “well I cover business issues.”
I shared with her that one of the largest vendor of nonprofit technology Kintera was a publicly traded company AND that there was big business opportunities for providing technology solutions in that sector. She looked at me surprised as if it had never occurred to her that you could make money in this sector. Recently the two other large vendors in the space merged – Get Active and Convio. They became just Convio and are now the largest vendor in the sector.
This month’s theme for NTEN’s Newsletter is Data Interoperability. This is the open Letter the published there.
Gene Austin, Chief Executive Officer, Convio and Tom Krackeler, VP, Product Management, Convio
It is incumbent on all software vendors serving the nonprofit sector to open opportunities for nonprofits to have greater choice and flexibility in pursuing their missions.
To meet the expectations of nonprofits today — and five years from now — software vendors need to facilitate interoperability between systems and enable integration between offline and online data and the new Web. And they should do so with one clear purpose in mind: to open the possibilities for nonprofits to find and engage constituents to support their missions.
The NTEN community has been leading the charge for openness. With Salesforce and Facebook, Convio has embraced openness as a way of doing business.
Software vendors should:
1. provide nonprofit organizations of all sizes and in any stage of Internet adoption the flexibility to integrate with other web or database applications to exchange constituent and campaign data.
2. make their Open APIs available to clients, partners, and a broad developer community.
3. expose Open APIs as part of their core product functionality.
4. proactively use APIs provided by other companies in additional to providing their own.
5. make their API documentation publicly available and provide a forum for sharing and discussing best practices and exchanging code examples.
6. publish a roadmap for their API development and encourage participation in the development of that roadmap.
7. make their APIs accessible to nonprofits at a level that does not require extensive technical expertise to leverage those APIs.