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CharityEngine vs. Salesforce vs. Blackbaud

Matching fundraising software with your nonprofit's needs can be a tall order! Here's an apples-to-apples comparison of three popular options.

CharityEngine vs. Salesforce vs. Blackbaud

Do you need payment processing? Or is always-on support your holy grail? Whatever fundraising software features your nonprofit needs, you can be pretty sure there's a system that offers at least most of what you need.

Here's a side-by-side look at three popular choices in fundraising software: CharityEngine, Salesforce (which offers a Nonprofit Success Pack), and Blackbaud. Use this as a checklist against the features that are most important to your nonprofit, and you'll be closer to finding the perfect solution.

As always, we present the most current information out there. When we learn of updates, we just update the article. You'll always know what we know!





(Nonprofit Success Pack)

Blackbaud logo
Best CRM For Small, Midsize, and Enterprise-Level Nonprofits that want a robust all-in-one CRM that also integrates seamlessly with third-party systems  Tech-savvy nonprofits or those with a large IT team Enterprise-Level Nonprofits
Pricing $$ to $$$  $ to $$$$  $$$ to $$$$
Differentiators All-in-one nonprofit CRM with native functionality enabling essential fundraising functions, including donor management, moves management, major gifts, membership, advocacy, event coordination, and volunteer management Nonprofit technology built on the world's #1 CRM The world's most robust fundraising software 
Support for Nonprofit Products Yes, dedicated  Community support only Yes
Email Configuration Options Shared Pool or Dedicated IPs Shared Pool Shared Pool
PCI and SOC II Status PCI-certified and SOC-II-certified  PCI and SOC II Compliant PCI and SOC II Compliant
In-House Payment Processing and Billing System Yes  No No
Key Features      
Email Automation Yes  Yes Yes
Payment Processing Yes  No Yes
Events  Yes  No Yes
Auctions Yes No Yes
Text-to-Give Yes  No Yes
Advocacy Yes  No No
Online Donation Forms Yes  Limited Yes
Reporting and Dashboards Yes  Yes Yes, but customized reporting is limited

Out-of-the-box Fundraising Reports

Yes (90+ reports) Limited (10 reports) Yes

Recurring Billing

Yes  No Yes
Peer-to-Peer Yes  No Yes
CRM Yes  Yes Yes
CMS Yes  No Yes, built on WordPress
Grants Management Yes  No Yes
Volunteer Management Yes  No Yes
Customers Say*      
Pros “CharityEngine is user-friendly, comes with full support, and allows all your business needs to be maintained and tracked in one location. It is truly a one-stop shop and more than just a management program.” "We manage all of our donors, event attendees, volunteers, and any other human that's connected with our organization through Salesforce. We spend a lot of time cleaning up the database, and we devote a lot of staff time to Salesforce management in general, but we consider it essential." "Good for a non-profit organization with many donors." 
Cons “Customer support is great but can sometimes take a while to get a resolution. While they have extensive documentation in their help center, it’s a little cumbersome to navigate if you’re trying to find something very specific, and I’m sure it’s hard for them to keep it up-to-date due to new features.”  "It can do anything...if you can afford to pay someone a lot of money to set it up for you." "Working with Blackbaud is a very unpleasant experience. Trying to get answers to anything is impossible." 

*Customer quotes from Capterra

Two notes from very reliable sources: With Salesforce, the entry point is affordable. However, as soon as you add necessary features, the costs escalate quickly. And it's important to note that Blackbaud outsources support to India. To become robust, they've acquired companies and cobbled them together, so support is needed.

What if the features you're looking for are in several systems? We recommend that you start with an agnostic guide - our Guide to Selecting a Nonprofit CRM is free and has downloadable workbooks you can use to help you shop - and discern what features are the most critical for your nonprofit's success. These tools will point you in the right direction!

We always like to remind software shoppers that the cost isn't the only consideration when buying new software. That's an eye-opening article for some nonprofits!

If you've read through these features and CharityEngine has piqued your curiosity, give us a call. Are we the right fit for you? Maybe not. But we'll never know unless we chat!