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Fundraising tool launched

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By Todd Cohen

Targeting small nonprofits, Telosa Software is launching a new version of its Exceed! fundraising system.

The firm is charging $499 for Exceed! Basic, which it is marketing to nonprofits with annual budgets under $1 million.

“At a price like this, we have to sell thousands, but we do anticipate that by early next year this product will be profitable and sustainable,” says Susan Packard Orr, Telosa’s founder and CEO.

Roughly 1,400 customers have purchased Exceed! Premier, which the firm markets to nonprofits with budgets of $500,000 to $2 million.

That product costs $3,000 to $10,000, based on whether nonprofits buy additional modules to the basic product.

Orr says the new product is designed to pull together, simplify and automate basic tasks involving fundraising and donor management.

Wanting to track donors but believing they cannot afford to buy fundraising software, many smaller nonprofits patch together their own solutions, says Orr, the daughter of Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard and chairman of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in Los Altos, Calif.

But many of the volunteers who often help build those homegrown systems may not document them or train staff to use them, Orr says, and typically are not available when repairs, improvements or more training are needed.

What’s more, she says, those homegrown systems often consist of separate and unconnected software programs developed for and used by different staffers with distinct responsibilities, such as direct-mail appeals, board relations or special events.

“When you’re going out asking people to donate, you need to know all the different ways that person is involved,” she says. “When this information is scattered, it’s difficult to pull it together.”

The new product imports data from existing databases, tracks donor data, generates mailings and reports, handles scheduling and deadline notifications, backs up and restores data, and can be integrated with Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting software that Orr estimates is used by 200,000 nonprofits.

Telosa is working with nonprofit consultants such as San Francisco-based CompassPoint to include the new software in the training they offer, Orr says, and is talking to community foundations about buying the software for grantees and helping them learn to use it.

“I’ve been interested in doing a product at this price point for a long time, and no other vendors have done it either,” she says. “We all kind of accepted the notion that it couldn’t be done because you couldn’t make money. I’m out to prove that it can be done.”

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