Luminate Reviews & Product Details


What is Luminate?

Luminate executes your online strategy with integrated campaigns for digital, social and mobile channels, so you can engage more effectively with your supporters to raise more money for your mission.

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Luminate Profile Details

Luminate Profile Details

Vendor
Blackbaud
Description
Serving the nonprofit and education sectors for 30 years, Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) combines technology and expertise to help organizations achieve their missions.
Company Website
Year Founded
1981
Total Revenue (USD mm)
730
HQ Location
Charleston, SC
Phone
+1.843.216.6200
Ownership
NASDAQ: BLKB
LinkedIn® Page
www.linkedin.com
Employees on LinkedIn®
3,416
Twitter
@blackbaud
Twitter Followers
35,998
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Luminate Reviews

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A
Enterprise
(1001-5000 employees)
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"Challenging to learn but gets the job done "

What do you like best?

I like the email platform the best, especially that you can create a bank of emails and save them as drafts that you can modify. We run email campaigns that we schedule out ahead of time and the turnover is easy year over year when we can go back to old drafts, make copies and modify using new branding, dates, etc. It would be nice to be able to modify multiple messages at once if that feature doesn't already exist.

What do you dislike?

The donation entry system is complicated and confusing, possibly just because the relationship between Luminate and our other constituent services can be complicated.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Using more tedious systems for mass communication like outlook takes much more time and we have realized that using a more uniform branding made possible through email campaign templates allows us to get better rates of opening, action and response. The reports are also changing how we set goals.

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Tradings
Small-Business
(2-10 employees)
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"Its more than my expectations. "

What do you like best?

I liked its Fundraising Features more satisfied and have not more trouble in searching inviting for fund raising in. It enhanced the capacity ,capacity of all staff related to marketing ,communication, web searching.

What do you dislike?

there are a improvement corner always empty i dint think so many dislikes in this feature but improvement always needed in any software that helps a product to compete in market and a supporting staff should be always there

Recommendations to others considering the product:

I advise to newbies you should use this software it is more efficient then other competitors by functions price, and support also.But mind it there is always a improvement ahead.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Managing my credentials ,email handling , fund raising.It helps to increase you operations world wide.

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UN
Mid-Market
(501-1000 employees)
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"Outdated aspects and an overcomplicated UI"

What do you like best?

There’s probably more power under the hood than I’m aware of. I wouldn’t know because our org has our roles pretty well locked down and our consultants have pretty well taken over the global stylesheets and templates and make it difficult to work within the environment.

What do you dislike?

- The UI of the site is hard to sort through. Buttons are inconsistently or oddly labeled and often not in a predictable location. The design looks outdated and patched together: the teal-and-bright-green of the front page icons doesn't cohere with the bright blue logo, the dull navy navbar and the various color tints used throughout the site.

- Many of the features used for template development are outdated/unnecessary in modern web / email design (body tag attributes? in 2017?).

- The WYSIWYG editor used for text formatting in emails and web page builders is *several dozen versions* behind. Code appropriate to modern browsers is best done by hand, which makes it much less useful for non-coder users and means I have to go behind them and clean up their WYSIWYG code.

- According to our production manager, pulling reports and updating lists is a painful experience.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Make sure you implement it correctly and have people who know what they're doing using it and controlling the implementation process. Don't rely on consultants.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We run email campaigns and newsletters, and some donations, through Luminate and are in the process of pulling some CRM functions into it related to another product. (Obviously my team was not given right of veto.)

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UN
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"Great CRM with Easy Customization "

What do you like best?

Luminate Online is a good tool for organizations that want to be able to customize the information they can see and query about their contacts/donors. It is easy to navigate and there are a lot of helpful resources if needed.

What do you dislike?

One negative about this system is in regards to creating reports. It comes with standard reports but we often need to create our own in order to be able to pull all the needed fields. For example there is a standard report of donations and households but we also need it to pull fields from contacts so we made our own.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

I have not handled many other databases at the same length of which I've used Luminate so it's hard to say which would be best but I do recommend it. There are definitely other CRMs that are clunkier and with any system there will be things you love and things you find lacking.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are solving the issue of needing a clear way to organize and view donor information and be able to track it as needed. Benefits realized are no longer having any shadow databases that may live offline or in employees personal drives. All information can be accessed in one place.

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UN
Mid-Market
(201-500 employees)
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"Our organization is transitioning to a different tool"

What do you like best?

Luminate Online meets very basic needs. They are able to accommodate some particular things to our organization, like including premiums on our donation forms or the ability to schedule to unpublish and redirect a donation form. I like that they have chat support.

What do you dislike?

So many things. Support is lacking. It is so complex to build in their system- for example, just creating a stationary needs to be done in a very specific complicated way. They rolled out a tweet your rep tool that needs so much work and fixing to be even usable. There are lots of little things that annoy me, too- like how it logs you out all the time, or how the WYZYWG breaks everything, or how you can only upload one image at a time. Their surveys are completely non-mobile responsive and require the most gigantic headache to build. Advocacy: there is no click to call and lots of delivery failures. Social sharing is not integrated. I could go on.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Luminate Online allows us to build emails, donation pages, action alerts, manage our audience lists, and collect data for reporting.

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AI
Mid-Market
(201-500 employees)
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Verified Current User
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"Online platform for nonprofits"

What do you like best?

I like how donation transaction pages, emails, and transaction history are all on one platform. It easy to navigate through the portal and see how everything intertwines with each other. It is also great that it is compatible with Raiser's Edge and it easy to output and input donor data information. You are able to pull donor giving reports. You are able to create and track emails. And you are able to create donation pages that work with your organization's website.

What do you dislike?

The email platform is very finicky. It sometimes takes a long time to get a simple email created. While in mail chip it is easy to move text and picture block around, it is not that easy in Luminate. The options that are available for fonts are very little and making edits is very touchy as well. If you don't make separate tables for everything, it kind of all gets bundled together.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

An online platform that houses donor data that we can easily pull reports from. They do a good job providing a lot of ways we can capture donor data whether it is transactional data, email opens/clicks, what campaigns they are answering to and bio information.

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Communications and Marketing Director
Non-Profit Organization Management
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"One stop marketing solution"

What do you like best?

After years of toiling through LyrisHQ, etc., the integrated features of Luminate make it easy for a one-person marketing department to seamlessly manage development and e-mail campaigns.

What do you dislike?

I wish the dashboard were a little more intuitive at times.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Luminate offers helpful applications to fully staffed marketing departments and small non-profit staff alike. Because it's a Blackbaud product, it's incredibly helpful for e-commerce use, and the e-mail/form campaigns are easy to develop and use.

Just a pro-tip for those less accustomed to such intensive software: do make sure to complete each of the form/campaign trainings - it's more user friendly if you have a level of comfort with more technical platforms (e.g., the polar opposite of something like, say, Constant Contact, which relies strictly on visual editors).

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We're better able to segment our campaigns, both fundraising and e-mail, on one singular platform.

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A
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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Verified Current User
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"Challenges increased as BB stopped upgrading and maintaining Luminate Online product"

What do you like best?

Consolidation of critical onlineFR functions, under Luminate Online umbrella. Chat support/case assignment system so much better now. Also, integration with BB database of record is a well oiled system. would require resources and time if ever migrated.

What do you dislike?

huge issue is that default products are not mobile responsive out of the box. forces customers to go third party developer for building it on top of LO. complicates any user issue after that.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

does not solve business problem, as much as fills role for function of basic online FR products like email, donations, some auto-responder automation for trigger emails.

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UR
Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
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"It works but might not be your best solution"

What do you like best?

It has many features including things like auto-login when donors click on a link. It's relatively easy to use. and was a stable platform. It did allow us to increase our online donation results. It has some good tools for reporting on email campaigns and their results, who donated to what projects based on the emails we sent them. They were able to work with our existing payment gateways which made setting up payments easy and did not cause us to incur any other fees with implantation.

What do you dislike?

Integration with our internal systems was not great. It was sometimes difficult to get data out of the system and EFT recurring payments were inconsistent. The email creation tools are there but by and large they are more for people with some type of HTML background. We replaced their email functionality with ActOn and it is a much better "non-technical" platform for email generation/deployment.

We switched out to a software package that more completely integrates in with our internal software.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If this will be your primary mechanism for taking donations it's pretty good. Most of our issues revolved around integrating it in with our internal donor management software.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We used it for an on line donation portal and for email marketing. As a tool it did accomplish the goals that we had. However the software itself was clunky and didn't have the finesse of some other platforms.

Essentially it was software designed by engineers without the assistance of UI specialist.

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AP
Mid-Market
(201-500 employees)
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"Almost Seamless Word Pasting - time efficient and user intuitive "

What do you like best?

The product required minimal manipulation in html after copying and pasting word doc text (or email text) into the luminate system. Great way to organize multiple campaigns and distribution lists. Easy to added additional recipients to a campaign or a specific email. Emails can be sent to additional distribution lists based on set criteria within the crm function of the platform.

What do you dislike?

From time to time when copying and pasting material into the email template not all formatting would transfer over - including text color, font, and font size. Typically an email would require 1-2 additional proof edits to fix the formatting.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Luminate allows for emails to be sent to a larger distribution list in a designed template and keeps track of basic analytics - great way to clear distribution lists and ensure that the right people are receiving the right message for their specific needs.

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IN
Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
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"Quick time to market but difficult to build enterprise data solution around it."

What do you like best?

The Luminate platform does allow you to get a donation form up and running very quickly. Platform manages credit card transactions and is a single solution.

What do you dislike?

Getting data back out from the platform is very difficult. Although there are published APIs they don't seem to work well and it's difficult to get support. Although it may work well for a single entity, trying to get transactional data out to subsidiaries or different departments was extremely difficult.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Consider the pricing in detail if you want to deliver data to more than a handful of people. There is a hub where your users/stakeholders can grab data from reports but this was cost prohibitive for us. We also had extensive discussions about how the data would come across via the APIs. We intended to keep track of every single transaction but this became very difficult when refunds or changes came into play. If you intend to use their APIs, ensure that you test out different scenarios.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Deploying a single nationwide donation solution for a federated organization.

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Email Production Specialist
Non-Profit Organization Management
Enterprise
(1001-5000 employees)
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Verified Current User
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"Integration and Ease of Use"

What do you like best?

The thing that I like best about Luminate Online is that it integrates well with our eCRM so that we're able to personalize and provide conditional content across channels based on constituent information.

What do you dislike?

I dislike that, at times, the system can run slowly when running reports, queries or building email lists.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Definitely an easy system to jump in and get started using. Provided tutorials and knowledgebase posts can help further understanding of the system and its capabilities.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I'm raising un-restricted revenue through donations via the email channel. Because Luminate Online syncs with our eCRM, I'm able to use previous giving history to make more compelling donation asks.

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Implementation Consultant/Software Instructor
Computer Software
Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
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"Very, very powerful. More than a little complicated."

What do you like best?

The incredibly wide variety of options you have for fund raising. It is a very powerful program but there is a LOT going on here.

What do you dislike?

Luminate is a big, complex, sometimes overwhelming system. Can be way too much to work with. Takes a lot of training to get to a comfortable point with it. The CRM functionality is a little weird, but it is great for email management.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Learn everything you can about it after you get it. Be prepared to be slightly overwhelmed, and very challenged.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Many of the people I know use Luminate for peer-to-peer fundraising, online giving, email programs, and event tickets.

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AN
Mid-Market
(201-500 employees)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
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"Pretty User Friendly Software"

What do you like best?

I like that it's pretty user friendly. I used Listrak in the past which was not user friendly at all. I've only been using LO for 7 months and I am often able to figure out anything that I need to accomplish. My manager was pretty impressed when I was able to pull reports and refund transactions without needing to be trained on it.

What do you dislike?

I've tried to use "Help" links on occasion and pretty much all of them are broken. My biggest gripe is the "Send" button. It's very scary to hit "Send" when you are planning on scheduling. When I set up emails, I select the time and date I want them to go, but if I'm going to run an A/B split, it deletes that time and changes it to "immediate". One time I accidentally sent one immediate when I first started. Talk about stress!

Recommendations to others considering the product:

User friendly and great support.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Just always testing what we can do to increase opens and click-thrus.

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AN
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
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"Review of Luminate Online"

What do you like best?

The fundraising emails we send out via Luminate Online look great. Updating donor information and pulling simple email/fundraising queries is simple and straightforward. I'm a big fan of the Raiser's Edge/Luminate Online integration plugin (for the most part). Since my organization sends out emails for a variety of purposes not limited to fundraising, it's very useful for all those emails to be able to come from one place -- useful both logistically and for branding consistency purposes.

What do you dislike?

Luminate Online as a whole is not intuitive at all. Building and exporting reports is needlessly difficult. Email coding isn't straight CSS but has some kind of special coding (as I understand it), when having it be straight CSS would make coding troubleshooting a lot easier. I wish there was a way to conduct duplicate management both in Luminate Online AND through the Raiser's Edge/Luminate Online integration plugin. I'm not entirely sure why Luminate Online has its own support portal when Blackbaud support is much better. Not to mention: why is it still called Convio support?

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Prioritize training, because you will need a lot of it. Learning some CSS is helpful.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We have been using Luminate Online since before I started at this organization, so I am unsure what was solved specifically through this product. That being said, I doubt that whatever we used before was as easy to integrate with our CRM (The Raiser's Edge) and as easy for every one of our departments to use for their own purposes.

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AR
Mid-Market
(201-500 employees)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
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"Good capabilities but not for an average nonprofit user"

What do you like best?

The possibilities are endless - but you have to know how to code and the platform is very sophisticated. While most desired capabilities can be achieved, you have to have an expert on hand to do the work.

What do you dislike?

It is way too complicated for an average nonprofit communications user. The events module is useless for ticketed events where you have to gather guest names - basic functionality that should be there.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

We are in the process of looking at Engaging Networks. Donor Drive was another great product we considered. We can't wait to get rid of Luminate Online.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We do our online donations and email marketing through Luminate Online.

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AN
Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
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"Great tool but training is essential "

What do you like best?

I love how luminate online can link your donor info to email campaigns and website content. It's a really great way to segment your supporters and really target your email blasts based on their choices. I also love the autologin feature. It makes donating to your cause a much faster process for them.

What do you dislike?

I dislike that there aren't more tutorials that show you how to do more of the advanced stuff. You can take classes from blackbaud but they are pricy.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Consider investing in training for the individual that will be running it. It's a great tool if you know how to use it.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We just made our virtual food drive responsive. We worked with a 3rd party blackbaud vendor to get this accomplished using luminate online's teamraiser tool It looks so much cleaner and easy to navigate. We are hoping this will help us raise more money this year via our online virtual food drive.

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AN
Mid-Market
(501-1000 employees)
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"Often the bane of my existence"

What do you like best?

Luminate offers a lot of reliable tools to help your org's fundraising efforts. They're just really terribly out of date. Their services are pretty diverse and once you get through the learning curve (which is kinda high), you start to connect the dots in how to use them.

What do you dislike?

It's horribly outdated. Oh my god. When is the last time you used Netscape? I'm not talking about `navigator.appName`. I'm talking about the browser I used in elementary school. The forms they offer have "netscape fixes" within the HTML. It is pretty crazy how crappy these are. Many years ago these were acceptable, but now it looks and feels ancient. I'm surprised there aren't animated GIFs all over the page.

The ways you need to manipulate TeamRaisers (fundraising event pages) are incredibly frustrating. Here are the steps to make a change to the HTML:

Navigate to teamraiser section in portal.

Search perfect terms to find it (you may have well over 10,000 to search through). You cannot search for the ID which is extremely frustrating.

Click through manage, click through edit, click through page wrapper to identify which page wrapper it uses.

Repeat process for page wrapper section within user portal

Unpublish page wrapper to edit.

Find version, click edit, make change.

Go to publish section, click publish.

No quick changes. ugh.

Next, browser compatibility. Things like file uploads, click and drag features, open window, CSS styling of the luminate UI, ALL may or may not work based on which browser you're using. Mozilla is best for some tasks, internet explorer of all things is often best for a lot of the file upload features. Chrome will get me by for most of it, but when something just doesn't work, I have to open all my tabs in another browser and hope it will work there.

THE SYNTAX FOR THEIR S:TAG LANGUAGE. oh my god what is the ugliest language you can come up with? Did they do this on purpose? It is literally a bunch of colons and brackets. It is extremely messy and difficult to work with. I dread projects that use it. It is a joke to me. I've sent screenshots to my friends to show how ridiculous it is. Can you tell how I feel about it? If not, let me just say again, that it's the ugliest thing I've seen in a text editor.

I'm not sure if this review can include the CMS, so I won't get into it in detail. Just gonna say--don't use it if you don't have to. You will be much happier.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Many non-profits use Luminate with good reason. It covers most of the bases that you need. It is not without struggle though.

Luminate is run by Blackbaud which seems too busy trying to acquire any and all competitors to improve the software itself.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

My org uses it for constituent communication, surveys, fundraising, reporting, and email marketing. We achieve all of this, but often with frustration.

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Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
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"used daily "

What do you like best?

nice looking interface, fairly user friendly after some basic training. great report capabilities.

What do you dislike?

sometimes the mass-email function can be a little difficult to manage... so many steps to complete.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

take as many trainings as possible to get the most from this product

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I use this for both constituent database management, as well as special events management.

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AN
Mid-Market
(201-500 employees)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
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"Not great, not horrible"

What do you like best?

Their customer support is actually pretty good and always easy to get in touch with. Their support agents are always friendly and courteous. Their API is helpful in configuring their donations forms above and beyond what their standard form can do, its also rather straightforward and easy to use.

What do you dislike?

Its rather expensive for what it is. I'm not a fan of how their email system is set up, it seems rather dated and clunky. Their CMS is decent and you can do a lot with it, but its rather expensive for what you get out of if.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are able to connect with our constituents effectively.

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Grants Writer
Non-Profit Organization Management
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
Validated Reviewer
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"Luminate Online a hidden gem"

What do you like best?

I love the analytics, such as rating clients by engagement factors. I also love the seamless integration of email and donation forms and the website.

What do you dislike?

Query and reporting are not as comprehensive as I would prefer.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

An org must have a dedicated (or at least part time) administrator who can make the most of the robust tools available in LO. Ideally you will also upgrade to LCRM.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Ongoing communications with stakeholders. Analytics as far as general engagement. Customization of communications to targeted audiences.

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U
Enterprise
(1001-5000 employees)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
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"Fantastic Website Management"

What do you like best?

Complete ease of use. You don't need to understand coding to easily use Luminate to manage your websites both for front end and back end interface.

What do you dislike?

Honestly there isn't anything I have disliked yet about the system. Sometimes creating reports can be more difficult than usual but it's typically easy enough to navigate through.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Great tool for managing participants and sending mass emails. Also going in the right direction with reporting and managing financial data. I enjoy being able to manage our accounts as thoroughly as I can with Luminate.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Using it to manage websites and customer info.

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AR
Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
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"Implementation Woes"

What do you like best?

It integrates with other Blackbaud offerings, specifically the Raiser's Edge.

What do you dislike?

Development is slow. The training offerings are slim and were not catered to our organization. The current integration with RE is clunky and needs a wholesale update. During the sync process with RE, the Blackbaud team incorrectly linked the two systems which caused the system to spuriously create new ID numbers for each of our constituents.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Ask more questions than you see as necessary. The Luminate offering over-promised and under-delivered. In addition, their training package (the GO! program) did not adequately meet our needs. It would be the right offering for some, but LO did not care enough to know our organization well enough to advise otherwise.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We have seen benefits when it comes to reconciliation between two of our software systems.

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AR
Mid-Market
(501-1000 employees)
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
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"Powerful but not easy to use"

What do you like best?

The ability to integrate all of our online fundaring, user database / constituent profiles, and email marketing makes for a very powerful tool.

What do you dislike?

While the tool is very robust and powerful it is also not user friendly and in some areas has a steep learning curve. The admin interface is clunky and very dated. Many tasks require a technical expertise beyond that of a typical user and thus may require you to frequently need outside cosultants.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If you are going to use Luminate, I would definitely recommend that you partner with a vendor rather than attempt to do everything in-house.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We use Luminate for all of our online fundraising as well as email marketing across our organization. The ability to target and automate emails based on user actions / data is a fantastic, but often feels like setup and maintenance takes longer than it needs to.

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AN
Enterprise
(1001-5000 employees)
Validated Reviewer
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"Definitely Could Be Better "

What do you like best?

I'm not sure we use Luminate Online the same way that others use it, but I like that the software is totally custom to your needs. Luminate Online provides a lot of options as far as fundraising software goes.

What do you dislike?

Because the system is custom to our needs, I really don't like that everything seems to cost extra. Because we are a nonprofit, we are constantly looking for better ways to do things and with Luminate Online, all of the better ways cost money. There really isn't a beneficial way for cost-effective solutions.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

It definitely give you the option to customize your needs. What you get is literally what you pay for.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We definitely use this to house a lot of donor information. It's good for tracking donations and such.

Luminate User Ratings

6.0
Ease of Use
Average: 7.8*
6.8
Quality of Support
Average: 8.4*
5.5
Ease of Setup
Average: 7.0*
* Nonprofit CRM Category
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