51 Marketing Hub Automations Your Team Should Know About

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      Blackbaud’s Blindspot: HubSpot

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      HubSpot does everything Blackbaud can do - and a lot of what it can’t.

      Blackbaud is a leading technology company offering cloud services to nonprofits doing social good. HubSpot is a best-in-class CRM favored by for-profit businesses for its five interoperable hubs. Which is the right fit for your organization? Let’s put these two popular platforms into perspective.

      Blackbaud vs. HubSpot - Who Comes Out on Top?

      Organizations investigating a CRM for nonprofits will very quickly come across Blackbaud. Their site boasts millions of users all focused on enacting social good. It seems like a community-approved, industry-leading solution for nonprofits, so it's an easy sell for organizations that need something effective immediately. But does it have everything needed to scale donations and expand reach?

      HubSpot, typically touted as a for-profit option only, offers 40% off its pricing for nonprofits and offers many of the same features as Blackbaud. And where it lacks in NPO-specific functions, it makes up for it with top-tier integrations. There are extra goodies built in, too, as a result of the for-profit focus. So, maybe searching outside the NPO bubble for software solutions is the secret to securing a perfect fit.

      Let’s compare Blackbaud and HubSpot apples to apples.


      No two organizations are entirely alike in how they appeal to donors, segment their contacts, and manage their grants. To serve the diverse needs of NPOs everywhere, a CRM or Marketing Automation Platform will need to be flexible. Allowing one platform to communicate with others or bend to the will of an organization is critical to long-term satisfaction.

      Copy of ABM the most underutilized marketing tactic (2)


      Integrations matter because the donor journey is rarely linear and understanding donor data requires multichannel mapping. From social media accounts to payment processors, each disparate tool an organization uses means another hurdle to the internal teams trying to improve marketing performance. Integrations that bring those tools together under one roof save time and money for understaffed organizations.

      One sticking point for Blackbaud users has always been its lack of integration opportunities. The list of platforms that sync with Blackbaud is alarmingly short, considering most NPOs are operating a myriad of tools at any given time. So, if an organization opts to stick with Blackbaud, they can expect to manually move information from platform to platform, or pull together reports the old fashion way - grabbing data from several sources and trying to reconcile it by hand.

      On the other hand, HubSpot has a relatively welcoming integration landscape. With a marketplace of more than 1,000 integrations, just about every common tool under the sun can be natively linked with HubSpot, including platforms like Quickbooks. Niche tools may pose a challenge, but anything is possible: the HubSpot team and its partner agencies have developed hundreds of custom APIs that link to other systems. For NPOs that are attached to their existing tech stack, HubSpot is the way to go.


      As mentioned, what one nonprofit needs will not only differ from other organizations, but it’s also likely to change over time. A clunky, immovable system will not suffice for the advancing demands of a growing NPO. The ability to manipulate and customize the CRM’s dashboards, data, and other assets will be a big perk for organizations of any size.

      Blackbaud wins a point for being a nonprofit solution straight out of the box. Accordingly, it may not require a lot of custom tweaks to suit the needs of some organizations. And thank goodness, because there are not very many customization opportunities on the platform anyway. Users have a few configuration options, which Blackbaud argues are more affordable and effective than customization abilities, but the outcome remains the same: if there is not an available configuration that suits an organization’s needs, they will not have an easy in-app option for custom coding a workaround.

      Enter HubSpot, which once again takes the cake for customization (and configurability, while we’re at it). In addition to a ton of pre-built templates and properties, HubSpot lets users on certain package levels create their own:

      • Custom properties
      • Custom reports
      • Custom APIs
      • Custom modules

      The keyword here is custom. If you can dream it, HubSpot can do it - and you may not even need a developer since the platform is built in anticipation of customization. For tiny nonprofit teams tracking uncommon donor traits or trends, HubSpot has them covered.

      Winner: HubSpot

      The flexibility category goes to HubSpot, no contest. It offers a more malleable environment for both integrations and customizations making it an easy platform to pivot to without data gaps or downtime.

      Copy of ABM the most underutilized marketing tacticReporting

      Every effort a nonprofit makes needs to have demonstrable value to the advancement of their cause. Reports are the perfect way to put that value on display and track the efficacy of each action. CRMs will offer little value to NPOs if they are unable to collate data into understandable, in-depth reports.

      Blackbaud has a few things going for it on the reporting side. They have a financial management tool called Financial Edge NXT. Because it is already nonprofit specific, there are standard reports built around common compliance standards and prebuilt dashboards that display relevant NPO information. Organizations can also create their own report templates. Blackbaud has external partner platforms that can bolster Blackbaud’s reporting capabilities as well. However, as we covered previously, poor integrations in Blackbaud may mean that even the most customizable report is lacking sufficient data to inform strategic decisions.

      We mentioned HubSpot’s custom reports earlier too. They are a flexible extension of a broad report library that covers the gamut of financial, marketing, and customer service data points. With the right mix of hubs, NPOs can not only review their marketing attribution to see what’s working, but they can also track the donor journey along its entire meandering path. And being for-profit oriented, HubSpot has a few tricks up its sleeve. When it comes to reporting, it pays to approach NPOs as businesses. Using the Sales Hub to treat donations like deals and sales, nonprofits will have access to forecasting and revenue attribution reports that other nonprofit platforms can’t compete with.

      Winner: HubSpot

      More integrations mean more data and deeper report functionality means putting that additional data to work in smarter ways. For nonprofits looking to develop a data-driven strategy for their marketing, HubSpot takes the crown.

      User Friendliness

      All the perks we’ve discussed so far only matter if a nonprofit can get their team to commit to a platform. But user adoption is a tricky fight for organizations of any size and kind. Getting your team to adopt a software solution can be an uphill battle, especially when they’re already stretched thin. NPOs need intuitive, easy-to-use solutions that require little training and offer built-in support for any questions that arise.

      Copy of ABM the most underutilized marketing tactic (1)

      (source HubSpot)

      Customer Satisfaction

      Naturally, user reviews factor heavily into the decision to take on a CRM. What do other organizations have to say about Blackbaud and HubSpot?

      Ask around about Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge offering and the reviews will be mixed. Some NPOs are fine with the platform, especially appreciating its ability to track meetings or categorize donations. Others, however, lament the lack of integration opportunities and report consistent issues with certain record-keeping features.

      Users love HubSpot. Among marketing automation platforms, it’s ranked #1 for customer satisfaction. It could be because automations, reports, and customizations are so easy to implement, even for first-time users. It may also be due in part to the fact that HubSpot is constantly listening to user feedback to fuel their aggressive product development roadmap. New features are abundant and come out often, meeting the needs of HubSpot’s wide customer base.


      Is there anything more user-friendly than automations that lighten the workload of a small nonprofit team? The ability to automate processes is a key selling point for NPOs looking to scale their efforts.

      Blackbaud prides itself on marketing automations that speak to nonprofit messaging needs. The depth of these automation abilities is reasonable for surface-level personalization and outreach, like sending a welcome series to new donors that includes their first name in the greeting. For more advanced, multistep automations that are triggered by donor activity or certain attributes, though, Blackbaud quickly hits a wall yet again.

      HubSpot handles automation like it’s made for it - because it is. It’s #1 in the marketing automation category for a reason! The workflows in HubSpot are an elite feature on their own, enabling a plethora of automations that incorporate standard fields or functions as triggers. Where the real magic happens is when custom properties and integrations come together to create highly dynamic engagement opportunities. From sending gifts to donors automatically when they give a certain amount, to flagging patrons’ interests based on how often they revisit certain pages on an NPO’s site, HubSpot can initiate email strings or send alerts based on just about any attribute.

      Winner: HubSpot

      This is another clean sweep category for HubSpot. Not only can new users step into the platform quickly and easily with a minimal learning curve, but the automation opportunities make life easier for teams from day 1.

      Copy of ABM the most underutilized marketing tactic (3)

      HubSpot for Nonprofits

      Blackbaud has its place with nonprofits who are working with limited tools and are comfortable with their current marketing approach. But for the NPOs who know their data holds the secrets to higher donations, stronger relationships, and more opportunities, HubSpot is the real social good enabler. At 40% its standard pricing, the platform makes it easy to cut costs and keep moving forward.

      The transition can be intimidating, though, and we completely understand. As Diamond HubSpot partners, we’ve helped dozens of nonprofits make the move away from a legacy CRM into HubSpot’s innovative space. We’ve learned along the way how to:

      • Ensure comprehensive data transfer from the old system into HubSpot
      • Create custom features that deepen donor insights and enable automation
      • Establish workflows that maximize donor engagement and increase giving
      • Build reports that track attribution and forecast future success
      • Plan marketing strategies that utilize HubSpot’s powerful tools like smart content
      • Integrate a multitude of apps and platforms that keep nonprofits connected to their favorite systems

      You could be doing more good with HubSpot. We’d be happy to help you get there.

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