FrontStream, the current owner of GiftWorks, sent me the following notice this week:

Hey there Robert,

As in the past, we are preparing to upgrade FrontStream CRM (previously GiftWorks 2013) users to the newest version of CRM.

This change is in-line with our transition to a subscription-based service. As such, current and new clients are guaranteed access to ongoing software updates, training and support, and enhanced features. Retiring older versions allows us to invest our time and resources into the continuous improvement of CRM.

We will begin contacting 2013 users on February 5th regarding the need to upgrade to the latest version of CRM by August 1, 2015. There are many benefits to upgrading, such as:

  • Free FirstGiving account including a customizable donation button and virtual terminal
  • Push-to-sync online donations: sync donors and donations with CRM in a single click
  • Sync event information: registrants, event donations, fundraisers, and team information seamlessly flow into CRM
  • Process recurring donations based on donors' schedule of giving
  • Maintain cleaner data: set required fields for donors and donation records
  • And more!!

In the months leading up to the deadline, we will completely waive the set-up fee. However, after August 1st clients will be responsible for paying 100% of this fee. Please urge your 2013 users to upgrade sooner rather than later to take advantage of this incentive.

To help clients through this transition, we will be hosting biweekly live webinars dedicated to showing them what has changed since 2013. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions during these sessions as well as better understand the upgrade process. 

This change will affect both hosted clients, who already pay a monthly fee, as well as clients using an on-premise (local) installation of GiftWorks. Many of the latter group thought they had made a one-time purchase and would only need to pay (optional) annual maintenance fees if they didn't need additional modules. However, FrontStream is planning to disable nonprofits' ability to use their on-premise database if those clients don’t upgrade and move to a hosted, subscription-based version. A representative from FrontStream confirmed that all clients, whether their database is on-premise (local) or hosted by FrontStream, will no longer be able to access their data if they do not upgrade by midnight on July 31st, 2015. 

There have been extensive discussions of this on TechSoup (here and here), and I hope that by now all GiftWorks clients know about this impending change. However, I expect that some nonprofits will be in for unpleasant surprises on August 1st.