Update on the removal of Microsoft applications from Blackbaud hosting

Image of Blackbaud web page about the removal

The removal of the Microsoft applications from the Blackbaud hosting environment is in 4 weeks. With January behind us getting ready for this change, what have we learned?

First, most organizations have decided that replicating their merges in a local copy of Word is the most useful and do-able approach given their knowledge, busyness, and time to work on this. Online RE communities indicate that many database managers are rusty on their mail merging skills and unfamiliar with conditional merges, so setting up these merges is taking some time for troubleshooting.

Second, the introduction of Power Automate was a distraction and is not a workable immediate solution for most organizations. Once Blackbaud released their webinars on merging with a local copy of Word, the approach became clearer and most folks have decided to consider Power Automate later.

Third, the third-party solutions from Donortek and Red Arc show some possibility, but neither is likely an immediate solution. Donortek’s amazing ReceipterPro is expensive, and Red Arc’s Letter Box won’t release until February 28 and with limited initial functionality. Great options to explore long-term, but not likely of immediate help.

As promised, I have kept my web page on this change updated — see the update dates in the questions. Tips and tricks for Word formatting problems can be found there, as well as links to the recommended Blackbaud webinars on Word, ReceipterPro, and Red Arc. There’s also a new link to a solution for Canadian and other organizations that want to send email receipts and acknowledgements.

Remember that there is more to this change than just acknowledgement letters and receipts. If you can’t make all the changes before February 28, make sure you at least get copies of your Word documents and Excel pivot reports from all the locations in RE that you use. We’re told that as of February 28 they’ll no longer be accessible.

Bill’s web page on the change, including updated information

Other items of note

For current clients: I’m moving the last week of February. While that may sound like awful timing if you need help with the Microsoft changes, as noted above you shouldn’t be waiting until the last week of February to deal with this. Let me know soon if you need help. Thanks.

For everyone: Every database manager and head of fundraising should read this important article from the January issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy about cybersecurity for nonprofits. The risk is real, get prepared.