Category Archives: PowerBase Updates

some thoughts on PowerBase pricing

We’ve had a few questions come up about PowerBase pricing – what a group would need to get up and running with PowerBase. So, I thought I’d take a cut at explaining our pricing model in hopes that it can help your organization get a handle on the services you’ll need to successfully use PowerBase.  From PTP’s perspective, the first question you need to answer is what your organization needs to help you reach your goals.

What PowerBase will cost your organization is going to be different from what it would cost a different organization. Different organizations need different things but in general, any organization getting up and running with PowerBase, or any database, is going to need some combination of the following services:

  1. You’ll need the database itself, and for an online database, you’ll need it hosted, and you’ll want to account for maintenance of the server, security and regular software updates, and backups
  2. You’ll need to transfer your data from your existing database into the new database – in this case, PowerBase. This transfer process will likely include some amount of data cleaning since it’s not in the nature of data to stay particularly clean, and you’ll need clean data going in to PowerBase. [ Note: What the heck do we mean by clean data? Basically, what we mean by clean data is that the data is in the correct format – addresses broken out correctly – only one name in the name line – i.e. you don’t have “John and Lucinda” in a firstname field, and “Johnson” in the lastname field for that record.] There are a wide variety of errors and issues with data, and they all need to be taken care of so that you can transition to a new database. View an online training on data cleaning if you’re interested.
  3. Once you’ve got your data cleaned, you’ll need to get your new PowerBase configured to accept the data you’re importing, and this will also include the creation of any necessary custom fields and things of that nature.
  4. Then you’ll need to import your data into the new system. This always takes longer than you want it to, and you almost always run into unforeseen issues.
  5. Next you’ll want to be sure that the data did import properly – so you’ll click through, run some queries, and basically convince yourself that you a) didn’t lose anything and b) that everything imported into the right places.
  6. And once you’ve done all of that? It’s time for training and support. This is the most important part of using a database effectively, and it’s the part that is most often overlooked and under-resourced. Minimally, you’ll want to invest in training for one person – your database point person, to become skilled enough that they can train and support the rest of your staff with little to no need for outside assistance. Three notes on this:
    • this process of becoming proficient can take time and
    • if you want this to work, you need to make sure that the person has dedicated time in their schedule for this training and support role.

One last thought on training and support – nonprofit IT folks used to say that training and support should/could reasonably be 60%-80% of your budget for a project and/or overall technology infrastructure. We’ve backed off of hard numbers like that, but find that we’re still putting together projects where the training and support – the ongoing
costs – account for a large percentage of a group’s IT spending. My recommendation is that you plan for all your staff to have access to the online training they need, and select a smaller group to attend the in-person trainings that make sense for your goals and needs.

So – how does this relate to PowerBase? You’ll need a combination of the above services, and the combination that you need will be determined by the quality and amount of the data that you have now, and it will be determined by the type of training and support that you want. The “sliders” or things that you can change to impact the cost are:

  • Where, how, and who cleans your data – PTP, your staff, a volunteer?
  • Who imports your data – PTP, a volunteer, a staff person?
  • How much support – if any – you want in the cleaning and importing process
  • How much training you want
  • How much and what type of technical support your want
  • How much – if any – on site consulting you want from PTP to help you utilize your database most effectively

Given all these factors, the least that you’ll pay to get PowerBase would likely be right around $2,000, and the most you’d pay would be $17,000 or more if you wanted strategic consulting assistance.

What it comes down to then is a question of what support and services you need to accomplish your goals. Fundamentally, investing in your database infrastructure is about investing in your ability to increase the scale of your organizing so that you win power to change things. Please let us know how we can help you define the services and support to contribute to your success.