The customer service was, well, kindful. The design is definitely on the right track – overall it's a good human-to-human user experience.
Perhaps it was just the four months we were using it, but the software itself needs re-engineering. In that respect, the user experience was dreadful – I received 404 errors constantly for most of their most basic, built-in reports. Results in general were slow to load even on my super-fast computer (which is a huge problem if you are on the phone with a donor and need an answer immediately). Despite hours spent with the instructional guides, videos, and online help, I couldn't seem to figure out how to refine reports to produce the most simple results (i.e. who are our current members?), and I seemed to get divergent and incomplete results with every try. Custom fields were limited and not helpful during the import process and we had to lose some data. Exporting results for mail merges and analysis was a 4 step process and often required more than 5 minutes load time. In sum, it was very difficult to get fast, accurate information on our 800 or so donors. I ended up returning to my original Excel sheet again and again to find the information that I needed – definitely not what we wanted from CRM database service.
The database was the primary and most elemental reason for this being the wrong choice for our organization. However, there were many other issues: the crowdfunding module was not intuitive and put a halt on our efforts promoting our big yearly fundraiser. Despite being software engineers and tech savvy Bay Area types who were enthusiastic about the process, our Board ended up opting to purchase separate crowdfunding software. It was unclear at the outset that Mailchimp records would count towards our total records. We purchased the software at annual flat rate of $1200 for our 800 or so donors, but once we imported our 5K mailing list we were charged an additional $200 overage fee each month. We were charged an additional fee for each and every transaction, which threw off our accounting systems and created some confusion (where were these additional fees coming from? Paypal, Stripe, or Kindful?). Our donors were annoyed/confused that they were bounced to a Kindful-branded page to make donations and purchase membership. We couldn't customize the donor-facing page with text to explain the process, since most of the menus and buttons were locked-in. We also tried to cancel subscription memberships and make refunds, and although Kindful indicated that the cancellations/refunds had been successful, the donor was still charged.
All in all I liked where Kindful was going with the design and integrations and it does seem that they are constantly making improvements, however the software itself does not seem to be ready for professional use.
We ended up switching to Neon. The cost of of the $1200 annual fee was not refunded and the time spent implementing a dysfunctional database was crippling to our small organization, but with Neon's thorough training and highly fine-tuned database we bounced back fairly quickly.
Neon offers the added benefit of event ticketing and does not charge additional fees on transactions. It took more time to set up and the design was less appealing, but in the end the added value of Neon's expertise was extremely valuable and the return on investment was palpable. Unfortunate about Kindful, but it's a new service and we should have predicted that it was still in its early stages of development.
We needed to track donation histories across 6 distinct campaigns, provide automatic donor acknowledgments/tax receipts, offer a seamless donor-facing experience, and do consistent fundraising for our large-scale events and small scale high-level campaigns.