I just read the very interesting book “Free”, by Chris Anderson, and I’m giving some thought to creating a limited-feature free version of the program. (The full version would still be available to small organizations, using the same 4 criteria I use now for free licenses.) I’m not at all decided that I want to do this, but I thought I would run it by you for your comments and advice.
The rationale behind doing this is that it brings more users in, some of whom may become paid users if and when they decide they want the full version. They would also have to pay for support (other than free help getting it set up initially), probably at the $30 annual fee level.
Here are the features that after my first review, I think I might remove from a free version:
- All handling of Gifts in Kind, including removing the optional Description field from the Donation fields.
- The Email Address field, the three renamable Other Info fields and the Comments field from the Donor Details area.
- Limited User features.
- All mail merge (Letters menu) features, which thus includes removing the ability to create your own receipt formats.
- Custom Reports
- The All Donors and Filtered Donors options on the Receipt menu (so, all receipts must be done one donor at a time). (I’m least sure about removing this one!)
- From the Database menu, all Importing options, Reassign Envelope Numbers, Switch Databases, and SQL Select.
- From the Help menu, Request or Install License Key. (That’s just a side effect, because a free version wouldn’t need license keys!)
I’m very open to discussion on any of the above points, as I may not have picked the right ones. (Have I missed anything that you think free version users should not get?)
The free version has to be good enough for a reasonable number of churches and charities with limited needs to use, but it has to omit enough that at least (say) half of all users will either want to start with the full version, or will eventually choose to upgrade to it.
What are your thoughts? Thank you.