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Frequently Asked Questions

the bsd tools are the most effective platform for organizing, engaging, and activating online. learn how they can help your organization.

What are the BSD Tools?

The BSD Tools are a set of digital applications that serve as the backbone for dozens of organizations and companies. The platform combines a customizable, searchable member database with powerful mass email, reliable donation processing, social networking, event management, personal fundraising, analytics and more. The result is the most effective platform for organizing, engaging, and activating supporters online. Learn more about the BSD Tools’ features.

How can the BSD Tools help my organization?

The BSD Tools have steered hundreds of action-oriented online campaigns and brands to success. Our key lies in empowering you and your organization to build a real and lasting foundation of support. Trying to build an army of advocates? The BSD Tools will help you create valuable, new relationships— and strengthen existing ones. Want to mobilize your supporters to act? The Tools make it easy to keep audiences engaged and primed to further your advocacy or business goals. Need to raise money? Our fundraising tools let you quickly broadcast a mass appeal.

Since 2005, our clients have engaged and activated more than 122 million supporters. The BSD Tools have been used to send more than 10 billion emails and have accepted more than $1 billion in online donations.

Who uses the BSD Tools?

Our technology has helped hundreds of advocacy organizations, political candidates, cultural institutions, educational institutions, nonprofits, and corporations exceed their goals, including the It Gets Better Project, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Partners in Health, We Are Ohio, the Green Bay Packers, NAACP, Carnegie Hall, the Sundance Film Festival, SEIU, the American Red Cross, Mercy Ships, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Barack Obama’s first and second presidential campaigns. Learn more about our clients and view our case studies.

How much do the BSD Tools cost?

The BSD Tools are an industry-leading value. Our tiered pricing model starts at $450 per month. Unlike many of our competitors, we won’t charge you feature-by-feature. All plans include the full suite of applications and 24/7 support by our team of live, human, experts. And we won’t nickel and dime you with fees for “custom branding” or “custom domain names”. You get the fully customizable, fully featured platform without any games. See our pricing and compare the BSD Tools to our competitors.

Can the BSD Tools be customized to fit my organization’s branding?

Yes. The BSD Tools let you control every aspect of your supporters’ experience. Efficient, easy-to-manage templates and wrappers make it possible to refine every page down to the smallest detail. Or, if you never want to touch a line of HTML or CSS, our team will set you up with customized styling that matches your current branding. You’ll be off and running, without having to wait for complicated design and front-end development processes.

How do the BSD Tools integrate with my current website?

If you want to stick with your current content management system (CMS), we’ll happily integrate the BSD Tools into your existing framework, customizing your wrappers and styling to fit your unique brand. Visitors can move seamlessly between your website and BSD Tools pages, with no interruption in their experience.

Or, if you’re looking to switch, you can choose to add ExpressionEngine to your BSD Tools platform. This versatile, easy-to-use CMS can be fully integrated with the rest of our technology — allowing your team to customize, grow, and maintain a robust web presence with minimal effort.

Do I have to know HTML, CSS, PHP or otherwise be a technical genius to use the BSD Tools?

Absolutely not. The BSD Tools let you scale and maintain a rich, action-oriented website — even if your staff doesn’t know any HTML. You’ll have immediate access to pre-loaded page templates based on exhaustive analysis and testing to hone in on best practices. With a few clicks you’ll be able to create forms that fit seamlessly within your website. Email and social sharing tools are automatically integrated.

But if you’re planning to get ambitious, our content management framework can handle anything you might throw at them: video, animation, scripting, Flash, and more.

Do the BSD Tools work internationally?

Yes. The BSD Tools support multiple languages, including British English, Mexican Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Italian, French, Czech, Indonesian, Simplified Chinese and Russian. Our events tool is customized for organizing from China to South Africa. Our advocacy tool includes datasets for Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and more. The BSD Tools have powered campaigns around the world.

Are BSD Tools optimized for mobile devices?

The rise of mobile devices places a new barrier between your supporters and the actions you want them to take. Your pages may appear tiny when viewed in a mobile browser. Form entry on smartphone keypad can be tedious. It’s no surprise that action rates on mobile devices are 50% lower than on desktops.

The BSD Tools will help you tackle this new challenge. Our revolutionary "Quick Donate" feature will allow your supporters to contribute with a single click – via mobile email, SMS or your website. Mobile wrappers and redirects let you serve optimized content to users depending on the device they use to visit your site. These features mean more engagement, more donations, and more revenue across devices.

Are the BSD Tools and my data secure?

The BSD Tools are hosted at an Internap collocation facility near Boston, MA. Internap is a top-rated colocation vendor with top-tier security, physical systems redundancy, and network connectivity.

We store your data using fault-tolerant systems, which are backed up off-site weekly and augmented with separately stored transactional logs, which are also backed up off-site nightly. We are capable of “point in time” recovery of any database in the event of a fault or malicious attack.

We are a PCI DSS-compliant Level 1 Service Provider and develop our software in accordance with the OWASP Top 10 guidelines for web application security. Our contribution transactions use SSL encryption and electronic interactions with payment gateways and other exchanges of sensitive constituent information are always encrypted. In accordance with our PCI-DSS compliance, we do not retain credit card numbers after transactions have been completed. Learn more about our security, reliability and privacy procedures.

What does BSD do with my data?

Blue State Digital works hard to protect the privacy of user information stored on its servers. Clients maintain ownership of user data collected on their web sites. Each client database is kept in its own “silo” within our systems to prevent one client from ever accessing another client’s data. Blue State Digital staff is trained in the importance of protecting personal information. Blue State Digital will never distribute user information without the express permission of the client (or a court order compelling us to do so).

What type of technical support do you provide?

Every BSD Tools installation comes with 24/7 service by real human beings who know what they're talking about and are eager to help. We also offer regular, webcasted training, ranging from instruction appropriate for new or novice users to more in-depth webinars on advanced functionality. Our online Knowledge Base provides answers to commonly asked questions regarding the BSD Tools.

In addition, our system administrators, using a variety of automated systems, monitor Blue State Digital’s infrastructure around the clock. Our monitoring system is tuned to alert us to small problems before they turn into big ones. A system administrator and a software developer are on-call 24/7 to handle any issues that may arise.

Do the BSD Tools have an API?

Yes. Our API allows external access to data and functionality inside the BSD Tools system. The API follows many REST design principles and can be accessed from any common programming environment, including PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python, and .NET. All API calls use either an HTTP GET or POST request. For more information, read our API documentation.

Why should I choose the BSD Tools over Salsa Labs?

Salsa (sometimes referred to as Democracy in Action, DemocracyInAction, or Wired for Change) caters to advanced digital campaigners, but can be rough around the edges when building complex campaigns and may not hold up when your successful campaign requires instant scale. Salsa is sold feature-by-feature. Unlike the BSD Tools, core functionality like fundraising, advocacy, and events are each priced separately with significant setup and monthly fees. Learn more about how the BSD Tools compare to Salsa.

Why are the BSD Tools better than NationBuilder?

NationBuilder aims to offer campaign tools to the very smallest organizational users. If you don't have a website or need a temporary stopgap, NationBuilder is an attractive option. But organizations looking to maintain a seamless, optimized experience that is consistent with an existing website may be disappointed. NationBuilder does not integrate with other content management systems. Their pages are often unbranded and you’ll have to pay extra money to use your organization’s own web address. Clunky donation pages can severely reduce the rate of completed transactions. When you need guidance, there's no phone number to call. NationBulder recently became the exclusive software provider for the Republican State Leadership Committee, the official GOP body charged with electing conservative officials at the state level. And like Salsa and Convio, NationBuilder starts clients with a low monthly fee, but sending email can ultimately cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars more per month. Learn more about how the BSD Tools compare to NationBuilder.

Why should I choose the BSD Tools over Convio/Blackbaud?

Convio (along with other Blackbaud products including Sphere, NetCommunity, and eTapestry) is an expensive and increasingly outdated donor management platform. It is used predominantly by large organizations with sizable in-house development teams with advanced knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP and Convio’s own proprietary markup language. Tasks that are simple in the BSD Tools – building a form, sending a segmented email, running an A/B test – can take hours in Convio. Their baseline product, CommonGround, offers what should be basic functionality like fundraising or social sharing only for additional fees. If you want more than two staffers to have access to their platform, you’ll pay extra for that too. Learn more about how the BSD Tools compare to Convio.

How can I get started with the BSD Tools?

To get started with the BSD Tools or request a free demo, please contact us through this site, or email techsales@bluestatedigital.com.