There must be a million Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) tools on the Internet, but the vast majority of these tools try to meet the needs of every possible customer—which means they don't quite meet anyone's.
Tighten built Karani as a targeted CRM: it only works for a niche market, but for that market it does more than any other CRM could. By focusing on the unique needs of individual fundraisers—how they think about money, what sort of reports they need, etc.—Karani can closely meet their needs.
Karani is helping me get more organized for fundraising than I've ever been before. Now that my contacts, tasks, and gifts are consolidated in Karani, I'm communicating with partners and potential donors much more easily and regularly.
Unlike many of our projects, Tighten has played every role with Karani. We created it, designed it, developed it, and marketed it.
Design & Planning
There are many patterns for CRM user interfaces that we were able to lean on in designing Karani—how to represent a contact, how to represent tasks, etc.—but no one has ever done quite what we were doing here. Because we had extensive experience and relationships in the space of individual fundraising, we were able to build the user experience from the ground up. We knew that most individual fundraisers have no training in fundraising and are responsible for their day jobs—photography, ministry, or whatever else—at least 80% of their week. We needed to build powerful tools that were simple, easy to learn, and smart enough to tell its users: "Have limited time? Here's what you should do with the next hour."
Most web sites can forgive a little bit of down time. But Karani's users rely on it fully for their fundraising. Without access to Karani, they're entirely at a loss. We needed to build a small-scale, affordable hosting solution that also provided near-perfect uptime, without the financial support behind a dedicated dev-ops team. Throughout this process, we learned many valuable lessons about maintaining a high-accessibility server.
We started Karani back in the days when CodeIgniter reigned supreme, but we've since taken to developing most apps in Laravel. The process of slowly modernizing Karani has spun out quite a few talks and projects, most notably Torch, which makes it easy to pull Laravel's components into your non-Laravel projects, and Sharing Laravel, a talk about bringing Laravel components into non-Laravel projects. With Karani, we developed a hybrid model where certain sections of the site are served by Laravel and others by CodeIgniter. Gradually, we have been moving route after route into the Laravel app; within a year, we will have completely phased out CodeIgniter.
Working on your next great SaaS? We have the experience to make it a reality.