Most of you already know this by now, but since I've been commenting on the likelihood of such mergers and purchases since last Fall, I figured I'd better post the final conclusion. This purchase makes me more convinced that the technology underpinnings of how giving happens are set to change dramatically in the next few years.
If you take a wander through Kintera's annual report, you see some outlines of how the company views the puzzle pieces of giving. The 2004 report notes the acquisition of workplace giving firms, fundraising and advocacy consultants (notably the firm that advised Howard Dean's web campaign), prospect research firms, volunteer management, special events, and now, with the purchase of Collaborative Standards, they've brought grant making in house. They also offer customer relationship management, email coordination, major gift solicitation and co-branded donor advised funds.
Kintera is a one stop shop. Or at least wants to be. Political donations, workplace giving, event management, advised funds, major gifts, capital campaigns, friends asking friends* for money (*a process the company has filed patents on) - every transactional piece of giving or raising funds is within the company's line of sight.
Time will tell if the company can pull this off, but at this point it is crystal clear that these folks see the pieces of giving and fundraising and doing as a set of relationships ripe for realignment. Where traditional foundations, nonprofits, United Ways, and others focus on their differences, Kintera seems focused on what they all have in common. If Kintera succeeds in shifting these common functions to their Internet platform, the differences between the land-based entities might become even harder to hang a hat on.