There is decent amount of feature overlap between NGP-VAN and Blue Utopia. Both are dedicated to Democratic and Progressive causes and both provide a full-stack of integrated tools for communication, advocacy, fundraising, and donor-management. An important distinction before we compare is where we don't overlap. Blue Utopia does not offer voter data (The VAN side of NGP-VAN). BlueUtopia is a supporter-management system only, geared toward helping you; target, engage, activate, fundraise, and build relationships with your effective audience. So the comparison below is with the 'NGP' portion of NGP-VAN. With that, here are a few key differences between Blue Utopia and NGP.
Usability. Compliance and fundraising professionals have used NGP for years and can operate this system without issue. For campaign workers that haven’t used NGP for years or who don’t not have months to learn how to use it, NGP is a very difficult system to use. There is a reason ease-of-use is so important. A lot of the information that can help a candidate or organization build better relationships with donors come from activities, interactions, and local knowledge. This information flows through volunteers and campaign staff and when they can’t use the system, then that information gets lost. This can severely limit the usefulness of your database system. Blue Utopia, in stark contrast to NGP, can be learned in minutes and used effectively by any staff member with almost any level of expertise. That allows everyone on the team to add information that makes your system much more valuable over the longer term.
Pricing. We have very different approaches to pricing and terms. NGP is considerably more expensive and focuses on locking clients into long-term contracts. In contrast, Blue Utopia offers scaled pricing on both annual or month-to-month subscriptions. With scaled pricing, a campaign just starting out, can can get up and running on Blue Utopia for around $50/month. See more pricing details here
Product Differences. There is a good deal of overlap in the functionality of the two systems. One key difference is coverage for compliance reporting. NGP offers compliance in most jurisdictions in the U.S., whereas BlueUtopia has a compliance module for only a few states and the FEC. Both companies offer an integrated email broadcast tool, sign-up forms, targeted list-building, and all the features you'd expect in a fundraising and advocacy system. Lastly, whereas NGP gets frequent complaints about its support, BlueUtopia is lauded for it's fantastic customer support.
Where usability, cost, flexible term, and performance of the core tools are primary desires, Blue Utopia is a better option. If your need is very specific to compliance in one of the jurisdictions that BlueUtopia doesn't address, NGP might be a better way to go.