An exploration of Salesforce’s suitability for nonprofits and how to choose the right path for your organisation
Salesforce offers an incredible range of functionalities. As such, sometimes it’s difficult to find which are relevant to your nonprofit’s goals and processes. It is a powerful tool with vast potential, which can be both exciting and intimidating for any organisation.
That’s why we’re here to help you to weigh up some of the advantages and disadvantages of Salesforce for nonprofits. In the FAQs below, we have broken down a few of the most common Salesforce-related questions that nonprofits typically approach us with.
All of the answers listed come from our dedicated nonprofit growth team - 4C4U. This team consults exclusively with nonprofit organisations to help them find and use the right technology for their mission. Want to speak to the team to talk specifically about the suitability of Salesforce for you? You can contact us here.
Frequently asked Salesforce questions from nonprofit organisations
Is Salesforce free for nonprofits?
Salesforce offers 10 free subscriptions for eligible nonprofits, as part of their Power of Us programme. The subscriptions are for Salesforce Enterprise Edition CRM Lightning.
This is part of Salesforce’s push to make the platform more accessible to mission-focused organisations that would really benefit from it. The programme also provides upskilling resources to help nonprofits get the most out of their subscriptions and sizeable discounts on additional Salesforce subscriptions, products and events.
To be eligible for the Power of Us programme, you must have legal documentation that proves that you are “recognised as charitable, nonprofit, nongovernmental, educational, or social change organisation in the country where you are located”.
What is the Salesforce nonprofit Success Pack?
The NPSP is a flexible package that Salesforce has made freely available to nonprofit organisations (of any size), to enable them to automate their processes, manage their programs all in one place and run their organisations more efficiently.
Its features include, but are not limited to:
- Seamless volunteer management
- Customisable reports and real-time dashboards
- Supporter engagement monitoring
- End-to-end donation cycle management
For more information on the Salesforce NPSP, read 4C4U’s overview. If you want to talk in more detail about how it could specifically benefit your nonprofit organisation, you can get in touch with the team here.
Is Salesforce easy for nonprofits to use?
Over the years, Salesforce has invested millions in making the software as accessible, intuitive and easy to roll-out as possible. Certainly, thanks to the NPSP and other nonprofit focused initiatives, the majority of first-time users are able to learn how to use it relatively quickly.
Some layers of customisation are simpler than others, which is why so many nonprofits do lean on digital partners to work out how to get the most out of the software.
Which nonprofits use Salesforce?
There are over 30,000 nonprofit organisations around the world that use Salesforce - of varying size, complexity and missions.
Examples of nonprofits that have embraced the platform are:
- ASTRiiD - A charitable organisation that helps people with long term illnesses and conditions find meaningful work. They use Salesforce to create hyper visual dashboards of their real-time performance and segment their data to enhance their ability to match the right people with the right jobs.
- Progress Educational Trust - An independent charity whose vision is to improve the choices for people affected by infertility or genetic conditions. They use Salesforce to consolidate all their digital processes into one centralised place and automate a lot of tasks that were previously done manually.
- Social Investment Business - A UK charity that offers loans, grants and other financial products to charities and social enterprises to help them improve people’s lives. They use Salesforce to manage investee data in one central location, and also created a custom Loanbook app to manage all aspects of funds, payments, interest rates and loan drawdowns.
Which parts of my organisation is Salesforce suitable for?
While Salesforce offers products that accelerate implementation of certain features, (e.g. NPSP for fundraising & supporter engagement), as a software platform it can be configured to manage any organisational process. For example, it has capabilities for a custom app to manage your day-to-day service delivery.
Additionally, many 3rd party apps have been created that integrate natively with Salesforce for specific functions, such as Project Management, or HR.
Think about where the greatest value lies for your organisation in terms of automating & digitising processes.
How would Salesforce help me increase my engagement?
Firstly, Salesforce enables your nonprofit organisation to have a single source of truth for all your supporter data - ensuring consistency and clarity in your success reporting that will inform your ongoing optimisations.
Secondly, it provides the ability to track all the different channels of engagement in one place, empowering you to target and personalise your future engagement with each individual.
Products like Salesforce Community Cloud and Marketing Cloud take this to the next level, by providing access to a branded space where supporters can ask questions, take part in initiatives and access resources, as well as the ability to carefully curate the journey that they go on with you.
How can I integrate existing tools with Salesforce?
Pre-built connectors already exist for a huge variety of commonly-used tools and apps, be they form/survey tools, campaign or event management apps or even finance systems. These can often accelerate the process of integrating tools with Salesforce without the need to write any code.
If this isn’t the case, get in touch with 4C4U. Our in-house development team are happy to look into your needs in more detail and will often be able to create a custom API to automate moving data between your 3rd party tools and Salesforce.
I am happy with where I am storing information currently, what benefits would Salesforce bring?
This is a reasonable question - why go to the effort of all this change if you are able to manage your organisation day to day with your existing processes, be they spreadsheet based or on bespoke legacy software?
The biggest benefits that we see with our clients every day are;
- Firstly the convenience and security that hosting your data on a cloud platform brings, allowing employees to securely access data from anywhere, over the web or on mobile.
- Secondly, the efficiencies and added insights that hosting your processes in one central system unlock, allowing you total visibility of your fundraising pipeline, or a dashboard view of your organisation’s impact on your beneficiaries in a single click.
- Processes can be automated wherever possible, transforming copying and pasting between spreadsheets, or reconciling row after row into a process that runs behind the scenes.
- Finally, moving your functions into Salesforce future-proofs your organisation, helping you comply with regulations, and stay ahead of technological trends that your supporters or beneficiaries expect from organisations they interact with.