Most fundraisers today are very familiar with the breadth of channel and content availability at their disposal when engaging across the donor lifecycle.
Consumers want to be engaged via their preferred channels, time of day, and only really want to see the content relevant to their values, past engagements, and interests. This is of course all possible using a number of digital solutions but the best way to manage stakeholders is using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform.
The question is, why would you use a CRM platform for fundraising and why should this platform be Salesforce rather than any other technology.
The first part of this question is answered by the depth of today’s donor lifecycle which includes acquisition, engagement, and supporter care as its primary pillars. This means that the functional requirements across this lifecycle are much wider than any one application may offer and therefore a platform approach is the only way to get a true and complete picture of your supporters.
A number of vertical applications exist, such as Donman or Blackbaud’s eTapestry, to deliver specific functions, such as payments, donations, or grants. It is entirely possible to architect a technical environment in which all parts of the supporter lifecycle using a variety of vertical applications but this will very likely result in either a need for complex (and usually expensive) integrations or a range of manual processes to circumvent the downside of distributed information across these applications.
Giving you a truly complete picture of your supporters, in its very essence, is what a CRM platform is design to do.
A typical CRM nurtures the stakeholder journey
In real terms, the fundraising journey has evolved way beyond taking payments into marketing, building shared value, taking care of supporters, enabling story telling, self-service, and conveying trust in your nonprofit organisation.
With the above in mind and the clear benefits of using a CRM over vertical applications, we have come up with a few strong reasons for why this CRM should be the Salesforce platform, including:
Trust. At the core of every digital solution and stakeholder engagement lies trust. Your donors need to be able to trust you with their money, their data, and their engagement with you. Salesforce is the leading CRM platform in the world and is entirely built on trust, as is outlined at trust.salesforce.com.
Platform versus Application. In preference of providing a deep set of features for a specific purpose to the exclusion of everything else (which is the approach taken by applications such as eTapestry or Donman), Salesforce offers a wide set of functions and allows for the expansion of all components of it’s platform; this includes introducing new functions natively within the platform. It is this ability to evolve over time within a single platform that puts Salesforce at the advantage over vertical applications (or even smaller and more specialised platforms).
Adoption. Globally, over 40,000 nonprofit and social organisations are using the Salesforce platform. This has resulted in thousands of free online resources to support your adoption of Salesforce, further complemented by its own training environment at Trailhead.
Apps. We all know about the Apple AppStore or GooglePlay. Salesforce is the only CRM platform with a meaningful and comprehensive applications marketplace, called the AppExchange. This allows customers to easily expand their Salesforce solutions as the need arises.
Breadth of Offering. The Salesforce ecosystem is comprehensive, to say the least. A number of critical business functions can be supported without the need for any integration at all, including marketing, online portals, case management, data analytics, content management, omni-channel communications, and many others.
Nonprofit Focus. Salesforce is the only premium CRM platform to offer a focused offering for the social and nonprofit sector, using its Nonprofit Success Pack. This provides strong functions around managing donations, pledges, grants, major donors, sponsorships, as well as memberships.
Integration. In the rare case where a business need can’t be met using the native Salesforce toolset, almost every on-demand service offers out-of-the-box integrations with Salesforce. This includes event management, financial services, payments, and many others.
The last part of this analysis focuses on why the NPSP+ fundraising solution is the best available technology to take your Salesforce fundraising platform further and turn you into a truly connected social organisation, including:
The NPSP+ Contact Profile
Reliable and Scaleable Payment Solution. The NPSP+ solution extends the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack to offer reliable and secure payment processing. We have deeply integrated with the Stripe payment gateway to offer single donations, recurring gifts, as well as machine learning retry logic execution to ensure your payment success rate is as high as practical.
Complete Salesforce Roadmap Alignment. The NPSP+ solution completely aligns with the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack which means organisations implementing the NPSP+ will be on Salesforce’s roadmap to take advantage of future enhancements and enrichments. We are part of Salesforce’s Advisory Group which determines roadmap features and aligns the Salesforce technology to the sector. The NPSP+ solution aligns continuously aligns itself to this vision.
Feature Rich. The NPSP+ fundraising solution package offers a range of features that naturally extend the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack, such as payments, recurring gift processing, receipting, and creating your own donation pages. In addition, the NPSP+ offers online self-service components to manage their own details, download receipts, and upgrade their recurring gift.
Stakeholder Lifecycle Coverage (Feature Rich). As already discussed in this article, the supporter lifecycle has expanded dramatically over the past few years to include personalised messaging across a variety of channels, online self-service, and the expectation that a payment (donation) can be made on any device at any time. The NPSP+ solution supports this evolution by providing the technology components to support the execution of these supporter engagement expectations.
Informed by the Sector, Built for the Sector. Vertic, the author of the NPSP+ solution, has been delivering digital solutions to the social and nonprofit sectors for over 10 years and the NPSP+ is born out of the experiences, customer feedback, and challenges during this time. This means that the NPSP+ solution has been largely informed by the sector itself and then built specifically to address the requirements of the sector.
Affordable and Valuable. We understand and appreciate that an investment in technology needs to be proportional to revenue and represent true value to a social or nonprofit organisation. The NPSP+ exists based on a social mission to digitally enable the social sector and therefore is democratically priced based on an organisation’s financial capability.
If this article has encouraged you to find out more about any of the thoughts and ideas discussed, we would welcome showing you how the NPSP+ solutions extends the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack. Please use any of the below links and contact details to get in touch with us.
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This story comes in the form of an interview we conducted with one of our lead consultants and his approach to building a generic and configurable file import utility within the Salesforce platform.
Alex opted for an approach in which he used Salesforce Flows rather than APEX to give our clients maximum flexibility of change as well as reduce the initial implementation costs.