Salesforce for Nonprofits
Nonprofits may not be considering Salesforce as a technology solution often enough. It is not surprising that the commercial sounding “Salesforce” platform gets overlooked. Nonprofits and higher education institutions can gain access to this leading technology at a fraction of the typical cost through different avenues.
The Salesforce Foundation’s mission to give back 1% of product and earnings to non-profit and higher education means discounted and free resources are available. An eligible organization can get an Enterprise Salesforce instance with 10 licenses for free right out of the gate, enabling them to get started at the cost of configuration. Additional licenses and data storage are also deeply discounted.
One thing that I saw often during my nonprofit days were technology tool packages that could “do it all”. Fundraising, volunteer & event management, grants, mass email marketing, the list is endless. The issue I have with the all-in-one approach is that no two nonprofits handle these needs in the same way. In order to make a tool that reaches all nonprofits, the “do it all solutions” are distilled to the most basic uses. Organizations ends up changing business processes to meet technology limitations or not using the tool at all.
Salesforce isn’t like that. It is flexible, highly customizable and scalable. Plus, custom development isn’t always needed to meet a business requirement. Enter the Salesforce App Exchange, where you pick and choose what tools you want to implement and integrate.
There is an entire industry category for nonprofits that is full of apps to extend Salesforce’s functionality in just the way you want it. Free apps like the Non-profit Starter Pack and Volunteers for Salesforce lay the groundwork. Paid apps that cost for-profit companies a small fortune are deeply discounted and even free to nonprofits. Take an afternoon to do a Google search for the Top 10 Nonprofit Salesforce Apps and look at these resources!
Ways to Learn
With all of these great opportunities to gain access to the leading CRM solution, how does a nonprofit maintain, grow and make the most of the tool? Online, there is the Salesforce Success Community for questions, Trailhead for practical exercises (Check out Got Trailhead?) and good ol’ Salesforce Help section where videos and documentation are kept.
In person, there are multiple free user groups in the Twin Cities that meet regularly, one specifically for nonprofits. Salesforce also offers huge discounts on both certification training courses (in-person and online) and Dreamforce registration.
With all of these resources close at hand, you can expect to be part of a supportive community – something that isn’t available for many of the tools on the market today. Plus with the highly customizable platform and budget-friendly options, you can’t go wrong.