Is Salesforce.com Right for Your Nonprofit?

You may have heard of Salesforce.com before – it’s one of the most robust and customizable database softwares in the industry. But while many nonprofit organizations are attracted to promises of free licenses and a seemingly endless library of widgets, even more find themselves hopelessly tangled in fields of data and needlessly complex reporting mechanisms. Let’s dive in to what Salesforce can do and whether or not it could help you in your fundraising efforts.

What is Salesforce.com?

Salesforce.com is a San Francisco company that makes an online database available to nonprofits. The database is very flexible, which allows a nonprofit to use Salesforce.com for tracking donor management and other activities.

The Salesforce.com Foundation offers 10 user licenses for free to nonprofits, which can make it an attractive option for organizations with limited budgets that are interested in adopting a software to streamline their fundraising.

What could Salesforce.com do?

Salesforce.com can help nonprofits keep track of the people they work with, and all the work they do with them. Salesforce.com can be:

  • A centralized contact list of all the people and organizations you work with
  • The place for prospecting and tracking donations, grants, memberships, and volunteering
  • The system for tracking just about any of your other program-related work: canvassing, phone banking, events, tabling, outcomes and evaluation, etc.

When it comes to small nonprofits, though, this is what Salesforce more frequently does:

  • Require an in-house programmer to run reporting and wrangle even the most basic pieces of donor data.
  • Take up hours and hours of staff time to organize and execute a campaign.
  • Integrate with other programs that facilitate donor communication, stewardship, and payment processing.

There are also functionalities that Salesforce lacks:

  • Salesforce isn’t an accounting system. You can purchase connectors to products like Quickbooks, but accounting functions aren’t handled by Salesforce.com.
  • If you are doing very complex donor management, Salesforce.com may not have the functionality you need to be successful.

When it comes to organizing your fundraising activities, options are great. But many organizations find that an all-in-one platform like Network for Good not only meets all their customization needs, but also eliminates steps like data double-entry across systems, the endless exporting of spreadsheets, and making donors jump through hoops to designate a gift. While Salesforce may be the CRM of choice for organizations like the Red Cross or the World Wildlife Fund, nonprofits with tight budgets, small teams, and busy schedules are more likely to be overwhelmed by Salesforce.

We know at Network for Good that when you feel overwhelmed, it can be hard to put your best foot forward with your donors, your program work, and your day-to-day organization. That’s why we’re designing our software with organizations that do good at a grassroots level in mind. Are you struggling to connect the dots with your Salesforce subscription? Or are you an organization looking so sign up with a software that’s scalable for your needs? Schedule a demo with Network for Good.

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