Salesforce for Nonprofits: 5 Reasons to Switch Your CRM

June 5, 2023 0 Comments

Your nonprofit’s CRM will dictate how your organization communicates with donors, organizes events, and manages essential reports. With dozens of specialized CRMs to choose from, the Salesforce CRM stands out for its flexibility, scalability, and accessibility. 

Salesforce is used by a variety of different types of organizations, including nonprofits, for-profit businesses, and member/trade associations. To accommodate the unique needs of these different audiences, Salesforce provides users with numerous apps, packages, and custom solutions. 

As such, Salesforce has designed tools just for nonprofits that serve their day-to-day tasks while considering their often tight budgets. To help your nonprofit understand the top benefits and features Salesforce can bring, this article will explore why growing nonprofits use Salesforce as their CRM and a few of its top features. But first, let’s explore exactly what Salesforce for Nonprofits is.

What is Salesforce for Nonprofits?

Salesforce is a CRM (customer relationship management) system provider. Salesforce serves both for- and nonprofit organizations using a variety of cloud-based platforms, known as Clouds. Clouds can configure the platform in a variety of ways, such as for marketing, industry-specific needs, and nonprofits. 

Most nonprofits that invest in Salesforce will use Nonprofit Cloud. Nonprofit Cloud is Salesforce’s primary platform for nonprofits, including extensive case and program management tools, while also being compatible with various industry-specific technology. This allows nonprofits, whether specializing in human rights, environmental concerns, arts and culture, and more, to customize their system to their exact specifications. 

Nonprofits can also use Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP). While Salesforce is now actively developing for and marketing Nonprofit Cloud, they still offer and support NPSP. NPSP is a comprehensive package configuring the Salesforce CRM for nonprofit needs, providing charitable organizations with fundraising and donor management tools. 

Nonprofits that use Nonprofit Cloud can further customize their Salesforce CRM to fit their needs by integrating their system with other solutions on the Salesforce AppExchange, such as apps for volunteer management, email marketing, and donation gift matching. 

1. One Unified System 

A common sign a nonprofit should consider switching to a CRM like Salesforce is if they have a number of disconnected software solutions, all operating independently. While this system may work for smaller organizations, nonprofits seeking to expedite their growth will need a solution for quick data synchronization and integrated analysis. 

Salesforce is a comprehensive system with an extensive array of apps. Once nonprofits get their Salesforce CRM up and running, they can manage almost all of their other software solutions from one unified platform. This includes tools charitable organizations might not associate with nonprofit software, such as membership management tools and their CMS. With Nonprofit Cloud, this also extends to various other industry-specific products, allowing nonprofits to better serve their supporters.

2. Complete Customization

Are there aspects of your CRM that your nonprofit has to work around or features you need to use in an unorthodox way to perform daily tasks? These minor setbacks can accumulate, wasting time and effort your team could otherwise devote to fulfilling your nonprofit’s mission. 

With a CRM like Salesforce, your nonprofit can configure your platform to have the exact features you need. Even when compared to other highly customizable CRMs, Salesforce has a larger library of trusted apps on their AppExchange, as well as an open API that allows for even more integration and customization options. 

If your team is unfamiliar with Salesforce, there is an extensive community of developers you can partner with that can help you take full advantage of Salesforce’s potential for customization. 

3. Top-Notch Security

All organizations that use Salesforce will use the latest updated version stored on the cloud. This means your software is continually updated to meet new security requirements and protect your data from potential hacks. 

Nonprofits can leverage Salesforce’s security settings to guard their most sensitive information closely. For instance, nonprofits can set different permission levels for users, allowing only specific team members to view or edit various databases. Salesforce has even streamlined the ability to set permissions quickly, meaning it’s easy to establish secure internal technical processes at your nonprofit. 

4. Flexibility 

Will your nonprofit always offer the same services and follow the same case management and fundraising practices? The answer is no for most nonprofits, especially those looking to grow. Rigid CRMs can inhibit growth, and many small nonprofits will find they need to upgrade their CRM platform as they expand. 

By contrast, Salesforce for Nonprofit’s high customizability and large selection of apps—that are continuously updated by their developers—ensure the platform will work for your nonprofit, regardless of size, services, or specialty. 

Despite being an extensive, comprehensive platform, Salesforce is notably agile compared to other CRMs. If you need a new type of fundraising software, you can simply look for an app that fits your needs on the app exchange. Or, if you need to reconfigure part of your task management system, you can partner with a developer to get it done quickly. 

5. A Supportive Developer Community

As one of the most popular CRMs, the Salesforce CRM has developed a wide community of app developers, consultants, and other service providers. 

If your nonprofit ever needs help making full use of your Salesforce CRM’s potential, you can find assistance from an app developer who can create a new integration to streamline your payment processing, a consultant to help you quickly migrate your data to your new CRM, and a host of other partners who can improve your user experience, integrate your data, and streamline your core processes. 

Top Salesforce for Nonprofits Features

With so much focus on Salesforce’s wide range of apps and customization options, nonprofits may wonder what core features will come with their Salesforce CRM. Organizations that use Nonprofit Cloud or Salesforce NPSP will have a number of essential nonprofit tools right out of the box, including:

This image shows several major features of Salesforce for Nonprofits, which are listed below.

  • Fundraising. Build relationships with your donors, volunteers, and constituents to collect the necessary data to build engaging fundraising appeals. Set your nonprofit up for sustainable revenue by leveraging Salesforce NPSP’s recurring donor management features. For organizations using Nonprofit Cloud, there are plans to implement fundraising tools later in 2023. 
  • Marketing and Engagement. Engage your supporters with personalized messages using supporter segmenting tools and pre-built message templates. Set your messages to automatically be populated with relevant supporter details to create unique communications and improve supporter relationships. 
  • Program Management. Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud provides nonprofits with a framework to manage their initiatives. Assign tasks, monitor service deliveries, and view your reports in a unified, pre-built dashboard. 
  • Grantmaking. When your nonprofit starts the grant research process, use Nonprofit Cloud’s grant management tool to create a new record for each foundation you plan to apply to. Track your status in the application process, note grant requirements, and keep your awarded funds organized with Salesforce. For foundations that make grants, Salesforce’s Grants Management package allows you to create unique grant applications, build a user-friendly grant applicant portal, standardize your grant review process, and more. 
  • Operations. Nonprofit Cloud gives nonprofits a 360-degree view of their data, allowing them to streamline their internal operations. Integrate, manage, and safeguard your data with Salesforce’s user-friendly interface. Then use Salesforce’s out-of-the-box reports to get organization-wide reports and make data-driven decisions. 

If your nonprofit needs assistance implementing your Salesforce CRM, understanding which features belong to which Salesforce overlay, or even just help to figure out if Salesforce is the right CRM platform for you, partner with a Salesforce consultant to gain professional insights into your nonprofit’s unique situation. 

Salesforce is a popular CRM for nonprofits for good reasons. Organizations interested in Salesforce should start their research by watching informational demos, reviewing Salesforce apps, and assessing their nonprofit’s needs to decide if Salesforce is right for them.