• Engineeringsquare Blog

    Is Salesforce right for your nonprofit

Rallying donors, engaging with your community and hitting your fundraising targets isn’t easy when you’ve got hardly any time, resources or IT budget. And even if you were to install new technologies to help you overcome your everyday challenges, the chances are they won’t be tailored enough to suit your specific organisation’s needs. The struggle is most certainly real for nonprofits doing demanding, important work with limited resources. Could Salesforce be the answer?

If you’re a nonprofit or charity organisation, you might find these common issues pretty relatable:

  • Your data is spread across multiple systems, paper documents (and sometimes even sticky notes).
  • Donor information is never quite up-to-date despite your team’s best efforts, and you still don’t have a full picture of all the ways your constituents interact with your organisation — beyond what they’ve donated, that is.
  • It’s far too difficult to forecast how many donations you’ll bring in this year.
  • It takes forever to compile reports for your board and funders. You wish you could more readily know how many people your programs served last week, last month, and last quarter so you can prove how you’re making a difference in your constituents’ lives.
  • You’re absolutely fed up with manually managing finances, sponsorships, attendance, and follow-ups for events.
  • You wish it took less effort to get the word out to your supporters.
  • It seems like your IT budget is simply never enough.

I know, Salesforce is primarily known as a sales platform for helping businesses close deals and manage their customers. So how is it going to help you with these issues? Well, you’re right. Standard (or “out-of-the-box”) Salesforce wasn’t particularly built with nonprofits in mind. At its core, it provides Sales, Communications, Customer Service, Lead Management, Reporting, and Account-Based Relationship Management. Which just shows that it was initially designed for businesses. But it turns out that it can also be pretty handy for nonprofits now, too — thanks to Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Pack (SNSP).

The Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack

The NPSP for Salesforce allows you to bring together your constituent and program data all in one place, so you can get a total view of the impact of your organisation. Instead of focusing on Sales, Communications, Customer Service, Lead Management, Reporting, and Account-Based Relationship Management, it focuses on Fundraising, Communications, Case Management, Volunteer Management, Reporting, and Household-based relationship management.

Accounts, contacts, and opportunities are still the major building blocks of course. It’s said that each NPSP account represents a household, and each household can be associated with multiple donors (contacts) and donations (opportunities). Since nonprofits may need to track more than donors, they can use contacts to manage all kinds of people data — members, volunteers, clients, board members, the lot!


Of course, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to nonprofits. Luckily, Salesforce offers its standard Salesforce features, as well as the flexibility to tweak and customise any feature to meet your organisation’s unique needs. Once you’ve learned how to adapt Salesforce’s standard and custom features, you’ll be able to work more efficiently, engage your community in a smarter way, and really prove your impact.

What can I do with The Salesforce Nonprofit Success pack?

Here’s what Salesforce has listed as the main features of the NPSP:

  • Raise funds
    With constituent relationship management (CRM), donor management, and donation management.
  • Communicate with constituents
    Send messages to stakeholders, supporters, and partners through email, community portals, and more.
  • Engage and strengthen your community 
    Encourage collaboration and communication with your team, funders, members, volunteers or other supporters with a branded Member or Partner Community.
  • Manage cases and issues
    Case management, including logging, routing, tracking, and approvals.
  • Manage volunteers
    Track your volunteers, events, shifts, and hours.
  • Create reports and visualise data
    Run and schedule reports, and build dashboards with drag-and-drop tools.
  • Manage programs
    Track pretty much any type of program data in one place, whether you’re tracking schools built, trees planted, or veterans served etc.
  • Digitize paper-based processes
    Set up a database that can store the information you need and make it available to staff from anywhere, replacing paper records and spreadsheets.
  • Automate manual processes
    Set up automated workflows to streamline manual processes like client intake, document generation, outcomes reporting, and more.
  • Engage constituents on every channel
    Take advantage of constituent data stored in Salesforce when communicating via social media, direct mail, your website, and more.
  • Access the Salesforce ecosystem of pre-integrated, third-party applications
    Including apps for managing events, memberships, payment processing, and loads more.

How has Salesforce helped other nonprofits?

With Salesforce Community Cloud our clients, Chance to Shine, can now share their teaching resources with school teachers and coaches for free. The teachers can reach out to the coaches to get help teaching Cricket to kids in primary schools around the country. The new Community means that the teachers who would otherwise not be reachable because of their location can login and engage in the Community from anywhere, use the Community resources, and discuss with like-minded teachers and coaches to share experiences.

The Chance to Shine team can quickly update their content with Salesforce CRM, and easily see which content is most or least-popular. They can also see which users are most active in the Community and find areas in the country where they don’t have enough representation. Then they can reach out to those schools in the area to invite them to join the Community for free teaching resources.

— John, Salesforce Developer

But surely cheaper means fewer features?

Nope. Enterprise edition Salesforce is the same for everyone, whether you’re a charity or a business. Despite the lower pricing, all the features and support options are no less than those of regular full-priced Salesforce. It’s move-in ready with standard features, but with the option to customise and tailor the standard out-of-the-box functionality as your organisation learns and grows. Oh, and when you purchase, The Salesforce Foundation will also donate 10 Enterprise licenses to you, completely for free. And any additional licenses are also significantly discounted.

So, is Salesforce right for your nonprofit? Probably! It’s a big change, I know. But it doesn’t have to be daunting to set up! You can implement your Salesforce and build on its foundation with an expert systems integrator (ahem, like oe:gen). We absolutely love working with people who believe in a great cause, so give us a nudge if you want to find out more about how Salesforce can help your nonprofit!