Salesforce and your nonprofit

posted by
Travis Butterfield,
Project Coordinator,
ASU Lodestar Center

Whatever your nonprofit experience level and situation, you probably have to keep track of donors and other key constituents. Many of you have probably relied on multiple Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and maybe a Microsoft Access database at some point in your professional life. But, as an organization’s needs grow, this kind of system becomes burdensome and labor-intensive. Contacts begin to slip through the cracks, and it becomes harder and harder to juggle all of the data.

The solution to this dilemma is a customer relations management (CRM) system (sometimes called a donor management system in the nonprofit arena). There are dozens of CRMs out there that cater specifically to nonprofit needs. A great resource for finding your best fit is NTEN’s Consumer’s Guide to Donor Management Software.

One resource you will inevitably hear about while researching CRMs is Salesforce. My purpose here is not to try to “sell” this product, nor is it to discourage people from implementing Salesforce in their organizations. Rather, my primary motive with this blog post is to share a bit about the ASU Lodestar Center’s recent experience in implementing Salesforce as a CRM solution. My hope is that I can provide insight and experience that will be helpful for other nonprofits who currently use, or are thinking of implementing, Salesforce as their primary database.

Many of our readers may not be aware of the fact that Salesforce has created something called the Power of Us program. The essence of this program is that Salesforce donates 10 free Enterprise Edition licenses to qualifying 501(c)3 nonprofit institutions and other organizations. It also provides deep discounts on additional licenses, products, and services. This “free” price tag makes Salesforce a service that should seriously be considered by any small to medium nonprofit. It can be a great resource for those looking for a CRM solution.