Can Salesforce.com help your charity? » Charity Digital News

Can Salesforce.com help your charity?

Enhancing collaboration whilst increasing productivity is today a top agenda item for many charities and other non-profit organisations across the UK.

With so many systems out there, it is difficult to determine which one is right for your organisational culture and which one will have the optimal impact on core charitable activities.

For this reason, a growing number of organisations are turning to Salesforce.com to not only enhance internal collaboration and customer relationship management, but to underpin the management of fundraising, volunteering, donors, campaigns, events and many other functions that traditionally take place in disparate systems.

The thing to remember is Salesforce.com is much more than a CRM tool. It provides a secure, cloud-based platform that optimises internal processes and transforms the way third sector organisations manage core activities by bringing together features that empower your workforce and intuitively present information in dashboards and reports for easy access to vital insights.

Charities such as Samaritans, RNIB and ACEVO have already implemented Salesforce.com and are using it successfully to manage a wide range of activities that support their organisational objectives within the feature rich platform.

However, getting to grips with all the potential applications and benefits of Salesforce.com can prove interesting. With that in mind, here are our top three pieces of advice for any charity embarking on the process:

1. Don’t go it alone

Engaging the services of an organisation that specialise in charity CRM platforms can save considerable amounts of time and money. You will receive expert advice on how to tailor the Salesforce.com platform for the specific needs of your organisation and how to harness maximum benefit from your deployment.

CloudSymphony, a leading Salesforce.com partner, is one such company that has built a credible pedigree and has already helped many charities successfully implement Salesforce.com for the better. CloudSymphony has designed a QuickStart programme which is crafted to get non-profit organisations up and running with Salesforce.com against a defined budget and project scope within just five days.View an overview of the five-day process here.

As a Salesforce.com Partner, CloudSymphony’s expertise provides non-profit organisations with an ability to shape the platform around their business and scale it as and when needed.

2. Utilise charity concessions

The Salesforce Foundation provides an initial 10 licence donation and steep discounts on all future licences and products to qualified not-for-profits. Enterprise edition Salesforce is exactly the same for anyone who uses it – so a charity using donated licences will get exactly the same features and support as a for-profit organisation paying full price.

3. Remember your users are key

There is no point installing a powerful new enterprise solution if your staff don’t know how to make the best use of it. Include your staff in understanding the requirements of the organisation and make sure the supplier understands the overall objectives of the business.

Staff training should be an integral part of your implementation planning so that future users of the system don’t feel alienated or overwhelmed by the new technology.

If you do opt to have a specialist consultant assist you with implementation, make sure that they offer a comprehensive training service as part of the package. CloudSymphony’s five-day QuickStart programme includes a whole day’s full on-site training for all users and system administrators –find out more here.

As organisations continue to evolve, technology should be able to enhance their ability to serve their purpose and fuel their missions with greater ease and transparency. Salesforce.com is proving to be the tool of choice for non-profit organisations seeking to future proof their organisations and utilise technology for good. With the right implementation partner, the sky is the limit for any non-profit organisation wishing to exploit the power of cloud based technologies.

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  • Carlos

    I love Salesforce.com! As you mentioned, it is so much more than a CRM tool. Salesforce can be customized to do pretty much anything to meet an organization’s needs. I also agree to point #3 regarding user training which is why I recently wrote a series of articles on how to successfully implement enterprise software. You can read it here: lisoblog.com/secrets-of-a-successful-software-implementation-part-1-of-4/

    PS – LISO is also a cloud alliance partner with Salesforce.com. Have a great day!

  • Ian Ryder

    The Salesforce platform is definitely the future for the not-for-profit sector. But as we’ve found over the years there’s a huge amount of complexity in even the smallest not-for-profit organisations so deciding to configure a CRM from the ground up is a non-starter, certainly opens up a huge amount of risk and the outcome is totally dependent on internal staff or the provider’s staff. That’s why we’ve spent the last 4 years building supporter360 – now being used and proven by some of the biggest fundraising organisations in the world. If you want to know more check out http://www.supporter360.net

  • Hyphen8

    Salesforce.com is indeed a “Platform” and not just a “CRM application”. Its breadth and depth of core functionality, and its flexibility has helped many charities configure highly tailored applications, cost-effectively and in short timescales.

    Quick Start projects are indeed a good option. But our experience is that organisations should consider how to take advantage of the platform to meet their broader and longer-term needs – to get the best value from their investments in it.

    Thus, a “vision” and a programme of change is needed – working with a specialist Salesforce.com partner that can provide the required guidance, support and best practice.

    To this end Hyphen8 have developed IN:GAGE – a managed “One Stop Shop” service that offers organisations access the complete suite of specialists they need to deliver an effective change programme – without the costs and risks and headaches involved with delivering projects.

    UK Community Foundations are great example of this – an organisation with over 450 salesforce.com users. With Salesforce.com and IN:GAGE they use the platform to improve their donor and grant management processes, open up new channels for stakeholder engagement, and deliver significant efficiencies in their business.

    To learn more, see: http://www.hyphen8.com/ukcf-partners-with-hyphen8-ingage-to-drive-better-crm/