How to Use Salesforce for Nonprofits | A Fundraiser’s Guide

Salesforce NPSP is a powerful way to manage donors, measure your fundraising performance, and donor communications. Read this guide to learn how can you best use Salesforce for your nonprofit and how Donorbox can be of help!

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How to Use Salesforce for Nonprofits | A Fundraiser’s Guide

salesforce for nonprofitsSalesforce has been around for over a decade, but many people still have no idea how it works. Salesforce is basically a spreadsheet, but this spreadsheet offers more perks and benefits than Excel.

Nonprofit organizations don’t often spend money on things they can get for free. This is generally a good idea, but the perks that come with Salesforce NPSP can help nonprofits on several levels.

This article will break down precisely what Salesforce is, how Salesforce NPSP (Nonprofit Success Pack) works, what features it includes, and how you can use it to raise more funds for your organization.

  1. What is Salesforce, and How Does NPSP Work?
  2. 6 Great Benefits of Using Salesforce for Nonprofits
  3. The 7 Best Salesforce Features for Nonprofits
  4. How can Nonprofits get Started With Salesforce? [Step-by-Step]
  5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Salesforce, and How Does Salesforce NPSP Work?

salesforce NPSP - salesforce for nonprofits

Salesforce is one of the world’s leading cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. They can help your marketing, sales, commerce, customer service, and IT teams work in tandem from anywhere in the world. The aim of the Salesforce platform is to help keep your customers happy everywhere.

Basically, it is a spreadsheet that runs in the cloud. Salesforce has over 1.5 million customers worldwide. 40,000 out of them are nonprofits, and many of these jumped on board when Salesforce added specialized features for nonprofit organizations.

Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) is a flexible, open-source solution for nonprofits. It provides fundraising, marketing, and program operations solutions. With NPSP, nonprofits can easily manage their donors, volunteers, and grantees (all their supporters and their information) in one place. This increases the ease of management as well as reduces the need for manual tasks and efforts. Your donors’ giving information and their recurring donations can all be stored and viewed on their individual donor records on NPSP. You can also update offline gifts to these respective records.

Salesforce updates its security three times a year, so nonprofit organizations and donors do not have to worry about their personal information.

With Salesforce NPSP, nonprofits can build dashboards that integrate easily with other applications. Nonprofits can share reports in understandable and interesting ways with their boards, keeping everyone updated in real-time.

Finally, Salesforce for nonprofits includes an app store with over 5,000 apps across categories like analytics, finance, human resources, customer service, marketing, etc. This includes mobile apps that nonprofits can use at events and during outdoor campaigns.

6 Great Benefits of Using Salesforce for Nonprofits

nonprofit customer relationship management with salesforce

1. Customizable donor database

Salesforce donor database is entirely customizable, so nonprofits can easily add custom fields, objects, relationships, and other elements to the Salesforce CRM platform. Web-to-lead automatically converts new donations into new donor profiles.

You’ll never need to worry about the time-consuming process of updating your donor database with online donations. Salesforce donor database can also be seamlessly integrated with online fundraising platforms like Donorbox. You can easily customize your field mappings and push the essential donor and campaign data to Salesforce automatically.

2. Personalized reports and dashboards

NPSP comes with 70+ industry reports and dashboards for nonprofits. It also provides an organized system that anyone can understand. Nonprofits can share these reports with and personalize dashboards for staff, volunteers, and the board.

3. Efficient communication between teams

Instead of sharing the same information with all team members, nonprofits can customize their dashboards and keep everyone working on their projects. Organizations can also schedule automatic email responses when an individual or the entire team needs to be updated.

4. Program management and tracking

Salesforce for nonprofits has a program management module that helps track programs and services. Nonprofits can also segment participants into different groups based on available filters like season, class, funders, etc. If nonprofits have any recurring services, they can easily set them up on the tool and track them efficiently.

5. Pre-built email templates and personalized emails

Your supporters’ data can be segmented and used for creating customized content on the Salesforce NPSP marketing cloud. You can then use the pre-built email templates to send this content as personalized emails to your supporters.

6. Discounts and free trial

With all its features, you’d think Salesforce would be unaffordable for most nonprofits. That is not the case. If your nonprofit is eligible for its Power of Us Program, Salesforce will give you 10 donated subscriptions for Sales & Service Cloud Enterprise Edition. A 30-day free trial allows nonprofits to try out their system and see if it works before purchasing more.

Once a nonprofit organization is approved for this program, they will also receive discounted pricing and support from Salesforce to ensure they’re using the system to their advantage.

The 7 Best Features of Salesforce for Nonprofits

salesforce free for nonprofits

1. Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud

Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud is an all-in-one CRM platform for nonprofits. It facilitates fundraising, program management, grant management, marketing, and of course, donor management. You get to measure, track, and update data across all aspects of nonprofit operations and management. The Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud enables your nonprofit to drive growth and success through data.

Nonprofits can create accounts for donors, businesses, grantees, volunteers, and other organizations on Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud. Then add contact information, including addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. You can also add social media information and track online donor responses. All this data can be accessed by your team from anywhere. You’ll have a visual report of donation history, relevant notes, and other documents.

Donor records can be converted to different languages, time zones, or currencies depending on the user that views the item. Nonprofits can also create relationships between records, allowing them to understand better how donors were introduced to their organization.

Finally, nonprofits can assign security permissions for specific users and ensure donors’ personal information stays safe.

If you’re using Donorbox for your online fundraising needs, it will take just a click to get connected to Salesforce for nonprofits. All your donors and donations data will automatically go to the Salesforce donor database. You can avoid duplicate records and maintain a clean database while also getting insightful analytics into your donors and donations data.

2. Event management apps

Salesforce’s Event Management gets nonprofits started on the right foot by viewing where donors are located on a map. Organizations can then choose their event location based on that information. Nonprofits can choose event management apps on the Salesforce app store to get started. They offer nonprofit discounts and allow them to manage data from anywhere and view real-time updates as guests check in.

Nonprofits can include mobile registration and passbook tickets. These apps enable volunteers and staff to search donor data quickly, collaborate on team documents, update donor records, and view and edit event schedules.

Guests can have online access to build and manage their evening agendas. Attendees can also share event pictures on social media and respond to surveys sent by your organization.

As you continue planning your event, last year’s event information will help you along the way. You can collect details on which activities encouraged more participation and which ticket type sold best. You can use this information to make necessary changes, raise more funds, and strengthen donor relationships.

3. Elevate for fundraising

Salesforce Elevate is an integrated fundraising solution for US nonprofit organizations. You can use Salesforce’s mobile-friendly donation form to accept one-time and monthly donations. You can also manage all your payment data on Salesforce NPSP dashboards. In addition, nonprofits can manage recurring donations and donors in one place. You can also customize receipts and automate them for your donors.

4. Nonprofit marketing

Salesforce for nonprofits includes several features to help nonprofits market events and fundraising campaigns efficiently.

4.1 Emails

Email campaigns are still one of the best-used marketing techniques for nonprofits. Organizations can get pre-built email templates and customize them further to include the nonprofit’s logo and mission statement. Staff, board members, and volunteers can use these templates to ensure your organization’s branding remains the same. Nonprofits can then send personalized emails based on updated and segmented donor information and track the click-through and open rates for each campaign.

4.2 Social media

Social media is another popular marketing option for nonprofits. Organizations can use Salesforce to store donor social media information and track any online interactions.

4.3 Direct mail

Nonprofits can also use Salesforce to organize and track responses from direct mail campaigns.

5. Dashboards and reports

Nonprofits must create reports to answer questions from board members, volunteer groups, and major donors. Salesforce’s dashboards provide these details in a visual display that includes ticket sales, total event revenues, attendance, donors, donations, and survey responses.

Here are a few ways nonprofits can use dashboards to keep everyone updated:

  • Track fundraising goals
  • Collect and share survey responses
  • Automatically update events with last year’s information
  • Measure donor participation and schedule regular updates

6. Accounting Subledger

Accounting Subledger makes work easy for both your fundraising and accounting teams. You can sync your fundraising data with an accounting system to save significant time and money you spend otherwise. This feature comes with out-of-the-box templates used on popular accounting systems like Blackbaud Financial Edge, QuickbooksNetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, Workday, etc. The user interface is simple and intuitive to help your teams track gifts, pledges, and revenue information in the easiest way possible.

7. Salesforce AppExchange

AppExchange is the Salesforce app store. For nonprofits, however, Salesforce has listed a separate list of apps to benefit from. These apps are categorized into sections like consulting, fundraising, management apps, popular, sponsored, etc. Many of these apps are free and can help boost your nonprofit fundraising, management, and growth.

How can Nonprofits Get Started with Salesforce?

using Salesforce for nonprofits

Getting started with Salesforce for nonprofits requires a simple application process. After that, Donorbox makes it very easy to integrate with the system to help you make the most of your donor and campaign data. This means your nonprofit gets access to all the amazing fundraising features of the powerful Donorbox platform while also leveraging Salesforce NPSP.

Let’s have a look at the simple steps.

1. Opt for the NPSP trial

Opting for the NPSP trial is easy. All you have to do is submit a simple form and get started. This trial lasts for 30 days. You have this much time to apply for the Salesforce Power of Us Program. If you get approved, your trial gets permanent. And you’ll be able to enjoy all these amazing features of Salesforce for nonprofits.

However, there are some conditions and eligibility requirements associated with Power of Us.

Only 501c3 and 501c4 organizations in the US can apply for this program. Apart from them, higher education institutions, primary or secondary education institutions (K-12), and fiscally sponsored organizations can also apply.

501c3 and 501c4 nonprofits need to have the following ready in order to apply.

  • An active NPSP trial
  • A system administrator
  • Executive approval
  • Tax ID
  • 501c3 or 501c4 letter
  • Articles of association
  • Memorandum of association
  • Financial statements declaring mission and purpose

2. Download and install the NPSP app

You’ll get the NPSP app on Salesforce AppExchange. Download and install it for free and keep it handy while your application is processing. This app will help you keep track of all your donor and donations data as soon as you import them into Salesforce or integrate your fundraising platform with it.

3. Connect your Donorbox account to Salesforce

It’s simple and takes only a click. All you need to do is go to the Donorbox dashboard and toggle a switch under “Salesforce Integration”.

salesforce for nonprofits

You’ll then log in with your Salesforce account and that’s all. You’ll now be connected to your Salesforce account.

Donorbox will automatically push all your donor and campaign data to Salesforce.

4. Map fields and export data from Donorbox to Salesforce

Mapping fields is not a mandatory step but helps you better track and manage your data on Salesforce. Your donors and donations data will look in sync on both the systems and it will avoid any confusion among staff.

You can map Donorbox donor database fields to specific Salesforce objects. Check how to do that in this blog that we’ve written as a detailed step-by-step guide for nonprofits.

Once you’re done, it is now time to export your data to Salesforce. Do that by going to “Unexported Donations” under the same “Salesforce Integrations” page on the Donorbox dashboard. Click the button. All your unexported donations will move to your Salesforce account.

salesforce for nonprofits

You can also easily re-export donations and remove donations data from your Salesforce account at any time by just clicking a button on the Donorbox dashboard.

This short video here will visually explain all these steps for your ease of understanding.

Final Thoughts

Salesforce and its Nonprofit Success Pack extension have more than enough features to gauge your fundraising performance, perform donor management, simplify communications, and manage operations for your nonprofit.

On top of that, Donorbox’s partnership with Salesforce provides nonprofits a unique opportunity to try out this service while also ensuring steady income streams and the best donation experience for themselves and their supporters.

Read helpful articles on Salesforce integration here. Give your fundraising and nonprofit management a boost with tips and resources from Donorbox, visit our Nonprofit Blog.

Check out Donorbox’s other simple-to-use and efficient features like Recurring Donation Forms, Customizable Donation Pages, Peer-to-Peer fundraising, Crowdfunding, Text-to-Give, Events, Memberships, QuickDonate, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How much does Salesforce cost for nonprofits?

NPSP packages start at $36/user/month and go up to $60/user/month, billed annually. If you are interested in opting for specific features like Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud, Elevate, Accounting Subledger, etc., then they all have separate pricing options. You can check out the monthly and yearly pricing lists here.

2. How long does it take to set up Salesforce for nonprofits?

If you have all the documentation and details ready with you to apply for the Power of Us program, you should hear back from the respective team of Salesforce in about 2 to 3 weeks. After that, it shouldn’t take a long time for you to get started. Your trial will be made permanent.

3. How to get Salesforce for nonprofits?

You should start by opting for the NPSP trial and applying for the Power of Us program for nonprofits. Your nonprofit will also need to have nonprofit documentation ready to be able to apply.

4. What does Salesforce do for nonprofits?

Nonprofits can use the Salesforce CRM system to collect and store donor information and put it to work for events, fundraising campaigns, donor communications, financial and accounting systems, and more.

5. Can you learn Salesforce on your own?

Salesforce provides training with many of its packages. If your package does not include training, free courses are available on Udemy and Trailhead.

6. Does Salesforce for nonprofits require coding?

Coding is not necessary for nonprofits to use Salesforce.

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Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

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